PE: Firstly, can you tell us more about the OKTO gaming solution; what was the rationale behind targeting this industry?
SD: We see a real opportunity in the retail betting and gaming sector. While it’s true that the online payments market is becoming increasingly overcrowded, not many players are focussing on the nuanced needs of retail operators, especially those offering omni-channel services. The leadership team at OKTO – including myself – have a background in gaming and with that, a deep understanding of how the payment process interplays with customer engagement. Operators have woken up to the need to digitise what has traditionally been an analogue vertical, and our customisable, mobile-first solution accelerates that transition.
PE: How does OKTO differentiate from the other PSPs on the market? What challenges is it specifically set up to solve?
SD: The industry is facing more challenges than ever before, with regulatory pressures and changing consumer habits straining day-to-day operations. Retail operators need a payment service provider that is going to ease the burden rather than add to it. OKTO’s gaming solution drives player engagement while creating a frictionless user experience and delivering operational efficiencies for our partners. As betting consumer groups grow ever more complex and diverse, we have strived to create a user journey that gently shifts customers towards a fully digital experience, driving player engagement with add-on loyalty and promotional functions.
PE: With more and more bookmakers announcing shop closures, what is the future for retail sports betting? And how does OKTO fit into the equation?
SD: In these testing times, estate optimisation is a priority for most operators and moving towards self-service, cashless, paperless solutions makes absolute sense strategically. As well as a seamless payment journey, OKTO’s payment system offers additional customer engagement value and lower transactions costs than cash. In today’s mobile world consumers expect to be able to do everything using their smart phones; whether that’s instant payments, deposits and pay-outs or storing digital betting receipts. We integrate with the operator’s systems to bridge the gap between the payment and retail experience, offering smooth transition between cross-channel player sessions.
PE: What role should payment stakeholders have in shaping gambling compliance with regards to customer engagement?
SD: Regulation is developing at a faster rate than the gaming and betting industry has ever seen before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for operators. Although responsible gambling and know-your-customer requirements add extra demands to compliance processes, when implemented correctly, they can also unlock a wealth of dynamic and intelligent customer data that operators can access to their advantage. The trick is to obtain KYC information via a slick user interface and take the customer on a seamless onboarding journey. OKTO is about to receive a payment and e-money licence, which positions us to integrate KYC requirements within the overall payments process leveraging our state-of-the-art technology and multi-layer security.
PE: What current or future payment trend will be the most disruptive for retail betting?
SD: There is no doubt that the future is mobile. Point-of-sale payments via mobile grew to 46% in 2018 and in the UK 74% of consumers manage money and make payments using their mobile. In betting, self-service solutions are expanding vastly, while digital interactions are becoming far more favoured by emerging demographics. OKTO’s payment system is designed to marry these two shifts, making payments faster, simple and more secure.