In recent years, technology has assumed a leading role in pushing the industry’s boundaries, presenting a myriad of new opportunities and captivating the collective imagination of the sector.
The influential impact of technology in reshaping and driving innovation within the industry is at the heart of the conference agenda at CasinoBeats Summit 2024, taking place in Malta between 21 -23 May.
Natalie Lees and Jack Richards, Senior Conference Producers at SBC, shed light on the diligent curation of topics, the significance of cross-industry perspectives, and the innovative formats making their debut in the 2024 edition.
Q1: Technology is central to CasinoBeats Summit’s agenda. How do you choose which technologies warrant a panel discussion and assess their ongoing relevance or obsolescence?
Natalie Lees: The unique aspect of our event lies in recognising the significance of all discussions; it’s about picking the right discussions for a panel format. Many emerging technologies require the intimacy of an ‘Ask Me Anything’ or workshop setting. By incorporating these interactive formats, we ensure our discussions remain dynamic and relevant. This approach allows us to stay current, facilitating timely conversations about adapting to evolving technologies, including strategies for coping with obsolescence.
Jack Richards: It’s probably the most difficult part of agenda writing! Looking ahead now, at the time of writing we are still over 6 months out, and trying to predict tech evolutions that far out can be extremely challenging – given how fast-paced the industry is. One thing for certain is that generative AI will be at the centre of most technological developments, so it’s about how we frame the discussion and adapt/tweak the synopses as and when products are updated.
Q2: The plan for this year’s agenda includes hosting speakers from different fields, not just casino experts. What can attendees learn from these varied perspectives?
NL: Incorporating speakers from diverse fields in this year’s agenda offers attendees a unique opportunity to gain insights beyond traditional casino expertise. From the video gaming sector, participants can explore cutting-edge technologies and graphics trends to enhance the gaming experience. Insights from the e-commerce sector focus on user experience excellence, that are particularly challenging navigating regulatory restrictions. Additionally, expertise from SEO professionals, content writers, and leadership experts provides fresh perspectives on optimizing online visibility, creating engaging content, and implementing effective leadership techniques.
Collectively, these varied perspectives empower attendees to adapt and implement innovative strategies, ensuring the casino industry remains dynamic and at the forefront of technological advancements.
JR: The best ideas come from thinking outside the box, so by bringing in speakers from other industries we are giving the best tools to do that thinking! Attendees can gain a broader perspective with cross-industry insights from tech trends to marketing strategies.
Q3: I noticed we’ll have a bunch of roundtables covering global markets at the next edition. Could you let us know what your idea is with those and why you have found this format to be particularly effective?
NL: At the upcoming CasinoBeats Summit, we’re featuring roundtable discussions on global markets, spanning from highly regulated markets like the UK to grey markets such as Japan and evolving regulations in LATAM. The choice to include these roundtables stems from recognizing the complex international market landscape in our industry. The roundtable format proves effective by fostering interactive dialogues, promoting knowledge sharing, and facilitating networking opportunities among professionals operating in diverse global markets. The intimate setting allows personalised learning experiences, enabling participants to tailor engagement to specific markets of interest.
Navigating the spectrum from highly regulated to grey markets, these roundtables provide a collaborative platform for addressing market-specific challenges and sharing best practices, ensuring attendees gain valuable insights into the diverse challenges and opportunities across international markets.
JR: With real estate being at such a premium for a 2-day event, we wanted to give space for some of those conversations that are extremely necessary but perhaps more suitable to a smaller scale and more intimate conversation. It’s so important to have discussions about specific markets for example, and whilst we can cover the big changes (like Brazil) on the main agenda, we wanted to give the chance for the other markets to have their airtime.
Q4: The agenda provides delegates with a new angle on the subject of leadership. What has prompted this fresh approach to covering leadership? Do you believe this is a reflection of current industry attitudes or is it to encourage a new way of thinking?
NL: The decision to infuse a fresh perspective into our agenda’s leadership discussions directly responds to the profound industry transformations of the past 5 years, prompted by invaluable lessons from COVID’s impact on company cultures and workplace health. This proactive approach aims not only to mirror current industry attitudes but also to actively encourage a new way of thinking, cultivating leadership strategies that resonate with the evolving industry climate. Acknowledging the importance of retaining talent and fostering a happy workforce, we emphasise personal development through unconventional avenues like meditation and poker, offering leaders essential skills for navigating the changing industry landscape and integrating these aspects into organisational leadership. Additionally, strategic inclusion of investment and M&A discussions serves to assist entrepreneurs in propelling their businesses to the next level, providing a platform for exploring opportunities, fostering growth, and ensuring leadership strategies align with the evolving needs of businesses in the industry.
