DiffusionData: eGaming’s biggest tech challenges
October 25, 2023 | Martin Hand
The delivery frameworks we use today will evolve significantly over the next few years given the advances in AI, Machine Learning, social media and virtual reality. Martin Hand, Business Development Director EMEA at DiffusionData, explains how to get ahead with a focus on personalisation and multi-tenancy.
The eGaming market is significantly growing year on year. The technology challenges to meet increased customer demand and for operators to remain competitive are also escalating. Until recently, eGaming was retail focussed and all bets placed were pre-event, with a limited number of markets on offer.
Today, in horse racing or football for example, customers expect to be offered a multitude of markets with numerous combinations and also expect to have access to all this intuitively and immediately on their various devices.
They expect the best prices, best parlay prices, live scoreboards, live incident trackers, innovative products, and they want to be able to price up pre match and in-play. They expect a reliable betting provider with minimal latency and the ability to cash out. These are all real-time challenges companies need to address to avoid losing customers.
However, bets need to be priced in a time sensitive, cascading market of instant change which makes liability management important. When too many people are betting on a particularly obscure outcome, such incidents galvanise algorithms to raise match fixing alarms. Using the same algorithmic approach, flags can be raised if rules are contravened.
There is no doubt that eGaming, like many sectors, is becoming increasingly reliant on AI and Machine Learning. Living in an always-available world brings change. Today, more than ever, we are driven by a need to deliver engaging real-time customer experiences.
Regulation is everywhere, which is not a bad thing. In markets such as the UK and the US, there are lots of things you can’t do and lots of things you have to do. Meaning there are many rules and laws that need to be adhered to in different districts. Therefore, regulatory stipulations are a challenge. Especially in terms of what data you can provide into different territories.
For instance, one of our US clients has Diffusion servers sitting in over 20 states across the country delivering state specific data to each territory. Why? Well in California you can’t bet on baseball, but in New York you can. To fully abide by regulations, eGaming companies require framework intelligence.
One of the key differentiators for many companies is to offer a truly personalised experience. Sportsbooks must be able to anticipate customer desire based on their actions. Responding to customers in a personalised manner can move the goal posts away from churn and towards customer retention and increased engagement.
When a customer engages with an eGaming site it is critical that they can easily choose a particular football league or view the markets per-match or in-play opportunities, see odds, review real-time scores, or check their wallet, history and open bets.
To do this you need to be able to connect to a variety of data sources. In the past, this meant engaging in a drawn out, expensive data integration project. Today, companies can use framework intelligence to save this time. Few eGaming companies do personalisation well. It’s a massive opportunity that needs to be addressed.
This is when an intelligent data framework becomes a necessity. These frameworks are purpose-built to oversee the unique, real-time data ingestion, processing, and delivery challenges among data sources, applications, users, and devices for companies.
REDUCE COSTS, FREE RESOURCES
Technology providers should be looking to introduce solutions which reduce bandwidth and infrastructure requirements for customers – resulting in lower day-to-day operational costs, less system stress during peak events, and reduced support costs. These demands tend to be quite specific to eGaming, meaning that generalist technologies, that may have worked in other sectors, do not work in eGaming.
Many providers might still use systems built on open source technology, which was good to get the framework up and running, but is now restrictive in terms of scalability and functionality. Let’s say your brand is successful, but then hits technical barriers which results in it not being able to accommodate new and existing customers. eGaming companies with framework limitations will struggle to provide new markets.
Opportunities such as bet builders are practically impossible to implement. Legacy technologies are not intelligent and will be sending too much data to too many people unnecessarily. Peak events will frequently cause massive loads on infrastructure and increase bandwidth needs. If systems go down due to high betting volumes, gaming companies lose millions in revenue and their brand is discredited and they may incur regulatory penalties.
Streaming technologies need to be intelligent and data aware to minimise bandwidth requirements. Too many frameworks blindly send huge volumes of messages, which is inefficient and expensive. In order to manage and transmit deltas or changes to data, the framework must have intelligence so that it knows what has been sent, when it was sent, and to whom it was sent. These features allow eGaming companies to enhance their applications and expand revenue opportunities.
Frameworks need to address the demanding needs of vendors where handling scale, performance, regulatory requirements, disparate geographies, and infrastructure efficiency, are vital to business success.
The delivery frameworks we use today will evolve significantly over the next few years, given the advances in AI, Machine Learning, social media and virtual reality. At the moment all sites tend to look and feel the same. As the industry evolves, there will be more emphasis on entertaining people through data usage. For example, I believe there will be a shift towards the normalisation of data feeds.
Sportsbooks will receive everything in the same format in terms of IDs, fields etc, regardless of where it is sourced from. What is the value of this? It enables an easy switch from one feed to another, enabling the user to have several feeds for the same football match. If one goes down, the user can switch over to another.
I’ve mentioned personalisation earlier and I can’t stress enough its importance. In my view, it will become increasingly granular. Also, to retain and attract new customers, rewards will become industry standard, rather than ad hoc activities. I also think community will be a great driver, whether it’s sharing bets or being part of a fund. A shared wallet which drives dialogue and a sense of belonging is an appealing option for customers and one that eGaming companies would be negligent to ignore.
Multi-tenancy is also worth mentioning i.e. when a single instance of software runs on a server, it serves multiple tenants. Historically, framework providers have built systems in silos. Multi-tenancy enables companies to expand into new territories, and seamlessly replicate existing systems – fast tracking brands at minimal cost. Today, and in the future, strategies will be dictated by the business need to globalise sportsbooks.
As businesses digitally transform, turbo charged by AI, events will become pivotal to the evolution of next-generation infrastructures. This must be the case if organisations want to be responsive to their users and anticipate their needs. This can only be achieved with framework intelligence.
The eGaming industry is under constant pressure to deliver better end-user experiences with more betting options. In summary, these companies need a framework that will seed development and shorten go-to-market time for new offerings; control and secure gaming event data flowing to and from millions of online customers; reduce development and ongoing operational costs; simplify deployment; assure regulatory compliance for geographic expansion; and deliver personalised and enriched individual experiences.
All of this can be achieved through framework intelligence. As with many markets, innovation and forward-thinking in eGaming will hold the key as to who succeeds and who does not.
Martin Hand has over 20 years of successful entrepreneurial IT business development and sales management experience – specialising in the eGaming sector with a focus on technology for live in-play markets.
At DiffusionData, he is primarily responsible for sales into the eGaming sector globally and managing the needs of existing clients throughout EMEA. He has worked with a range of eGaming customers, including Betsson Group, 888 William Hill, Caesars Digital, Offside Gaming, Rivalry, Betfair, Paddy Power, and Bet365, amongst others.