Malakchi: ‘a hand should be kept on the pulse of all markets’

We asked our experts what slot markets the industry should keep an eye out for over the next 12 months and why.

In such a fast-growing and rapidly changing industry, “a hand should be kept on the pulse of all markets,” according to Vladimir Malakchi, CCO at Evoplay.

“With constant updates in regulations, emerging trends, transformations in players behaviour, it’s hard to predict which market will be taking a 10-mile step forward next, and for what period of time.”

In the second episode of our SlotBeats Spotlight series looking into the year ahead, we asked our experts what slot market the industry should keep an eye out for over the next 12 months and why.

Vladimir Malakchi, Evoplay: Three years ago, the United States was a closed market with strict requirements and regulations for online gambling, while now it’s considered to be the Silicon Valley of gambling.

Undoubtedly, the giant markets, such as the UK, Europe, the Northern regions are leading the industry in terms of profitability and potential, however, other markets, both developed and emerging, can ensure a worthy feedback from the audience with even less investments.

Julian Jarvis, chief executive officer at Pragmatic Play: Keep an eye on western and central European jurisdictions like the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. These countries are primed and ready for significant growth and 2022 marks the start of this.

We should also see continued expansion in Italy and Spain, two other European countries where we see growth opportunities for the right products, despite the operators being under  certain marketing restrictions.

Outside of Europe, there are several markets that will continue to evolve, in LatAm, Asia and Africa. Our approach is to continuously try to understand what slots work best in each market and keep up the pace of releases so that all operators benefit to the maximum from access to our ever-expanding portfolio.

Mark Claxton, head of games at iSoftBet: An obvious one to keep an eye out for is the gaming industry, both video gaming and social. There is still a healthy amount of original slot content being driven by social casino apps. I think a lot of slot companies may be surprised with the content seen in these sectors and that could lead them to new ideas. 

Crypto-inspired games such as the mine games and crash games have been sleeper hits, with only a limited audience thus far, and I feel that over the next 12 months these games will get a greater push and could see increased traffic. 

They appeal to a younger audience and those not necessarily used to standard slots and table games. We can expect to see more representation within this category.

Lady Luck Games, CEO and founder, Mads Jørgensen: There are a number of recently regulated markets in Europe, obviously, with Greece, Germany and the Netherlands having grabbed the headlines in recent months. It will be interesting to see how they develop once the dust has settled. 

Further afield, the regulating states in the US have huge potential too. For all those that have regulated sports betting, of course, few have yet to regulate online gaming. But of those that have, like New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see what learnings there are for other states that are inclined to go further than just sports betting. The revenues are certainly impressive. 

Last but not least, places like LatAm and Canada also hold exciting opportunities. 

Habanero’s head of business development, Arcangelo Lonoce: Of all the markets, the US is the most interesting and exciting to me. The US market is entirely new, and as is the case with most new markets, we are seeing land-based content dominating and online content playing the backup role. This is perfectly natural and will in time change.

The opportunity to become a pioneer in a newly regulated region is extremely attractive to operators and suppliers alike, which is what makes markets like the Netherlands so exciting. 

The fact that it has only recently been regulated and that licences have only been awarded to a handful of applicants, there is a real opportunity to become a pioneer in a market that is ready to explode.