HIPTHER’s Zoltan Tundik speaks to our MD Martyn Hannah to learn more about the UK online casino market and what incoming changes could impact the player experience

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that Comparasino MD Martyn Hannah interviews some of the top executives at the operators, game studios, payment providers and other companies behind the online casinos you play at.

But this time it’s his turn. I had the pleasure of speaking to Martyn on an episode of our HIPTHER Talks Podcast about the online casino industry in the UK and how things have or might change following the publication of the Government’s whitepaper back in April 2023.

Martyn is one of the most experienced online casino experts in the business and a trusted authority on the UK market so made for the perfect person to speak about the subject.

You can watch the full podcast episode on YouTube or you can read a roundup of the key points discussed during the interview below:

Zoltan Tundik (ZT): One year on since the hotly-anticipated whitepaper was published, did the paper address everything you expected? Or did it go too far or perhaps not far enough?

Martyn Hannah (MH): It covered what most of us were expecting especially around affordability, protecting players and imposing stake limits on slots. The responses that I have seen so far suggest that most online casino operators are happy with what it contains although there are consultations still happening so not everything has been fully determined yet. My concern is around bonuses and what might happen there as this hasn’t been fully clarified yet. Over the last few years, we’ve seen that operators have been watering down bonuses as they can’t be seen to encourage players to gamble beyond their means. This could push players to black market sites where bonuses aren’t restricted so there needs to be a balance found. For me, the wagering requirements on bonuses are something that should be looked at – if anything, this is what encourages players to gamble more than they should so they can complete the requirement and unlock the bonus winnings.

ZT: What have been some of the biggest challenges that publication of the whitepaper has thrown up for online casinos and comparison sites such as Comparasino?

MH: It actually provides an opportunity for operators to get ahead of the changes that are likely to come. The whitepaper has mapped out proposed changes and has given operators time to digest them and make provisions to meet them and we’ve already seen that some of the bigger operators have implemented changes to meet these new requirements. If you look at the earnings from some of the publicly listed companies, they have been reporting a dip in UK revenues because of the changes they have been implementing around affordability. More generally speaking, the delays to the whitepaper being published and the uncertainty this created has seen a slowdown in new brands launching in the UK. My hope is that now the whitepaper has been published and some of the changes implemented it will provide the certainty new online casinos need to go live and we are already starting to see this.

ZT: Have you seen any changes to player behaviour over the past year in terms of what they are looking for from an online casino?

MH: Historically players have been looking at bonuses when they decide where to play but I think they are now looking at other things such as payment option, speed of payouts, wagering requirements and so on. So, we are definitely seeing demand for brands that are working with instant banking providers for fast payouts and those offering no wagering bonuses. So yes, bonuses are still important, but players are definitely considering a whole lot more when deciding where to sign up and play.

ZT: Product innovation is definitely shaping the future of the industry and especially for casino comparison sites such as Comparasino. Your recommendation engine sounds really interesting – can you share more about it?

MH: Thanks! So the premise behind it is that we want players to be able to find online casinos that offer exactly what they’re looking for, from the welcome bonus to the payment methods available for depositing and withdrawing, right down to the game providers stocked and the speed of payouts. So all the player needs to do is share their preferences with us and our recommendation engine matches them against the brands we have listed on Comparasino to generate a personalised list of casinos and bonuses. Those that then create a Comparasino account can lock in their list, with their matching brands appearing in their own portal. Each time we onboard a new casino that matches their preferences, it gets dropped into their portal so they can spend less time searching for casinos and more time playing at them.

Contributors

An important word on responsible gambling

Online casino is fun and enjoyed by millions of people across the UK. But it’s important that it does stay fun and that you remain in control of your play. Because we only partner with UK-licenced online casinos, each of the brands listed on Comparasino offers the tools you need to do this.

 

But some of these tools might be unfamiliar and it can also be tough to determine if you, or a family member or friend, could potentially have a gambling problem. That’s why we’ve created a Safe Gaming Hub where you can find information about all the responsible gambling tools offered at online casinos, how they work and which ones might be best for you.

 

It also contains insights into some of the early signs of problem play to be aware of in yourself and others as well as direct access to charities and organisations that support those with problem gambling habits.

Head to the Safe Gaming Hub
Responsible Gambling Copyright Comparasino