Greentube CFO/CGO Michael Bauer does not consider every conference as something that requires his or his company’s attention. SBC Summit North America is an exception though. With major operators and suppliers from across the US and the huge potential of the US market, Bauer spoke with us about what an opportunity the event offers.
What makes SBC Summit North America stand out as an event?
First and foremost, it’s a very well-organized event as we saw when we attended last year. That’s not only considering the main event itself, but all of the other tracks that take place at the same time, which are always interesting and well-attended. There’s a lot of action going on, so we take our collective hat off to the organizers for doing a great job.
From an online perspective, it’s one of very few shows where it makes sense for us to attend. Most other events are still heavily focused on the land-based sector, so for us, the themes of SBC North America align far more closely with our goals across the region. I’ve been to a lot of shows organized by SBC now and I can say without question that they are among the best organizers in our business.
What would you highlight as the biggest opportunity in the US gaming industry over the next couple of years?
The market itself presents a great opportunity for us. As an online gaming supplier that is totally focused on regulated markets, we could not tap into the US fully before the repeal of PASPA. We supplied the market with social apps prior to that, which provided us with useful insights into player tastes and preferences. However, the opportunity in the here-and-now is clearly in real-money iGaming for the whole of the US – eventually and the route to that point is not a sprint but a marathon. We accept the challenge and will tackle each and every state that comes on stream for regulated online casino one by one.
Additionally, there are interesting opportunities within iLottery. I can see additional growth there and it’s something we will continue to explore, while we also have the potential to further cross-sell between our land-based portfolio and online, where there could be some really interesting synergies.
What industry innovation will capture the most attention in the next 12 months?
This is a very good question. There are certainly different elements, as we have seen in Europe, that will arrive in the US providing regulation allows it. Buy Bonus options, for example, where players can jump straight to bonus games, have already been seen within the US online sector and we imagine this will be picked up increasingly online going forward. I also believe that suppliers will gradually create branded slots for operators, because of the scale of the operator groups that have taken significant market share to date.
Other than that, the big buzzword is ‘gamification’, it’s a process of discovering what else you can put in front of a player to prolong their stay on a particular brand, improving their experience and increasing loyalty. The answer to this question will come from both suppliers and operators. Greentube will certainly bring a few ideas of its own to the market.
What core challenges do you help solve for your customers/partners?
Essentially, we provide what can be summed up with one word: entertainment. We want the player to enjoy their experience interacting with what we have created and whatever you do as an operator, you should have the same goal of producing satisfaction. A player looks for a thrill and if it becomes boring, they will not return. We always aim to build slots that are exciting and entertaining, with features that offer additional opportunities and rewards.
Who have you especially enjoyed working with over the past year?
We enjoy working with every new or existing customer and what drives us is building strong relationships with operators, making sure that it’s a win-win situation for both parties. We must understand what makes their player base tick, using this information to supply a wide range of suitable and localized content. This collaborative process is very interesting, particularly in markets like the US where the modus operandi differs to Europe.
What are you hoping to learn from the conference at SBC Summit North America?
There are many topics that I am interested in. One is naturally regulation – are there new online markets set to roll out for online casino and if so, where are they and when will they regulate? We need to prepare for such markets, gaining licenses and getting our product portfolio in place ahead of the launch date.
Secondly, it’s key to meet existing and new customers, to understand what they want from us and how we can grow together and the event offers an excellent opportunity to do just that. Additionally, talking directly to the regulators is extremely useful. At last year’s SBC Summit North America, I spoke with delegates from New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) which was very useful and interesting. The event offers a great exchange of ideas and information between stakeholders from a wide variety of industry sectors and I’m very much looking forward to it once again.