Platforms: off the beaten path

Could you give us a refresher on the advantages of Comtrade’s iCore igaming platform? How do you reflect on your past 12 months of operations?

An iGaming platform is the central component for any online operator. A good, reliable platform can mean the difference between success and failure and is a key part of any growth plans. Our platform is used by some of the biggest named operators, so as you would expect, the features and functionality are extremely rich and based on controlling player journeys and maximising player lifetime values.

However, platforms have to be highly configurable to an individual operator’s specific needs, tailored for their operations and their markets.

The biggest advantage of working with ourselves is the fact we take this to the next level and offer complete bespoke customisations and development resource for all our clients. For an operator, it’s like having an in-house platform without the IT overhead.

With regulation and responsible gaming still firmly on the agenda for stakeholders across the igaming industry, how does Comtrade ensure its platform offering keeps abreast of such developments?

Our company has always been a technology company, with a technology first approach rather than sales, and over 96% of our staff are technical.

This means we can react very quickly to the changes regulators make or individual requirements in new markets. We offer all the latest player protection features and make it easy for the operator to navigate that ever-changing facet. Whether that is ensuring they are compliant or going above and beyond the minimum requirement from a social responsibility standpoint.

What surprises you in the industry regarding iGaming platforms

I am consistently surprised by operators' acceptance of poor service or unreliability in such a critical aspect of their business. They know they could achieve much more; they see the competition doing better, and yet they still hesitate to migrate platforms.

There should be no fear in migrating if it is done with the right company. A well-executed migration can give an operator an instant boost that is reflected in the numbers almost immediately.

Another surprising thing is when an operator finally commits to moving platforms, many still seek the cheapest deal. The mistake they made initially; they repeat. They focus on today’s cost rather than tomorrow’s growth. A fee basis points here or there on cost pales into insignificance it your platform migration can help you grow by 20% in 6 months.

Omnichannel experiences are becoming an increasingly important part of the industry in 2024, so how does the iCore platform drive such gaming experiences forward?

Omnichannel has been a term that has been thrown around for nearly 15 years, and yet still to this day, there are very few operators who have a true omnichannel offering. This is partly down to regulation, typically the rules of land-based gaming are not unified with online, so bonuses or comps are not transferrable between the two channels.

We can offer a seamless player account from laptop/phone to land based machine that offers a true 360-degree view of a player. These are significant projects though and typically require integration with other 3rd party or proprietary systems.

How do you see igaming platforms and trends in platforms changing as 2024 progresses and 2025 comes around? What challenges will the sector face and how will Comtrade and the wider industry help tackle these challenges?

People say that gaming is fast paced, but in honesty, it really isn’t. The same issues that operators faced last year, they will still face this year and probably the next. The companies who invest in growth and are bold will keep taking market share from the companies just trying to protect what they have.

AI will become increasingly important and streamline many marketing operations, particularly in campaign management.

M&A activity will bring new opportunities as a well as new headaches for operators, as mergers typically pivots the strategic direction, which might no longer align with the operator’s best interests.

I am glad to say we have always been a very stable business. Being privately owned and part of a much wider group outside of gaming means we benefit from much longer-term strategies.

With an array of player and operator data crucial to a successful platform, how does Comtrade ensure its platform can handle a high load of traffic across multiple touchpoints?

This comes back to our technology first approach.

When you work with some of the biggest operators, your system has to be able to handle huge loads. We are talking about thousands of bets per second just for individual operators, and due to bonusing or real cash checks this can create triple the amount of system transactions. All of this has to happen in real-time and has to work the time.

Site availability or uptime is key to lifetime player values and building brand trust. A player who can’t bet when they want will seek another operator… If they can’t access their funds for a prolonged period or frequently, they will move their funds elsewhere as soon as possible.

We have extremally strong SLAs with our platform and even deliver all our upgrades on a no down-time basis.

If you could pinpoint the one key ambition for Comtrade in 2024, what would it be? How will the company set about achieving this aim?

Although we have been in business for 20 years and have some of the best technology available, there are still many operators who don’t know about us.

This is potentially the flip side of the technology first approach rather than focusing on sales, so we still have a lot of work to do to get our name out there.

We plan to be exhibiting more at shows, and the launch of our games division (CG Games) will provide us with the opportunity to engage with many more operators who may not currently be seeking a platform.

We are not changing our approach, and we are not the right company for startup operators. There are many companies that are better suited for that.

We are the right company for existing operators who are looking for significant growth and who want a more tailored service.

If a few more of those operators learn about us, that will be great!

Chief Commercial Officer, Steven Valentine

Steven valentine b&w.