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Online gaming in the Balkans: a huge potential

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Many in the gambling industry are interested in the dynamism and gambling traditions of the Balkans, even though they may be more aligned with the retail sector.

The conclusion to a special Krasimir Pantkovski and Ihor Zarechnyi examines retail influences, what content appeals most to local players, and the future.

How strong is retail in the casino market today? Is our situation similar to that of Italy where many players still play on land and are willing to try online?

Krasimir Pantkovski, Director of Sales at 3 Oaks Gaming

Krasimir Pantkovski There is still a large number of people who prefer to play on land, even though this trend has been growing in every market. According to our latest research, players prefer playing an online version of a slot they’ve seen before in a physical setting.

We can see now that the players have moved away from the land-based themes as they are enjoying their online experience. This will certainly play an important role in the Balkans during the coming year.

Operators are using this change in their favor, by focusing on land-based players through innovative promotions and other means.

Ihor Zarachnyi In today’s casino landscape, it is impossible to ignore the importance of the retail market, but there has been a noticeable shift in the direction of online platforms. The global trend is that online gaming has become more popular in Europe due to the convenience of it and its increased accessibility.

The operators can take advantage of this change by offering attractive promotions and implementing marketing strategies that are targeted at attracting players to move from online to land-based casinos. Suppliers can create strategies that target retail audiences and showcase the innovations, new dynamics, and innovation the digital world has to offer.

What themes are popular in the gaming industry? What advice would you give to companies looking to launch an online casino?

Ihor Zarechnyi, Head of Sales at Evoplay

The Balkans are a big fan of our slots, especially the classic and trendy features such as Bonus Buy. Our instant games like Penalty Shootout and Hot Triple Sevens have been a big hit in early 2018.

The retro slots Fruit Nova, Hot Triple Sevens and European Roulette, which are based on classic table games, have all gained in popularity. They feature themes and gameplay that land-based players will recognize.

Statisticians reveal a growing interest among Balkan players. The third quarter of 2018 saw a 29.3% increase in wagering, an impressive 50.33% rise in GGR and a 17.6% growth in user numbers.

KP : Markets are overwhelmingly drawn to more traditional themes. In recent times, many players are also tempted to immerse themselves in newer releases that have a wealth of captivating and innovative features. Our belief is that the providers must focus on the niche they are in and offer the most innovative features to their region. This will help them to achieve success.

Our Hold and Win Series is undoubtedly the best of the market, as proven by the success we have had in areas where our footprint is already established. Balkans gamers are enjoying these classic titles. We expect to see our best-selling games be huge hits.

CB : What’s your view for the coming 2-3 years? How do you envision the market changing in the future?

KP – We envision growth in the coming three years due to improved internet access and speed, as well as a move towards online entertainment. We plan to increase our online presence during this period, and introduce new gaming experiences.

Is? Considering all the above factors and the immense potential of the region, I predict a rapid expansion of the market in the coming years. This will be followed by an increase in operators moving into the area, resulting in increased competition.

This will in turn have a positive impact on the market, causing operators to attract players by improving their gaming portfolios, offering better content, and providing additional incentives.

The market is also impacted by the economic growth expected in Western Balkans, and the increasing number of users with mobile devices who are inclined to play igames.

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