At SlotsMillion and LadyLucks, we have implemented GamStop, the UK national self-exclusion scheme that excludes players from all UK licensed casinos before it became mandatory, and we also have a Responsible Gaming Manager and trained support agents who can help players use these instruments.
This is a large number of tools and services that I am sure are of value to the players. Will they act as they should when I decide to play VR blackjack with my friend at your upcoming Art Deco casino and be completely immersed in virtual reality?
Obviously, our VR casino follows the same regulation as its online version, but there are a few additional elements. During the process of building our first VR casino, for example, we met with the Malta Gaming Authority to establish some guidelines for this new area. In order for players to be able to see the time during their visit to the casino, we originally thought that they would turn their wrist and look at the clock, but the MGA demanded that the time was simply always visible on the screen, so that players could not lose track of how much they play for a long time. This was interesting considering that there are no clocks at all in the Las Vegas casinos!
What about the other side of the story? Could there be too much regulation? And how badly can this have a negative effect on an operator who plays by the rules?
One of the biggest problems I see so far is actually caused by what I perceive as a lack of regulation, not an excess. Some operators sublicense their white label licenses, which may not have any knowledge or experience of how the industry works. Armed with a basic platform, these companies then hire maybe three people, usually for marketing and some support, and run the casino.
Obviously, in this way it is much easier to open a casino than to do what we did – develop software from scratch, integrate games and payment operators and obtain a license; this process takes years, and it is clear that people are attracted to the easier path. However, this is not a sustainable option, and casinos that still resort to it are unlikely to survive in the long run. In my opinion, regulators should not allow this to happen, because it creates a very low bargaining chip online casino market overcrowded with products that are essentially copies of each other and that rely on bonuses to compete. When they inevitably increase their bonuses to attract players, other operators, including those who invested labor, have no choice but to also increase them, in the end everything comes to a situation in which the market is saturated, and the competition is so strong that it becomes necessary stop and try to come up with a new way to attract players.
All you can do in a situation like this is to try to stay afloat until the competition burns out on its own – but this can be risky, since you can never be sure that your casino will not be among the weak.
As I mentioned before, it would be easy to pinch the operators too tightly while increasing the regulation. But we need to know what industry we are in, what product we are dealing with, and understand that it is important for operators to take responsibility for their actions and take care of the well-being of their customers. The more the industry recognizes this, the stronger the regulation will be – which can only be for the better.
The industry seems to respond well to the fact that you bring something new to the table, and you have many prestigious innovation awards to prove it. How do you see SlotsMillions , LadyLucks and Alea in general in 2-3 years?
We are very proud of what we have already achieved and honor for us, the way the industry perceives it. We are currently working on new features for SlotsMillion for 2019, which we cannot yet talk about, but we can say that they will be focused on socialization.
Alea will always be motivated by innovation and our current new project is the launch of Casino Secret. This is an ingenious new concept in which players receive cashback on lost bets, with the added benefit of not being held hostage by wagering requirements. We believe that in addition to winning elements, players come to casinos to have fun and relax a bit, so we want to give them the opportunity to enjoy their time without having to worry about losing all their money within a couple of minutes.