In the third part of our Spotlight series looking into the US online slot landscape, we asked our experts to explain the level of difficulty in companies entering the US regulated online market and the benefits in being in play within the country.
How complicated is it to enter the US regulated online market and what benefit does this have for operators and suppliers?
Adam Noble, PlayStar Casino: From an operator perspective it is no easy task. Firstly you need to contend with market access, which is particularly challenging coming in as a new brand. Once you overcome the market access challenge, then of course you need to get through the regulatory process, which again is no easy task, but it’s in place for a very good purpose.
Once you have achieved market access and licensing, you then need to rinse and repeat for every new state you enter. It isn’t looking at approaching the US as a whole, the reality is you’re effectively dealing with 50 countries that are rapidly regulating online, with their own little twists in regulation each time.
So that is the complicated part. Of course the benefits are, that once you are in, you are in, and with the limited market access in each state, from an operator perspective, you have less of a challenge with new brands popping up every other day, although rather ironically, PlayStar is one of those new brands right now.
Jeff Miller, Evolution: Provided you meet the criteria and are fully compliant there is nothing to hold you back. Obviously, relationships with operators and being able to understand their key requirements are imperative.
I’m pleased to say that our people on the ground in the US have found it very conducive to do business. So much so, in fact, that the country is now NetEnt’s biggest market. Given that we are only live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan that shows how much potential remains.
Vladimir Pavlov, Pariplay: It is not that different to entering any other regulated market. You need to obtain a licence, get your games certified, and solve the technical requirements puzzle. The challenge is in the details, though. Having the right product, compliance processes and a full grasp of the requirements is key.
Your game framework should be flexible to allow localisation with minimal effort. The benefits of this far outweigh the cost. You get access to large, untapped markets that will extend your brand reach, diversify your risk, and have infinite growth potential.
Jesper Kärrbrink, Green Jade Games: First, it is a state by state legislation; secondly each state has a rather rigorous application process, not only for operators but also for game providers.
Each state could take three to six months in processing time and the process requires strong involvement from everyone associated; directors, management, finance department, legal, compliance etc. This creates a barrier of entry in itself meaning that those who have the resources and the willingness to do this will have an advantage.
Looking at the number of slots (per March 21 in iGaming Tracker) in three states we can see how “effective” this barrier is; NJ 1.152, Michigan 469 and Pennsylvania 507 and compare this to Sweden 3.509 and UK 6.378.