Introduction: In a year riddled with unique challenges, including the cost-of-living crisis and inflation, the upcoming ACOS 2023 emerges as a pivotal event for the gaming and betting industry. In an exclusive interview with Dean Gourlay, OKTO’s Country Manager in the UK, who will provide insights into the significance of ACOS 2023 and OKTO’s role in driving the cashless payment revolution.
Coinslot: It has been an unusual year for the industry, not least with the cost of living crisis and inflation delivering significant challenges, all of which makes ACOS 2023 even more important. What are you hoping to get from the Autumn Coin-Op Show.
DG: Indeed, it’s been a year of unique challenges in the UK for our industry. ACOS 2023 represents a crucial opportunity for us to come together, share insights, and collaboratively address the hurdles we face. Our goal is to connect with fellow professionals, not only to showcase our latest innovations but also to engage in meaningful conversations. We’re eager to receive valuable feedback from attendees and collectively navigate these challenges.
Coinslot: Looking ahead to the two days, can you give us an idea of what visitors will be seeing on your stand next week?
DG: We’re excited to welcome visitors to our stand #19, where they can explore our cashless payment solutions, OKTO.DIRECT and OKTO.WALLET. These innovations are designed to revolutionize the way payments are made in the land-based amusement industry, including pubs, bars, family gaming centres, arcades, and bingo halls.
Coinslot: Can talk us through some of the new innovations and promotions that we should be looking out for at ACOS?
DG: Certainly! OKTO.WALLET was our initial step into the world of cashless payments, and it’s gained significant traction in the market. Building on this success, we recently introduced OKTO.DIRECT in the market at ICE, making it an industry-first innovation in Europe. The market reception has been incredibly positive, as it addresses the growing demand for low-friction digital payment solutions.
OKTO.DIRECT is all about choice and convenience. It allows users to top-up and withdraw directly at gaming machines using mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Debit Card, Instant Bank Transfer. The best part? No app download is required and no hardware integration thanks to our QR code technology.
Coinslot: This is probably the first uninterrupted year of trading for the industry since Covid. What have been the highlights of 2023 in terms of business growth and product launches so far?
DG: The undeniable transition toward cashless societies presents a remarkable opportunity for retail gaming and betting operators. At OKTO, we have been keenly aware of the importance of providing convenient and secure payment options that align with the preferences of modern consumers. We’ve focused on delivering seamless omnichannel solutions that bridge the divide between physical betting locations and online platforms, ensuring that customers can access their funds with utmost ease.
In 2023, our expansion efforts have extended beyond Europe; we’ve activated our online payments offering in Latin America across numerous countries. Moreover, we are introducing our cashless payment solutions in North America, encompassing the USA and Canada. Our approach revolves around localization, adapting to the unique demands of each region, and it forms the core of our business strategy.
Coinslot: The exhibition season is now in full swing with ACOS starting the UK run of events. In terms of product and business development, what’s your focus in the coming months leading up to the new year?
DG: As we set our sights on the future, we remain dedicated to continuous innovation, underpinned by significant investments in research and development. While I can’t divulge specific details at this moment, I can assure you that we are wholeheartedly committed to expanding our product portfolio. We are determined to evolve and meet the evolving needs of our valued customers, taking into account the unique demands of different regions. So, I encourage everyone to stay tuned for exciting developments from OKTO in the near future!