‘An invaluable opportunity to come together’ – Kamran Hedjri, CEO, PXP Financial

Ahead of SBC Summit North America, Kamran Hedjri, CEO of PXP Financial, discussed future industry trends including the metaverse, how PXP Financial is helping operators to reduce friction in their operations, and how SBC Summit North America can link the firm with new connections to tackle new issues and explore opportunities. 

What makes SBC Summit North America stand out as an event?

The online gambling and gaming industry in the US and Canada is experiencing incredible growth, and I believe the SBC Summit North America is an invaluable opportunity to come together with other thought leaders from the wide range of businesses driving this growth. 

By embracing collaboration and discussion, we continue to grow our industry to its full potential – businesses can come to the SBC Summit North America and walk away empowered to enter new markets and take advantage of new technologies.

What would you highlight as the biggest opportunity in the US gaming industry over the next couple of years?

There is incredible growth in the US iGaming industry and increasingly businesses will be seeking to take advantage of this and stake their claim to a share of voice as more states alter their regulations. For example, Pennsylvania introduced legal sports betting shortly after the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting. While New Jersey still boasts the largest sports betting market in the US, Pennsylvania has shown impressive growth rates. Once the success of regulations in states like these has been demonstrated, other states are likely to follow suit. It’s an exciting time for businesses in this space that want to capitalise on new regulations, technologies and the rise of APMs. 

Our own expansion at PXP Financial is testament to this. Last September we celebrated three successful quarters of growth in the US iGaming and Sports Betting market. Having been licensed in just one state in January 2020, this shows remarkable growth. The latest states we operate in include Arizona and Wyoming. Following the rising interest in congress for a separate esports bill, we’re now looking at Ohio. For businesses that are ready to grow, it’s time to strike while the iron is hot. 

Successfully addressing the challenges of state-by-state regulation means gaming merchants can access new customer bases, while payment providers with local knowledge, like PXP Financial, can help speed up the journey. We handle the complexities of getting to grips with the payment ecosystem in the US so the merchant can focus on providing an engaging and immersive customer experience.

Each state has its own individual regulations to follow. Merchants and PSPs need to know that, for example, New Jersey only allows withdrawals from closed-loop cards, while in Michigan prepaid cards are not accepted at all, so there is a limitation on which cards can be used. At the extreme end of the regulatory scale, in Tennessee casino gambling is not legal in any form. To add to the complexity, when entering into new states new licenses are required for both merchants and payment processors, but there is no universal price for these licenses.

Combined with the myriad of APMs now available to consumers and the rapid growth in adoption, entering a new market in the US can seem too complex to be worthwhile for merchants. By providing a full payments service with the agility to support with regulations, APMs and digital currencies, we are helping businesses to seize the opportunity to launch in new states. 

What industry innovation will capture the most attention in the next 12 months?

All eyes will be on APMs as the payments ecosystem continues to evolve at amazing speed. Open Banking is becoming more pervasive across the globe and fintech is reaching new heights. In particular, the industry is moving very quickly in the US. We are likely to see intense competition as businesses grapple to adapt to the direction of travel and meet the demands of savvy consumers who are now well-used to finding their favourite payment technologies at checkout. 

As we move toward 2023, we’re expecting an increased buzz around the Metaverse. This is still in its early days of development, however, it’s set to be pivotal for the online gaming industry next year. Industry insiders are already deep in discussion about how businesses can interact with Meta to increase customer loyalty and create new consumer experiences. Despite the Metaverse’s infancy, it’s a key innovation to watch. 

Without a doubt, we are not yet experiencing the full impact of APMs. This is a seismic change for the payments industry, as APMs are likely to become the most preferred payment method among consumers as early as this year. In fact, we’re expecting APMs to outperform cash and card in all territories. There is growing pressure on merchants to accommodate BNPL, as well as digital wallets and cryptocurrencies. As well as competition between businesses, this will result in a raft of improved solutions for customers. There is also an opportunity to tempt customers back into stores using APMs. 

What core challenges do you help solve for your customers/partners?

We support iGaming operators, casinos and sports bookmakers to offer their entertainment fast and free of restrictions. PXP Financial has 30% of the online market share in the US where it has been operating since 2013, so we have a deep understanding of the landscape. We navigate legislation and ensure our customers are provided with a compliant system ahead of launch, so they can seamlessly operate in their target state. 

Our business is all about the importance of partnership and reducing friction for merchants. As well as understanding the complexities of launching in new states, we are experts in supporting merchants to adopt the correct APMs for their markets. Gaming operators who cannot accept a customers’ preferred payment method will hinder the player experience and inevitably suffer lost revenue. In fact, a study in the US found that 42% of American consumers will bring a purchase to a halt if their favourite payment method isn’t available. We expect consumer adoption of APMs to continue to grow, so we are here to provide the agility that businesses need.

Who have you especially enjoyed working with over the past year (partner/client)?

PXP Financial partnered with US gaming operator BetMGM, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and Entain (formerly GVC), a sports betting and gaming entertainment company, to underpin its expansion plans by providing a state-of-the-art, all-in-one payment solution and service. 

PXP Financial is supporting BetMGM with a single API integration that connects all alternative payment and card solutions across multiple US states. This makes managing the payment process across the US much simpler while rolling out BetMGM’s offerings into new states, as there is no need for multiple integrations.

The full-service gateway has already been deployed across seventeen US states, including Tennessee, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado and West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and PXP Financial will be supporting BetMGM’s further expansion across the nation. 

The partnership has been particularly rewarding thanks to the diligence of the team at BetMGM. Despite working together to set tight deadlines, collaborating to reach them has been incredibly easy. Supporting a business to launch into new states requires attention to detail and perseverance from all sides, and we are thrilled with the prowess of our partnership.

What are you hoping to learn from the conference at SBC Summit North America?

I want to hear about the pain points of merchants across the sector – do they feel they are fully able to take advantage of the opportunities this growth represents, or are there frustrations holding them back? It will be enlightening to hear from the panel of SBC leaders on the convergence of the worlds of sports betting and iGaming in the US as more states update their regulations, and to find out how businesses are planning on securing their market shares. As the world of gaming continues to grow and evolve, there are a great many questions around how businesses can keep up with the speed and direction of travel. The SBC Summit North America provides a setting for these important questions to be addressed. 

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