Interviews and News
OKTO at the forefront of the digital payment innovations
February 19, 2024
OKTO at the forefront of the digital payment innovations

Lawrence Levy, CCO for Latin America at OKTO in an exclusive interview with Gaming and Media News explores OKTO’s key payment innovations and evolution following the historic backdrop of the last ICE in London exhibition. With eyes set on the future, OKTO anticipates the promising prospects at the upcoming Barcelona edition.

How has OKTO’s experience been at the last edition of ICE in London?

The last edition of ICE in London was for me, as a British person, quite emotional. I have attended this trade show more than 20 times. This final chapter was truly remarkable and filled with profound experiences.

OKTO’s stand was impressive. Not only was it strategically positioned and aesthetically pleasing, but it was the diverse and dedicated team representing OKTO from all corners of the globe that truly made every moment memorable. The warm hospitality and attentive approach of the whole team towards both prospects and clients ensured that every interaction was meaningful. Furthermore, the comprehensive suite of payment services, catering to a wide array of verticals, showcased our commitment to addressing the diverse needs of their clientele.

Overall, it was a very successful event, and as we bid farewell to our last ICE in London, it was with a sense of accomplishment and optimism. We are now looking forward to the upcoming Barcelona edition, confident that it will offer new opportunities and experiences for our company.

Which products caught the most attention of ICE London visitors?

OKTO.DIRECT, one of the company’s newest payment methods, launched in December in the UK, stands as a pioneering retail payments gateway. It uniquely unlocks with one connection multiple digital payment methods to deposit and withdraw in real time. With a focus on simplifying the player’s journey.OKTO.DIRECT ensures a seamless, swift, and secure experience. Its appeal spans across generations, catering to younger demographics who very often do not carry cash and older ones alike, thanks to its frictionless and app-free approach. By seamlessly integrating favourite digital payment methods, OKTO.DIRECT swiftly digitizes the user’s gaming experience with instant transactions. We anticipate a fast roll-out of this cashless solution across the UK, Europe and Latin America throughout 2024.

 

Complementing the cashless innovation, OKTO.WALLET caught a lot of attention, a versatile wallet solution with over two years of proven success. Designed to cater to a wide spectrum of verticals, including land-based casinos, slot arcades, route operations, retail sports betting and more, OKTO.WALLET seamlessly integrates with casino management systems. With the same integration to the casino management system, we can offer both solutions – with or without an app. In addition, the wallet’s omnichannel approach sets it apart, offering retail and online merchants alike the ability to transact for both ins and outs swiftly and securely.

Furthermore, our payment orchestration service, a cornerstone of our offerings, garnered significant interest. This service delivers end-to-end support, enabling online merchants across various LatAm regions to unlock multiple payment methods with a single integration. Our commitment lies in facilitating instant transactions for both online and retail merchants, ensuring a seamless experience for all stakeholders.

 

What are the main innovations that OKTO has made in its solutions in recent years?

OKTO has been innovating since its inception in 2019. Within 4 years we have designed a variety of products that are all focused on minimizing friction at the last mile of the user journey, hence in the payments side being experts in this field. Whether it is our OKTO.CASH, a cash-to-digital, e-voucher solution that offers an instant cash deposit, being embedded within merchants’ Apps and Websites, or our OKTO.WALLET and OKTO.DIRECT or our Payment Orchestration platform, we always have in mind to offer frictionless payments for both in & out for our merchant partners and their users. Our unified payment platform gives 360 solutions to merchants at all levels covering the needs of all gaming verticals.

How have the company’s operations evolved in the last year?

I joined OKTO in January 2023. Just one year ago, OKTO boasted a workforce of 100 employees. Today, our team has more than doubled in size, surpassing 200 employees. This growth speaks volumes about the dedication, talent, and hard work of each and every member of our team.

During 2023 OKTO has also made significant strides in expanding into new markets, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, the USA, Canada, and India among others. Our presence in these diverse regions has not only broadened our global footprint but has also strengthened our position as a key player in the industry.

As we look to the future, our sights are set on further expansion, with a keen focus on exploring opportunities in Colombia and regions of Central America. The potential for growth and success in these markets is vast, and we are excited to continue our journey of expansion and innovation.

What analysis do you make of the regulatory advances that are currently happening in Latin America?

It’s evident that there is a significant demand for online gaming within the region, underscoring the importance of establishing robust legislation and regulation. From my perspective, formalizing the gaming industry through regulation is highly beneficial. This not only fosters employment opportunities but also generates tax revenue, enhances player security, and nurtures an ecosystem of supportive companies.

Brazil embarked on this journey five years ago by enacting legislation, and the current efforts to implement regulations for sports betting and online gaming are poised to contribute substantially to the economy. It’s crucial to expedite the approval and regulation of these activities to catalyze positive transformations within the industry.

Similar developments are unfolding in Peru, where stringent regulations, including certifications and licensing requirements, have been introduced by the gaming regulator. The consensus on the necessity of formalization is widespread. In fact, Peru set a precedent in 2006 by formalizing its land-based casino industry, demonstrating the effectiveness of implementing new regulations and providing a transition period for informal operators to comply with licensing and tax obligations. Peru’s approach serves as a model for gaming legislation across Latin America.

Chile is also moving towards formalizing online gaming, initiating the process of crafting fair and secure legislation. The local demand for online gaming is undeniable, necessitating the establishment of clear rules for both local and international operators.

With digitalization, the gaming industry has changed a lot. Where do you think the sector is headed?

Right now, in Latin America, everything is moving towards digital payments. We have seen across the developing world that an often largely unbanked population has moved directly from cash to digital, accelerated greatly by the Covid pandemic. Take, for instance, the street performers in Brazil who now accept tips via PIX, a mobile payment method introduced by the Central Bank of Brazil, using QR codes displayed while playing guitar in the subway.

The Western World, meanwhile, has seen a more gradual progression from cash to cheque to credit card to bank transfer, eventually embracing digital payments. Despite this slower pace, the consensus is clear: the landscape is evolving rapidly, and those who adapt will thrive.

While many land-based operators still state that “Cash Is King”, acknowledging that a significant portion of their revenue comes from cash transactions, they also recognize that the world is changing, and fast with the inevitable shift towards digital payments. How fast is really up to them. If you educate your players and offer benefits for using digital payment methods in a land-based environment, the adoption can be seamless and fast. The younger generation demands it!

Moreover, the benefits extend beyond mere convenience. Handling, storing, and securing cash entail significant costs and risks, making digital alternatives not only more efficient but also safer and more cost-effective in the long run.

OKTO has been at the forefront of this digital revolution since its inception, offering innovative payment solutions tailored to the real-world needs of businesses and consumers alike. As the industry evolves, OKTO’s commitment to providing cutting-edge digital payment solutions ensures that our partners remain ahead of the curve, poised for success in an increasingly digital world.

 

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