If everything goes as planned, the second half of 2021 is planned for the long-awaited opening of the Dutch iGaming market. However, timing and execution may still be subject to change. The open market will create huge business opportunities for iGaming providers at home and abroad. What are the main IT trends within the iGaming market and how do they apply to iGaming operators??
The demanding player: best UX
As explained in our first blog ‘The winner takes all’ technical requirements in iGaming are driven by the User Experience (UX) demands of players. Players demand visually attractive applications that are easy to use and that run seamlessly on multiple devices, ranging from mobile and desktop to smart tv and gaming console. Interactions and transactions must be fast, secure, and private. If not, players will move to another platform and will never come back. Therefore, UX is a strong competitive factor that impacts revenues and the bottom line. The iGaming platform and its underlying infrastructure must be able to deliver that optimal UX under all circumstances, in a fast-changing environment and during spikes and bursts of the number of players and the volumes of data. Low latency is crucial as it is one of the main factors defining UX. The choice of the right data centre environment that offers the best connectivity and latencies is crucial.
The demanding Authorities: Compliance and transparency
iGaming in the Netherlands comes with elaborate legislation and regulatory framework. The gambling authority has defined a set of technical and operational requirements that the IT infrastructure of the iGaming operator must meet to obtain and keep its license to operate.
Also explained in our first blog, a crucial element in the legal framework is the Control DataBase (CDB), containing consumer data and payment and transaction information. The CDB is vital for complying with KYC demands (Know Your Customer) for fighting addiction, imposing age control, supporting anti-fraud and ALM (anti-money laundering), and for taxation purposes. The CDB must be physically housed in the Netherlands. Every iGaming operator will, therefore, need a Data Vault placed in a highly secure location. Also, casino games must be hosted in the EU.
When applying for a license to operate, the iGaming operator must identify the housing and data vault providers that it will contract with, to prove its compliance. Transparency across the ecosystem of the operator is therefore crucial. The use of certified providers and suppliers of IT services in general and data centre services in particular significantly ease the iGaming operator’s burden of demonstrating compliance.
In the last blog of this series about iGaming in the Netherlands, we will elaborate more on the legal context of the new regulations.
As one of the most innovative industries, iGaming is leading in the adoption of the cloud. More and more operators and game developers use the public cloud, as this allows for scalability and fast time to market. Many operators already live in a hybrid multi-cloud environment, just like the partners in their ecosystem. The IT infrastructure must be ready for a hybrid environment that consists of a set of highly connected and integrated software and services, delivered from on-premises, public, and hosted systems. Cloud enables the operators to handle bursts of all types of data running through their systems. Cloud also enables the operator’s ecosystem to increase the scalability, efficiency, and time-to-market of their game and product software development, including testing. By running a hybrid cloud environment, the iGaming operator can balance workloads and data flows across their infrastructure to optimize costs, scale, and speed. The right data centre provides connectivity to support multi-cloud environments.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
iGaming operators are experimenting with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to learn how to create a better in-game user experience and how to better serve ads to current or potential clients through real-time personalization. AI and big data are also used in preventing addiction.
These technologies significantly impact the technical infrastructure requirements of iGaming systems. Operators that want to successfully use these technologies will choose data centre and IT partners that can support the underlying technical requirements and are offering future proof services.
We expect a consolidation in the high-end iGaming market, as big mergers and acquisitions are in the pipeline. Operators will turn to the larger data centre providers for housing their IT because of their geographical reach and their ability to execute.
One thing is clear: a comprehensive data centre strategy is a key success factor.
It may be clear that the data centre defines the degree of the operator’s success in coping with the five trends. A comprehensive data centre strategy is needed that looks into accommodating these trends into the broader array of other infrastructural and legal needs that iGaming brings about.
Read all about the legal and infrastructural requirements in the free ‘Entering the Dutch iGaming market’ whitepaper