GameAccount Network’s Daniel Lindsay suggests it’s now time that European land-based casinos embrace the revenue opportunities offered by Simulated Gaming.
The European land-based gaming market is by any measure a complex one; it always has been, and it probably always will be.
The nirvana of pan-European regulations is simply not on the short, medium and perhaps even the long-term agenda. To compound the situation, we are faced with fragmentation within specific countries – for example Spain has 17 differing autonomies, each with their own regulatory idiosyncrasies.
We should not forget that Europe also has a vibrant and substantial gaming industry, home to some of the largest street based machine markets (think UK, Spain, Germany and Italy (a country which has a regulated market in excess of 1.2m machines). and also some absolute behemoths in world gaming such as the Novomatic Group of Companies and Gauselmann, amongst others.
Regulated Casinos exist throughout Europe from the smallest prestigious clubs in central London to some of the largest land-based operations such as those in Slovenia and Greece. The established slot machine manufacturers regularly battle it out every year to retain their floor space and ship share, it’s a hugely competitive market that requires a unique insight and some serious R&D generosity.
Whilst the European regulated .com online market has led the world in terms of pioneering regulations and responsible gaming, it’s disappointing to hear land-based operators and manufacturers railing against the proposed introduction of regulated online gaming.
Cannibalisation is a word often trotted out by casino operators, or well entrenched and successful local gaming machine producers, but why?
The point they overlook is their continued success will be ensured by harnessing the appropriate technology and providing a seamless content delivery system to their customers no matter where they are at any given point of the day or night.
Mobile gaming on the way to work, desktop gaming (whisper it) at work, twin screening in the evening: the player behaviour and gaming appetite is now well established.
Providing a continuous (and responsible) stream of entertainment for customers is key to everyone’s future. However, as various countries across mainland Europe continue to stutter over the regulation of online gaming, there’s a ready-made alternative and it’s available here and now.
The entire world will be familiar with the Candy Crush and social gaming phenomenon, which is currently generating a cool $2bn+ a year globally.
It’s compelling, fun, harmless and currently entirely devoid of regulation.
Whilst there is a plethora of casino type social gaming sites available via Facebook, and while it can be a very effective marketing channel, revenues have to be significantly shared with Facebook and the content, in many cases, is less than compelling.
GameAccount Network developed Simulated Gaming as an off-Facebook social gaming product to enable land-based casino operators to offer a fully immersive gaming proposition for their customers when not on site.
The trust and integrity of the land-based brands are brought online. and the same games (tables and slots) are available.. In essence, it’s a mirror image of the land-based environment where virtual credits purchased allow continuous play and, where regulations allow, cash back incentives using land-based loyalty cards and Casino Management Systems are available.
Let’s be clear, this is not a new concept.
GameAccount’s Simulated Gaming has been powering the largest land-based casino in the US (Foxwoods Resort Casino) for over ten months and five other US operators will be live with Simulated Gaming over the next six months. This will not only serve to generate significant incremental revenue through a new channel of entertainment, but it will also reactivate lapsed players and drive renewed visitation to the land-based venue where spend is up not only on gaming but also on other verticals within the property.
In general, social gaming monetizes players (registration to deposit) at around 2%. The very best social casinos manage somewhere around 5%. GameAccount’s Simulated Gaming is currently monetizing around 18-20% of registered players through to deposit and play.
Trust – players know and trust the online brand. They can (and do) visit the bricks and mortar venue, seeing and playing the same games in and out of the venue.
Content – players recognise and gravitate towards the same games that they love to play offline, in the online space.
Rewards – where allowed, players receive tangible value against the purchase of virtual credit made online in Simulated Gaming. They can spend that credit in the land-based casino when they visit.
For land-based casino operators, this is the perfect opportunity to engage with their current, lapsed and future patrons. It allows them to prepare for real money online gaming in a pre-regulated environment. Same brand, same content, new revenue stream. Oh, and there’s no gaming tax on earnings through social gaming.
For regulators, Simulated Gaming is an endorsement of how real money gaming can work safely and securely, using the latest KYC and harm minimisation requirements. This is not gambling. It’s gaming, it already exists and doesn’t require regulating. However, everyone who plays is fully age verified, so it’s safe.
For players, it’s an easy sign up process and they can earn rewards whilst playing their favourite games using brand names they trust.
Social Casinos on Facebook can be concluded as a race to the bottom becoming dominated by sites owned and operated by large land-based slot suppliers.
Online Simulated Gaming supports an offline presence, not cannibalises it. It works, and it’s available now – globally.