Infinity Gaming Magazine June 2022

Page 1

InfinityGaming www.gaming-awards.com | ISSUE137

INDUSTRIES POWERFUL WOMEN SERIES

GAMING + ARTICLES + BUSINESS+ GLOBAL + ONLINE + NEWS+ AWARDS + etc


2

34 THE CREATOR ECONOMY

12

08

16

MELANIE HAINZER

22 EYE ON THE BALL

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in all external articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Infinity Gaming Magazine Any content provided by our feature writers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

INFINITY GAMING


3

4 EDITOR NOTES Editor welcomes you to the latest edition of Infinity Gaming Magazine.

6 OUR WRITERS Meet our feature writers, the superb writers on our rosta.

08 POWERFUL WOMEN SERIES 28 HELLO MONTE CARLO 34 THE CREATOR ECONOMY LENA YASIR

38 SLOT PROBLEMS 43 UK GAMBLING

LARA FALZON +

NEWS & MORE NEWS from the gaming industry

INFINITY GAMING


4

A note from the editor CONTACT US Clever Duck Media Centrix@Keys Keys Park Road Staffordshire WS12 2HA UK Tel: +44(0)1543 478 889 PRODUCTION Clever Duck Media Centrix@Keys Keys Park Road Staffordshire WS12 2HA UK

SUMMER DAYS”

PUBLISHING Infinity Gaming Magazine is operated by © Clever Duck Media Ltd ®

Lana Thompson - Editor

Company Reg. No. 687 1018 (Registered in England) V.A.T reg. no 972 6372 91

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SPECIAL

Sponsorship Opportunities Colin@cleverduckmedia.com

Welcome to the latest edition of the In-

opportunity for women to network and

finity Gaming Magazine and also a spe-

celebrate.

Business Partnerships Svetlana@gaming-awards.com

The WIG Diversity takes place on the

Marketing & Advertising claire@cleverduckmedia.com

cial feature focussing on some of the influential women within our industry.

15th September at the stunning Savoy We start off with three superb ladies

Hotel, I cannot wait it is always a superb

that are beating a path for themselves

evening and thank you Playtech, Les

within the sector, they are Lara Falzon,

Ambassadeurs, Eyecon, IGT, Greentube

Lena Yasir and Melanie Hainzer, read

and Betsson for your superb support.

all about there companies and indeed themselves in this exclusive series.

But of course the magazine is also full of great articles and news, to this thank

As you read this the nominations for the

you to Tim Cullimore, Chrsitina Thakor-

2022 Women in Gaming (WIG) Diver-

Rankin, Andrew Cosgrove and the won-

sity Awards will be closing, already we

derful Lynn Pearce for writing some

have surpassed the amount for 2021

great articles.

and shows the strength of interest in the event. The WIG Diversity is a focus

Enjoy the magazine.

on women and diversity within our industry, it is not a competition or exclu-

“To Infinity and Beyond!”

sion of men but a focus on how amazing our industry is with diversity and the strength of women within the sector, an Regards,

Lana INFINITY GAMING

Editorial Content & PR media@cleverduckmedia.com



6

Infinity Gaming Magazine Contributing Writers A magazine is only as good as the content inside and with some of the leading specialists within the gaming industry. With specialised articles covering customer service, the gaming law, new products, technology and current affairs with the sector the Infinity Gaming Magazine is delighted to showcase our superb line-up of contributing

Christina Thakor-Rankin Christina is Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd, a specialist betting and gaming consultancy, delivering a range of services including licensing and compliance (incl. regulation, money laundering and social responsibility), business start-up, training and strategic re-engineering, project management, research, business analysis and development, to start-ups and

established multi-national operators and providers, gambling regulators, law enforcement and government agencies, media, and specialist interest groups and associations within the sector, in both established and emerging markets across the world. www.1710gaming.com

Teresa Tunstall – Independent Gaming Consultant After many years of working in casinos in the UK and on USA ships as a croupier and inspector, Teresa turned from ‘poacher to gamekeeper,’ spending 16 years with GamCare, who offer help and support to those who develop problems with their gambling. Working closely with the betting and gaming industry, She developed strong links delivering Social Respon-

sibility and Problem Gambling training around the world, Teresa now works independently consulting on all issues relating to Social Responsibility and Problem Gambling. To contact Teresa regarding consulting please email:

Andrew Cosgrove - Slots Guru Andrew Cosgrove is a seasoned slot operations veteran and certified project manager with over 24 years of hands on experience in Latin America and the Caribbean. Andrew has worked on both the operator and supplier side of casino slots and continues to help clients succeed and exceed customer expectations.

Andrew can be reached at andy.cosgrove@hemingwaycasinoconsulting.com or see http://hemingwaycasinoconsulting.com/

Lynn Pearce Lynn has extensive senior management experience in online gaming. She is an experienced, data-driven, commercially focused, strategic marketing leader. She has over 15 years of proven success in gaming, from land-based casinos, to online gaming companies offering sports betting, poker and casino, live casino and Esports. Lynn has many start-ups under her belt

and is now co-founder and CEO of a start-up igaming company, Mobius Interactive Ltd, headquartered in Vancouver BC Canada.

Tim Cullimore From dealer to CEO in the U.K., Europe and North America, Tim has pretty much seen it all in Casino gaming. For over 40 years, from running slot rooms which needed to frisk for guns to the Ritz in Mayfair, arguably the most luxurious casino in the world, Tim has never stopped challenging what we think we know about casinos.

INFINITY GAMING

Tim is a well-respected Consultant to the gaming industry, encompassing project management and operational analysis, as well as representing and advising some key manufacturers within the industry. Tim is a renowned conference speaker and also proud to be visiting lecturer at the University of West London College of Hospitality and Tourism.


7

s t r o p p u S N I B B

y t i l i b a n i a t #Sus

N O I S S U C S I D E JOIN TH

general manager and CEO

INFINITY GAMING


8

Interview with

Melanie Hainzer CMO Rootz Ltd Industries powerful women series

Melanie, many thanks for speaking to us today. 1. Congratulations on the company picking up ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the International Gaming Awards! How does Rootz ensure it continues to be a pioneer in the field?

website. The brand has a heavy focus on customer engagement through its proprietary live streaming platform and in-house live streaming studio where we will broadcast shows 24/7 straight to the Spinz casino lobby.

an award – especially when you see who your competition is! Everyone would have deserved the trophy, but I would be remiss to say it wasn’t well deserved, especially looking at all the hard work our team is putting in.

Thank you so much, we are super proud

Rootz won “Innovator of the Year” at the IGA 2022 Awards - was that a surprise and how does it feel to be so innovative?

