SBC and CasinoBeats have recently presented the first-ever Slots Festival, where gaming professionals had the chance to try out a wide array of games both from some of the well-known software providers and from upcoming new game developers. Now after the event was held, we had a pleasure of talking to Stewart Darkin, Managing Director CasinoBeats, SlotBeats, who shared some valuable insights regarding this unique event.
CasinoBeats Slots Festival 2020
The day-long festival was held on 18 November 2020 and featured game developers showcasing their latest games through free plays and fun tournaments. Apart from slots, there were also live casino games involved, as well as poker and skill.
Moreover, the tournament carried plentiful valuable prizes, while some of the online casino sector’s leading streamers had an opportunity to spin the reels of a number of slots. It was an ideal place to stay up to date for a highly targeted and qualified audience of online casinos, affiliates, providers and other gaming professionals from across the globe.
On this occasion, we had a pleasure of talking to Stewart Darkin, Managing Director CasinoBeats, SlotBeats, so let’s see what he had to say regarding this incredible event.
We are pretty sure everyone is excited to find out the names of some of the software providers that showcased at this year's event. So please tell us a bit more about them.
We were extremely pleased with the developers we saw at our first-ever Slots Festival. Alongside headline sponsors Groove Gaming, BGaming and Big Time Gaming, we had games from a wide range of providers, including some of the biggest names in the sector.
Visitors to the Festival were able to play games from OneTouch, Scientific Games, Kalamba Games, Spinmatic, Funfair Games, Netgaming, MGA Games, Stakelogic, Yggdrasil, Oryx Gaming, Microgaming and IGT.
For the very first staging of the Festival, we were extremely happy to have such a strong selection of companies represented.
Can you reveal the delegate breakdown - how many attendees did the event gather?
Our goal from the outset was to invite a targeted audience of 600 attendees, of at least half of which would be operators and affiliates. We ended up with 750 registrations, with 45 per cent of those attending being operators and affiliates.
Overall, we have more than 100 companies attend and it is also worth noting that around 50 members of the gaming media logged in to check out the new games. The operators that joined the event included some of the biggest in the sector, such as Betsson, Casumo, Coingaming, Flutter, GVC, Gamesys, Genting, Kindred, LeoVegas, William Hill - and many more.
Having a unique opportunity to feature online slots on #1 casino streaming website, what else was in it for game developers?
The idea of the Festival was to give operators and affiliates the chance to see and try the latest and unreleased games from developers and, in doing so, provide suppliers with the opportunity to boost the marketing of their products. So, on one hand operators could try out some games maybe they hadn't seen before, and on the other if offered suppliers a 'turbo charged' marketing opportunity. As one of the straplines of the Festival put it: 'There is no substitute for playing'.
As you mention, the presence of CasinoGrounds and specifically leading streamer Kim Hultman, was also real coup for CasinoBeats and a great reason for developers to get involved. To see streamers publicly putting unreleased games through their paces was something that b2b audiences rarely get to see, so that aspect was a particular success.
How did this fantastic day of content go – what were the showrooms that participants of the CasinoBeats Slots Festival had access to?
The showrooms were as set out above - one for each developer. The majority of these had four to six slots titles available for free play, as well as a number of additional on-demand videos and trailers, plus game data for the releases and contacts at each supplier.
And it all went very well. A particular highlight was the keynote address from Big Time Gaming CEO and founder Nik Robinson, who welcomed visitors to the festival but also shared his views on some important challenges facing the sector. He spoke about the regulated German market, which is opening up, and more generally about his wish for online casino to be seen as ‘entertainment led' and a ‘zero harm' activity. It was really great stuff, especially coming from someone who has had more influence on the modern slots sector than most.
What was your motive to organise this event?
We are always looking for ways to offer the online casino sector more value and we felt that while streamers and other parties have done a great deal to bring the player perspective into the B2B arena, there was still not enough opportunity for execs to play the games.
Of course, there are many great affiliate sites conducting reviews and carrying demos, and live games can be played for real money direct from casino lobbies. But we believed that providing a relaxed online environment within which gaming professionals could try out some new products and see the slots side by side - much like a casino lobby - would be valuable.
The fact we were able to host 12 previously unreleased titles available to play in demo mode - some of which were also played by Kim Hultman - backs that up.
What are your impressions now after it was successfully held?
We couldn't be happier with how it went. To get the attention and support we did - and from the companies listed above, both operators and suppliers - was as much as we could have hoped for.
We're so happy with it that we have now confirmed there will be four new editions of the Festival in 2021, all sponsored by Groove Gaming. They will be on 3 February, 4 May, 20 July and 18 November - the announcement is here. We expect the Slots Festival to grow significantly throughout 2021.
Will the streaming be available after the event?
Yes, the CasinoGrounds stream is available here so viewers can watch Kim play six slots across the two-hour live stream. Future editions will also include streaming as we tapped into a real appetite from developers to see their new titles get the streamer treatment.
CasinoBeats Slots Festival Reveals Four Editions for 2021
As our interviewee just mentioned, the Slots Festival has proved particularly popular among operators’ product teams, the CasinoBeats Slots Festival is to return with four editions in 2021. Groove Gaming was confirmed as the games showcase’s Platinum Sponsor for the year, and new dates are set as follows:
- Q1 – 3 February
- Q2 – 4 May
- Q3 – 20 July
- Q4 – 18 November
With such a high level of interest, the last week’s Festival gathered more than 70 operator companies in attendance. Therefore, CasinoBeats can confirm the aforementioned quarterly editions of Slots Festival for next year, which will provide games studios and content suppliers with a platform to present their latest offerings directly to the industry throughout 2021.