Interviews
Innovation and magic happen when you deeply understand the “last mile” of gaming.
February 21, 2023
Innovation and magic happen when you deeply understand the “last mile” of gaming.

A global team of 30 senior executives presented OKTO’s ecosystem of payment methods powered by its unified payment platform, including its flagship OKTO.CASH, an embedded and frictionless eVoucher payment method for online and OKTO.WALLET, the company’s omnichannel payment solution that covers all verticals and touchpoints.

OKTO used ICE London as the platform to unveil OKTO.DIRECT- the industry’s first and only gateway – which unlocks multiple payment options for retail, without the need for the player to download an app. The product development team at OKTO has designed the mobile-first solution to meet the specific demands of the retail gaming industry. OKTO.DIRECT can be integrated directly into any gaming or retail touchpoint across all verticals, delivering a responsible and frictionless payment journey.

OKTO’s team from Latin America were also on hand to give a full picture of how the company can power operators in the region to stay ahead of the competition via local payments. OKTO showcased its Payment Aggregator Solutions, offering local payments via a single restful API integration which can be blended with the brand’s cross-border services, powering growth for operators irrespective of geographical location.

Minutes before the shutters went up on the first day of the show, Simon Dorsen, CCO, highlighted the importance of paytech and the company’s Unified Payment Platform that powers the company’s payment solutions.

G3: What’s OKTO’s message at ICE this year?

SD: The message is that we’re growing as a team but also in numbers. Last year we had 50 employees – now we have over 100. We’re investing in people to support our growth and this is reflected in the countries in which we have now presence and in the fact that our run rate last year was €3bn in money processing.

We’re going to be live in over 10 countries this year in Europe and LatAm, including some of the biggest markets such as Italy, Romania, Spain, Greece, the UK, Germany, and Brazil and we are focused on making further inroads into both continents over the coming months.

This growth is across the board. We’re expanding our sales team, which drives demand and therefore we need to level-up operations, and customer success teams to serve existing and new markets while we’re growing our technical team to drive further innovation and project delivery. We’ve reached a point in the business where we take the leap to the next level and scale.

ICE is a key event for us. It is the biggest and the most influential B2B gaming show in the world.

We are strategic regarding trade shows, prioritising direct travelling to see customers – we’re a big believer in face-to-face conversations always being the best and most valuable for all parties. That’s not to say we won’t have a presence at all the major industry events this year, but we’re selective about where we exhibit and attend.

G3: Could you tell us more about the new solution, OKTO.DIRECT?

SD: Our customers’ requirement for low-friction digital payment solutions is on the top of our list and OKTO.DIRECT is the answer to this demand, with no need to download an app.

Using our well-established OKTO Unified Payment Platform and CMS integrations network, end-users can use OKTO.DIRECT to top-up and withdraw directly at gaming machines and other retail points via Apple Pay, Debit Card, Instant Bank Transfer or their OKTO.WALLET, just using their mobile to scan a QR code.

This is, all about delivering an unprecedented breadth of choice, enabling consumers to pay and play using a range of digital payment options that are available with a single integration.

The solution can be integrated with all touchpoints, including EGMs, SSBTs, electronic roulette, cashier desks, and cash recyclers, as well as across all verticals, including casinos, sports betting, pubs, bars, AGCs, gaming halls and bingo halls.

G3: How does OKTO.DIRECT tie-in with the Unified Payment Platform?

SD: We have a diverse product portfolio under our unified payment platform. We are giving more focus on our platform as it comes with unlimited capabilities and the engine that drives customer-facing payment solutions with multiple products that hang off it such as eVoucher Payment solution, digital wallets & card issuing, payment aggregator solution & cross border, embedded financial services, and now OKTO.DIRECT – a derivative of the OKTO.WALLET, a powerful payment gateway for retail.

Operators love OKTO.WALLET and how it resolves players’ needs for digitisation, but they were asking for lower friction payment solutions for players that are not tech savvy. Our R&D team has been working on a solution to this for around a year and we’re really excited to be displaying OKTO.DIRECT at the show this week.

OKTO.CASH is about loading cash online in a fast, direct, and compliant way. OKTO.WALLET is predominantly a retail-focused product in the UK, Spain Romania, Italy, and Germany, but what’s great about OKTO.WALLET is its omnichannel nature. We have many omnichannel clients such as Codere, Bet3000 and Superbet who find OKTO.WALLET to be exactly what they want. It’s one payment method that can go across multiple channels – sports betting, slot halls, and online casino.

Increasingly we have also been white labelling our solutions. We can do all the tech and compliance, but at the end of the day it’s about getting players to accept and use the product. Combining our technical solutions with a merchant brand equals the best-of-breed offering. The customer trusts their brand and the solution gets a faster take-up.

 

G3: What does OKTO’s repositioning mean for the company?

SD: We’re not defined by one product – it’s the platform that defines us. Our platform supports all the products. With minimal effort from the operator’s side and a simplified integration process, operators can access our multiple product ranges.

We can be flexible to offer our existing products and because it’s the same platform we will produce more innovations and products that can be leveraged off the platform. From a business perspective, it’s also good for economies of scale. Ultimately, our repositioning, released in this year ICE, gives us flexibility – to offer the whole picture to our customers. We have this portfolio of products, and each is different.

If you want a digital payment system in your omnichannel solution and don’t have an app -In fact, many retailers don’t, we can deliver that. Other merchants may have an app but still want all the benefits we can bring. It’s about getting the player’s acceptance. If you already have an app that has 50,000 – 100,000 downloads and registered users, we don’t want to push the merchant to ask players to download another app and create friction points.

We can embed our services in the existing app they have, and pull our wallet, payment, and KYC technology into it, then everybody is happy. The player gets what they want, the merchant doesn’t have to do anything differently with their app. It’s simply horses for courses.

What makes OKTO unique is that we bring together payment and gaming experts. I’ve worked in gaming for 20 years. I understand casinos and slot halls, others have experience in the sports betting environment, and then there are the payment professionals.

Where our innovation and magic happen is understanding that last mile. It sounds very simple and easy – making payment possible on a gaming machine – but there is a lot of complexity behind it. We have worked hard over the last three years so that in any situation we go into we know what we’re looking at and how to apply our solutions for great user journeys that are secure and compliant.

G3: OKTO is a digital payment solutions provider. But it’s about more than just payments, isn’t it?

SD: Merchants want to digitise payments because many people don’t carry cash anymore, but at the same time, they want to protect risk, reduce AML concerns, and put responsible gaming tools in the hands of players so they can go to regulators and demonstrate that they are doing everything they can.

Payments are a vehicle that different things can be added on. Players must make payments, and we can do lots of things behind the scenes that enable merchants to be compliant in this increasingly regulated environment.

If a player wants to sign up for a casino, they can do so from their sofa at home at their convenience and save that ten minutes we’ve all spent signing various bits of paper just to get into a casino. Our solutions needn’t just be about payments, but digitising loyalty cards and all sorts of other things. We’re very expansive in our view on this because we understand both the payments and gaming ecosystem.

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