Do you feel that the coronavirus pandemic has had a tangible impact on the way your customers interact with your iGaming products?

to win this prestigious award – especially after just having launched our most innovative product – Spinz. Spinz is the first of our online brands with seamlessly integrated streaming on the casino

It is always a surprise when you win The COVID-19 lockdowns surely boosted user engagement and Revenues for many gaming companies, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. With social distancing reducing consumer and business activity to a minimum, online gaming offers an engaging distraction for people at home looking for social interaction and I do think watching Casino streams and learning about slots via streaming services such as Twitch did have an impact. Rootz has interests in a number of

INFINITY GAMING


9 one of the best introductions during the pandemic was the 37hr week as part of the lockdowns in 2020, people were indoors more than they’ve ever been in the past. Rootz allows its team members to use up to three hours of working hours per week to participate in exercise and sports to help get everyone healthy and back on track. Employees that take full advantage of this offer are essentially working a 37-hour week. How will COVID-19 leave its footprint on the gaming industry?

regions and territories. Have you noticed a major difference in the way certain marketplaces have responded to COVID curbs? From a player behaviour point of view, I didn’t see any huge differences across all markets. However, I have seen various brands approach their marketing campaigns and scheduled content timelines in a more than tasteless way – especially in those times it is super important to carefully evaluate both the language and imagery used in advertisements and marketing material – with social media in particular. How has your company supported

colleagues throughout the pandemic? We were very lucky at Rootz - the company invested significant resources in ensuring that all employees had adequate equipment and furniture to set up a home office. With the COVID crisis shutting down the office for several months, a concerted effort was made to make people as comfortable as possible within the confines of their homes. A monthly stipend was added to each employee’s paycheck to help cover the cost of essential utilities for Internet/Telephone and Rootz offers free counselling and/or psychiatric support for all its employees. I think

This is very hard to predict. Since staying indoors and keeping a distance from people has become normal, the view on online gambling has changed positively as gambling online provides a much safer environment than a crowded casino. Players can go online to play their favourite slot machines and RNG table and card games. For now, the gaming industry seems to be weathering the COVID 19 storm. Most likely the industry benefited from it – but the question is if it will last? The number of people that lost their jobs in different industries such as travel, hospitality and tourism industries will likely have a negative effect, after all, if people are not making money, they are unlikely to be spending in other sectors. How long that will drag on is hard to guess. Rootz talks a lot about efficiency, effectiveness, and streamlining its operation to be as lean as possible. How do you ensure these principles stay alive in the day-to-day running of the business? With our powerful Rootz platform, we implemented automation where it’s possible, allowing our people to focus their creative energies to push the boundaries of what an iGaming brand can be. One of our core

INFINITY GAMING



11

website. The brand has a heavy focus on customer engagement through its proprietary live streaming platform and in-house live streaming studio where we will broadcast shows 24/7 straight to the Spinz casino lobby. Rootz won “Innovator of the Year” at the IGA 2022 Awards - was that a surprise and how does it feel to be so innovative? It is always a surprise when you win an award – especially when you see who your competition is! Everyone would have deserved the trophy, but I would be remiss to say it wasn’t well deserved, especially looking at all the hard work our team is putting in. Do you feel that the coronavirus pandemic has had a tangible impact on the way your customers interact with your iGaming products? The COVID-19 lockdowns surely boosted user engagement and Revenues for many gaming companies,

especially at the beginning of the pandemic. With social distancing reducing consumer and business activity to a minimum, online gaming offers an engaging distraction for people at home looking for social interaction and I do think watching Casino streams and learning about slots via streaming services such as Twitch did have an impact. Rootz has interests in a number of values is that human beings should not be performing mind-numbing repetitive tasks. It’s clear that creativity and innovation are considered to be key company values. How does the company ensure that conditions are in place to promote and encourage ingenuity? How does your recruitment strategy enable you to hire individuals who possess these values? Rootz prides itself on being one of the most dynamic and exciting companies in the entire industry. Always willing to push new ideas to make our team members more comfort-

able and efficient. The correct combination of management style and company motivations will always result in a happy work environment, team and successful productivity. With the Professional Development Allowance for every employee, we also encourage people to deepen their knowledge and stimulate their minds in a field they are interested in – not necessarily linked to iGaming. You’ve worked with several large gaming operators in the past, how does the environment at Rootz compare to these? All companies I have worked for in the past were great – I was truly blessed with all of my employers, but only Rootz enabled me to show my full potential, not be afraid of thinking outside the box and try out new marketing strategies, no matter how crazy they might sound. In an environment where there is increasing pressure to be mindful of responsible gaming and player protection, how do you see mar-

INFINITY GAMING


12

Interview with

LenaYasir

Vice President Pragmatic Play Industries powerful women series In the last few years, you’ve moved from Account Management into a Vice President role. How did you transition? You’ve also worked in places such as Canada, Sweden and Malta. How do gaming landscapes differ in these countries, and have you noticed customers interacting differently with your products dependent on the region in which they reside?

Well, I actually started my professional

roles during the past 15 years, from

life a little differently! I initially graduat-

dealing directly with clients to build-

ed in 2002, from McGill University with

ing customer relationships and being

a Bachelor of Computer and Electrical

the bridging factor between the opera-

Engineering and worked for Electron-

tor and the company, all these experi-

ics Workbench. The company was later

ences lend themselves well to my cur-

brought by National Instruments, a pro-

rent position. At VP level, I am involved

ducer of automated test equipment and

in strategic decisions across all verticals

virtual instrumentation software based

of the company, predominantly increas-

in the USA.

From there, I moved to

ing revenues and achieving targets. Of

Stockholm in Sweden and managed to

course, it goes without saying; I am al-

land a great position with Ongame Net-

ways making sure our clients are happy,

work. At that time, they were the lead-

and their audienceis well entertained.

ing provider of business-to-business for online poker, and the renowned Star

I can look back and say the gaming land-

Group later purchased them.

scape has changed significantly over the years, especially with the introduc-

After working there for six years, in

tion of regulations in many countries

2013, I transitioned to work with Evolu-

worldwide. And yes, of course, we see

tion Gaming, taking on the role as the

player activity and interest vary from

main commercial person. I was involved

one country to another in the different

in both sales and account manage-

verticals. For example, in Sweden, we

ment and was responsible for all clients

see our slot game John Hunter and the

in Malta. Three years later, in 2016, I

Tomb of The Scarab Queen being much

moved on to join PlayN’ Go. The com-

more popular there than for example in

pany had no presence in Malta at that

Canada where we instead see Big Bass

time, but word had spread of what I

Bonanza having increased popularity.

had accomplished at Evolution Gaming, and they wanted me to set up and head

Looking at Live Casino we can see both

their operations locally. I joined and

similarities and differences just like in

managed to grow the business and the

Slots. Mega Roulette has found its way

office substantially. My work there was a

into both markets’hearts which is one of

resounding success. In 2018 Pragmatic

our strongest titles overall, but Baccarat

Play heard about what I was doing, and

is much more enjoyed by the Canadian

I took up their offer- the rest is history!

players compared to the Swedish players that instead focus much more on the

INFINITY GAMING

From Account Management and gradu-

other classics such as Blackjack when

ally progressing throughout various

not playing Roulette.


13

It’s clear that you have vast experience in the gaming industry, working for a number of high-profile gaming firms, but how does the ethos and environment at Pragmatic Play differ from other companies you’ve worked for? Pragmatic Play stands out in many ways. Without sounding cliché, I would have to say we are genuinely “pragmatic” in how we work internally and with our

important, and the delivery of one prod-

We have recently ramped up our road-

uct does not compromise the planning

map to consist of up to eight monthly

of another. We also focus on giving back

game releases, with titles that provide

to the local communities where we are

vastly different experiences from one

based and internationally.

another while delivering the same level of quality that our products are known

Pragmatic Play is renowned for delivering high-quality content across a range of verticals. How does the business maintain this level of consistency throughout all of its interests?

partners and operators. We focus on

for worldwide. By targeting diverse audiences with various audio-visual themes and mathematical designs, our titles remain highly sought after. Kitted out with innovative mechanics that players are known to love, such as Drop and Wins, tumbling clusters, immense

making sure we deliver high-quality

Over the years, we have built a team

multipliers and bonus rounds, our titles

products at a fast pace. We also focus

brimming with talent and with an in-

attract and retain players from a wide

oncaring forour operators with what we

credibly sharp eye for the latest market

range of markets.

offer, both in terms of products and re-

trends. The work ethic instilled through-

lationships. I have to say we truly have

out the team has allowed us to flourish

fantastic teams in all departments – not

across a number of different verticals

only from an expertise point of view but

and establish new ones while employ-

also from a collaborative aspect. We

ing a customer-oriented approach that

have many verticals, from Live Casino to

breeds loyalty.

