STM Gaming talks about African iGaming Innovation and Automation

This time we’re in conversation with Alessandro Pizzolotto, CEO and cofounder of STM Gaming to talk about the impact of the pandemic on his business and the African market.

STM Gaming is a b2b sports betting platform specialising in the African market, a fast growing area for the industry. The continent is one of the biggest new markets to open up to the gaming industry. Unsurprisingly, sports betting – particularly football – is the most popular.  Gaming is relatively new still and high street shops are where most of it takes place. 

So COVID-19 took its toll almost immediately. 

Alessandro’s calm is impressive when looking back a few weeks at what must have been the biggest hurdle the company and the industry will have ever faced.  With the shutdown of shops and the cancellation of sports events they are looking at their clients’ main delivery outlets and the most popular gaming theme struck off almost overnight. STM Gaming were faced with a huge challenge.

They got to work quickly, with the priority being to keep revenues coming in for their clients. The answer? Diversification, fast. The company set about adding alternative games, in new formats, to their clients’ offering. New verticals in online casino and esport took the focus, with some success. Online casino games and esport have surged in popularity but ‘it doesn’t fill the void’. Alessandro makes no secret of the damage done by the loss of the most popular sport in Africa – football. 

A new direction for African iGaming?

Alessandro sees through the drama of recent weeks into the bigger picture. This is an inevitable part of digital transformation for this part of the industry but it will take time to do properly. ’You don’t learn how to go online in 3 weeks, it’s a process of learning’. But it is more than a trend. Alessandro clearly believes the pressures of COVID-19 have given rise to changes that are here to stay in a post-pandemic world, and that it comes down to the customer’s behaviour; ’I believe the people who are now playing online are not going to come back to the shops.’ 

Going digital successfully means being truly customer-first, something SMT are ready to help their clients understand. The sector as a whole is being asked to look at the customer journey and those entering the African market are not exempt. Africa proved already to be a continent where technology is appreciated’ and the early signs are good for online gaming. To make money though, the work is in getting the customer journey tight…How? You guessed it, technology. 

STM are clearly with us on this point – automation is the next revolution in iGaming.

80% of queries that come into SMT’s partners’ customer support are centred around the same 10-20 questions, a stat that our own surveys have also concluded. The size of the workforce just isn’t sustainable with such pressured margins.  It’s music to our ears to hear Alessandro’s take on the role of AI in the future of iGaming. We’re talking about end-to-end customer journey automation, basically ‘tech that can follow the customer through their journey without having to have someone behind the computer’.

But this is more than customer support. Automation is ‘applicable to all areas of gaming’, including an area we all agree needs more attention – marketing. Staying close to customer behaviour on a micro level can and should lead to optimised marketing. Inside the  SMT platform, content is served based on understanding the customer and personalising not to a profile but to that customer. 

Published May 2020

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