Guest Blog: Anticipation, excitement... and you thought Christmas was over?

Guest Blog: Anticipation, excitement... and you thought Christmas was over?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mark McGuinness has more than 15 years’ experience in digital marketing director roles with both private and public iGaming operators. He is the resident iGaming Futurologist for Isle of Man-based Mainstream Marketing & Communications, a digital marketing agency offering business and marketing advice on social gaming, i-gaming, bitcoin and land-based gambling. He told TotallyGaming.com why ICE Totally Gaming next month in London will set the agenda for the rest of the year in the industry.

"ICE is like Christmas in some ways, the anticipation, the excitement and the unwrapping of presents." - Mark McGuinness

Another year has drawn to a close. It’s a chance to pause and reflect on our successes and near misses in the ever-changing landscape of the igaming industry. 

2014 surely has been a rumbustious year. In the UK we’ve had the much maligned Point of Consumption Tax, which is sure to shake out the market with perhaps the big operators getting bigger to the largest poker deal play in the corporate world of Amaya buying PokerStars – one we may not likely to witness a repeat of this David v Goliath deal size in 2015!   

Innovation

‘Innovation’ was the dictum of 2014. Indeed it was a theme ushered in with last year’s ‘Sensational’ ICE Totally Gaming show and to other shows throughout the year such as EiG Excellence in iGaming in the Über cool location of Berlin, itself a mercurial event of epic proportions.

Of course, now that innovation is engrained in the industry’s synch, we need to build on that and indeed strive to exceed. ICE 2015’s theme of Discover - Voyages Extraordinaires inspired by French writer Jules Verne really does evolve and capture the discovery element and indeed wonderment of our industry.   

ICE is like Christmas in some ways, the anticipation, the excitement and the unwrapping of presents.

It is an intrinsic part of not only the igaming and land-based gambling industries; it’s a place for discovery, for research, for a voyage where you are continually immersed with ideas and inspiration. As an event it is that special place you can chose to find things that can challenge and change the way you think. For me, no other industry event in the annual calendar has come close to replicating that magic and indeed mystic spell.

So what does 2015 hold for the industry? For me personally, the future of the industry is not necessarily technology – it’s you – it’s the people behind the lines of code, it’s your customers.

I believe we are likely to see a higher degree of player interactivity and more personalized betting ‘experiences’ and become less product orientated and process driven. Personalized gambling like many forms of gambling which is undertaken in solitude will become less about the winning and the chance to win money; it will become more about the entertainment proposition that is such as successful formula in the social economy and social gaming at large. Why, the now generation demands entertainment for little or no financial outlay – it’s the freemium economy.

Bingo is a good example of this and it is a very popular every-green industry and highly socialable game. It is likely to prosper further given that it is more socially acceptable, and regarded by most as being on the softer side of the gambling spectrum. Fantasy sports’ betting is another example, which is hugely popular in the USA. It shall gain further popularity and traction in the UK and across Europe as it offers exceptional entertainment value without requiring a large monetary expense on the part of the consumer.

Speaking of money, Bitcoin if you have been hiding under a rock is a peer-to-peer digital currency and payment system that is taking the whole world by storm! And with many so heartedly fed-up and distrusting of the current banking system of Fiat currency, pounds, dollars and euros, then Bitcoin could become a major force within the igaming sector.

It’s not as out there as you think as mainstream online retail outlets have begun to accept the world’s new favourite digital currency, including the behemoths Amazon and Microsoft. We are already witnessing the emergence of other forms of online gaming driven by companies such as software provider Coingaming, pushing the envelope on Bitcoin Poker, Bitcoin Blackjack, Bitcoin Roulette dedicated to players that wish to partake of their online gambling entertainment with this new currency. So perhaps we shall witness more Bitcoin or new crypto based currency only sites throughout the year.

Whatever your voyage to ICE next year, you’re sure to walk away with a Discover - Extraordinaires

ICE Totally Gaming will take place at Excel in London from February 3-5, 2015. Visit www.icetotallygaming.com for more information.

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