The company has released two new slot titles, ‘The Great Stick-Up’ and ‘Goblin Heist Powernudge’. What can you tell us about these games?

Virtual Sports,that they all are equally

INFINITY GAMING


14 You’ve clearly got so many bighitting industry clients; how do you manage these relationships effectively and ensure your content is transferrable between all of these uniquely branded/styled platforms? We currently produce multiple slot titles a month on top of other releases from our industry-defining verticals – all via one API integration. Providing our operators with consistent, highquality new content ensures we foster and maintain positive relationships with all of our partners. Our content is transferrable across all of these brands due to us building our games with entertainment as the primary focus. This has universal appeal regardless of the region, player base or brand that a partner has. If our clients have a particular brand image they wish to maintain, we can deliver on this in various ways. For Two of the latest slots to be added to our award-winning portfolio are The Great Stick-Up™ and Goblin Heist Pow-

What ingredients do you feel make your content so engaging for players?

erNudge™, with the different themes

example, our Live Casino tables via our Chroma Solutions Technology can allow bespoke customisation to represent an operator’s branding accurately. This ex-

and features on display in both titles

We aim to provide the highest quality

tends to our bingo vertical, which can

serving as a testament to the variety of

titles available but also endeavour to

also be heavily customised to ensure

experiences Pragmatic Play delivers in

subvert players’ expectations by con-

that the UI reflects the brand image of

any given month. Goblin Heist Power-

stantly improving our releases to ensure

an operator.

Nudge™ takes place in an otherworldly

we produce engaging content. Whether

environment, packed with treasure-

that be creating new features as seen in

hungry goblins searching for wins worth

the recently released hit North Guard-

up to 4,000x the bet. The PowerNudge™

ians, with core gameplay built around

tool – which causes reels to ‘nudge’ a

wild patterns triggered by a random

position down after each win – creates

wheel spin. Focusing on new themes re-

opportunities for more winning combi-

flected in Tic Tac Take our noughts and

nations. At the same time, the Money

crosses inspired release, or the addition

The entire iGaming ecosystem is cur-

Respin feature provides players with

of new features in fan favourite titles,

rently looking at various new markets to

chances to land additional cash prizes.

such as in Extra Juicy Megaways where

target, such as the burgeoning Ontario

we added the Megaways mechanic to

market for example. We are keeping a

Alternatively, The Great Stick-Up trans-

an already successful game. These de-

close watch on how this unfolds whilst

ports players to an old American town

velopments, combined with a multitude

securing our already dominant position

where bandits lurk around every corner

of mechanics within each release and

in Latin America. We have delivered our

in a crime-thriller that utilises Sticky

big win potential throughout our port-

titles to new markets and regions across

Mystery symbols, an exciting bonus

folio, ensure players engage with our

the continent over recent months and

round and a high-energy soundtrack to

releases. Not just initially during their

will continue exploring this market fur-

boost potential wins.

launch but over an extended timeframe,

ther.

periodically returning to their favourite games.

INFINITY GAMING

After your recent expansion into the South African marketplace, are there any other geographical areas that the company is looking to target?


Lena Yasir Exclusive Interview

15

You recently donated €18,000 to two charities that support individuals diagnosed with autism. Could you tell us a little more about this campaign and any others you are involved in? April was Autism Awareness Month, and it gave us the perfect opportunity to recognise and support the incredible work charities in our local communities do for what is something that impacts far more people than many realise. Autism may not necessarily be visible but is life-changing for many parents, carers and children. The work of both Autism Voice and Autism Parents Association gives support to those in need while also working on improving future goals through research on social skills development. They’re both hugely important charities in two of our hub regions, and we were humbled to offer support in the forms of donations and equipment.

Clearly, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is causing untold pain and anguish for Ukrainian citizens, and you recently pledged £100,000 to support Red Cross efforts in the region. However, how do you think the war will affect the gaming industry going forward, and is there anything else you feel the sector can do to support those most vulnerable to its impacts?

we’ve seen in terms of tangible differ-

At its core, it’s down to our mission to

ences is down to the agility and flexibil-

create value for our clients by provid-

ity of those companies affected. We’re

ing the highest quality products and

fortunate that we’re predominantly a

services as well as our continual efforts

digital industry, and if the recent pan-

to improve them. To receive the acco-

demic has shown us anything, we can

lades we achieve at Pragmatic Play, we

react at pace, work from anywhere, and

have to consistently deliver customer-

still perform.

centric, engaging entertainment experiences that set us apart in a crowded,

Other than supporting humanitarian ef-

competitive industry. While that’s easy

forts via financial donations, some are

to say, it’s certainly no mean feat.

choosing to commit themselves and their time to personally volunteering

From the development teams that

with charities to help those fleeing the

dream up our games to the market-

It’s a deplorable state of affairs and one

affected areas and also companies who

ing and salespeople that tell the world

that is still, even after so many months

are offering accommodation and/or

about them, and all others involved in

of conflict, quite unbelievable that we

employment to displaced families. So

the making, we must ensure that we’re

should be witnessing war in Europe in

there’s a lot we can do both on a com-

all working to the same goals and stand-

2022. There has, of course, been a lev-

mercial and a personal level, and I hope

ards. That’s only in place thanks to many

el of impact on our industry, from the

that we see that continue.

years of building the strong foundations

companies that were based in or held offices in Ukraine to those who have employees from there who have had to evacuate their families and friends. Some have chosen to sever ties with Russian organisations and businesses that operate in our industry and have seen a re-allocation of specific goods and services. Overall though, I believe

that the company sits on. So, for me,

Finally, congratulations on picking up both the iGaming Software Supplier of the Year and the Live Casino of the Year accolades at the International Gaming Awards! What has been the overriding contributing factor to your success in these departments?

our continued success is thanks to the team-oriented culture and the talent we’re blessed to have here, and that is thankfully recognised in the industry by those who work with us – long may it continue!

that the relatively limited impact that

INFINITY GAMING


16

Interview with

Lara Falzon President and COO Industries powerful women series

Thank you Lara for talking to us today, let’s start with: You’ve recently collaborated with Casumo here in the UK. What will be different about this enterprise to those already initiated with this operator abroad, and what’s next in line for this strategic relationship? In terms of strategy, we keep focusing on regulated jurisdictions such as the UK and North America. The launch with Casumo is one of many important partnerships for us in the UK. Players are always interested in good games and since we launched in the UK at the end of last year, we have been rolling out our exclusive content in this market for the first time, and we continue to extend our presence and reach there.

Clearly, Bragg Gaming has diversified into several international markets of late. What other regions have caught the company’s attention in recent months? And are there any plans to expand into further territories this year? A key strategic market is North America with both Canada and the US being of great importance for us going forward. This is highlighted by our acquisition of Wild Streak Gaming and Spin Games, two US-based iGaming businesses. With these companies in our portfolio, we have gained valuable local knowledge and expertise that will see us hit the ground running in this existing space where we aim to be a key player.

We will not rest on our laurels, and we will continue to strike important deals with leading operators in the UK as well as Europe and North America.

