By Iqbal Johal
Zac Cohen, COO of identity and verification service Trulioo, speaks to Gambling Insider about the importance of the industry being online focused in this climate, and if the coronavirus will have an impact on statistics from its Online Gaming & Account Opening Report 2020, which was released in February.
With constant increasing regulation, particularly in Europe and the US, how important is it for Trulioo to use new technology to continue to adapt where appropriate?
We really look at it as Trulioo and regulation technology acting as the catalyst to compliant innovation. We always talk about a catalyst to innovation and regulatory change and those two as separate but parallel beings. Trulioo really connects the two. We assist organisations that are on the front line of innovation by layering in technology to help with that drive and advancement, while still remaining compliant to the regulatory landscape, which is so critical to ensuring consumers are safe.
The coronavirus puts using technology to another level. In terms of online, what was once a good to have is now a must have, which just takes it to that next level where the options are few, but those who were well positioned before can double down on that and take advantage.
Research from Truiloo’s online gaming report suggests 25% of UK players will be active in the US within the next few years. What do you see as the main reason for this?
There’s three main drivers to why players in the UK would want to play in the US. The first is the fact the regulatory environment is making it possible. If it wasn’t legal, we wouldn’t see that type of occurrence, but it’s become legislated around the US on a much more consistent basis, which is providing an opportunity. Secondly, in many ways we live in a borderless world and folks are rarely confined to only their own country and jurisdiction, especially online. Lastly, it’s the cultural influence. We have the rise of sporting events in both markets and folks are paying attention and seeing those across each border, so it’s only natural that cultural crossover will create fan bases and players who want to take advantage.
What do you see as the biggest challenges in the US, both for Trulioo and the gambling industry in general?
We talk about how many UK players are going to go and experience the US market. We’re seeing that in the UK as well; the UK gaming market may have customers from all over Europe. The biggest challenge for a lot of these organisations is thinking about how to satisfy a global audience. To achieve this, you really need technology partners who have global coverage. So Trulioo delivers an identity network and marketplace that gaming operators can launch easily through a single API but have access to tools from all over the world. It’s a very compelling argument to satisfy and face that challenge of a global audience and make sure it works.
The other main item that US gaming operators have to keep in mind is if history tells us anything, the regulatory landscape is changing quickly and often. You need to have technology partners who are agile and flexible enough to allow you to make changes without completely reversing your previous technological decisions.
With 77% of online gamers saying the opening an account process can make or break their future relationship with a brand, just how much focus should operators be putting on this?
What we’re seeing here is when people’s patience is very low because the competition is so high. There is mass availability now and we’re seeing not only the UK digital, but now the US. If your account opening experience is not absolutely perfect or as close to it as you believe it can get, you risk losing users and that’s a revenue loss. On the other side, if you’re doing it very well, you have significantly better revenue maximisation opportunities to convert customers and create a seamless experience.
Along with the figure of 82% of online gamers expressing some level of concern about ID theft and fraud when opening a new online account, these two pieces suggest people want a seamless experience but security is also very important. Gaming operators need to look at that with a very fine eye to ensure they’re delivering that experience on both sides of the coin.
How big an impact do you see the coronavirus outbreak having on these statistics?
The biggest trend we’ve seen from the coronavirus, oneI think will stick around afterwards, is the push to online gaming being preferred. We’ve already seen it with certain target markets and customer segments with obviously the younger generation a lot savvier, who are online first with their decisioning. Now we’re seeing that spread across the entire market segment. I don’t see that being abandoned or reversed, I just think that will be accelerated.
That’s something where all our statistics revolve around how important that online experience is, and how likely gamers are willing to abandon the process if the site is unable to verify their identity after multiple attempts. This is a huge opportunity for an industry that has already been experimenting and doing an online approach to really take advantage of the market movement and gain that additional market share in the future, because we’re just going to see all of these statistics increase even further.