Nik Robinson, CEO of Big Time Gaming, says operators must pack their portfolios with innovative, highly volatile games to engage players and establish a successful brand in the long-term.
The repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has been heralded as one of the most critical moments in the evolution of legal online sports betting and gambling in the US. It is seen as a move that will unlock the true potential of the market, which some estimate could run into hundreds of billions of dollars.
These numbers have caused the wider industry to leap with joy, and already we are seeing operators and suppliers from the US, Europe and elsewhere set their sights on their own version of the American dream. But in their eagerness and excitement to be the first to launch, most have failed to properly assess the state of play.
Sure, the majority have plans in place for launching sports betting and online casino, and already know the games, promotions, rewards and marketing tactics they will use to engage punters and players, and drive them towards their online products. But in most cases, these are more mature players already engaged with land-based gambling products.
If operators are to build a long-term business, they must also consider how they are going to tap into the psyche of millennials and make them aware that not only is iGaming legal, but it is a thrilling and fun form of entertainment that can deliver levels of excitement they currently don’t have access to.
That’s going to be a tough sell; this is the smartphone generation. At the tap of a finger they can open Netflix and Instagram, as well as insanely popular online games such as Fortnite and PUBG. It’s not an impossible task – millennials are already familiar with skin betting and making in-game purchases – but standard slots are simply not going to do it.
If we look at New Jersey, operators have so far prioritised offering slots from land-based manufacturers such as Scientific Games and IGT. Between them, they hold around 65 per cent of the content mix in the Garden State. Operators have primarily done this to help build trust with players new to online casino as the market finds it feet.
But these games, while offering a fun and enjoyable player experience, do not pack enough of a punch to appeal to millennials who are used to fast-paced entertainment options such as video games that offer missions, unlockables and rewards, all of which can be monitored and tracked on progress bars.
Big Time Gaming understands this, and develops highly volatile games that feature complex maths and sophisticated mechanics wrapped in a canvas of stunning graphics and animations that deliver a video game-like experience. This includes our patented Megaways, Dual Reaction, Extending Reels, and Feature Drop functions.
Megaways, for example, has differential symbols on each reel, with every spin offering players up to 248,832 ways of winning, while our V-Gamble system allows players to gamble a game’s volatility in the Free Spins feature. These functions have seen Bonanza become the most spun game in the UK this year.
Data shows that our games are enjoyed by a broad demographic of players, but are increasingly popular with millennials. They engage them in a way that titles from other suppliers can only dream of, and as such we are helping our partners to reach this lucrative audience.
Those looking to take the US market by storm should think carefully about their target audiences; land-based casino players make for easy pickings, but the real long-term value lies in being able to deliver an innovative and engaging product to millennials, and the only way to do that is to offer them games that set new standards.