Courtney Honer, Key Account Sales Manager for the US at Greentube, reacts to its milestone agreement with Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), which will see the NOVOMATIC Interactive division make its long awaited Stateside debut.
She discusses the research which preceded Greentube’s US market entry, drawing upon its land-based experience to make a splash online, navigating the challenging licensing process as a European supplier and tailoring a growth strategy to ensure sustained success across the country.
SBC Americas: How much research did you have to complete before making the decision to enter the US market?
Courtney Honer: A number of factors were involved, for example the well-established land-based presence of our mother company, the Novomatic Group, as well as Novomatic Americas, provided us with a solid foundation. Additionally, we have been supplying several land based US casinos with our mobile social casino platform GT Pro for a few years. This gave us in-depth insights into tastes and preferences of the US players.
We also conducted in-depth market analysis on revenue potential, while the chance to develop US market-tailored game content also played into the decision to enter the US. The constant monitoring of US states, as well as recent developments in the US sports betting and social gaming sector, showed us that the state-regulation of online gaming is developing at a fast pace.
SBCA: As a supplier with a strong position in Europe, what were the main reasons why you decided to enter the US?
CH: As we saw it, the main reasons for entering the US online gaming market included the strong growth within the first states that went live with regulation, as well as the great revenue potential across the country. These two factors, combined with our expertise in producing game content and supplying it into regulated markets offered perfect conditions for a market entry.
SBCA: As a Novomatic Interactive division, how will your land-based experience help you in a market that is seeing land-based operations launch online?
CH: We benefit from our long land-based history in European markets in a number of ways. Firstly, we know all about the advantages of cross-conversion between various product channels such as land-based, online and mobile gaming.
When you enhance land-based content and produce a state-of-the-art online gaming experience, it ensures that players coming from US casinos feel that they are playing their favorite game on their computer or mobile.
Our land-based experience also helps us to have a better understanding of the needs of those operators in the US market that are joining the online world. This enables us to guide our business partners towards offering an outstanding, sustainable gaming experience for their players.
SBCA: What have been the challenges and difficulties you have faced when entering the US, especially as a European supplier?
CH: The licensing process is highly complicated and requires lengthy audits of systems and personnel. Setting up a data centre from Europe and ordering equipment also presented its own set of challenges.
SBCA: Have you developed content especially tailored to the US market, and if so, how does this differ to your existing portfolio?
CH: There are many differences between the US market and European markets. First of all in the US, large resort casinos play a much bigger role than in Europe where the retail market is much more important. Regulation in the European retail market has always been restrictive on how slots can be designed.
Different markets have therefore led to very different types of machines. One of the largest strengths of Greentube has always been to offer a very localised portfolio of games taking into account the local preferences.
Therefore, our approach to the US is similar: first we have identified – also via our social casino channels – which themes and mechanics are popular in the market. Then we started expanding our game portfolio into these areas where we still found gaps compared to our European markets. Last but not least we also have experience working with Novomatic on converting popular US land-based titles to online, such as the Power Prizes and Money Party game series.
Greentube has been planning to enter the US market for over two years and we have produced a comprehensive portfolio of content specifically tailored to US player demographics. The Diamond Cash series is a good example of this. With its multiple, linked progressive jackpots and its feature rich production quality, it is already showing promising KPIs in our US social gaming space.
We are also producing a range of online stepper games for the US market, with the first being Wild Lines: American Eagle. This is one of the first stepper games produced by Greentube, and features an exciting American theme and a great level of volatility. We are confident that these games will be big hits with players.
SBCA: How will you work with local partners to ensure your products are ideally tailored to the US market?
CH: We definitely aim for a constant knowledge exchange with our local partners to get more insights on their needs and local requirements. Getting input from US casinos and defining a marketing strategy together with our partners will create trust and a strengthened customer relationship.
Together with Novomatic Americas and our content specialists at Greentube, we will ensure we continue providing US market and customer-tailored game content while at the same time introducing innovation. We see this strategy as having high potential in defining the future of online and land-based gaming in the US.
SBCA: What is the Greentube growth strategy for the US market now you have made your inroads?
CH: We aim to provide market-tailored and innovative game content for operators in New Jersey, while working on enhanced marketing activities in cooperation with our business partners. At the same time, we are looking at the next states in the US to offer our gaming content to and have already started the certification process in Michigan.
Further investment into existing markets and clients will continue while, at the same time, monitoring and entering new markets and further business deals will ensure sustainable growth. We will also bring our best performing online content onto land-based machines, enabling the operators to provide players an omni-channel experience on our games.
We believe the strength of our game content and our experience in cross-conversion marketing will build the foundation of our success.