February 9 appeared to be the final day of ICE Totally Gaming , one of the biggest gambling exhibitions in the industry. Demo zones were filled with friendly and amicable vibes. The companies continued presenting their brand - new gambling products, while ICE VOX section kept on discussing the latest trends of the betting market, manipulated fixed matches, cryptocurrencies and their role in the contemporary gambling business, as well as and the rest of relevant matters.
Previews of new products
The company IGT suggested guests checking out its brand - new VideoSlot called Texas Tea Pinball, based on traditional games of skills. Games of skills are not seen as games of chance and can be easily introduced on various markets regulated by applicable gambling legislation.
Microgaming made a preview of its Castle Builder II, which is a sequel to the popular slot Castle Builder nominated for EGR Game of the Year awards back in 2013. The gaming slot has three different versions of the gameplay. Each of them has its own distinctive features and in its days was justly market by a separate award. The second version of the legendary Castle Builder accounts for more than 15 kingdoms to explore, 75 castles to build and more than 300 characters to choose from.
The developer Yggdrasil Gaming presented an innovative gaming technology called Fusion Realms within the release of its slot called The Jungle Book. Integrated into this slot innovative technology enables gamblers to juggle 5 different game modes. In order to provide such an opportunity, developers designed 5 special symbols, each of them having 2 additional features.
The groundbreaking company BtoBet demonstrated a whole range of marketing services of augmented reality (AR). Among others, the company presented another instrument, a personalized virtual assistant “Bonus Hunting” enabling to carry on subsequent exchange/use of bonuses and prizes on the Internet. Moreover, BtoBet introduced a new improved betting service based on scanning of the corporate logo, giving higher chances to win.
The company – vendor Vermantia, specializing in multiplex gambling and betting solutions for online and offline sectors of the gambling industry, presented its new eSports platform. Its interface includes a wholly integrated package of tools and services for betting and cyber sports tournaments. However, the main focus was on CS: GO tournaments. Later on, the platform will be equipped with the rest of cyber sports disciplines.
A deal between SoftSwiss & Belatra in the public eye
A renowned gaming company SoftSwiss made a shocking announcement: SoftSwiss concluded a deal with a Belarusian slot developer Belatra. Collaboration implies developer’s content integration into the aggregator’s platform. For Belatra this is the first deal of this kind for the past 20 years on the market. Previously, this developer has never catered its products using the services of third-party operators, including gaming aggregators. The terms and projected revenues out of this partnership have not been divulged yet.
Ivan Montik, the CEO of SoftSwiss, has also added that already in the third quarter of this year the company is going to release a couple of new slots, exclusively designed for gamblers from Finland. This very year the company is aimed at launching a special edition of slots, taking into account demographic and psychological factors peculiar to gamblers of each separate market.
The third day of ICE was marked by presentations given by different experts mostly from the betting sector of the gambling industry. The said experts drew visitors´ attention to consolidated companies and their influence on the pace of technological development. Additionally, specialists suggested paying attention to such matters as fixed matches and socially responsible gambling.
Betting market and fixed matches
Andreas Bardun, the managing director of a chain of betting offices LeoVegas, oriented toward Scandinavian operators, became one of the speakers at ICE VOX. From his perspective, consolidation impedes innovations and development of the betting sector. Ed Birkin, one of the analysts at Ignite Research, conversely, believes that incorporated companies contribute to the development of innovative products, their further promotion and market integration.
Steve Donough, an independent expert specializing in betting consulting, thinks that new participants of the market contribute to the development of the system as a whole. “Solutions and decisions taken by competent management create strong foundation for certain corporate culture that solely supports all kinds of innovations”, - Donough pointed out.
Yarn Stark, the chief executive officer at AGCC, has made a report regarding fixed matches. Stark believes, that losses stemming from this kind of problem will grow at an exponential rate, if legislative authorities do not take serious actions. The speaker pointed out, that collaboration of regulators with national departments of financial intelligence and law-enforcement authorities contributed to the positive dynamics of combating this problem.
The head of AGCC appealed to operators and warned them to be more cautious while conducting tournaments. ¨The current market of technological innovations has reached its peak – the number of tools to conduct fixed matches is innumerable. Such mechanisms are intentionally designed to be invisible for the general public, at least while carrying out a fixed type of match¨, - Stark emphasized.
Socially responsible companies are the future of gambling
Sarah Harrison, the head of the UKGC, in terms of her interview, pointed out that socially responsible companies have more chances to succeed in this business. Such enterprises are capable of retaining enough customers due to their ability to provide them with high quality services, positive attitude, respect to their requirements and tight collaboration.
Moreover, Harrison claimed that the UKGC continues working on fixing issues of the gambling market, including such important problem as ludomania. The regulatory body is intended to establish better market relations in the regions with low levels of customer support.
All the tree days at ExCeL conference center passed way too quickly. Drawing a conclusion of ICE 2017, Slotegrator pinpoints the following:
- VR technologies are developing extremely fast, however, are subject to further investigation in the upcoming years.
- VR casinos get popularized – the majority of releases and presentations at ICE were dedicated to the related topics.
- Mobile sector strengthens its positions –Cardless Connect was finally invented, a technology, enabling integration of information from plastic cards straight to smart phones.
- Cyber sports turned out to be one of the major public concerns, as it is one of the world´s fastest growing gambling market niches.
- Betting innovations have reached its pinnacle – it´s getting harder and harder with time to detect and prevent fixed matches.
- Millennials are gamblers who make up a group of customers whose opinions have to be taken into account, if operators are willing to develop. The main difference between millennials and the rest of gamblers is that the first category needs to establish tight and transparent relations with their operators.
- Malta has expanded its presence on the global gambling market providing licenses to various operators.
- The UK intends to introduce some changes to the gambling market functioning. The main attention will be paid to the ultimate consumer and its interaction with gambling providers.
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