The 10th iGaming Asia Congress has come to an end, looking at whether India is the next powerhouse for gambling, incorporating blockchain into market predictions and discussing driving traffic to the limited Asian SEO market.
Hosted at City of Dreams, Macau, over 150 C-Suite executives along with tech, gaming investors and other gaming experts were drawn to the event. To celebrate its decade anniversary, the Congress hosted its first iGaming Innovation Start-up Launchpad, which gave vetted start-ups a stage to present their products and services to the industry.
Announcing the event, Conference Producer, Giulia Timarco said: “iGaming Asia Congress has been the premier C-level iGaming event in Asia for the past decade. We would like to bring in more up-and-coming iGaming innovators to the event in an attempt to drive innovation and bring new opportunities to the gaming industry in the region.”
The iGaming industry is a US$15bn annual business globally and regards tech innovation as crucial to the industry. Hot topics from the event included artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain tech, initial coin offerings (ICOs), and of course new games.
The first keynote address was delivered by Sue Schneider, Editor in Chief of the Gaming Law Review and Economics. She began the Congress by looking back at the milestones within the iGaming landscape in Asia—from betting exchanges in Australia to poker and payments to live dealer developments.
But the core message was that not much has changed in Asia and unless more work is done to tackle government controls and regulations, while also managing the growth of mobile within the Asian market.
However, a significant crowd pleaser on the first day was the development of India’s gaming market, poised as the next big thing. With a population of 1.3 billion and an estimated value of US$470bn of underground betting, the India panel shared the wealth of opportunities the country expects to gain over the next few years.
Ranjana Adhikari and Pariekshit Maadishetti told of the rise of India towards becoming second-biggest gambling market in the world.
The second day’s highlight was the inaugural Startup Launchpad led by Harmen Brenninkmeijer, which featured the two of the hottest new companies, Blitzpredict and Quintessence.
Blitzpredict is an aggregator that uses blockchain technology for market predictions and sportsbooks. Quintessence, meanwhile, is an acquisition and retention technology service provider.
With just eight minutes to present in front of a panel of judges and the audience who eventually decided the overall winner, the tension was palpable. Despite the tight amount of votes, the winner was declared as Quintessence.
The startup will now get to exhibit and have a tabletop booth at a yet to be announced Beacon Events conference. Possibilities for the start-up include the inaugural Investment Opportunities in Asian Gaming (IOiAG), iGaming Asia Congress (IGA), Asia Gaming Summit (AGS), or Gaming, Racing & Wagering Australia (GRWA).
Another big topic on the second day was the issue of sports sponsorship, that of using it as an incentive for Asian markets and also as a branding strategy. Paul Fox, CEO of LeTou, discussed the value that sports sponsorship deals bring to Asian betting operations and how it is also a useful branding strategy.
Fox explained afterward that LeTou’s shirt sponsorship deal with Swansea has contributed to the volume of their sports betting operations in Asia. He also mentioned that more sponsorship deals are expected from LeTou.
By later that day the word on everyone’s lips was blockchain, a considerable interest for the attendees in gaming conferences as many had arrived looking to partner with Asian casinos.
To understand its integration into the gaming landscape, the Congress had organized sessions on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also showcased two blockchain-driven companies, HeroCoin, and True Flip.
Vasily Polynov, the communications manager of True Flip, shared how their company has combined blockchain technologies with the traditional RNG game as an addition to providing more exciting experience for online gaming players. He stressed how utilizing blockchain will be easier for their potential players to verify if their product is real and fair.
Focussing on customer acquisition and retention, current hot topics in the industry, Rickard Vikstrom, founder of Internet Vikings, conducted SEO navigation in both local and global settings. Within his workshop, he discussed both link building within the casino sector and SERPs.
But it was eSports which stole the show. Now a multi-million dollar industry and predicted to grow to $1.5bn by 2020, it was fitting that the third and the last day of the Congress was dedicated to the topic.
In a series of in-depth workshops on eSports and driving online traffic for the iGaming industry, issues such as the cycle of building, staging and marketing sports event were covered by Hai Ng, co-founder of Neomancer LLC & Spawn Point.
With such a successful 10th anniversary of the iGaming Asia Congress, it will be interesting to see what next year brings.