The key to an engaging and sustainable online casino platform is striking a balance between complexities and simplicities, according to Laura Petrauska, Head of Casino at BET99

This is a sentiment that was echoed across the ‘Bringing simplicity to the next generation of slots’ panel as part of SBC’s Digital Innovation Casino Day, with Steve Degiorgio, Director of Gaming Revenue at Enlabs, revealing his belief that there is an appetite out there from players for games that provide a more complex journey.

Degiorgio stated: “I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution, there isn’t just one player type out there. Different players from different jurisdictions will prefer different elements. Players who may be more experienced and more educated will like the complexity in slots, whereas others will gravitate towards the classics.

“We do see that there is an appeal for complex games, there are various sites that have specific categories catering for these particular games and features which there is demand for.”

Matthew Curtis, Head of Responsible Gaming at L&L Europe, revealed that he believes that additional features can pose a risk to customers – citing bonus buys as being something that was originally seen as innovative but when broken down are unveiled as riskier when it comes to social responsibility.

He added that they are continually adding new features to detect player risk and ensure that players are safe – which is a “priority at the forefront of their business”. 

The banning of bonus buys poses a significant risk in the driving of players to the black market, according to Curtis, who suggested that a more effective approach to regulations surrounding bonus buys is needed as their complete eradication could lead to a decrease in player engagement.

Sticking on the topic of responsible gambling, the panel was questioned on operator strategies when constructing their portfolios to ensure revenue growth while prioritising player safety. This probed Hans Erland Ringsvold, Head of Gaming Operations at Norsk Tipping, to encourage a sustainable approach. 

“If we are to grow, I think we need to grow in a sustainable way, without necessarily impacting responsible gambling measures or KPIs in the wrong direction. We all know how much of our gross gaming revenue comes from the top five per cent of our top-paying customers, even with our loss limits we see this. Imagine what it would be like without those limits. 

“Innovation is needed, and I think complexity, as well as time played and entertainment factors as drivers for the market are some ways of growing without impacting RG in the wrong way.”

In terms of game design, Michael Cini, Business Owner of ELA Games, detailed that sustainability is truly at the heart of what they do, “designing games that can be enjoyed” as they seek to ensure that aggregators, providers and operators place a focus on player enjoyment ahead of other key factors for growth. 

As the only representative from a supplier on the panel, Cini described his company’s approach to game production and implementing either simple or complex features as being similar to an operator’s approach to curating an online casino offering, stating that variety is key. 

“From a provider perspective, you can either go one of two ways. You can know the audience that you want to hit and go and target that specific audience with the games you create, or you can aim to excel in many fields and markets.

“We’ve designed more simple games in terms of the mechanics, but looking at the designs and UI we aim to be engaging and I think that’s very important when you’re developing games.”

Petrauska replied: “I think quality over quantity is important because nowadays we offer around 50-60 games on the average roadmap that we add every other month – not including new suppliers.

She continued: “It’s very hard for players to find the content, it’s our job to position the games and make sure they cater to our audiences. It’s also hard for suppliers who launch up to 20 games a month, how can they compete with their own content?”

Cini also defended bonus buys when they are done effectively and safely, stating that they provide an avenue for a player to explore all aspects of the game. 

In terms of bonus buys, Petrauska detailed that in a climate fuelled by streaming content and big wins, they can sometimes be viewed as the only route to profitability by players. 

She also revealed that just because a game is certified by the regulator, this doesn’t mean that she would necessarily place it on site – whether this be down to the themes involved in the game or its features that elevate the prevalence of big wins.

To view the remaining sessions on today’s conference, or watch the sessions on-demand anytime after the live airing, you can register for free here.