Q&A: Mate Affiliates’ Lorand Minyo on iGaming innovation and disruptive technologies
iGaming NEXT: How important is first-mover advantage in terms of iGaming innovation?
Lorand Minyo: In the words of the lovely Loretta Lynn, you’re either first, the best or different; it’s almost impossible to be first, challenging to be the best, so you’re left with being different.
Even Apple has shown time and again that it’s less important to be first, but rather to get it right. Gaming, like pretty much any other industry, is ripe for disruption and quite honestly, the innovation bar is not yet set as high as in other industries; this, however, doesn’t mean that anything goes and one should tread with caution.
Our organisation has a healthy disregard for the impossible and we empower our people to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, so we’re quite comfortable investing in experiments that can increase the bottom line.
iGN: When you hear about gambling innovation, which areas of the industry do you think are most ripe for disruption?
LM: First and foremost, everything that has to do with usability and experience. The average player age decreases every year and younger players are used to having extraordinary experiences in non-gaming apps. Offering them a boring, dated experience will get them to close your site or app faster than they found out about it.
The second thing that comes to mind is payments—today’s world is so fractured when it comes to payments, that it’s somewhat of a miracle to see that players still stick around sites and apps that take minutes to finalise a transaction—when it actually works, as many times the process of adding or removing credit to and from a player balance seems to be stuck in the ’90s. This obviously has to do with UX as well, however it’s part of the larger PSP issue the industry is facing.
Third, I’d simply love to see real, authentic entertainment being delivered on all channels, to all players. After all, we are part of the entertainment industry, so it’s high time to live up to the name.
iGN: How important is UX in our industry? Can this make or break a gaming offering?
LM: Good UX most certainly increases conversion. First and foremost because a good UX is invisible—it just works. It gives you the feeling that the experience is natural, delicate, and doesn’t get in the way of doing what you’ve set out to do.
And when players truly enjoy the experience, everyone wins.
iGN: We have seen some firms enable crypto payments. What is your position on this? Should iGaming firms embrace this technology or are others right to have concerns?
LM: I would definitely bet on crypto being here to stay, and not only in iGaming, but in entire industries. Soon enough, it will be a part of everyday life, much like credit and debit cards are today.
Imagine 50 years ago that you told Jane Doe she would be able to purchase everything using a piece of plastic; she would’ve looked at you in disbelief. Now we pay with our phones and watches and this has become the norm. Crypto is here to stay, it just needs a little bit more time and regulation in order to become truly mainstream.
As with any new concept entering the mainstream, there are, and will be, concerns, yet I’m sure we’ll be able to come to tackle most of them.
iGN: What do you think about NFTs? Do they have a place in gambling?
LN: Most definitely. Contrary to popular belief, NFTs are not pixel art or snarky drawings of bored apes, but proof of ownership.
I can think of at least a dozen ways in which NFTs can and should be used in iGaming, from a simple method to drive acquisition and retention to driving profit.
iGN: Is innovation essential in iGaming?
LM: Most definitely, as in any industry. Peter Drucker famously said that you either innovate or die, and that sentiment is now indisputable: stay ahead of the pace of change or you’re toast.
iGN: How does iGaming compare to other technology sectors in terms of innovation?
LM: Severely lacking to be honest. Except for a few outliers, the industry has been comfortably doing the same things for quite some time, which is quite ironic, since the industry has the financial means to invest in research and development even more than other industries.
iGN: The casino market is so saturated. What are some ways that a brand can stand out from the crowd and achieve differentiation?
LM: Design, diversity and determination. Add to the mix great software and a dash of genius, and you’ve got a winner.
iGN: What are your short-term and long-term goals?
LM: To launch our next 10 brands and continue strategically building out our empire.
Lorand Minyo is a technology, operations and marketing executive at Mate Affiliates who has worked with household names such as Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft.
He is a strategic leader focused on growth in the iGaming industry and is passionate about education, health, food, energy and security. Interested in biotech, renewables, AI and robotics.