Q&A: Play’n GO’s Magnus Olsson on the shift from acquisition to retention in US iGaming

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Ahead of iGaming NEXT NYC ’22, a sold out event taking place at the Convene Midtown on 12 and 13 May, iGaming NEXT sat down with conference speaker and Play’n GO chief commercial officer Magnus Olsson.

iGaming NEXT: After the industry has seen such extravagant spending on customer acquisition in the US, when and how do you expect operators to shift from an acquisition to a retention-focused business model?

Magnus Olsson: Since the acquisition frenzy we see now is in combination with fairly aggressive M&A activity as well, the shift will happen within a year. What we expect will happen is that the ratio of acquisition to retention will go from 90/10 to 40/60. ‘Acquisition’ will then shift towards introducing new customers to the world of slots, while defending the player database will take priority.

iGN: What strategies will be the most important in driving customer retention as the market matures? Is product king, or will advertising, brand-building and marketing be equally important?

MO: Content will play a major role, no doubt. Financially, it will be impossible to have all content available, all the time, for all players. Quality content will reign supreme.

But merely having the best quality content available will not be enough – differentiated recommendations, dynamic lobbies and in general use of clever AI, will be crucial. We expect advertising, promotions and branding to become too expensive and regulated to have any real effect long term.

iGN: What are the biggest threats and opportunities to the US online sports betting and iGaming markets right now?

MO: Being focused on regulated markets, which are becoming increasingly restrictive in things like stake, deposit and advertising limits, means that we are continuing to make our content with entertainment and fun at its core, as we have always done. We very much consider ourselves as part of the wider entertainment industry.

The opportunity for iGaming to become a mature and accepted entertainment business, especially in the US, should be clear for all to see.

But the threat to that opportunity – both in the US and elsewhere – is that not everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, with a very wide range of hyper aggressive mechanics and marketing tactics on display in various jurisdictions around the world. Not only do those tactics and mechanics give the player a poor gaming experience, but they are a blocker to the entire industry.

iGN: Do you have any predictions for who will be the ‘winners and losers’ in the US market as it reaches maturity?

MO: To win, you need to acquire a CRM database quickly, then hold on to it for dear life. Old CRM massaging techniques will not have enough of an impact. Those with the best, multidimensional Game Recommendation Engine, seamlessly integrated into their suppliers, automated and dynamic lobby updates and a clear differentiation will win. There are no shortcuts to success in highly regulated markets. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

iGN: And finally, why is it important for companies like Play’n GO to participate in iGaming NEXT NYC?

Magnus Olsson: Events such as iGaming NEXT NYC provide a unique opportunity for us to provide in-depth knowledge about Play’n GO – who we are, what we believe in and where we are going. New York City is a perfect launchpad for us to have that conversation as North America is increasingly important to our business strategy as we’ve just gone live in Ontario and the USA’s regulated iGaming markets are next on our launch list.

Magnus Olsson will give a presentation titled “Fifty nifty regulated states” at iGaming NEXT New York City, at 12:25PM on Friday 13 May. Find the full agenda here.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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