Degree 53 is an award-winning digital agency, specialising in mobile app and website development, UX and design and consultancy services for the gambling industry. Degree 53 has a solid understanding of the gambling industry, having worked with operators, suppliers and affiliates on a global scale, including Betfred, Football Acca, ProScores, Bookies.com, Totesport, and more. It holds a Remote Gambling Software licence, accredited by the UK Gambling Commission. Andrew Daniels, managing director, was formerly head of mobile development division at Betfred. He has been involved in mobile technology for more than a decade, focusing on gaming and new media industries. Daniels is a founder member of Million-2-1 and has supported its SMS gaming product. After it was acquired by IGT, he focused on developing HTML5 casino games for mobile platforms.
As a mobile app and website development agency, specialising in the gambling industry, we deal with a variety of clients with projects at different stages. Some come to us to improve or build on an existing product, some only seek our industry expertise and strategic advice. We also have many enquiries from businesses looking to launch their first online gambling apps and websites which need to be created from scratch, including UX, design and development.
One of the most common challenges for new businesses in online gambling is understanding how the industry works and what resources are required to deliver a robust and successful product. We thought we’d share our tips and what you should consider if you want to develop a winning online gambling app or website.
Remote Gambling Software licence
The UK gambling industry is highly regulated and there are specific standards any operator needs to meet. One of the requirements is having a licence to create software; in this case, an app or website. Whether you build it in-house or commission an agency, the developer is required to have a Remote Gambling Software licence to build and adapt it. Some may also be required to have a country-specific licence.
As an operator, you may be required to get a licence depending on the gambling product or service. So, if you’re thinking of building an online gambling product, make sure you and your designated developer are licensed to do so wherever you are thinking of launching it.
Complying with information security standards
Online gambling products deal with lots of sensitive customer information, such as bank details and addresses. It is important that all possible measures to protect it are in place. That’s why the Remote Gambling Software licence also requires compliance with ISO/IEC 27001 regulations on information security management. This includes following strict data protection processes, such as providing relevant training for all employees, guarding customer data and keeping a log of events and individuals having access to any of this information.
Understanding the gambling industry
We often come across new companies looking to enter the gambling industry that have very limited knowledge about how it operates. You need to understand it inside-out to be able to tailor your products and services to the right customers.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as bespoke third-party system integrations, compliance regulations, affiliate organisations and knowing how to tackle gambling-specific challenges. For example, it is important to understand how to integrate your back-end system with an affiliate website, payments provider or a live scores module. There are also trademark laws prohibiting you from using copyrighted team badges or international event images, such as the Olympics, without paying for them. You can buy the licence or create your own visuals which we have done for many of our clients. These complex processes require specific technology and knowledge, and we advise businesses to seek help from an experienced developer to tackle this.
Knowing your customer
Before releasing a gambling app or website, it is important to understand your target audience and its behaviour when it comes to online gambling. It is different from going to real life bookies and casinos. So, being able to identify your customers’ needs and expectations in an online environment is key to providing a successful product. Extensive market research and analysis will help you get a comprehensive understanding of their demographics, behaviours and preferences.
Gambling operators are also required to perform background checks on anyone who registers to gamble to ensure they are allowed to do so. This requires specific system integration with third-party providers to verify the necessary information.
Offering relevant UX
Part of knowing your customer expectations is understanding how they are going to use your online gambling product. Whether it’s to check football scores, place bets or play poker, it needs to be appropriate for the desired activity and offer a slick user experience to make sure they enjoy it. For example, sportsbooks can be compared to large ecommerce sites, such as Amazon. There can be thousands of betting markets across a variety of sports. Customers need to be able to quickly and easily access the ones relevant to them. Offering great UX and appealing design consistently will make your product stand out from the competition and help you retain customers.
Allowing time and budget to market
Building an app or website requires meticulous planning, as there are various factors that might impact the final release date. If you’re thinking about launching an online gambling product for a specific event, such as the football Premiership season, make sure you allow plenty of time and budget for build and any iterations, especially for mobile apps.
Some of our clients aren’t always aware that before they can officially launch an app, it needs to be reviewed by Apple. Sometimes, we come across rejections and need to make the necessary changes, and then submit the app for approval once again. While we’ve already noticed a significantly quicker review process with Apple, it’s still best to be prepared for this in advance.
Apple’s regulations around gambling apps are also stricter and it tends to scrutinise them a lot more than a game or a lifestyle app. Apple requires additional paperwork that proves the gambling app has been tested and the developer has a valid gambling licence to build it. If it spots any inconsistencies, the review process may take longer than expected, so it’s also best to make sure you work with an experienced developer.
Google, on the other hand, doesn’t allow gambling apps in Play store at all, so you need to distribute your Android apps via your own website. This further impacts any future updates as they won’t be pushed via the Play store. We suggest to develop your own internal process which then updates the apps automatically.
Selecting the right partner
If you’re a newcomer to the gambling industry or just don’t have enough resources to create a gambling app or website in-house, we advise you to partner up with an experienced provider, whether it’s to help with development, design or consultancy.
We have secured the Remote Gambling Software licence to be able to provide digital solutions to the gambling industry, including new businesses entering the market. Our experts have a vast knowledge and experience in working with different gambling systems and can help you overcome any challenges when building your first product. Take a look at some of the examples of our work with gambling clients.
We’re always happy to meet you for a chat and to discuss your requirements. If you have an idea but aren’t exactly sure whether it will work or how, you can take part in our Product Design Sprint to create a prototype and test it will real users.
Degree 53 team have worked on projects, including sportsbooks, mobile betting apps and websites, sporting results products and white label solutions. More information about its work can be found here https://www.degree53.com/our-work/
By Andrew Daniels