Tamas Kusztos, Head of Sales and Account Management at slots developer Kalamba Games gives us some insight into the company’s recent entry into the vibrant Italian market and what it hopes to bring to the well-established territory.
The Italian market for gambling is one of the most proven and lucrative in Europe, if not globally. From land-based and online to esports and sports betting, there’s little that a bettor can’t wager on in the country thanks to the regulated landscape it operates in. But what about newcomers like Kalamba? Is it actually advantageous for us to make our debut now? Well, there are certain benefits in that we have been able to identify some player preferences and trends which will help us hit the ground running. The market being as mature as it is also helps us to quickly get a handle on general market conditions and how regulation has progressed.
As it’s turned out, it’s actually been a very good time to do it, as online casino has grown to become the most lucrative product vertical in the Italian online market, with slot products now accounting for upwards of two-thirds of overall segment revenue of €831m in 2019 and €837m in the first nine months of 2020. As recently as last November, the 2 billion revenue mark was surpassed by regulated operators for the first time ever and that was followed by another record-breaking December, which saw a 40 per cent month-on-month increase.
Given our success in other European markets, we are sure that there will always be an appetite for fresh content such as ours and we are excited to introduce it to the Italian players.
But of course, not all European territories are the same – Italy has a very strong land-based heritage and many online operators also run betting shops. This gives us a good insight into what this slightly different player demographic enjoys. We will be looking to develop new content for the Italian market that offers the mechanics, features, and themes that the local player base knows and loves. It is all about knowing your customer and making sure our content is tailored to attract them and we will learn as we go and improve our content along the way.
Getting us off to a good start, we have a really broad portfolio of titles with our 50th game being launched later this year. We offer players a range of different themes and have been working hard to develop our signature features. Some of our best loved ones are HyperBet and HyperBonus, which allow players to adjust the volatility level of the game and to shortcut into bonus rounds. Coupled with exciting themes and a slick user interface, this means we can really cater for all demographics. We have a packed roadmap for 2021 which will see us take our content to new heights.
But having those games alone isn’t the whole picture, we need to align ourselves with the right local partners to gain the best possible insight. As a supplier, you only have access to part of the performance data of your games with operators holding the other important piece of information. It is therefore crucial to work closely with operators to get a 360 view of how well our content is performing in the market and what kind of content players prefer. We have talked with some of our partners in detail about the market trends and we will certainly take it into consideration when creating games. We are however confident that our unique offering will carve out a decent market share with our fresh approach towards slots.
That approach is also evident in our player engagement and part of our Bullseye RGS, which has been doing particularly well since its introduction last year. We have already released Big Win Replay, where players can go back and watch their big wins repeatedly. Our data shows that this significantly increases the engagement levels compared with players who choose not to use it. Building on that, we’re soon to include our own unique take on the classic Jackpots feature, while later this year, we’re set to introduce some really fresh and exciting gamification tools that will increase engagement and retention levels with players.
So all in all, it’s exciting times in Italy and with our powerful combination of innovative games and promotional tools, we’re confident we can take advantage and push forward to become one of the leading suppliers there.