iGB Diary: EIG-BAC round up, women in igaming, and smoking - genius marketing

21 October 2016

Fröhlichen Freitag igamers! We’re just hoping that does mean happy Friday in German. A big hallo from Berlin where the Diary attended EIG and is now onto BAC. EIG was very good, with delegate numbers up and a strong conference programme to boot. We’ve included a round up of the regulatory talk, because, well, we’re serious journos you know! Amid all the meetings and chats with industry contacts there was some mayhem at the official party (mainly related to a cocktail called ‘Adios mother*******’). We agree with Paddys that a woman’s place is in the House, of course we don’t, but we do discuss women’s role in igaming trade shows and finally, a genius tagline from the BAC hotel room sponsors.

Regulated-unregulated - impact on UK majors
Let’s start with the serious bit. Regulation of the igaming sector is a never-ending topic of discussion, and with good reason since so much of its growth depends on it. So listening to the big EIG panel (in every sense of the word, eight regulatory representatives of EU countries were taking part) debating how to combat illegal betting, improve existing regulatory standards, develop strong frameworks to address problem gambling and evolve regulations so as to best balance the objectives of industry with those of legislators was, as one would expect, well-attended. Of note were comments by Richard Bayliss, compliance manager at the UK Gambling Commission, who explained that the Commission requested suppliers to be licensed in the UK and that they should not be supplying their products to operators working in unregulated markets. In the ensuing Q&A session the Diary asked Bayliss how this could apply to a sector where many suppliers and operators work in both regulated and unregulated markets. How could the Commission square that particular circle? Bayliss replied (deftly, it must be said) that there were “lots of discussions about this” and the GC “was not going to force laws upon other jurisdictions”. He added that if a country decided to prosecute an unlicensed operator or supplier, the Commission would address the issue from that point on. But since many UK licensees make significant revenues from unregulated markets and must disclose revenues of 3% or more from grey markets, when does the GC decide to act on its regulations? Of course the other point to raise is that if the GC were to take action on this against, say, a major UK-licensed company, the adverse impact on that operator’s British activities could end up being significant.

Online casino to be licensed in France?
Talking about unregulated gaming, Charles Coppolani, president of French regulator ARJEL, made such a statement of the obvious that it was easy to miss it: “90% of the illegal offer is in games (products) that are not regulated and the main stream of illegal games (in France) is in casino games.” The Diary followed up on this and asked him if this meant ARJEL was recommending the regulation of online casino games for the French market. He wasn’t (of course), but he did say: “ARJEL is stating facts, the illegal (igaming) offer are games that are not regulated and it is up to the legislator to take the decision. If the legislator was to move on this, ARJEL will advise, but the legislator has not asked ARJEL.” Currently France has other major concerns and nothing will happen before the presidential elections next year. But with a change of government likely, there is a possibility that the online casino vertical could be regulated. And from speaking to contacts in the land-based casino sector, the lobby that blocked online casino from being included in the 2010 regulation, it has evolved in its view of the sector and would not be so opposed to it being regulated, although there would be no movement on this issue (if any) until at least late 2017. 

Regulatory disconnect
Corinne Valletta of the Malta Gaming Authority also took part in the panel but it was somewhat surprising to listen to her talk about regulatory best practice. Why? Simply because so many Malta-licensed operators work on a dot com basis, as opposed to those working in the countries represented by the regulators on the panel. Surely some regulatory disconnect there.

EIG fun facts 
We all love our stats and Lloyd Melnick, head of social gaming at PokerStars and Aman Kumra, social gaming industry manager at Google, had some pretty good ones during their panel at EIG. 
In no particular order:

  • CPAs in social gaming: US$5-7,
  • CPAs in real money gaming: US$150,
  • sustainability: 98% of social revenues come from 1%-2% of ingame chip sales,
  • value of whales in social gaming: US$80 per month,              
  • value of whales in real money gaming: US$5,000-10,000 per month,              
  • and finally, much of the marketing is moving away from the US. In Q1 it represented 75% of all social campaigns. It is now down to around 55% according to Kumra, “the effect of globalisation” taking the vertical to new markets, he said. 


The role of women in igaming… plus ça change?
Paddy Power had this classic ad about paying out early on the US election results. Which got us thinking. With everything that’s been said about women in recent weeks, whether in the US presidential campaign, in the UK with a woman Prime Minister or even about Angela Merkel, who as German Chancellor is the most powerful woman in Europe, it was good to see Carolina Pelc, head of casino at LeoVegas, calling on the industry to adopt a more, shall we say, enlightened/mature/egalitarian approach to women and their role in igaming expos. (Other than walking around scantily-clad you mean? 'But they’re so good at it', we hear you say. The Diary is joking ladies, promise!) Pelc published the post below on Linkedin the week before EIG and BAC, asking the sector to make trade shows “a more professional and comfortable place for all, including the women that already discovered the love for igaming”. It generated plenty of discussion and perspectives, all of which is most welcome. EIG was pretty reasonable, actually so reasonable that the Diary couldn’t find anything really noteworthy to photograph (boo EIG!). However, how did BAC rate on the opening day of the show this morning? Not as bad as some of you might have expected from what we can see. Interestingly there are many more women involved in the affiliate side of the business than there are in B2B (EIG’s focus), yet some of the ‘outfits’ some of the affiliate promo girls have worn over the years have been, erm, eye-catching to say the least. Who’s for body paint as clothing or massive bingo balls as bras? Anyone? Feel free to let us know what you think on Facebook or by email: info@igamingbusiness.com          

Genius marketing
Walking into the official BAC hotel there are always goodies from affiliate companies. This year was no exception and UB Affiliates had this genius tagline covering the beds. Surely you’ll agree that the line: “Come and meet us at the smoking area” is pure genius. Not “meet us at our stand number XYZ”, or “Go to our Facebook page”. No, the smoking area is definitely the best (and surest) place to meet affiliates. 

Tschüss! Have a great weekend!