Constantinos Antonopoulos, CEO of Intralot Group, talks at EL Magazine

“Intralot’s technology is shaping the future of gaming”

Q. You have recently launched the “Universal Gaming Experience” framework, which addresses a real and exciting need of the Lottery Industry, unifying the gaming environment across all distribution channels: interactive, retail and home users. Can you please elaborate on your strategy and plans for the implementation of Universal Gaming Experience?

A. It is our strong belief that innovation now transcends all of our players’ habits and certainly those related to mobile interaction as well as Internet and home entertainment. We have managed to seamlessly integrate all of our technologies so as the player is now the center of attention. Although player centricity has been a much-desired dream for a lot of companies, this has been no challenge for us since from the early start we have adapted those practices and design principles that have led to Universal Gaming Experience. Our valued customers now benefit with a unique player view, irrespective of his desired interaction with the lottery, while at the same time the player enjoys a continuous and seamless game journey.

We further enhance and continuously elaborate Universal Gaming Experience with new models and technologies as the recently announced Near Field Communication (NFC) gaming, which renders the mobile devices as unique interaction points within a retail shop and beyond our lottery customers. This is a very exciting development and we are happy to be pioneers in this respect for the lottery industry.

Q. A much-discussed concern is how the traditional retail channels can coexist with the emerging new media and what extent the perception that these channels are in competition has any real value. Can you provide us with your insights in this debate and how does Universal Gaming Experience effectively address this question?

A. We understand the concerns that are frequently raised and reported from the Retail Network members of our Lottery customers with respect to the risk that new media and channels pose on the financial expectations of their business. Strong research and analysis indicate that an increasing demographic, which is not currently a lottery customer, is willing to engage with the lottery through new interaction points.

We have developed methods and technologies that implement efficient synergies and reward schemes towards the Lottery Agents from player activity that takes place remotely on interactive and mobile channels. This proved to be a very efficient mechanism to further increase the revenues enjoyed by the retail network. Player cards, loyalty schemes, player lifetime rewards are simple examples of the holistic strategy of bringing the Retail and Remote channels together.

Q. What are your company’s plans to put the “fun & excitement” back into playing the lottery, making it a more enjoyable experience for the player?

A. We understand and value fun and excitement as a multifaceted approach that touches upon new games, new distribution platforms and new interaction points. The various demographics need special attention and adaptation of our products and services to achieve a focused and player-centric result.

We believe that some very interesting concepts exist in the Social Gaming space and we have adapted practices of this kind in our new gaming portfolio. An interesting example is Group Play, a concept dominant in Social Games, which can effectively be adapted in our lottery operations.

Moreover, as mentioned before, we feel excited about our NFC Gaming proposition, Tap’n’Play that enables the paperless lottery utilizing most recent and advanced technologies embedded in our mobile devices.

Last but not least, it is of paramount importance that our Services portfolio fully encompasses all the lifecycle stages of our players, leading to an enjoyable player experience.

Q. How does “Universal Gaming Experience” addresses the security & responsible gaming aspects. How do you maintain the control of online activities and to what extent do you highlight a Lottery’s values and involvement in good causes through this platform?

A. Security and responsible gaming are integrated within the core of Universal Gaming Experience in a combined manner. Being secure (protecting game integrity or player privacy) means being socially responsible while responsible gaming requires the existence of security properties (e.g. effective player identification) in order to be efficient.

Intralot deploys state of the art technologies towards ensuring security and responsible gaming independently of the channel or the game. For example, identity management is embedded in the Unified Player Management platform in order to ensure efficient protection of the players’ privacy and transactions. The integrity of Universal Gaming Experience components is managed centrally, being preventive and correlating multiple events for identifying malicious attempts.

The most important differentiator of the integrated Universal Gaming Experience security and responsible gaming framework is its human-centric nature. The player behavior is being analyzed to identify addiction trends, participation of minors or fraudulent attempts, under the guidance of the WLA security and responsible gaming standards.

In the end, the security and responsible gaming framework acts as a business enabler for the Lottery, which is able to deploy new channels, technologies, business models and address new demographics in an overall responsible manner.

Q. In many aspects social media are playing a more and more important role. Facebook in the UK is reported to give licenses to Internet gaming companies to roll out their applications on the Facebook UK platform. Do you see a potential role for companies such as Facebook as partner/supplier of the lottery industry? Will this result in another competition for “traditional suppliers”?

A. Social gaming companies have been reported in the Press to be actively looking into entering the real money gaming. Although social gaming has interesting gaming concepts that we are closely following, we believe as I have already mentioned earlier that the real money gaming industry has stringent requirements that need to be addressed in the first place.

The real challenge is how to translate a gaming concept based primarily on accepting players’ funds without ever having the mechanism of returning part of these funds to players. We believe that we will experience a convergence of these networks with the lottery industry and we are excited in the possible partnerships that will arise. We are not considering this latest development as a competition to our business, but with our lottery customers, we will need to take careful steps to have a presence on these social media networks.

 

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