INFINITY GAMING

We recently entered Ontario and we want to keep exploring that market and partnering with operators that

have a strong footprint in North America. In Europe, we recently entered the regulated Portuguese, Greek andCzech markets. During the recent months, the Dutch market has been key for us and the strategy is to continue the growth in all these markets. How is your venture into Ontario’s fledgling gaming industry progressing? We have had a solid start in Ontario, being one of the first providers who were awarded a license when the market opened and having launched our content there. We aim to leverage Spin Games’ distribution channels as well as our own in the market, and we’re hoping to seesuccessful results from it. It’s still in the early stages and whilst


17

many operators are also waiting for licenses, we’re currently undertaking several technical integrations in Ontario. So far, the initial progress has been great and we’re very optimistic. The acquisition of ORYX and its subsequent implementation has clearly been a huge contributor to Bragg’s recent success. How has this platform impacted upon ways of working/business areas of focus? Indeed, it was a very successful acquisition for Bragg. Oryx’s technology stack combined with its network and distribution channels gives us a

robust foundation in Europe and offers a strong position to enter other regulated markets, including Canada and the US. It also allows us to offer a myriad of premium content, both own- and third-party content, to our operator partners, all of this combined makes ORYX a leading supplier in the iGaming space as well as an incredible brand to have in the Bragg Group.

ties share best practice/regularly communicate?

How often do individuals at the company’s European base, who are presumably focused on the expansion of ORYX, interact and liaise with colleagues located at the Wild Streak content studio in Las Vegas? Is it important that these two enti-

You’ve worked at the helm of some large-scale gaming operators. How does the culture at Bragg differ from your previous workplace environments?

The synergy between the two is the main strategy for Bragg, ensuring all our teams interact smoothly to maximize their outlook. We want all our brands to be completely integrated, ensuring there are unifiedc ompany targets. All stakeholders aim to achieve these objectives.

INFINITY GAMING



19 Bragg is a fantastic company to work for with a great team and an ambitious growth trajectory. We have a specific approach to the different brands in our portfolio, the products we offer, and our growth strategy. The focus on maximizing revenue and profitability as well as shareholder value remains a core element of all jobs and is of course what we aim for at Bragg as well. Given the widespread, global nature of Bragg’s business interests, what does your typical working week look like? Do you regularly visit marketplaces/teams ‘in the flesh’, or has the effects of the pandemic guided you towards more virtual methods of interaction? My job is “hands on” and very diverse. This involves working with the different stakeholders, both internal and external, while also ensuring that Bragg as a company keeps its focus and vision. In terms of meeting the different teams, it’s currently a combination of both. Face to face is of course preferred, as I feel it effectively enhances the different relationshipsamong the different teams and departments. How do you see your role evolving over the next few years? I have been with Bragg for just over a year and it has been an enjoyable journey so far. Going forward, I expect to build on what we have achieved so far which is creating great foundations with the team, growing the network as well as the geographical reach, and ultimately supporting our customers. With more markets expected to open up in the US and Canada, as well as strengthening our presence in existing markets, it will no doubt be an exciting time.

Congratulations to Bragg for winning the award for Best Technology Provider/Supplier of the Year at the International Gaming Awards! What do you think the business does better than its competitors in this regard? Thanks, we are very thrilled to claim this title. We believe our technology is the best in the industry giving us flexibility, speed to market, and agility, especially allowing us to focus on regulatory changes which is crucial in our sector. One of our greatest strengths is speed to market, and that is fuelled by the great tech we have built. One of the reasons we have been so successful in certain markets is because we’ve been first movers, and that makes us attractive to operators.

Are there any awards that you’re planning to secure at next year’s ceremony? Perhaps one that you would have also loved to have picked up this year!? We definitely hope to take home a few more trophies next year and have our eyes set on Casino Supplier of the Year and iGaming Software Supplier categories as that’s the core of our business in key markets. We recently launched our own gaming studio, Atomic Slot Lab, and together with the content produced via Wild Streak and Spin Games, we would love to start competing in the Slots Provider category as well.

INFINITY GAMING


SLOTS, LIVE CASINO, BINGO & MORE. ALL VIA ONE SINGLE API.


GAMING NEWS

21

Japan Considers Expanding Sports Betting

P

olitical figures in Japan are reportedly presiding over a decision to ease restrictions on the country’s limited sports betting marketplace. The island-state has traditionally been reluctant to engage in gambling activity, and remains the only G7 representative to not facilitate an all-encompassing sports wagering sector.

are prepared to consider all avenues to realise this aim. Allowing sportsbooks access to wider markets is a proposal that has gathered momentum in recent times. In April 2021, it was rumoured that the elite-level J-League and Nippon Professional League, which represent football and baseball respectively, could introduce sports betting activity by 2024.

Currently, native players are able to exclusively place bets on horse racing, motorsports, and cycling events, but do not have access to conventional odds on popular local pastimes such as football and baseball. However, this could be set to radically change.

However, there are a series of considerable obstacles to navigate. In accordance to media outlet, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda has suggested a shift implementation of any rule changes is unlikely. It’s likely Hagiuda is acutely aware of the challenges faced by Japan’s recent integrated resort campaign, where local residents and political officials alike have stoked

The Japanese government have long since targeted additional revenue generation in sporting pursuits, and

up anti-gambling sentiment across a number of communities. Furthermore, it’s believed concerns around potential match-fixing in baseball may prove to be a significant stumbling block. Betting is prohibited under Japan’s Professional Baseball Agreement, and, given the sports immense following, this could produce a destabilising impact on the whole liberalisation movement. Nevertheless, the sheer scale of commercial opportunity may serve to erode the level of opposition. Indeed, analysts have projected that opening up Japan’s sports betting industry would likely return revenues in excess of a staggering $65bn per annum.

INFINITY GAMING


22

Keeping Your Eye On The Ball Women’s Sport On The Rise. Fact. By Christina Thakor-Rankin

I

n 2019 Nielsen Sports published a report entitled ‘The Rise of Women’s Sports: identifying and maximising the opportunity’ which contained one staggering finding - 84% of sports fans are interested in watching women’s sports, and that the potential fan base for women’s soccer across the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain US, Australia and New Zealand (and which also just happen to be some of the biggest betting markets in the world) was estimated at that time to be in the region of around 105 million. Some of the most compelling figures however come from the home of football itself, FIFA. Their report following the Women’s World Cup 2019, won by the USA, carried the headline that the WWC final attracted record-breaking audience figures of close to 2 billion. A breakdown of the countries with the highest live audience figures includes

INFINITY GAMING

some of the world biggest betting jurisdictions: USA, France, England, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Germany - with Canada, current Olympic gold medal holders and newly regulated market expected to be in the mix for the next work cup. The increased popularity of women’s football/soccer is also support by several other sources. Pitchero, a company specialising in technology for football clubs published a blog highlighting the ‘meteoric rise’ of women’s soccer in the UK, home of the EPL (English Premier League) the most popular and lucrative betting league in the world. This seems to be borne out by the growing number of broadcasters adding women’s sports to their schedules and not just tennis, football and cricket which have slowly been making their way into prime-time schedules, but

all sports. This month saw women’s boxing take centre stage with the fight between Cecilia Braekhus and Kali Reis, making history as the first women’s bout to be televised nationally on HBO. This year also saw the opening of the first women only sports bar (the ‘Sports Bra’ in Portland, Oregon) and queues right around the block. We all know from experience that historically the most popular sports events are also those that attract the biggest viewing audiences, and these in turn are also the ones that generate the greatest betting revenues. It should come as no surprise thenthat the growing popularity and profileof women’s sport has also seen an increase in the number of people betting on women’s sports and an increase in the number of women betting – what has come as a surprise to many is the size of that number.


