But we are here to pass along the conclusions from the “Social gaming – threat or opportunity for the gambling sector?” panel discussion, which kicked off a daylong seminar on Social Gaming Monetization.
As you recall, the panel was moderated by yours truly, Shahar Attias. With me on stage appeared:
- Ben Dale: International Development Director, Ladbrokes
- Matt Larter: Business Development Director, Betsson
- Rohin Malhotra: Founder/CEO, Bookie Mania & MD, Boofel Gaming Consultancy
- Chris Drake: Head of Interactive, Praesepe plc
- Hussein Chahine: Chief Executive Officer, Yazino
As the Ladbrokes group is still “heavily looking into the social space” and Betsson had launched its social gaming activity only days prior to the event, the operational knowledge came from the last three.
All the panel members agreed though that social gaming shouldn’t be regarded as an acquisition channel for regular iGaming sites. The demographics are so different that it is unrealistic to expect social gamers to become iGaming fans.
So instead of looking at social gaming as a recruiting tool, the better focus is on how to monetize social gaming on its own. Because social activity worldwide is so vast – so much greater than bricks and mortar or online gaming – it has the potential to generate even more revenues than the other verticals. The panel even suggested to dub it “S O C I A L gaming”, as it’s so much bigger than only a vertical within gaming.
Chris talked about building “an umbrella,” a sort of community that will allow players to go between the verticals. He didn’t think operators should focus on immediate LTV. “If a player is willing to spend 20 pounds every week for the rest of his life” on social gaming, that’s one great player to retain.
Rohin talked about three journeys in his professional experience:
- Bookie Mania, a platform that let friends bet on any topic, even as trivial as “Are you going to be late for dinner tonight?” This platform was purchased by a Native American tribe near Washington, D.C. area, looking for revenue from sports betting outside its geographic area.
- Chili gaming, sold to Bally, which actually improved the product but prematurely acquired it in expectation of the U.S. opening up a regulated online gaming market.
- World Poker Tour: an online gaming business, a mobile application, a social game on Facebook and a subscription-based operation. Now all three of those businesses were generating strong revenues and were profitable, yet the conversion between free-play/subscription and social was “was crap, rubbish, very poor.” His explanation? Not that there wasn’t potential but the systems didn’t properly address their audience. “You need to have a culture … build a conversion machine that will prevent players from lapsing after three days”.
Hussein was very inspirational, talking about being an innovator and the path he went through, creating a global operation from scratch, and up to a point where they “process 4-5 billion transactions every month” (now, how impressive is that?).
Even so, “respectful” is probably the last term that comes to mind when trying to describe the way I moderate panels, so while he talked about building his amazing empire, that didn’t stop me from hopelessly trying to squeeze any kind feedback from the crowd by taking a shot at him… A couple of examples –
Hussein: “Many of our players are females”… “Using our BI systems, we have managed to predict our players’ future activities”; Me: “So you have actually managed to understand how women think?”
Hussein: “In few years, we would like to be the leading, most dominant force in the social gaming world”; Me: “Take a number.”
WE LOVE YOU HUSSEIN!
That’s all for now. To watch a full video of this important panel on the Clarion Gaming website (and other interesting sessions and interviews), please CLICK HERE. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the lovely Clarion people for yet another superb experience.
What’s next? Now get back to your routine at the office. After so many days away, Thomas, your adversary, awaits you – and you don’t want him to sweat even more (if that’s even possible).