RISQ's Julian Borg-Barthet - The evolving jackpot landscape
RISQ's Julian Borg-Barthet - The evolving jackpot landscape
For betting operators, utilising jackpots can play a key role in helping the expansion of their offering, and stand out in the market, something that was evident at this Summer’s World Cup.
We spoke to RISQ’s Director of Business Development, Julian Borg-Barthet, who looked at the evolving jackpots landscape, starting off by assessing the recent success of free-to-play jackpot games over the recent World Cup.
After the World Cup, RISQ announced a new deal to deliver jackpots across the GVC family. Can you talk about the significance of such deals?
Well, clearly it was a welcome fillip to sign with a name of GVC’s repute and influence. However, this new partnership draws a line in the sand for bringing a fresh dimension to customer acquisition and retention across the wider igaming industry. RISQ’s unique jackpot solution is being rolled out across GVC’s full portfolio of brands, having proved a key cog in delivering new levels in player acquisition and retention over the World Cup via our Sports Predictor jackpots.
These “predictor” games, which can run off both free-to-play or pay-to-play functionality, challenge players with forecasting the results of various sporting events. RISQ’s jackpot mechanic turns a combination of various individual stats and player-performance markets into accumulator-style propositions, covering every angle of an tournament for deeper user-engagement on the road to a potential £10m prize.
Why are these type of free-to-play games all the rage at the moment?
From the player’s perspective, FTP Sports Predictors appeal to the end-user with a free, if unlikely, shot at a life-changing jackpot on their preferred sport or event – from the Premier League football, through this month’s U.S. Open tennis, and on to the Ryder Cup golf. From the operator side, the ability of FTPs to harness fan enthusiasm, or to educate others on sports betting via a compelling cross-sell (from casino, bingo sites et al) and drive activity in an organic way is second to none. Coupling this intuitive and enjoyable gameplay to a towering jackpot is a winning combination.
Could these games prove a straight swap for embattled bookmaker bonusing?
2018 has been a cautionary year to some extent, with many operators re-evaluating their marketing models post GDPR in the tightening grip of global regulation. It’s a progressively standardised market for sign-up promotions and bonuses, so these predictor games are helping to provide an alternative route to market, allowing operators to acquire and retain repeat-customers at a low cost while also remaining fully compliant with changing legislation.
More generally, there’s a greater emphasis on margin-control, maximizing the player-betting cycle and market cost savings. The old attitude, not to mention mechanics, of simply handing out free bets willy-nilly is something operators need to get away from. It was an unsustainable race to the bottom. I feel these games, however, are the first workable answer in a broader debate.
Is there a danger that these games’ longshot jackpots will engender long-term apathy from players?
Certainly, the odds are stacked against the player here. So, as with any jackpot, it’s vital to bring relatable credibility to players to assure them that they actually can win the prize fund on offer. Otherwise, if there are very few winners, fatigue will assuredly kick in one day. RISQ’s customizable iGaming Insurance Platform (iGiP), however, guards against this by helping to structure these games and promotions so that there are more regular winners for any given client. Tiered rewards systems represent another option. In short, though, embracing the consequential data allows us to be proactive in our solutions, hugely enhancing the inherent ability of jackpots to drive acquisition and retention across worldwide markets. It’s important that these games are never viewed as data harvests, so the iGiP has a key role to play in this arena.
RISQ are known as “the risk-management specialists”, above all in the jackpots domain, but can you breakdown this industry provision and why it should matter to operations?
Essentially, RISQ are the leading igaming insurance platform, whose expertise is partitioned by drilling four deep wells of niche service. Firstly, we foster new levels in player acquisition and retention via scalable jackpots of up to £25m which operators can use to bolster their campaigns. Secondly, RISQ also provide betting-on-lottery insurance up to £150m on over 50 different international lotteries. Thirdly, our platform also allows content-developers to offer pre-seeded versions of their slots as a jackpot, or launch peer-to-peer, non-networked jackpots for products such as poker and bingo. And finally, there’s our aforementioned Sports Predictors which operate from an industry-leading baseline jackpot of £10m. In the round, these four flexible jackpot pillars afford operators and platform-providers access to some of the biggest payouts in the industry. We are also elastic enough to build campaigns internally or work with third-parties.
You were recently recruited as RISQ’s Director of Business Development, what are the challenges and opportunities for you in the marketplace?
Well, sometimes it’s a fine line between the two! However, my initial goal was to package our flexible solutions and clearly articulate them to the market, thereby matching them up with their ideal prospective partners. RISQ are tech service providers to the gambling industry with a string of products which speak to differing business needs. So it’s my job to find each a happy home, whether that’s here in the UK or expanding our global footprint abroad.
It’s an exciting time for me to be working with a trusted and experienced team that are client-focused and eager to tailor our products to the individual needs of the customer. RISQ’s unrivalled expertise in both risk and sporting analytics, leveraging over a dozen insurance markets such as Lloyd’s of London, has given me the motivation and flexible contracting stage to take our products into new territories with confidence.