23

In 2019 the American Gaming Associa-

At the time many dismissed these fig-

Even more astonishing (and completely

tion released initial figures suggesting

ures as speculative and hype, however

shattering the myth that sports-betting

that in the previous year, 32% of all

more recent research suggests that far

is something only guys do) - BetRivers

sports-bettors were women - basically

from being fiction the results from 2019

and its associated New Jersey brand Sug-

every 1 in 3 bets placed was placed by

may be very much rooted in fact. A stu-

arHouse, have confirmed that they have

a woman. A study undertaken by 888

dylast year by market research agency

more female users (54%) than male us-

Holdings in New Jersey around the

Hot Paper Lantern entitled ‘2021 State

ers (46%) and that in 2021 stheyaw an

same time showed that women gener-

of the Sports Betting Industry’ found

overwhelmingly higher number of sign-

ally tend to do better than their male

that ‘one-in-three (33%) bettors are

ups from women (600,000) than men

counterparts too with the overall return

women.’ And ‘Not only do women rep-

(380,000) in the same period.It was

on investment for women being close

resent a third of the market, when look-

noted that whilst there may be more fe-

to the 20% mark, compared to -4.6%

ing at bettors that make daily bets, men

male sign-ups than men, the frequency

for men. Women bettors aged between

(18%) and women (17%) are effective-

of usage is lower, with 71% of females

25 and 44 had an overall ROI (return

ly evenly split.’ Amongst females, Gen

using sportsbook apps for 1-5 weeks

on investment) rate of over 120%. ROI

Zand Millennials (those under the age

throughout the year compared to 61%

of around 128 percent compared to a

of 40) are the most active with 27% of

of males.’

best male hit rate of just over 16% for

Gen Zs and 28% of the Millennials bet-

men between 45 and 54 age group.Pre-

ting at least once a month.

pandemic, the data suggested that not

This is something that was also pickedup by Hot Paper Lantern’s finding. They

only were more women betting - they

And the very latest research undertaken

noted that whilst the retention roadmap

were also better at it than men, on the

by Global Wireless Solutions is even

for women ‘closely mimics the roadmap

grounds that they had a less emotional

more compelling. It shows that women

for men, and the reasons for why wom-

more clinical approach. And a research

are signing up to sportsbooks at a faster

en bet are largely the same as men: they

survey by Sports Betting Dime went so

rate than men, equating to a year-on-

love the sport; they follow the team;

far as to suggested that the number of

year growth of 115% for new female

they; they see betting as an enhance-

female sports bettors was potentially as

users - compared to a mere 63% for

ment to the viewing experience; they

high as 43%.

men.

understand the market and how to spot value; and just like men, they will -

INFINITY GAMING


For more information on IGT’s game-changing Multi-Level Progressives, versatile Multi-Game packs, proven Hardware and Proven Performer Core Game titles, visit IGT.com or contact your account manager. ©2022 IGT. The trademarks and/or service marks used herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of IGT, its affiliates or its licensors. IGT is committed to responsible gaming and encourages positive and informed play. All Rights Reserved.


Women’s Sport on the rise

occasionally bet with their heart rather than their head, ‘preference deviates for women when it comes to the importance of friends and family referrals (41% women vs. 31% men) and the use of engaging social media content (38% women vs. 30% men). Social media and the importance of trusted referrals is key for the retention of women bettors. Women bettors tend to lean towards social betting, whether that be with others on social media or with others for big events.’ As women’s sport continues to grow, the numbers are only going to get bigger as more and more broadcasters add women’s sports to their mainstream and premium broadcast schedules and it is this that provides the clue as to how and why the Women’s World Cup 2023 could be transformational for women’s sport and betting. Women’s football/soccer is no longer just the fastest growing sport on the planet, it is fast becoming a vehicle and rallying cry for women’s rights and the fight for gender equality across the

25

world. Earlier this year the US women’s soccer team, who also happen to be the current World Cup champions reached a landmark agreement with their governing body to end a six-year legal battle over equal pay, resulting in a deal that gives them pay and bonuses that match those of the men. The link between football and gender equality was kicked off in 2019 when the US won their second straight World Cup title and victory was met with fans chanting ‘Equal Pay!’The Canadian women’s soccer team winning Olympic gold saw a huge surge in the sports popularity and raised questions about the lack of merchandising compared to the men’s game. And it’s not just the west. Saudi Arabia has made women’s soccer a key part of their national diversification strategy Vision 2030. Starting with women being allowed to go to soccer games (alongside being able to drive and go to the cinema), the launch of the first Saudi women soccer league and the national team making history

this year by winning its first international game. In Iran a national scandal surrounding the women’s team where half of the team were in fact men was addressed with the explanation that they were men who were transitioning - a remarkable turn of events which saw a hard-line Islamic state using women’s soccer as a platform for a discussion about gender reassignment. The WWC 2023 has the potential to be an anthem and a platform for gender equality - taking it far beyond just sport. It will be the first ever event in broadcasting history to include women from every country, culture, race and religion coming together under the banner of ‘Beyond Greatness’. If it can do this it has the potential to be the most watched, most social, and most important women’s event ever. Add in the growing numbers of femalesports fans and bettors and this could also end up being one of the biggest betting events ever.

INFINITY GAMING


Complete iGaming Plaaorm Provider

0

Seconds to react

30

Seconds to deliver a solution

24

Hours to solve the problem

UK I USA I FRANCE I GERMANY I CYPRUS I MALTA URUGUAY I MEXICO I UKRAINE I SOUTH AFRICA I LATVIA I TAIWAN I PHILIPPINES I PERU I ARMENIA BetConstruct is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission for the provision of gambling sooware under licence number 040767-R-320911-007

www.betconstruct.com


GAMING NEWS

27

LeoVegas Subject Of Insider Trading Investigation

S

wedish-based operator LeoVegas was yesterday rocked by allegations of illicit financial activity. Arriving unannounced at their flagship Stockholm offices, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority commenced their probe into the iGaming giant. It’s believed that legal concerns stem from MGM Resorts’ recent acquisition attempt, with suspicions raised as to whether LeoVegas employees engaged in internal share trading. The online gaming and sportsbook firm has asserted that none of its colleagues were aware of any alleged criminal undertakings, inclusive of

its presiding senior leadership team. However, LeoVegas has already stated on record that it’s prepared to support the SECA with its ongoing investigation. On the cusp of April and May, MGM Resorts launched a huge takeover bid of the mobile gaming platform, tabling an initial offer of $607m. This equated to a 44% uplift on the closing share price of April trading, with the Nevada-headquartered casino operator valuing the business at a substantial SEK61 ($6.16) per share. By 2nd May, LeoVegas’ share price had surged so significantly that it almost drew

level with the inflated bid put forward three days earlier. Share valuation has remained fairly stagnant since, closing yesterday at SEK60.20 despite the Swedish Economic Crime Authority’s intervention. In a statement made to Nasdaq Stockholm yesterday, LeoVegas confirmed there had been an ‘unannounced visit’ to their premises, and emphasized that all questions relating to the event, and any rumoured allegations, should be directed towards the investigating organization.

