Payments play an increasingly important role in the igaming industry, with the CasinoBeats Summit set to give firms a chance to be in the limelight once again. 

With speed-to-deposit, frictionless payments and other developments in the payments sphere seen as “key” for casino companies, LeoVegas’ Director of Payments, Christian Reinheimer, discusses how payments are the “lifeblood” of businesses in the industry and the vital importance of offering a smooth payments journey. 

CasinoBeats: Can you explain the importance for those representing the payments side of igaming businesses to appear at events like CBS? 

Christian Reinheimer: Participating in industry events like the CasinoBeats Summit is important for various reasons. They help to be in contact with existing and potentially new providers and to stay up to date on the evolving landscape of products and services offered, that could potentially enhance the player experience when paying in our getting paid out.

The events are also great to invest into your network of payment professionals within the industry for exchange about the latest developments and potential upcoming disruptions. The payments community in the igaming industry is a pretty well connected one, where everybody is usually open to discuss ongoing challenges and grow together, which is great.

CB: Are there any pressing matters on the payments side of igaming that you feel need to be addressed by the online casino sector? 

CR: Definitely! I personally believe that the online casino industry needs to invest more effort into making the unique challenges of the industry seen within the financial sector. Financial regulators and infrastructure providers can do more for us to create a safe, yet effective industry. 

Our players value instant money flow and frictionless user experience, but we are subject to AML regulations, suffer from fraud and are invested in responsible gaming, which can all make the experience cumbersome for our customers unless we improve the tools at our disposal, which in a lot of instances are designed by financial regulators and institutions.

Player identity and payment instrument ownership verification need to become more streamlined, as do affordability checks. The underlying infrastructure to move funds needs to become fully instant. Those improvements will add a lot to a healthy industry with satisfied players.

CB: As the igaming sector continues to be shaped by modern advances in technology, have there been any recent technological developments that you think will shape the future of payments? 

CR: From what I see the recent developments in artificial intelligence are the most exciting. The technology has become way more advanced but also accessible, which will drive some improvements in payments orchestration and fraud prevention. 

We will see many more providers in those areas adopting the technology and utilising the immense data produced by daily payment transactions processed in the industry, but also a more common use in operators’ own proprietary technology. 

The possibilities to create more personalised experiences by anticipating preference or to prevent potentially fraudulent behaviour by quicker detection of patterns are exciting.

CB: To what extent would you say the igaming industry has taken advantage of recent evolutions in the payments sphere, has it taken a clear step forward or is there still a lot to learn? 

CR: My impression is that in recent years, payments have gained increasing attention from igaming operators. More emphasis, bigger and more senior teams dealing with it, more involvement with PSPs to shape products for the market are all developments I have observed. 

It is also very visible during industry events, where the number of payment providers exhibiting and the size of their booths have increased quite significantly. 

While the trend is clear I do believe the igaming industry can lean in even more and learn how to utilise payments as a competitive advantage, see the area as an opportunity for innovation and a more profitable and safe business. There is always room for improvement.

CB: What have been the key evolutions in terms of igaming payments in recent years? 

CR: Some of which are driven by igaming regulation, which also has increased their focus on how exactly players deposit funds and access their winnings. Others are evolutions that started happening outside the igaming space but quickly ventured into it, like Open Banking in Europe. 

I believe that the space will keep seeing evolutions, especially in requirements from regulators on ownership verification of the payment instruments used by players, as well as additional requirements for closed loop payouts. 

From outside the industry we can benefit from digital payments being a very dynamic space with fast paced innovation. Not all of it will always add value though, it’s about identifying the trends that are best suitable for our business model and our players’ needs.

CB: When it comes to acquiring new customers, how vital is an efficient payment journey?

CR: It’s super important. Although I am obviously biassed here, the fact is that there is no wagering without a stake, and hence getting the first deposit into the player balance is a vital step for an effective customer acquisition journey. Doing this most effectively will not only have an impact on the initial acquisition, but also on retaining players effectively. 

There are different approaches to address this, some focus on a wide variety of choices, others try to keep the number of solutions offered to a minimum for a lean journey. Either way, the key is to have good monitoring in place enabling you to make data-driven decisions on the effectiveness of the first deposit journey.

CB: Why is it so important that operators keep up to date with the latest developments in payments? 

CR: I believe that it can be an important factor of competitive advantage. Although we are in the entertainment industry, and thus naturally a lot of focus is on games and odds, payments are the lifeblood of our business and payment performance will have a big impact on your top line. 

Knowing the trends in payments and identifying how those can be utilised to serve players better are keys for potentially affecting payments performance. I would very much recommend staying on top of the developments in the payments space in all markets you operate in.