|London, UK (Press Release) 7 November 2006 -- Gaming companies have switched their focus from the huge US market to concentrate more on Europe and Asia; speculation is mounting regarding mergers between 888 and PartyGaming and /or Ladbrokes; London casinos are becoming important strategic asset for foreign gaming companies; new legislation in Britain next year will clear the way for super casinos and an influx of online gaming businesses and Ryan air have reportedly formed a gaming partnership with Internet bingo group… When W. Edwards Deming wrote “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory” sometime between 1900 and 1993, he definitely was not referencing the gaming and gambling industry’s reaction to major upheavals. |
The arrests of iGaming executives by The Department of Justice in the US had thrust the legality of gaming and gambling into the spotlight and put many a company on its back foot. Generation of gamers in the lucrative North American market were immediately off limits. But this did not sound the death knell for gaming and gambling
“In a rapidly changing environment [for the gambling industry] it is more and more of an importance to generate games-content precisely fitted to the target group addressed” comments Eberhard Duerrschmid CEO of Greentube, a leading developer and provider of Gaming Solutions for the Internet, mobile devices and iTV. Eberhard is just one of over 70 speakers taking part at an on- and offline gambling summit in London on 6th – 7th December, Bullet Business Europe ‘06. “A whole generation of gamers is out there and just waiting to be collected and sorted into the value-chains of entertainment setups that are prepared to specifically adopt to their needs” continues Eberhard.
Following the money, and building a community around your gaming brand to ensure a major slice of the action, may seem a simple enough challenge, but rising up to it is a whole new ball game, especially when partnerships are springing up in the most unlikely of places… take Bingo for example, which is no longer an exclusive pursuit of the blue-rinse brigade.
Ryanair passengers are now able to play bingo on the Ryanair website as part of their partnership deal with Jackpotjoy.com. After scrapping last year’s plans to introduce portable entertainment units, the move is seen as an attempt to add another new revenue stream as Ryanair seeks to boost cash flow from areas other than ticket sales. The second phase in mid-2007 will reportedly see the airline hopes offering online gambling on board planes.
Online Bingo has indeed experienced unprecedented growth in the last 18 months and this partnership between Ryanair and Jackpot joy may be the beginning of a new turning point. CEOs of Bingo.com, Bingos.co.uk, ThinkBingo and Which Bingo are just some of the executives confirmed to speak at the Online Bingo conference co-located with Bullet Business Europe ‘06 summit which will address how to get traction for your Bingo brand.
Hosted by independent Gaming consultants, Bullet Business Europe ‘06 in London, 6-7 December confirms 6 industry specific conferences, workshops and a large networking calendar that includes a Poker Tournament, Charity Auction and the Industry Xmas Party.
Addressing the business of Poker, land-based Casinos, Online Bingo and New Product Development in 4 individual conferences, the summit also confirms separate Legal and Marketing workshops. Bullet Business Europe ‘06 brings together key companies in gaming and gambling to address how sustainable advantage can be secured in a climate of regulatory yo-yoing and unprecedented growth.
“We all know that the gaming and gambling industry has changed considerably over the last few months,” says Mike Setters, Summit Director of Bullet Business Europe ’06, “we wanted to deliver a series of conferences that tackle the challenges faced by individuals with core responsibilities across the changing gaming and gambling market.”
Despite all this change in the market poker has continued to be the star pupil of the gaming industry. It’s often quoted that an incredible $60 billion was gambled on poker sites in 2005 alone – so capturing market share in an area of intense competition is no easy feat. Lee Richardson, CEO of Chartwell Games, and speaker at the Poker summit co-located with Bullet Business Europe ‘06 has an eye on an emerging trend which will differentiate poker winners from poker losers, “[Chartwell believes that] European players are increasingly looking for poker variants which they readily recognise and already enjoy playing off-line; tailoring games which suit this demand will be key for the successful on-line operator”
John Parsonage, Internet Product Manager of Skybet and speaker at the New Product Development conference at Bullet Business Europe ‘06 agrees with this sentiment and adds “The future of gaming product development lies within the operator’s ability to offer a thrilling and compelling gaming experience in a usable and entertaining format that is available at the player’s convenience. Central to this is the ability to utilise the convergence of technologies allowing players to use one account and play a multitude of products across numerous platforms.”
Convergence of technologies is also no stranger to the more traditional land-based casino market. Casino properties are now rolling out server-based gaming which is set to revolutionise the casino floor as well as player experience. But the radicalisation of the casino market is not limited to the games on offer.
Harrah’s now owns nearly 83 per cent of the shares in UK-casino company London Clubs International, clear indication of how lucrative international casino groups believe Britain will become as the 2005 Gambling Act slowly unwinds many of the regulatory constraints that have so tightly bound the industry over the past 40 years. Proof that European casinos are becoming important strategic asset for foreign gaming companies? It would definitely appear that way. Yet with this comes a note of caution.
'The rapidly changing Casino industry of today is not about making money, it is about creating value,” says Steve Karoul, a veteran of casino marketing and former VP Casino Marketing at Foxwoods Casinos, the largest casino in the world. He continues, “that 'value' will translate into longer term profits.' Steve is also a keynote speaker at the Casino Summit, co-located with Bullet Business Europe ‘06 and will talk about the Foxwoods Formula for Success model which outlines how casino properties can create value and tweak bottom line profitability.
“With individual conference on topics such as Poker, Casino, Bingo, New Product Development, Legal issues and Marketing, Bullet Business Europe ’06 allows companies across the entire gaming and gambling segment a chance to understand how they boost bottom line profitability and ensure player retention and acquisition,“ says Anita Yaa Agyeman, co-Summit Director. “With the entire industry meeting under the one roof at Bullet Business Europe ‘06 [www.bulletbusiness.com/europe06] the whole team can come along and share networking opportunities at individual conferences specifically targeted to them.”
Lee W. Richardson, Chief Executive, Chartwell Games adds “Bullet Business Europe 06 is an ideal event to conclude a fascinating 2006, and help get ahead of the challenges for 2007”.
2006 may have proved a difficult year for gaming and gambling with leading operators forced out of the lucrative US market, coupled with uncertainly about how changes to gambling laws will impact on the land-based casino and general gambling markets. But there is still a lot to play for in a market that continues to make great gains by confirming new sign-ups from outside the US, and continues to attract new customers from less traditional player markets.