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Gamesys builds on “transformative” year with 360º customer experience focus

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Following a landmark 2019, Lee Fenton, the CEO of the newly formed Gamesys Group, reveals how a recent integration of Zendesk’s customer service and engagement platform is providing the groundwork for Gamesys’s ventures/brands.

With over 1,300 employees across 16 group offices worldwide Gamesys puts a lot of emphasis on ensuring the best customer service across all your brands, how has your recent transformation via Zendesk enhanced your focus on customers?

Zendesk has set the foundation for our 360º view of the player initiatives for 2020. Being able to look at our players in different contexts while all within one unified system, gives us the ability to provide a personalised experience for our players based on their preferences and needs. Our players may prefer to engage with us on social channels, receive a call-back or search for the answer to their issue without ever engaging with our advisors. Zendesk has allowed us to introduce these options and enhance our existing channels increasing our teams’ capacity.

Zendesk has also provided us with an invaluable insight into what our players expect from our customer experience team. This enables us to personalise our player’s experience even further as we roll-out the next phases of our customer care platform. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that we provide the best experience, via the right channel, within a safe and responsible environment.

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Gamesys’ customer service transformation required collaboration across multiple teams to get buy-in and transform their service centres, what’s the key to keeping everyone on message?

To understand the magnitude of collaboration that was needed to enact this change, 21 teams actively contributed to the successful selection and 82-day roll-out of Zendesk. The success of the initial rollout came down to personal investment, a willingness to engage and constructively work through competing priorities and a commitment to improving both the experience and toolsets for our players and advisors.

 

Not many companies have to provide market-leading customer experience to a global player community, what are your top priorities in terms of anticipating your customers’ needs?

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Our top priority for 2020 in the customer experience space is to provide the best entertainment to our players within a safe and responsible environment. This relationship demonstrates our commitment to understand and care for our players and enables us to provide the most enjoyable customer experience.

Zendesk provides a unified view of the player, multiple avenues to reach out to our community and contributes intelligence which we use to refine our predictive models which identify users who may potentially be at risk.

As regulations evolve, it is vital that we continue to demonstrate our commitment to compliance. Zendesk provides us with tools for rigid GDPR compliance, auditing and reporting for KYC and AML.

 

How do you measure the impact of the customer experience with your customers, are you predominantly focused on retention and spend or is there more to it?

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We want to build long-term sustainable relationships with players. We measure the impact of their experience through their engagement with our brands throughout their lifetime rather than spend.

We are always looking to invest in our players and their experience, and this gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We are in the entertainment business which is at the heart of the reason why players visit our sites. Our focus is providing enjoyment whilst empowering them with the tools to control their play. By providing a frictionless customer experience, we enhance the value of the brand which helps in our goals of creating a sustainable responsible business and organically drives brand awareness and retention.

 

Bingo players and operators are unique compared to other sectors of the gaming community. Where do you see the key differences in providing customer service to this sector than say land-based casinos or slots customers?

For our online Bingo-led brands, we have a vibrant social community who enjoy engaging with other members and our Chat Hosts. Our community is often the first to provide us with constructive feedback on our games and engage with us if there are any issues on the site that may need attention. This community feel is not unique to our Bingo players and can be equally applied to other segments of our poker and casino communities. At Gamesys, we have found that brand, player demographics, and a player’s persona influence the type of customer experience one would most prefer to receive — whether that be via phone, email, chat, or even self-service.

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As an award-winning, leading global operator, what does Gamesys’ vision look like in the next decade and what part do your service centres play in this?

We continue to invest in the Gamesys Group multi-brand strategy and we recently launched a new site with Scientific Games which is dedicated to one of the UK’s most popular slots, Rainbow Riches.

We will also continue to develop our existing ventures while expanding into new markets. As we know from entering new markets such as Germany, Sweden, and Japan, each market comes with unique challenges, opportunities and regulatory compliance requirements. Our advisors and the player experience we provide will continue to adapt and remain flexible so that we can respond continually to meet our player’s expectations.

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AGT CEO Harald Neumann

Ainsworth Primed to Progress After 17% Revenue Rise

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AGT chairman Danny Gladstone said a 17% rise in full-year revenue to $284.9m will allow the company to “release new and innovative products to further improve the group’s financial results.”

Underlying EBITDA was $57.8m compared to $55.8m a year ago, with profit before tax, excluding currency effects and one-off items, rising 10.4%. International revenues, which now account for 86% of AGT’s total revenue, rose 24%.

North America revenue in the current period was $140.4m, a 17% increase, while revenues of $80.1m were achieved in Latin America and Europe, climbing 26%.

“This momentum was driven by continued demand in Argentina and a return in venue re-openings within Mexico and Peru. In the current period unit sales in Mexico represented 25 per cent of total unit sales compared to 10% in the PCP,” AGT said.

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Gladstone said: “Following the announcement made in November 2023 where the company advised on the engagement of Macquarie Capital as the company’s financial advisor, a strategic review of all potential opportunities has progressed in the period.

“This strategic review encompasses a number of potential alternatives to maximise shareholder value. While there is no assurance that any transaction will result from this strategic review, we will continue to keep the market updated.”

AGT CEO Harald Neumann said the company is “well advanced to capitalize on opportunities and progress to further establish the Ainsworth name as a leading provider within the gaming industry sector.”