INFINITY GAMING


28

Well Hello Monte Carlo By Tim Cullimore

F

or the time I was working with TCS heading up the European client operations I was flying to a different country virtually every week, and for me it was one of the best things about the job. I guess I must have shark DNA as I always feel that I need to be moving forward, and then when you get to the other end you get to meet industry friends, some of them real lifelong friends, or to make new friends in the casino business. What a life. But all things come to an end and Covid definitely put an end to any travelling. So, you can Imagine how excited I was to be offered the opportunity to be a sponsor of the European Dealer Championship, with the added frisson of the event being held in Monaco! After a very short discussion it was decided that Mme Cullimore would accompany me, a first time for her in Monte Carlo, not too much persuasion was needed. The competition coincided nearly day for day with the 44rd anniversary of the

INFINITY GAMING

start of my career in casinos. I started the dealer training school on the 20th February 1978, hitting the live tables with real flesh and blood punters six weeks later.I don’t care what the cool ladies and gentlemen say, it is very hard to cut chips and spin the ball when your hands are shaking so much, but we all get through those first few hours on the table, and all these years later I was to see how good the present generation of dealers are. So, to the airport! I was so excited to see how things have changed since my last flight 2 ½ years ago. The good news is that London Gatwick airport is pretty wellorganized, no dramas, the less good news is that the futile security checks are just as haphazard and random as ever, I was hoping we had got past the point where your cufflinks or hair slides would cause a queue, and that fictional knives would show up in your bag on the x-ray, but nothing could be found afterwards. Still, it should make us feel safer, shouldn’t it? And then to the flights where we were

told that masks must be worn throughout the flight by two airportemployees, yet on arriving in the plane we were told that masks were optional. Oh well, somethings never change. Touchdown at Nice airport and the sweet warm smell of theMediterranean, how good it was to see those palm trees, I could almost taste the Pastis. A very pleasant Uber up to Monaco, with sensational views over the sea and finally to the majestic Hotel Hermitage. Those of us who have been fortunate to have worked in the higher end of the industry may think we have got used to the finer things in life, but to arrive at a hotel like the Hermitage reminds us that luxury and superior service never become tedious. From the moment you arrive at the door to being taken to your room, the experience is faultless. Not for the last time during the trip I silently thanked M. Camia and the team at S.B.M. for the welcome and their organisational skills.


29

And on to the first evening, and outdoor

again among my own kind, Casino Peo-

case when you have so many wonder-

cocktail party to announce the order

ple. Mme Cullimore hadn’t seen me

ful people together with a common

of the competition participants for the

smile so much in a long time (the cham-

professional passion, new friends were

next day, where I was honoured to be

pagne helped), and she in turn was of

found. Casino people and casino suppli-

asked to pull the contestants names out

course welcomed into the circle by all

ers, friends of friends, fellow ex or cur-

of the urn for one of the groups, it was

these excellent people.

rent employees of the same casino. And

like being part of FIFA!A wonderful mix

then the stories start, going back over

of dealers who were representing their

Frivolous gossip and serious discussion

so many years, stories of love and loss,

countries, male and female, and a great

on the state of the industry became in-

ex colleagues that are no longer with

range of ages. Some of them only had a

terchangeable, and questions on how

us, and those that are continuing great

couple of years’ experience under their

business was recovering after the Pan-

traditions of dealing French Roulette

belt, but were clearly very talented,

demic were top of the agenda, with

or Craps, or who are running a bar on a

whilst others were of a more mature

heart-warming stories of how the in-

beach on a Caribbean island.

vintage and carried rather more con-

dustry had supported their employees

fidence, who would come out on top I

throughout the lockdown, and how the

All this and the Dealer Championship

wondered. It has always been an under-

various authorities across Europe had

hasn’t even started! The first groups

standing that in the U.K. dealing is gen-

attempted to help our industry, or some

having been decided who will compete

erally a young person’s game, whereas

cases hinder it. One common thread-

against who in the first round, it was

in countries such as France or Italy it is a

was how business has bounced back

time to rest as the following day was to

career choice where dealers who prob-

quickly in many areas, showing what an

be a big one for those taking part, and

ably have grandchildren can be found.

important part of the local social fabric

I wanted to be there to see the action

is the casino, and the human contact of

and feel the atmosphere, so more to

And joy of joys, at the excellent cock-

playing in a casino can be such a posi-

come in the next article, and how you

tail party I could see friends, yes real

tive thing for many people, especially

just never know who will be the best.

friends who I have been missing during

as they may have been very lonely for

the whole pandemic, my heart soared.

such a long time.

Friends from Cyprus, friends from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, I was once

And then of course, which is always the

INFINITY GAMING


We exemplify the very best in British gaming and as such, have an unrivalled reputation, bringing you round-the-clock high-stakes gambling. American Roulette | Baccarat | Blackjack | 3 Card Poker | Slots 5 H A M I LTO N P L AC E , M AY F A I R , L O N D O N www.lesaclub.com Over 18 years old for casino entry | www.begambleaware.org


GAMING NEWS

31

The Battle For Okada Manila Goes On

T

he Philippine gaming industry was in shock last week as a Kazuo Okada-led cartel took control of the country’s largest casino facility through physical force. The venue, known locally as the Okada Manila, has been subject to a protracted ownership dispute in recent months. Japanese businessman Okada, who led the revolt, has held a fractured relationship with the existing board of the multi-billion-dollar property in the island state’s capital. Tuesday 6th June a hired private security firm, flanked by local police officials, seized the casino in a daring takeover attempt. The site, which is operated by Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment, and parent owned by Japanese-based Universal Entertainment Group, is now therefore in the hands of one of Asia’s most controversial business tycoons. The origins of the conflict can be tracked back to April 2017, when the Philippine Supreme Court controversially decided to re-instate Okada as Chief Executive of the gambling resort. This move came in the wake of a Court of Appeals judgement on an ongoing embezzlement case against Okada, with the legal body clear-

ing the Osaka-born billionaire of all charges. Fast-forward five years, and the ‘current’ board and Okada remain locked in a fierce battle for legitimacy. Tiger Resorts’ legal representation assert that a recent court appeal against Okada’s stewardship of the casino did not provide a mandate for last week’s unprecedented events. Michiaki Satate, co-vice Chairman of the property’s deposed regime, has alleged that the invading group used ‘brute force and intimidation’ to achieve their aims, and that now an ‘illegitimate board and set of officers are running the business. He also confirmed that Universal Entertainment do not recognize Okada’s leadership, and will not engage in any operational discussions with his team. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit has now been launched against the 79-year-old Kazuo Okada, which will not only challenge the businessman’s occupancy of the casino, but will also suggest that a senior Universal Group director was kidnapped amidst last week’s initial struggle for building control. Despite these concerning claims, Vincent Lim, a spokesperson for Okada’s incoming leadership team has stated that ‘no violent incident occurred’ during the

altercation. Given the result of the 2017 Universal legal assault against Okada, a refreshed lawsuit is unlikely to phase the ageing businessman. The embezzlement allegation related to the misappropriation of $20m from a business account, which subsequently served to facilitate Okada’s removal from the organization’s board. PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp), Philippines’ native regulator who plays a significant role in the operation of its gambling sector, were on-site to witness last Tuesday’s contentious takeover bid. Nevertheless, the organization has stressed that its attendance should not be misinterpreted as support for Okada’s camp, and have repeatedly illustrated their neutrality throughout the affair. The colossal integrated resort, which boasts a staggering 933 luxury rooms, 500 gaming tables and an incredible 3,000 slot machines, will surely now enter a period of ambiguity whilst a complicated legal fight ensues.

