SBC Summit North America returned earlier this month for its third edition. Once again, the event brought together key sports betting and iGaming players to exchange opportunities, expertise, and insights into the industry's future. Delegates - an astonishing 3,500 of them - not only immersed themselves in current industry goings-on, but also gained insight into the direction of the industry and met the innovators driving us to this future.
SBC Summit North America had it all: expert keynote speakers, networking opportunities with faces familiar and new, the SBC First Pitch competition and a bustling tradeshow floor. If you didn't manage to attend this year (or even if you did and want a reminder), we've put together a quick takeaways blog to bring you up to speed.
1. Payments, payments, payments!
Payments continue to occupy a critical position within the iGaming and sports betting industry. SBC dedicated an entire conference stream to discussing all things payments and FinTech.
Our Founder and Group CEO, Kamran Hedjri, hopped from the NextGen Payments and RegTech Forum in Zürich (check out our event blog) to SBC in New Jersey to share his expertise on payments compliance. Joined by an expert panel, the session offered exciting insights into payment innovation and regulatory challenges.
Recognising and meeting customer demands is critical and instantaneous payments are becoming more and more desirable. At the same time, customers want to pay with their preferred payment method (both traditional and newer options such as digital wallets and BNPL), preferred currency and without fees. The payment process needs to be as frictionless as possible, and the closer it gets to invisibility, the better.
Player experience is also paramount and key to converting and retaining loyal players. This is critical for business success and driving profits. It's a tall order, but it's one that we need to meet as an industry.
The challenges are numerous. The oft-international scale of industry operations, multiple channels, and customer demands for choice and speed combine to create a challenging payments landscape for businesses to navigate.
Compliance requirements, such as AML (anti-money laundering) measures, are an additional and essential consideration, but can cause the process to become even more cumbersome. Furthermore, differences in requirements between state jurisdictions produce a fragmented regulatory terrain.
These challenges are not going anywhere. Selecting a payments partner with regulatory expertise when expanding into the US or new states is crucial. Here at PXP Financial, we have 20 years' of experience in processing gaming industry payments. We advise our customers on the regulatory nuances and support the provision of payment options and processing across chosen locations.
When looking to the future, the task is clear - even if it's not easy! Customer expectations and regulatory requirements need to be balanced. Regardless of your position within the industry, the regulator and the customer are two pivotal stakeholders.
2. What the tech?!
One of the most exciting areas of discussion is technological innovation. There have been some incredible developments in recent years. AI (artificial intelligence) and open banking technology are two examples which have revolutionary potential within sports betting and iGaming. So, where do they fit in?
AI is particularly useful in supporting compliance. For example, AI can automate and streamline the KYC (know your customer) process by verifying customer identities, assessing risk profiles, and conducting background checks.
Another application is for responsible gambling. AI can monitor individual player behaviour and detect signs of addiction or excessive gambling by analysing, e.g., betting history and account activity. Once at-risk players are identified, appropriate interventions, such as the provision of support resources or pop-up warnings, can be activated.
The capability of AI to analyse vast amounts of data transfers into fraud detection and anti-money laundering. Through real-time monitoring, AI can quickly flag suspicious activities for further investigation.
Meanwhile, open banking technology brings automation, efficiency, and enhanced decision-making to the industry.
For example, leveraging open banking APIs (application programming interfaces) enables operators to access real-time and accurate financial information about their customers. Operators can carry out thorough due diligence, supporting compliance with AML and KYC regulations. In terms of payments, open banking enables secure and seamless payment processes – customers can initiate transactions directly from their bank accounts. One associated upside of this is lowered risk of fraudulent transactions.
It’ll be exciting to see where these technologies, and others such as blockchain and biometrics, drive the industry to.
3. Equality, diversity and inclusion
Technological advancements, payments innovation, compliance and regulation are all incredibly important topics. But so too is EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion). After all, iGaming and sports betting is an industry of people, for people.
The agenda for SBC Summit North America included several well-attended events focused on improving industry diversity, such as the global gaming women breakfast meetup and a panel on equity hiring. There is a long way to go; however, facilitating networking and promoting EDI conversations are an important step. Hopefully SBC will continue to engage with these issues that are so critical to continuing industry success.
At PXP Financial, we recognise it is the people that make us tick. Check out our recent blog showcasing some of the highly successful women across the business.
SBC Summit North America was an incredible few days. With the dates already announced for SBC Summit North America 2024, we know where we’ll be 7-11 May! Get the dates in your diary now, it’s bound to be another highlight of the industry calendar.
About PXP Financial
The end-to-end payment platform: PXP Financial provides a single unified payments platform to accept payments online, on mobile and at the point of sale. Powered by inhouse acquiring, 200+ alternative payment methods & financial services, PXP processes over EUR 22.7 billion annually through its unified gateway. Whatever your business needs today or tomorrow, PXP Financials’ innovative payment platform will support your business growth with all the payment services you will ever need from one source, wherever your business takes you. To find out more about PXP Financial family of companies, visit: www.pxpfinancial.com.