OKTO’s Simon Dorsen: going all-in on cashless gaming

Betting customer payment preferences should be noted across all sectors
Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

The gaming industry has undergone a significant transformation, with the rise of cashless payment solutions. What started as a buzzword quickly became a reality as more and more casinos and gaming establishments adopted cashless payment systems to offer a seamless and secure gaming experience. 

Now, several years since the talk of cashless payments began, we speak to Simon Dorsen, CCO at OKTO, an expert in the field, to discuss what has changed, and why creating a seamless and frictionless payment experience across all channels is key for cashless payment to drive growth and foster player loyalty. In this interview, we delve into the challenges of expanding into new markets and the benefits of multi-touchpoint coverage. 

Payment Expert: Can you tell us some of the key factors in creating an omnichannel cashless payment experience perfect for the gaming industry?

Simon Dorsen: Creating an omnichannel payment experience that is perfect for the gaming industry requires a deep understanding of the customer journey and the different touchpoints that players interact with; this is a simple statement to make but there is a lot of complexity involved and OKTO has the experience, partner integrations and solutions to navigate these ecosystems. Key factors include providing a seamless and consistent payment experience across all channels, leveraging data to personalise interactions, and integrating innovative payment solutions that meet the needs of modern players. 

This is exactly what we are doing at OKTO, being last mile experts. We are focused upon offering solutions that improve the customer experience with payments that are almost invisible, removing friction within the purchasing process. We strive to simplify the payments ecosystem by creating cashless payments according to the demands of each operator whether that be a wallet solution that can be also white-labelled or embedded finance or a quick and direct payment journey via innovative retail payment gateway like the OKTO.DIRECT, which we recently launched.  

There are many gaming operators or casinos that already have their own app and OKTO is embedded to elevate the experience with payments as well as KYC and AML as service. payments, after all, are not just card acquiring and bank transfers. Payment services are becoming more vital, and progress is fast. In addition, localization should be considered a must with local payment methods being an essential part of every solution that we here at OKTO design.

PE: What are some of the challenges when expanding the omnichannel payment experience into new markets? And how does this translate when bringing this experience to new demographics? When you grow your offering into new regions, what steps do you take to offer a localised approach and how vital is this?

SD: Expanding the omnichannel payment experience into new markets can present several challenges. Different markets and demographics may have unique expectations and preferences for payment methods. For example, some user segments may prefer cash-based payments, while others prefer mobile payments or cards. Therefore, it is crucial to understand these differences and adapt the payment experience accordingly, yet enable these user journeys to operate side by side and the right fit for the environment.

Payment regulations are also key and can vary from country to country and region to region, which can create compliance challenges but also is the catalyst for innovation. Language barriers can be also a significant challenge, but this is why we have local teams in each region we are entering. Our dedicated local teams lead in their regions, leveraging their experience to meet the needs of merchants and users. We’re using regional and regulatory expertise to solve long-standing market complexities.​ 

When bringing this experience to new demographics, it’s essential to take into account cultural nuances, language, and user behaviour. We address these challenges by conducting extensive research, partnering with local experts, and giving the maximum attention to the UX. The user experience of an omnichannel payment system may need to be adapted to cater to the needs and preferences of the new demographic, with the ultimate goal of delivery solutions that achieve high adoption.

PE: How do you feel the growth of the digital economy has fuelled the desire for cashless payment journeys?

SD: The growth of the digital economy has undoubtedly fueled the desire for cashless payment journeys. As more consumers engage in e-commerce, online shopping, and other digital transactions, the need for secure and efficient payment methods has become increasingly important also for the retail landscape. 

By providing an integrated payment platform that enables players to make payments via various channels, including mobile, online, and in-store, we help merchants meet this demand and improve the player experience.  

The growth of the digital economy has also led to the development of innovative payment technologies and solutions, such as blockchain and biometric authentication, which have further fueled the desire for cashless payment journeys. These technologies offer greater security, convenience, and speed, making digital payments even more attractive to consumers.

Digital economy has been a significant driver of the desire for cashless payment journeys, as consumers increasingly seek secure, convenient, and contactless payment options. As the digital economy continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even greater innovation in the payment space, leading to new and exciting payment experiences for all consumers’ payment preferences. 

PE: Are you able to give us more details about the benefits of the multi touchpoint coverage that OKTO cashless solutions, OKTO.WALLET, OKTO.DIRECT and your embedded financial service provide?

SD: OKTO’s cashless solutions provide a range of benefits through its multi-touchpoint coverage, including increased convenience, seamless integration, enhanced security, real-time reporting, and improved customer experience. For merchants the real benefit is that they can select the one that fits their business., This includes offering payment solutions directly at the touchpoints, shortening and simplifying the user experience. This makes it an attractive option for businesses looking to offer cashless payments across their operations and according to their demands. 

The fact also that all our cashless solutions have multi-touchpoint coverage enables players to interact with operators across multiple channels, thus we create a seamless and convenient user experience that fosters loyalty and drives revenue growth. Customers can make payments quickly and easily, without the need for cash, which can help to reduce queues and waiting times. Enhanced security is another key point for us.  

Cashless payments through our payment platform are highly secure, with advanced fraud detection and prevention measures built-in as well as multiple responsible gaming tools. This helps to protect both businesses and customers from the risk of fraud and other forms of financial crime while promoting responsible gaming initiatives.

PE: In a fast-moving industry, how crucial is easy and flexible integration? How do you balance this speedy integration with a secure payment experience?

SD: As the payment industry evolves rapidly, businesses must be able to adapt quickly to changing market demands and customer preferences. The reality is that most merchants and partners integration roadmaps are very busy and challenging. This requires a flexible and agile approach to integration, which can be achieved through the use of APIs and modular systems. 

At OKTO, we have developed an API-first architecture that allows for easy integration. Our modular approach means that businesses can choose the modules they need to create a customised solution that meets their specific requirements. This is how we designed our different cashless solutions – there is no one-size-fits-all. 

However, we also recognise the importance of maintaining a secure payment experience for our users. We take a multi-layered approach to security, including advanced fraud detection and prevention measures, and encryption. We work closely with all the local authorities to secure and comply with all relevant regulations and industry standards. 

Overall, we believe that easy and flexible integration is crucial in a fast-moving industry, but it must be balanced with a secure payment experience. By leveraging our API-first architecture and modular approach, we are able to provide quick and easy integration while maintaining the highest security standards to protect users’ data and prevent fraud.