With the CasinoBeats Summit in Malta kicking off this morning, we’ve reflected on some of the key discussions we had with speakers at the event who shared their insight on trends in the industry. 

The speakers focus on emerging markets, the vital nature of SEO and how the evolution of AI can have a big impact on igaming engagement. 

CasinoBeats: Can you tell us more about the Japanese igaming market and how it has evolved in recent years?

Maya Yazaki, Rhino Entertainment’s Country Manager for Japan: The country has long been associated with diverse entertainment industries, including government-regulated horse racing, powerboat racing and bicycle racing, alongside the widespread popularity of pachinko and slot machines enjoyed by players nationwide.

According to the ‘DK-SIS White Paper 2021 Edition – 2021’ data, the publicly disclosed market size of the pachinko industry amounted to a substantial ¥14.6trn, indicating the significant scope of Japan’s gambling market.

While Japan passed legislation in 2018 to legalise casinos as part of its integrated resort initiative, there is a growing problem of online gambling addiction. Furthermore, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a tailwind, fueling the growth of the online gambling market.

Consequently, there is a growing sentiment in favour of regulating online gambling. It will be interesting to observe how the government navigates the anticipated challenges and whether it opts for legalisation accompanied by measures for responsible gambling and adherence to anti-money laundering guidelines in the future.

CB: With Japanese players placing a significant focus on brand trust, what can operators do to ensure they have a strong connection with players?

MY: Communication is the key to building brand trust. Operate with transparency and integrity in all dealings. Provide clear and easily accessible information about the company, its licensing and terms and conditions. Avoid deceptive practices and prioritise honesty in marketing communications.

Japanese players are known to be avid readers, preferring to read the terms and conditions before participating in any promotions. While simple content may be visually appealing, providing transparent information about the terms and conditions of promotions with longer text is preferred.

CB: Has Casumo utilised advancements in AI technology to streamline its business processes in any way? 

Cristina Turbatu, Casumo CTO: At Casumo, we’ve placed a significant focus on leveraging advancements in AI technology to enhance various aspects of our business operations. Specifically, we’ve dedicated an entire strategic pillar to AI technology, recognising its potential to revolutionise player experiences and streamline internal processes.

In terms of player experiences, we’ve utilised AI to deliver personalised game recommendations and implement advanced player protection measures. By leveraging AI-powered providers, we are looking into tailoring gaming experiences to individual preferences and proactively identifying and addressing potential issues related to responsible gaming.

Moreover, we’ve harnessed AI technology across multiple facets of our operations, including customer support chats, content creation, marketing campaigns, player protection initiatives and software development processes. For instance, we’ve integrated Copilot, an AI tool developed by GitHub and OpenAI, into our workflows.

Copilot plays a crucial role in enhancing developer productivity by suggesting code snippets, promoting best practices, and facilitating rapid prototyping and iteration. This not only improves code quality and reduces maintenance overhead but also fosters collaboration and augments creativity among our development teams.

Overall, our strategic focus on AI technology at Casumo has enabled us to unlock new opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and improved player experiences, while also enhancing our internal processes and developer productivity.

CB: How do you think gamification has evolved over the past few years as technology within the online casino space improves?

CT: In recent years, the evolution of gamification within the online casino space has been closely tied to advancements in event streaming infrastructure. This technology has transitioned from being a novelty to a standard feature, enabling gamification platforms to deliver near-real-time responses to player actions.

With event streaming capabilities, gamification platforms can now offer dynamic and personalised experiences tailored to individual player behaviours. For example, players receive instant feedback and rewards based on their actions during gameplay, fostering greater engagement and immersion.

While some companies have only begun to explore the full potential of event streaming, there’s a growing trend among new suppliers who are fully embracing this technology. These suppliers are leveraging event streaming to develop innovative gamification solutions that capitalise on the immediacy of player interactions, ultimately enhancing the overall gaming experience.

Overall, the integration of event streaming technology has revolutionised gamification in the online casino space, paving the way for more interactive and engaging gaming experiences that adapt to the needs and preferences of players in real time.

CB: What steps do you believe can be taken to future-proof marketing and ensure lucrative campaigns stand the test of time?

Calvin Sammut, Head of Brand and Creative Strategy at Socios.com: To stand the test of time, brands must honour their history while embracing innovation.

By using data-driven tools, brands gain a deep understanding of their audience’s desires. Integrating these insights with evolving technologies like artificial intelligence ensures that their marketing campaigns are effective immediately and resonate deeply with consumers, giving them lasting impact.

Simultaneously, brands must stay true to their original values, the principles that initially made them stand out. These core values are vital for maintaining authenticity. By drawing from their heritage, foundational principles and unique selling points, brands can effectively steer their marketing strategies. 

Storytelling is among the most powerful marketing tactics, and AI has the potential to enhance this by involving consumers directly in the narratives. For instance, the campaign “Greatest World Cup Ever” exemplifies this. This AI-driven campaign invited fans to appear in a personalised film alongside cricket stars.

CB: Can you tell us some of the ways in which influencer marketing and social media has evolved the way emerging companies reach new audiences?

CS: The combination of social media and influencer marketing has become a catalyst for the growth of both established and smaller brands.

Social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, have not only given direct access to niche audiences but have also transformed consumers into active nano-influencers. This shift has been instrumental in providing smaller brands with genuine connections and authentic interaction with their audience. 

Social media allows brands to showcase their unique personality and tone of voice, connecting with their audience in ways not possible before. Brands can now engage in real-time conversations, share behind-the-scenes glimpses and express their values and beliefs authentically.