INFINITY GAMING



GAMING NEWS

33

Guangdong Easing Of Restrictions Gives Hope To Macau

T

he special administrative region of Macau has certainly suffered heavily in the wake of the Chinese government’s decision to impose a ‘zero-COVID’ policy on its governing lands. However, a development in nearby Guangdong has given the city-state’s gaming operators a glimmer of hope amidst a turbulent recent period. The mainland province, which is often viewed as the lifeblood of Macau’s visitor footfall numbers, has now initiated steps to further ease it’s coronavirusrelated restrictions. As of lastThursday, Guangdong citizens looking to cross the border need only present a negative COVID-19 certificate linked to a test conducted within the last seven

days. The full week timeframe replaces the previous 72-hour expectation, which unsurprisingly served to significantly reduce visitor traffic heading towards Macau. The new guidelines will be enforced at all travel checkpoints, whether land or marine-based. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), hopes that this development will encourage a surge of visitation from the neighbouring region, and has ambitiously claimed that this could support Macao to soon see close to 40,000 tourists enter the micro-state per day.

mainland visitors, with its bustling strip of casino venues offering a haven for native players otherwise shackled by strict Chinese gambling laws. Air travel tickets and hotel bookings are being offered at heavily subsidized prices, and a ‘Macao week’ promotional campaign will descend on Qingdao, Shandong Province, in an effort to showcase the state to a potential new visitor source. Fernandes has suggested further, similar initiatives will be present throughout the summer, as Macao desperately aims to drive its ailing economy back in the right direction.

Macao’s local legislature is making substantial efforts to attract more

INFINITY GAMING


34

Shoppable TV, Livestreaming & Online shopping It’s all part of the

The CREATOR ECONOMY By Lynn Pearce

S

hoppable TV is not a new trend, ever since the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, online shopping has slowly become the norm and with all the vast improvements over the past few years in digital technology, which accelerated video-first innovation, resulted in more retail brands getting closer to a

more personalized and holistic shopping experience for their consumers. In their quest to give their customers a more connected customer experience online, brands have been redeploying their advertising budgets and seizing the opportunity to tap into shoppable media.

According to Nina Aghadjanian, author of the AListDaily: “As traditional shopping increasingly wanes, retailers are ramping up investment in shoppable ads. From livestreams and Google Shopping to Checkout on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Product Pins on Pinterest, these shoppable forms enable consumers to go from discovery to purchase in seconds, leading to greater profits.” NBCUniversal started showing Shoppable TV ads back in 2019, allowing their audience to purchase what was being shown on TV via their mobile phones. In February 2020 NBCUniversal unveiled details of its expanded suite of tools for advertisers that let brands reach all kinds of audiences more easily across the company’s sweeping video assets on big -

INFINITY GAMING


35

and small screens. Their OnePlatform has made shoppable advertising twice as effective as opposed to traditional ads, allowing for a more streamlined buying process and improving conversion rates for brands simultaneously. What exactly is shoppable ads?My simple definition is entertainment coupled with Interactive video content that enables social commerce, allowing consumers to complete transactions with the click of a button. When YouTube launched, they broke the traditional TV mold constraints - allowing everyone to create videos and upload them at any time, whether 1 minute long or hours long - and this is where influencers and the creator economy kicked into gear, with influencers being able to become brand

ambassadors of tried and tested products which they personally endorsed. Along came Facebook and Instagram ads, (Instagram is outperforming Facebook today with their commercial-like ads) Pinterest and especially TikTok, who blew us all out of the water in real-time and has literally overtaken virtually every social media platform we can upload crazy videos, scroll away from those we don’t like and heart the ones we do in real-time, as interactivity is baked right into the real live viewing experience! This takes us out of a passive environment into real-time interactivity, forever changing the way we think about video. The one thing that stands out to me is the authenticity of many of the short-form videos - perhaps this is also a growing trend globally.

I believe that China is still way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to livestream shopping, from rural farmers to fashion and entertainment. According to Statista, in 2020, the live streaming e-commerce market in China reached about 1237.9 billion yuan, soaring from 120 billion yuan in 2018. The market size of live streaming commerce was estimated to maintain its rapid growth and reach 4.9 trillion yuan by 2023. In fact, they have even introduced the BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) concept into their live streaming, which has become very popular in Europe, UK, USA and Canada predominantly. I recall reading a few years back an article (on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok), where a man who had made a rather small income exporting traditional paper umbrellas to Japan for

INFINITY GAMING



The Creator Economy

many years - opened an account on Douyinand by showing his artistic craftmanship, which dated back 2,500 years - made $15,000 in his first month, which just shows the diversity and popularity of the live streaming platform. Most social platforms are looking for ways to monetize beyond advertising, with the majority of them settling on social commerce. TikTok launched the Creator Marketplace (match-making brands with creators) and recently the Branded Mission program, which allows brands to crowdsource creative content needed for campaigns, giving creators a piece of the pie, resulting in more and more creators and influencers taking advantage of shoppable media formats to launch their own DTC brands and product ranges.Snapchat and Instagram have similar programs.

37

In the final episode of the Digiday Podcast’s four-part creator series, Instagram Lifestyle Influencer Katie Sands speaks about what it’s been like moving into the newer role of live stream shopping influencer as one of the first Amazon Live hosts, where she has already accumulated between 1,000 to 20,000 active viewers per live stream. Other brands — particularly in the beauty and fashion space — work with Sands in long-term capacities to increase their sales amongst her followers. So, what is the popularity of livestream shopping? In an excerpt of an article written by Brigitte Hodge of FitSmallBusiness: Alibaba’s live stream selling platform Taobao Live has nearly 40 million followers. At last year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival (an online shopping event

touted as the world’s biggest 24-hour online sale), the Taobao marketplace posted $7.5 billion in the first 30 minutes. That’s a 400 percent increase over the previous year. While livestream shopping’s strongest hold lies in Asia, there is a growing interest in livestream shopping among American consumers, with 17% of US consumers frequently watching influencer shopping livestreams. Just over 10% say that live commerce would make them more likely to use social commerce and nearly 15% express interest in livestream shopping in general.Coresight Research forecasts that live stream shopping will generate $25 billion in sales in the U.S. by 2023.

INFINITY GAMING


38

How to Measure your slots of problems! By Andy Cosgrove You defined your problems and they made you run even faster for the hills. Your customers are still disappointed with the anemic guest experience that you created, and your boss demands results, but time is against you. So, what do you do, hide under your desk?

I

n my last article we focused the first phase of the Six Sigma methodology where the objective was to define the reasons behind your work related mood swings, because the success of your next project depends on how well the required effort to make a sustainable improvement is defined. I have witnessed many promising projects fail miserably due to a lack of clarity, planning, Six Sigma methodology and even a basic understanding of why change is necessary in the first place. Some casino managers go even further and prefer to just throw other people’s money at problems in the hope that their hurricane will simply go away and bring out the sunshine. We can’t control the weather, but we can accu-

INFINITY GAMING

rately forecast a hurricanes movement and in doing so, save lives. By using a similar concept that includes forecasting, we can accurately measure how a process is currently being executed in order to improve it. Using forecasts and measurements, we enter the realm of the ultimate source of problem-solving power, data. To emphasize the importance of data, I present a real life example of the perils of not using data before buying 600 slots. I once worked for a company that, despite the company’s extremely healthy balance sheet, decided to go cheap on the casino slots despite spending millions on the decoration and audio/video systems. As a result, the casino manager (who knew noth-

ing about slots) was given x amount of money to buy slots and simply phoned up a used slots dealer and told the vendor to send whatever they had in stock in accordance with his budget. When the casino opened the very same casino manager was surprised when slots player’s didn’t return. Not so surprisingly was that the general manager in question didn’t stay employed for very long. So, what is the measure phase?– Process improvement is all about narrowing down to the vital few factors that influence the behavior of a system or a process. The only way to do this is to measure and observe your process and your critical-to-quality characteristics. Measurement is generally the


