Online bingo: Bede CEO urges industry to adapt

Online bingo: Bede CEO urges industry to adapt

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 Posted by James Walker
Michael Brady: ‘The days of doing what has always been done are over’

While the online bingo sector is at something of a crossroads, there are some interesting new developments on the horizon, according to Michael Brady, CEO of Bede Gaming.

Totally Gaming: How would you assess the state of the online bingo sector in 2017?

Michael Brady: I think it’s at a bit of a crossroads. The days of doing what has always been done are over, and those that stand still will continue to lose market share. There are obviously regulatory and taxation headwinds which we need to battle, but there are some good things happening and some promising developments on the horizon.

There is plenty of potential for growth not only in the world of bingo and slots, but in adjacent sectors like lottery, which has been a missed opportunity to date.

TG: What were some of the key issues that arose during your panel at the Online Bingo & Slots summit?

MB: I think one of the main takeaways was the pressing need for choice. Choice for players and choice for operators in order that they can provide it. So much of what has gone before has been ‘one size fits all’, rigid and inflexible. But players aren’t all the same and the technology that serves them has to be adaptable to their different requirements.

It’s something that the industry is really starting to think about: the power to differentiate is so important now and having access to platforms – like Bede’s Hub and Play – that give that control back to operators is an essential part of any digital offering and will be even more so in the future.

TG: What are the main challenges currently facing the online bingo sector, and how is Bede Gaming working to overcome those hurdles?

MB: I think regulation is biting and will continue to bite for some time to come. Advertising and the way that is changing is also a challenge for everyone involved on the player-facing side, with knock-on effects for suppliers like us as well. These are things that need to be met head on, with innovative solutions being found to protect not only the vulnerable, but the viability of the industry too.

There have also been big changes in player attitudes and demands in recent times. That is bringing about new market realities, including the need for better player data acquisition and the better implementation of that data. This, in particular, is where operators with cumbersome, outmoded legacy technology are struggling.

TG: What would you say to those operators who still believe online and land-based bingo are rival – and not complementary – sectors?

MB: It’s probably not for me to tell them anything, as their customers will do the talking for me. In fairness, there aren’t that many around who still have these very defined sectors, but those that do are missing out on a whole lot of opportunities. Those that have got an omni-channel solution can still do an awful lot more.

The challenge for all of us is to harness the technology available to drive innovation and find better ways to leverage some of the great brands we have in this industry.

TG: More generally, was the Online Bingo & Slots Summit a successful event?

MB: Yes, I thought so. There was a good mix of people there from both within the sector and external to it, which always brings about lively debates. It’s always good to get different perspectives on the same issues and challenges. I think there’s a recognition that with the right mindset, technology, and desire to innovate, we can all move forward and provide a far more satisfying user experience for the players.

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