JR: Addressing topics like mental health, stress, and mentorship at a conference is crucial because it acknowledges the holistic well-being of professionals. In the last 5 years or so, we’ve noticed just how important these things are to the human condition, and it makes sense for employers to buy-in too, as the results are overwhelming when staff are happy, motivated and comfortable. Understanding and managing stress fosters a healthier work environment, while discussions on mental health promote awareness and support, and we want to encourage that.
Q5: Day two of the product conference track focuses on all things land-based, bingo, and live casino. With the industry’s shift to digital, how do you think those verticals can maintain their relevance?
NL: Day two’s strategic focus on land-based, bingo, and live casino in the product conference track recognises the enduring significance of these traditional verticals amidst the industry’s digital shift. In navigating the digital landscape, these verticals can maintain and even expand their relevance by embracing technology to enhance the overall customer experience. Simultaneously, live casino experiences can be enriched through immersive technologies, ensuring that the appeal of in-person gaming is complemented by cutting-edge digital enhancements. By strategically blending tradition with innovation and exploring new market entries, these verticals can not only preserve their relevance but also provide a trusted opportunity into global markets.
JR: The key word for this topic is ‘adaptability’. How can these legacy ways of gaming embrace the changes in player behaviour and changes in technology to create a USP that digital gaming doesn’t necessarily have? In the ‘digital era’, these verticals should be enhancing user experiences through immersive technology, and fostering a sense of community through social interactions, both online and offline.
Q6: Let’s talk about streamers. I understand there is a big focus on their involvement this year, but I also know it is hard to get them to attend conferences. How do you pitch CasinoBeats to streamers? How will their presence benefit operators and suppliers in attendance?
NL: CasinoBeats invites streamers to an exclusive experience where they can play the latest slot games launching only at our conference. This unique opportunity not only enhances their content but also fosters community engagement among streamers. Attendees can connect directly with leading operators and suppliers, exploring collaborations and gaining insights into industry innovations. Streamers, as influential advocates, provide real-time reviews to their audiences, amplifying the impact of exclusive game launches. CasinoBeats serves as a dynamic hub for the gaming community, offering shared experiences, connections, and the latest in gaming innovation, benefiting all participants involved.
JR: Streamers, with their close-knit link to affiliation and marketing, provide a 2024-centric approach to what the current and next-gen players will be interested in, and how they will consume content. Getting as many of these streamers in as possible will create a vibrant, festival feel for the event, and more importantly, the more we stream, the more the event will get screen time!
Q7: Some would argue that there is nothing more to add to the discourse surrounding responsible gambling. Why do you think it is still important to feature such topics on the agenda and what is your fresh take on this subject?
NL: Addressing responsible gambling remains pivotal as we navigate evolving methods for attracting and retaining players. With the rise of streaming, Telegram casinos, and crypto casinos, it becomes crucial to establish and uphold best practices for players. The dynamic nature of these new avenues necessitates a constant commitment to responsibility, ensuring that industry practices adapt alongside emerging technologies to provide a safe and enjoyable gaming experience for all players
JR: As technology reshapes the world, so do humans in their interaction with that technology. It might feel like we have said all that needs saying on responsible gambling at times, but players are just as vulnerable as ever as they react differently to ongoing and improving offers and personalisation from operators. We will use our platform to emphasise education and awareness, including leveraging AI and data analytics to turn this new tech space into a force for good.
Q8: It is refreshing to see so many new formats on this agenda. I see workshops, hackathons and even a meditation session. Can you walk us through your ideas?
NL: For me, it’s important to not just have panel discussions, each session should be interactive, educational and engaging.
Hackathons serve as a catalyst for innovation, which as an in industry we often speak about, so helping to facilitate innovation at the event was essential.
The workshops and hackathons will enable the audience to collaborate and develop skillsets making them a valuable time investment for organisations and personal development seeking to foster a culture of continuous improvement and creativity.
JR: For me, it’s about tapping into audience needs for this – on how best to keep the audience stimulated and entertained (by changing the format) and offering them diversity for different educational styles. Different session formats at a conference are crucial to cater to those diverse learning styles, resulting in a more comprehensive and enriching learning experience.
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