After a turbulent 18 months, the iGaming market is well on its way to recovery but there’s no denying the gaming landscape has changed forever and it’s now the industry’s responsibility to adapt, ensuring sustainable growth.
SlotsMillion are progressing well in their own transformational journey. We caught up with their CEO, Charles Gross to hear his thoughts on opportunities for growth in a post-pandemic market and the dynamics of operating in increasingly regulated jurisdictions.
How did the events of 2020 impact the way SlotsMillion manages the customer experience? How is this reflected in your new branding, digital products and user interface?
“2020 was an eventful year for our brand! The pandemic put pressure on the entire industry to increase its efforts to maintain high levels of player protection during times where people may find themselves being more vulnerable at home and under stress. Moreover, SlotsMillion also underwent an ambitious project to redesign its user interface to make it more modern and easier to navigate.
“One of the many items that have been updated is the Responsible Gambling page for logged-in users. We understand the importance of accessibility for tools to control gambling and options to self-exclude, for social responsibility purposes. As a product-driven company, the player is the main focus for us, and therefore naturally our goal is to create a safe, fun and entertaining experience.
“Because of the pandemic, interactions with digital products have increased. UI and UX have become more important than ever and will only gain more relevance in the next few years. Customers are not only used to UI being part of their daily life but have also become increasingly demanding when it comes to having seamless experiences.
“Most importantly, we must take into consideration that everyone needs to interact with them. That is why UX/UI trends have changed over the last years to be more focused on functionality, accessibility and to be catered on real customers’ needs. With the redesign of the UI, we put our players’ needs at the top goal on every decision we make, keeping in mind that we are designing for everyone to safely enjoy SlotsMillion.
“Personalization plays a major role as well. We’re not all the same, so we don’t all enjoy the same things. That’s why we’re focusing on making the SlotsMillion experience unique for every customer taking into account their location, playing patterns and behaviours, and the way they interact with the casino.”
SlotsMillion has recently entered the Swedish market and launched new products in the UK. How much of a challenge is it to operate and remain compliant in multiple jurisdictions as global regulatory frameworks become increasingly fragmented? Do you see this as a risk to future iGaming growth?
“Whilst regulatory requirements may vary between licenses, the core values remain the same in terms of social responsibility, fairness and transparency. By ensuring a solid core structure of player protection processes and a transparent and fair product, we can manage the differences between regulatory requirements in the different jurisdictions we operate in.
“That being said, regulatory requirements imposed in jurisdictions without prior in-depth investigation of the impact they will have on the industry and the players, do have a negative impact on the regulated industry as a whole and plays into the hands of the unlicensed and unregulated operators – as seen in Sweden with the Covid restrictions. It is important that a dialogue is held between operators, regulators, players, and in many cases politicians, that can directly influence future regulation.”
There has been an evident increase in the industry’s focus on responsible gambling initiatives, spurred on by the impact of the Pandemic. How have SlotsMillion further developed their own RG strategy to match market needs and should we expect to see more operators adopting this approach in the future?
“Responsible Gambling has always been a core pillar in our business. During the pandemic, and in addition to complying with any restrictions imposed by regulators, we have further strengthened our Responsible Gambling approach by increasing training for staff, hiring more specialized talent, and through the creation of a Player Protection team, which merged our Anti-Money Laundering and Responsible Gambling teams. We understand that these two areas often overlap, so this cross-function will further help mitigate the risks attached to these.
“It is our duty of care to monitor the players and help them to play responsibly and really enjoy their experience over time. It’s all about creating long-standing healthy relationships with our customers, rather than having players who only engage with the casino for a short period. We will continue our focus on offering a fun, and safe, casino.
“The tension between business and an increase in regulation that unfortunately does not always make sense to the gambling industry or from a player perspective can only be alleviated by increased understanding of the industry by regulators and more self-regulation based on real experience from the gambling industry.
“I think many in the industry are now looking at the coming re-regulation of Ontario, as it will be risk-based and purpose-driven with a focus on the goals the sector wants to achieve rather than implementing restrictive regulations on a detailed technical level.
“Hopefully, the outcome will be positive and will have an impact on other regulated jurisdictions which could encourage and increase the cooperation between regulators and the industry – something which would ultimately only benefit the players.”
SlotsMillion was awarded Mobile Operator of the Year in 2020. How will new technology such as AI or 5G networks impact the type of games you can offer players and potentially improve the customer experience? What mobile gaming trends do you expect to see in the future?
“5G and AI are important topics, but it’s also important to be practical about what we can do in the near to mid-term. Machine learning is great at automatically making large numbers of predictions, so the obvious place for it is in improving recommendation engines. Matching players with games they’re more likely to enjoy is an important goal and something to focus on now.
“AI and machine learning will continue to gain prominence. When it comes to the gambling industry it will become especially relevant for fraud detection, Responsible Gambling and AML efforts. Similarly, it will play a big role in allowing operators to become more efficient in how they offer personalized experiences to their players, through behaviour-driven game recommendations, tailored bonuses, and much more.
“SlotsMillion has a history of being at the forefront of what the future has to offer, being one of the first in the industry to embrace Virtual Reality in 2015 /2016, so we look forward to using the advances of technology to keep reaching new horizons going forward. Our primary focus during 2020 was to improve the core product and site, but looking ahead we are ready to focus more on innovation again.”
Speaking with Charles offered a lot of insight into the key drivers behind the growth of this brand. Customer-centricity is a core focus and directly influences all aspects, from UX and UI design to their player protection strategies. By ensuring the customer is always being put first, they have cemented their place in the market, further allowing them to spread into exciting new territories such as Sweden.
Although adoption of new tech is still a work in progress, the future looks bright and once new concepts such as AI or 5G have been properly leveraged, SlotsMillion along with other adopters across the sector will hopefully be able to reach their full market potential.