“Progress made in the current period further exemplifies the confidence in the strategies implemented which are expected to ensure progressive improvements in the company’s earnings in coming periods.

“The investments we have made have enabled us to upgrade our technology, hardware and improve game performance which are expected to deliver further improvements in our financial results and ensure our long term sustained success.”

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Industry News

Solverde.pt Partners with MGA Games and Endorphina

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Solverde.pt, the Portuguese bookmaker and online casino, has announced partnerships with two new game creation studios: MGA Games, a Spanish company acknowledged for the creation and distribution of casino games, and Endorphina, recognised for the recent incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in slot machines.

The new partnerships mark a milestone: Solverde.pt is the first online casino in Portugal with 2500 games on a single platform.

Solverde.pt’s partnership with MGA Games, considered the Best Technology Provider at the Asocación JDigital Awards and Gaming, marks the Spanish company’s expansion into the Portuguese market. Among the games released, MGA Games has dedicated itself to integrating Portuguese entertainment personalities in its creations, like the Portuguese football player Paulo Futre, among others.

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At the same time, the first batch of 25 Endorphina games is launched that will be available on the Portuguese platform, exclusively, for a month. The Game Developer established in more than 25 countries, with ten years of experience, it was the first casino game producer to create a Slot Machine entirely using AI algorithms. Among the games available, “Glory of Egypt”, “Book of Vlad”, “Dynamite Miner” and “Fisher King” stand out.

These two new partnerships, and consequent game launches, reaffirm Solverde.pt as the online casino with the largest offer of games in Portugal.

“The 2500 games on a single platform are a fundamental step for the company, which reinforces its leadership position in the sector. The collaboration with studios such as MGA Games and Endorphina allows us to lead in Portugal with an offer of innovation and excellence. Notably, MGA Games has a portfolio of 100 titles, created with HTML5 technology, that stand out for their graphical quality, and Edorphina made history by being the first company to develop a game entirely powered by AI, demonstrating its dedication to pushing the boundaries of creativity and technology,” Sérgio Pascoal, Director of R&D at Solverde.pt, said.

“The studio is confident that our slots will impress Solverde.pt players, as well as make them feel the true thrill of the game. We share a passion for entertainment and reflect that by delivering top-notch, high-value content to operators,” Javier Lanfranchi, Sales Director at MGA Games, said.

“By offering the state-of-the-art games of Endorphina, exclusively for Solverde.pt, we aim to provide a unique and exciting gaming experience that reflects both companies’ unwavering pursuit of innovation,” Jonathan Martini, Senior Sales Manager at Endorphina, said.

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Compliance Updates

Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry

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By Salvador Garcia-Noblejas, Senior Regulatory Assurance Services at ComplianceOne Group

The gambling industry has its origins in the ancient period, and different types of games are found in almost every culture and civilization.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed an immense transformation, clearly boosted by technological developments. Among these changes, online gambling has grown rapidly, and with this new non-face-to-face reality, regulation and regulators have also embraced new ways to protect players, businesses, and the overall economy. Regulators have the responsibility to set the framework of common rules that define what is right and wrong, the means to protect all parties, and the tools that must be used when anyone does not behave as expected.

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Assurance in a world of global risks

It would be inaccurate to assume that regulatory assurance’s only goal is to ensure that operators operate in a fair and transparent manner and meet their legal obligations. On the contrary, assurance also includes helping businesses understand the risks involved in the industry where they operate, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and setting measures to mitigate those risks.

Assurance’s starting point consists of an interview phase where tailor-made questionnaires serve better understanding the reality to each operator and its actual circumstances. Once the assurance assessment is complete, a detailed action plan assists the operator in fixing any identified gaps, improving policies and procedures, and obtaining the maximum financial gain from refining their processes, products, and operations.

As part of the fast transformation of the gambling industry, with competitive new products, platforms, advertisements, and market expansion, we must not forget that bad actors and illegal practices also develop. This is the moment to ask ourselves if we are ready to face whatever can harm our operations. The most efficient way to know is carrying out a thorough audit of policies, procedures, and processes. This approach will certainly save operators from potential harm to their clients, products, brands, and finances.

Audit readiness

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Regulators focus on legislation, supervision, and enforcement. All stakeholders must comply with gambling regulations if they want to offer products and services or provide a safe environment to their clients. An important part of the gambling legal system is the fact that the industry is continuously overseen to ensure that all actors adhere to the established rules. At this point, operators need to ask themselves how ready they are to show sufficient evidence that their operations adhere to the law.

Smart operators will choose to comply with as many rules and regulations as their business is capable of, and they will ensure that records are properly kept. Company leadership is essential in ensuring compliance as it contributes to collaboration between departments and having policies and procedures that make the business run within the parameters of the legislation.

Lessons learned

In recent years, some highly publicized enforcement actions, including fines and penalties, license suspension, and revocation, have alerted the whole gambling industry. From such cases, there have been increasing efforts in reviewing processes, improving systems, and growing compliance departments.

Experience in the gambling industry has taught us that it is crucial to have a detailed understanding of the regulations that govern the relationship between operators and players. Where knowledge has been insufficient, inaccurate, or out of date, some business decisions have led to unwanted consequences, sometimes catastrophic ones.

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Knowledge, a solid compliance culture, strong procedures, and willingness are the formula to be ready for a regulatory audit.

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