George Kakouras, managing director at ApcoPay, asks if the process of adopting innovation is fast enough and examines how it can lead to sustained organisational success.

We are reaching the end of another remarkable year for the gaming industry. The global online gaming market retains its winning growth formula, with its value set to reach more than $100 billion by 2025. And this despite the ever-changing regulatory environment.

Gaming activity continues to shift online, driven by rising internet penetration and the growing adoption of smartphones. Players can access their favourite gaming sites and apps from anywhere, anytime, enjoying enhanced convenience in the palm of their hand. Mobile gaming is constantly taking over, currently occupying a share of more than 60 per cent of the market.

Raised in the digital era, younger players look for personalisation, rich information and content. Their payment choices reflect the convenience they experience using apps for other daily activities such as purchasing clothes online, booking concert tickets or holidays or buying digital music or movie. Customer expectations are shifting as they seek immediate service and instant gratification through seamless and effortless interaction.

Gaming activity continues to shift online, driven by rising internet penetration and the growing adoption of smartphones

The challenge for gaming operators is to satisfy all these necessities against a backdrop of constantly changing regulations in different geographies, while keeping up with the rapid evolution of technology and services.

The good news is that during the last few years, we have experienced rapid innovation in all aspects of online gaming payments, including faster deposits and withdrawals, one-click features, and authentication biometrics. Gaming operators bank on such innovations to grow their customer base and to increase brand loyalty. They can achieve this by enhancing the user experience and offering harmonious convenience to the player, integrating the payment process in their websites and applications. Payment then becomes a seamless part of the player’s overall betting transaction journey.

To simplify the journey for players, operators must provide payment methods that allow users to pay in the manner most convenient and familiar to them, making it easier to set up an account and complete the process to place a bet. Offering regional alternative payment methods and digital wallets, based on the country of the player’s location is nowadays a necessity, while the acceptance of cryptocurrencies opens the doors to a new era.

In gaming, the focus has traditionally been on how quickly a player can place a bet. Now it is also essential to empower players to instantly access their winnings. This is feasible thanks to recent innovations. Instant pay-out, a player convenience that up to now could be only supported by land-based retail gaming operators, can now also be offered online.

Despite the several payments innovations available to modern e-commerce operators, it is often a reality that payment flows on gaming sites and apps have not yet evolved to offer a smooth mobile user experience to players. This is often caused by gaming operators rushing to achieve faster time-to-market in diverse jurisdictions depending on regulatory changes. They opt to go live with a bare essential functionality approach. This approach unfortunately results in an inferior customer journey and low brand loyalty, making any growth gained unsustainable in the long-term.

Gaming operators are faced with a dilemma: allocating resources to enhancing the core betting product offering on the one hand or investing in the adoption of payment innovations on the other.

Organisations that opt to develop their payment solutions and add payment methods in-house utilise significant resources in integration development, launch, maintenance and upgrades, and then struggle to handle authentication, combat fraud, regulation changes and chargebacks. It is also common that many organisations are tied by the capacity of their gaming platform provider to serve them with the necessary changes in the desired timeframe.

It has been proven that organisations which opt to focus on their core business and betting product, while leaving the payments complexities to an experienced agile payment solutions provider, stand to perform better in the long term, innovate faster and achieve sustainable growth.

In the rapidly evolving gaming industry, where payment innovations appear and change even faster, there is a strategic route for organisations to take as they adopt payment innovations quickly and successfully. Gaming operators and experienced payment solutions providers must work together to identify and integrate the best innovations and then introduce them to the right regional markets at the opportune time. This should happen in a unified seamless way, making the payment process almost invisible during the customers payment journey. It is this chain of events that ultimately paves the way to sustainable long-term organisational success.