Andy Cosgrove Article

most difficult and time-consuming phase in the DMAIC methodology. But if you do it well, and right the first time, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and maximize your chance of improvement. The measurement phase consists of the following modules: • Process discovery • Six Sigma Statistics • Measurement systems analysis • Process capability Process discovery – The 4 main deliverables of the Measurement phase are as follows 1. An accurate, detailed description of the process and it’s workflow (how you are supposed to pay your jackpots) 2. A quantitative review of how the process is actually working (how you are actually paying your jackpots) 3. An assessment of your systems and how they gather data for making decisions and measuring performance (how jackpot payment process efficiency is measured) 4. A short list of potential causes of your

39

problems that are known as the ‘X’s’ (what is causing you to take an hour to pay a jackpot on a slow Monday afternoon) The first step in the Measurement process involves using a Cause and Effect diagram to identify potential causes (X’s or inputs) of failures in your jackpot payment process (Y or Output). The next step is to map out the jackpot payment process using a flowchart because in order to correctly manage your jackpot payment process you must be able to describe it in an easily understandable way. Once the process is mapped out an XY diagram is used to prioritize which steps in the jackpot payment process your team should explore first in order to improve the process which will help give you and your team focus moving forward. Next comes the FMEA (Failure Modes Effect Analysis) which is a structured approach to predict and prevent failures in your jackpot payment process. It also estimates frequency of process failures, evaluates your current jackpot payment process control plan and prioritizes actions that should be taken to improve the process and keep your customers and casino manager happy. Now that you know your jackpot process inside out, you can teach it to speak to you through data and Six Sigma statistics

Six Sigma Statistics - The field of statistics provides the tools and techniques to act on your jackpot process data and to turn raw data into information and knowledge which is used to make decisions and transform your process into something the casino manager could previously only dream of. The statistical tools and methods you will need to understand and optimize your processes are not difficult. Use of Excel spreadsheets or specific statistical analytical software has made this a relatively easy task. Using statistics will increase your ability to solve problems and manage process behavior in a way that both you and your customers will benefit from. Any half decent slots manager will be familiar with the two main types of data which are: Attribute data(Qualitative) which is used where there are only two possible outcomes (is the customer satisfied with your jackpot payment process, yes or no?) and Variable data(Quantitative) which is divided into two sub types known as discrete data (how many jackpots did I pay) and continuous data (what was the average payout amount of all jackpots on a given day). Once you know what type of data is available, you will have the option to utilize different analyses to produce the kind of statistics that will ensure that your jackpot payment pro-

INFINITY GAMING


40

INFINITY GAMING


Slots Of Problems

-cess almost never fails again. Common measures used in statistics are: • Measures of location (mean, median, mode) • Measures of variation (Range, Standard deviation, variance) Measurement systems analysis – Measurement SystemAnalysis is one of thosenon-negotiable items!MSA is applicable in98% of projects and italone can have amassive effect on thesuccess of your jackpot payment process improvement projector indeed anyother improvement initiative.Data is critical to success, but the big question that countless slots manager’s across the globe fail answer correctly is, “What do I need to know?” It’s vital that we answer this question correctly before we even begin to consider measurements, metrics, statistics or any kind of data collection systems becausedata must add value and, ultimately, knowledge to be considered useful.Far too often casino companies invest heavily in complex management systemswithout truly understanding how the data collected can actually benefit the organisation, so before you buy stepper slots when what you really need is more video poker, make sure you first fully understand what you need to know. The

41

purpose of MSA is to mathematically partition sources of error (variation) within the measurement system in order to reduce the biggest contributors of measurement error (such as the time of day that the jackpot payment process is being measured). The main sources of error and measurement inaccuracy are as follows: • Precision – which consists of repeatability and reproducibility • Accuracy – which consists of stability, linearity, resolution and bias Process capability–last but not least, this represents the inherent capability of your jackpot payment process to meet the expectations of your slots player’s without and additional efforts. Process capability provides insights regarding key issues that are causing errors to the process and allows a baseline metric for improvement. Simply put, Six Sigma starts with a practical problem (why is my jackpot payment process taking 1 hour to complete?), translates it into a statistical problem ( 2 out of 10 payments take over 30 minutes), corrects the statistical problem (we theoretically need 1 more slot attendant on duty to process jackpot payments efficientlyand reduce the wait time), to applying the correction to

the practical problem (we employed 1 additional slot attendant to ensure our customer jackpot payment needs are met) Conclusion: By the end of the measurement phase, you should know what items need to be actioned (your jackpot payment process); have started to develop an action plan to complete the action (we need to decrease waiting times by hiring extra staff ); have identified potential roadblocks (too many unnecessary steps in the process) and are now ready to apply your new Six Sigma method to your operation, so what are you waiting for? Andrew Cosgrove is a seasoned slot operations veteran and certified project manager with over 24 years of hands on experience in Latin America and the Caribbean. Andrew has worked on both the operator and supplier side of casino slots and is available to help you succeed and exceed customer expectations via contracted consultancy services. Andrew can be reached at andy.cosgrove@henimgwaycasinoconsulting.com or seehttps://hemingwaycasinoconsulting.com/

INFINITY GAMING



GAMING NEWS

43

UK Gambling Reforms Not As Damaging For Operators

R

eliable sources within the UK government are hinting that The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) are planning to dilute the white paper on gambling reforms because it could damage even further much needed taxes to the treasury. The gambling reforms the first for over 17 years were due late last year and then again in May but is now expected to be published in June this year. However there were concerns the government were going to place a cap on spending and even affordability checks along with a ban on gambling

advertising connected with football clubs. One issue that still may remain is that of a mandatory levy on gambling operators to fund gambling addiction programs, if this is removed also it would create a major storm with elements of the governments members of parliament especially that of Iain Duncan Smith, who is a member of the all-party parliamentary group for gambling-related harm, saying that if the levy is removed: “I will go to war with the government on this. The evidence is clear about the damage problem gambling can cause. I will not

compromise on the levy.” Nothing at present is certain but it does seem that the UK Treasury is having a major say when it comes to the gambling reforms because of the worry of tax incomes. Now with the government weakened also by the damage to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it is further believed that industry and personal taxes will be cut to help with the current financial economy.

INFINITY GAMING



GAMING NEWS

45

Suspended Bookmaker Acquired By Tech Company

N

iche bookmaker Goldchip known for its high net worth clients and famous sporting stars as customers is to be acquired by Swifty Global, a technology company focused on the financial and sports betting sectors. Goldchip has almost 750 VIP customers and lots of famous celebrity sports stars on their client list and in the last year recorded revenues of $94 million with profits hitting $1.75 million. The acquisition by Swiftly of Goldchip for an undisclosed fee has big ambitions and wants to grow the VIP list to 900 by the year-end.

Goldchip recently faced a particular compliance problem with the UK Gambling Commission which led to a temporary suspension of its gambling license. The acquisition of assets by Swifty, which holds the required UK gambling license, resolves this problem. Through an almost seamless transition, Goldchip’s clients are allowed to migrate to Swifty’s UK gambling license with immediate effect.

Goldchip’s operating costs, thereby increasing profitability, and freeing up cashflow for growth. Swifty Global CEO, James Gibbons, commented: “Everyone is delighted about the acquisition and to have the Goldchip clients and team onboard. This is exactly the critical mass we need to put us on the fast track towards our bigger plans.”

Swifty is confident in its ability to grow Goldchip’s revenue and bottom-line profit substantially during 2022 and onwards. By leveraging its own in-house software technology, Swifty expects to significantly reduce

INFINITY GAMING