Industry predictions 2023: USAbility predicts the upcoming year for the sector

Significant AI and tech advances to facilitate and improve RG/KYC/AML and other compliance-related processes

There has never been a time when operators, regulators, and technology providers to the online gaming industry have collected more real-time data about players’ activity in the past than they do right now. With the help of this data collection process, all parties will be able to join forces to modify player behaviours so that harm can be reduced. By utilising the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI), operators will be able to provide personalised, immediate interaction with players in potential risk situations in order to address, mitigate, and minimise gambling-related problems. In their attempt to forge documents, fraudsters make use of technological advances as well.

Operators can limit this risk by applying the latest technology on biometric ID and real time NFC (near field communication). Currently, most countries issue identity documents that are chip-based, containing all consumer information. Mobile phones with NFC capabilities can be used to retrieve information from identity documents. Thus, financial crimes will be reduced as only those with true identities will be onboarded. Managing KYC must become a continuous process, not only during the onboarding but also through monitoring customers on a long-term basis.

Greater focus on AI & data solutions to drive increased customer personalisation

As the macroeconomic climate continues to impact the ability for operators to invest in viable acquisition strategies, the exploration of solutions that enable operators to better understand their existing customers and specifically their behaviours and preferences within the context of sports betting and online gaming is a key initiative in aiming to combat the aforementioned challenges. The topic of personalisation has been a constant presence on operator roadmaps for a number of years, however implementing a solution that delivers the required outcomes has always been challenging from both a technical and financial perspective.

Advancements in AI and Machine Learning based solutions, coupled with a greater focus on the use of data has increased possibilities that operators have in respect to implementing a truly personalised customer led solution. Previously, operators had access to the required data and had a vision for how this could be leveraged to drive personalised content, however the technical algorithms that needed to be built to achieve this goal were complex and required significant investment. With the advancement of AI and Machine Learning solutions, the necessity to build a solution from scratch has been reduced where-by new technologies can be leveraged to achieve the required outcomes. The ability for operators to provide customers with personalised content, betting opportunities and promotions will aim to reduce churn, drive more frequent customer interactions and increase revenues. The big question that remains is do operators focus on building these solutions themselves or outsourcing to suppliers with a proven track record.

Focus on costs and improved GGR

US sportsbooks to shift strategies away from increasing market share to cost cutting and focus on improving GGR by other means. The cost of acquisition in North America is too high, regulatory and business costs are biting whilst revenues are not what operators had hoped for when the sports betting gold rush started in the US. This, combined with dwindling number of potential first-time account holders, means the US betting industry is likely to shift its focus to managing costs and improving trading margins in order to satisfy shareholders. We are likely to see more pressure on suppliers to reduce the cost whilst marketing costs will also come under scrutiny.

The larger operators are likely to concentrate on in-house technical solutions in order to keep feed costs down and offer a greater degree uniqueness and market differentiation. There will also be increased focus on improved trading tools and algorithms as well as revised trading strategies in order to improve betting margins that still lags their European counterparts.

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