ow was the ICE experience? Was the feedback positive?
ICE Totally Gaming is the largest and most comprehensive trade event in the business. The opening day set the standard with some 18,000 visitors coming through the doors at ExCeL. ICE 2015 was the perfect gathering place for Vermantia which specializes in the creation, aggregation, management and delivery of virtual, casino, lottery and social games, as well as sports betting content, for gaming operators worldwide. It's a great way for us to build contacts, arrange meetings and forge partnerships. In our perspective, immersive gaming experiences are enhanced by strategies that deliver the right gaming content at the right time. Ice Totally Gaming Show was a big opportunity to us to growth our business.
Which product was the star of the show?
We saw a huge interest in both our Virtual sports, specifically our Table Tennis and Badminton which are unique in the market as well as our interactive instant win games such as Candylicious which enable the player to choose a character, go on a journey or level up with achievements.
What are the brand’s goals and expectations for 2015?
2015 is going to be a materially important year for Vermantia in terms of developing the business’ brand and establishing partnerships to supply our content to B2G and Tier 1 operators globally. We have invested very heavily in building the company’s management team and overall capacity with an eye on creating a step-change in our reach and growth. These are very exciting times.
What are you going to do in order to help strengthen business activities in established markets and expanding into new ones?
Vermantia is focused on regulated markets with a view to partnering with state-level and market-leading established brands. Our business focus has always been on creating and establishing sustainable, partner-based, growth and we are very-well placed to deliver that. You’ll need to wait a short while to start seeing these roll out but we think many of the deals will raise some eyebrows in their scope and size.
How do you see the gaming industry today?
The gaming industry is currently in a very interesting spot. It is still growing in general but has the challenges of lacking true innovation, as well as increased regulation and taxation. However, what is clear is that gaming and gambling benefit exponentially as hardware and software develops. The development and increased capabilities of tablets and mobile handsets has, naturally, provided growth and new players to the industry. We have a lot to learn still around general business efficiency and best practices but I think most companies realize that and are responding to it positively. We’re growing up, maybe……
Bearing in mind that the gaming industry has suffered some downturns –Macau is a clear example of this, what will businesses do to overcome the crisis?
Once regulation allowed for more casinos, Macau grew too quickly and was always going to face challenges. Going from a handful of casinos to 30+ in such a short time, with so much investment involved, was always going to be difficult. Subject to the political climate though, Macau will remain the preeminent, global land-based casino center for some time yet. Overall, the gaming industry is resilient and has faced a series of challenges, political, regulatory and commercial, ever since its establishment. The key will be adapting to different economic climates and being flexible enough to change business models accordingly. Embracing new technology will be the key as players look to multi-channel access for their gambling needs.
How important is it to bring about new legislation to regulate gaming? How does this impact on revenue?
Ultimately margins will be squeezed and revenue lower but that will mean companies will need to become leaner and more efficient which is not a bad thing. Of course the fear and threat here is that governments misunderstand player behavior and create tax regimes which are too aggressive and affect players’ appetite to wager. So far, it looks like most countries have got it about right but we all hope that future regulation, particularly if the US market opens, learn lessons from over-taxation and over-regulation in places like France and New Jersey.