31 October 2019

OKTO | Channel surfing: The key to the new wave of online payments

As ever with the evolution of tech, there’s a disruption on the horizon. The future of gaming for operators is omnichannel – and the new generation of player demands a gaming experience that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

In today’s mobile world, players expect to be able to do everything using their smart phones; whether that’s instant payments, deposits and pay-outs or storing digital betting receipts. With point-of-sale transactions via mobile growing 46% in 2018 and 74% of UK consumers now managing money and making payments using their mobile, there has been an explosion of payment service providers (PSPs) in recent years targeting the betting and gaming industry.

So far, PSPs have become increasingly dominant in gaming because they cater for an easy betting experience online with very little friction. Plenty of PSPs (think Trustly) have already done very well in the online space – and alternative digital payments – particularly mobile, have been hitting the mainstream for a while now, appealing to a new generation of player while in turn offering operators lower transaction costs and faster processing times compared with traditional methods.

However, those with the expertise and proven track record to bridge the world of offline and online are still waiting in the wings. Those who can provide a smooth transition between cross-channel player sessions in a true omni-channel offering first will be on to a winner and likely to have a significant hold for years to come.

In today’s mobile world consumers expect to be able to do everything using their smart phones; whether that’s instant payments, deposits and pay-outs or storing digital betting receipts. Mobile wallets are the future, and the next generation of betting customer wants to be able to have the freedom of choice to place their bet both online, via their favourite operator, while also being able to do the same in shop, with the same payment channel.

The next wave of PSPs are creating payment systems that are being designed to marry these two shifts, making payments faster, simple and more secure; and available for any channel. Following the unprecedented growth of gaming in recent years, operators now face the difficulty of standing out in an overpopulated crowd – a challenge that is compounded by hefty restrictions on advertising and promotional activities, and this who can provide the solution for the are going to be a real enabler.

Creating frictionless methods to transact through every channel will soon be a key a differentiator, and with over-regulation beginning to stifle industry growth, to stay ahead of competitors, operators need to optimise player engagement and retention. Achieving that lies in the power of the brand and the ability to offer the full digital convenience whether offline or online.

To bridge the omnichannel world, we also need to go further, another factor to consider is that player groups are becoming increasingly diverse and complex – and this emerging challenge needs to be catered for quickly. Many gaming consumers won’t be as quick to adopt new technologies and services, and operators need a PSP that can deliver for multiple audiences. There are still players, for example, who enjoy the benefits of cash-based gaming but want the added convenience of storing betting slips and gaming vouchers on their smart phone.

We can see this happening in real time. In retail, operators have woken up to the need to digitise what has traditionally been an analogue vertical, while digital interactions are becoming far more favoured by emerging demographics.

However, standalone tech is not enough – if PSPs are to fill this gap, they need the relevant licences to provide an end-to-end service which allows our partners to unlock that information whilst being fully compliant with local anti-money laundering, data protection and gaming laws. We’ve already seen what happens when this goes wrong with PayPal fallout in Germany, and solutions need to remain fully compliant while also combining state-of-the-art technology and multi-layer security to enable operators to optimise their identification processes in a compliant and cost-effective manner without falling foul of regulators.

Payment systems such as ours are designed to marry these two shifts, making payments faster, simple and more secure in a fully omnichannel environment. Our bespoke 360 cashless payment environment is designed for the mobile world, connecting online and retail platforms through smartphone technology. The market will be fascinating in terms of growth as digital wallet tech continues to go mainstream, and those who harness that tech to bring it into omnichannel gaming first will be on to a gold rush. At a time when the industry is in flux, and increasingly disjointed between retail and online gaming – bridging the multichannel world for operators will be the key to betting’s future.

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