34 Takeaways from iGaming NEXT, Valletta 2021

34 Takeaways from iGaming NEXT, Valletta 2021

by Dean Rowland
Director / Head of Business Development

5 November 2021

We hopped on a plane to Malta recently for iGaming NEXT, Valetta 2021. This year’s theme was “Disrupt the Status Quo”, so it was fascinating to hear about the innovation going on in the industry. Here are our top takeaways from our five favourite talks.


Ready player one

Moderator: Oisin Lunny
Panelists: Amy Casson-Hughes, Andy Rogers, Ciara Nic Liam and Simon Hammon

  • We’re emerging into a new world, with brand new customer expectations and fast-moving customer behaviour.
  • There are now more suppliers and content than ever before, combined with more granular audience segments, as customers are split across multiple gaming platforms.
  • Younger audiences are less engaged and constantly want bite-size content, which has led to a dramatic content shift – it needs to be higher impact and snappier.
  • It’s critical to keep optimizing the experience of your platform as customer expectations are increasingly geared toward good UX – ease of use is key.
  • The UX of your platform needs to keep improving, keep changing – personalization is becoming more of a factor via personalized promotions and personalized search results.
  • Game and slot formats are changing, with new game variants that resonate with a younger audience. Gen Z are particularly interested in crypto gaming.
  • What do influencers mean in the gaming space? They’re a great way to target new audiences. Consumers no longer want targeted ads, they want genuinely engaging content.
  • Users need to feel like they’re in control of their journey, so sponsored ads aren’t always the best way to go. Consumers want to see genuine content, then share it with friends.
  • iGaming is increasingly seen as a competitor with entertainment – a hyper-fragmented marketplace.


Nurturing diversity

Speaker: Sandra Lindberg

  • Younger generations want to feel like they’re making a difference in their roles – so an important factor to attract talent is to show how you contribute to society.
  • Diversity is the quantity, but inclusion is the opportunity you give – ‘Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance’.
  • You have to let people voice ideas, bring thoughts to the table and feel included in decision making in order to retain them. Get started with 3 pillars:
    • Audits – understand your current mode of working.
    • Goals – set KPIs for progress.
    • Dialogue – create opportunities for employees to feed into your plan.
  • Your diversity plan should include: recruitment, compensation, work environment, harassment at work, career progression, parent-friendly policies, and culture groups.
  • D&I isn’t an HR topic, it’s the job of the entire company to cultivate.
  • Feeling like you belong is the key to success.


The shift to an experiential first approach

Moderator: Fiona Hickey
Panelists: Daniel Graetzer, Karolina Pelc, Robin Eirik Reed and Tim Heath

  • Experiences these days aren’t always simply transactional. People want to feel like they’ve experienced something without spending money.
  • Operators are making their brands more like entertainment brands rather than gambling brands – the gambling needs to be a secondary experience.
  • Don’t just create a catalogue of content that’s trying to make the most money out of the consumer – it needs to be a holistic sector.
  • Vegas has done this – there’s comedy, music and shows. The gambling is part of the experience, but not the primary draw.
  • Operators can take this approach with events online – create events that consumers will want to attend and include gambling within that event.


Esports and sports betting

Moderator: Oskar Fröberg
Panelists: Daniel Pereaux, Flavien Guillocheau and Mark Thorne

  • Esports are increasingly seen as an evergreen product that can fill the seasonality gap.
  • What esports are suitable as a filler product? Sports simulation, FIFA, NBA 2k, etc.
  • The target group is 18 to 35.
  • Esports should be looked at as user acquisition for traditional sportsbook.
  • Followers of esports want more than just betting – they’re looking for interactivity.
  • Esports betting is built around community activities – so it’s key to engage with that community in order to create relevant content.


Ensuring a progressive regulatory revolution

Moderator: Alastair Graham
Panelists: Claudio Caruana, Jade Zorab, Phil Pearson and Victoria Reed.

  • Operators and regulators need to work together rather than against one another.
  • When politics get involved is when we see issues with regulations.
  • Operators and regulators should have a common goal to make gambling fun and safe.
  • Regulators don’t know enough about the industry because they don’t collaborate with the industry.
  • Sometimes regulation is very prescriptive; but sometimes it is up for interpretation.
  • No one likes surprises, let alone regulatory surprises. Keep the operators informed.
  • We should have a more international approach to regulation rather than market by market.


This post was compiled on-the-fly, so if we’ve got anything wrong, let us know. And if you want to learn more about what we do for iGaming companies, take a look.

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