hat were the main obstacles the industry had to overcome in 2015 to maintain its pole position? How have market challenges affected your company’s performance?
In 2015 the gaming industry in most of the regulated markets had to face and process the same initiatives – how to engage players to play more and at the same time do that in a controlled way to ensure compliance with regulatory driven, responsible gaming and anti-money-laundering policies. Operators are in a delicate position in the middle of an increasingly competitive fight for player base, and more and more restrictive requirements from the regulator side that are also increasing taxes to fill budget holes.
To manage their business in such a competitive and dynamic environment, operators need to have their business completely in control. So, technology has become a vital part of their strategies. In the past operators – especially state lotteries – could trust their destiny to a single vendor. However, the necessity to offer players best-of-breed content on terminals, their personal computers, or mobile phones is changing this trend.
Comtrade Gaming’s focus to provide open gaming platforms that enable operators to control all aspects of their business is now showing good results. Operators appreciate the fact that they can seamlessly integrate games or other services from their trusted suppliers and manage everything within a single central system.
What was your best-selling product? To what do you owe its success?
2015 has been one of the most successful years in the 15 year history for Comtrade Gaming. The investments we made in 2014 kept us very busy throughout the year, but we still managed to keep up with innovations and closed some very important deals.
Our flagship product, iCore – The Enterprise Gaming Platform, contributed the majority of our growth in 2015, mostly due to expansion in Asia. We are introducing a single wallet with real time bonusing in a way to keep and even improve the scalability and performance of the platform – which is vital for the largest sites we support there.
Brief us about your business plans for 2016.
We have several big new releases coming out. As mentioned, in January iCore 2.0 will be introduced. This will be the first major upgrade since its release three years ago. A lot of time and effort has gone into assuring its top-shelf performance and to adapt the platform to be suitable for the most traffic-intensive pages. One of the major new features will be the gamification of incentives using our new Award Games Suite and automated sports betting bonusing.
In the land-based environment, the legislative environment is changing and this has opened new opportunities for our sCore platforms that connect terminals from all leading EGM suppliers to a central server, from where terminals can be monitored and configured in real time.
As well, also our ‘gCore,’ a central system used to implement and distribute games across online, mobile, and server-based gaming channels had to follow all of these changes. We will further extend our mobile HTML5 offering and continue to use the WebGL support which enables implementation of 3D games on mobile phones.
Looking ahead, what will be the main challenges for gambling-related companies?
One of the biggest challenges will definitely be the changing regulations. Companies will have to learn how to adapt and how to take advantage of the new situation. Hopefully the regulations will not only bring stricter policies, but will also wake up some markets that are now illegal.
Probably even more companies will be merging in the future, and this is where the big opportunity for Comtrade Gaming lies. Being completely independent and flexible means we can tailor all our gaming solutions for individual customer needs.
What will be the trends that will determine the industry’s successes and failures of the coming year?
Definitely, the last word about the multi-channel and multi-platform has not yet been said. It will be extremely important to be capable of integrating support for both worlds – casino/retail and online/mobile. Mobile gaming is growing constantly but has still a lot of future potential. The companies that will be most successful in these initiatives will assure their success. Being able to innovate and deliver open-gaming solutions will play a big role in a company’s success. We are certain we can achieve this.