14 June, 2022

Nuanced markets

Nuvei Chief Corporate Development Officer Neil Erlick lays out the hurdles to overcome when tailoring payment solutions to operators across different jurisdictions, while detailing the latest advancements in the industry

Being a Canadian company, how has Nuvei reacted to Ontario’s newly regulated online gaming market?   

The launch on 4 April was a long time coming. As a Canadian-founded company, being ready to support the operators once the regulated market arrived on 4 April was very important to us. We only work in regulated gaming markets all over the world and have been doing so for close to two decades. Ontario for us, although important – given our nature as a Canadian company and despite having a large presence around the world – was really one more jurisdiction for us to go into. Being able to leverage all of our experience, built up over nearly two decades where we’ve worked in regulated markets around the world, gave a lot of comfort to the operators that are now launching for the first time as a regulated entity in Ontario. For us, we take a lot of pride in the fact that we launched with many of the largest operators today; BetMGM, FanDuel and theScore Bet to name a few. A lot of the top players that launched in Ontario selected Nuvei to process payments.  

What are some of the challenges associated with delivering both fiat and crypto solutions to an operator?  

The answer is the same for both. On the fiat side, it really depends on the jurisdiction itself. Through a single integration, a single platform, we have cultivated over 550 alternative payment methods that our clients can connect to. Our platform is available in nearly 200 countries and over 150 currencies. This is important because, if you think about acceptance from fiat regulations, things can be very different depending on whether you’re in the UK, US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia – or any other country. You should be able to offer the consumer the exact means by which they want to pay. Of course, payment options should be in a safe, secure environment and be delivered promptly; not only in terms of paying into an account but paying out too. People want to get paid; if they’re winning, they want their money back and they want it as quickly as possible. 

On the crypto side, however, we’ve taken a slightly different approach. It’s a newer technology, a 21st century technology – so we’re taking the necessary steps in preparing for when crypto is a widely accepted means of payment in gaming. Looking across the board, from a regulatory perspective, crypto acceptance is not permitted. You cannot use crypto as a valid payment option with a gaming operator in North America today. We’ve been preparing and now have the ability when regulations change to implement crypto. As part of our integrated portfolio, our merchants could accept over 40 different crypto options today, it’s just that not all of them can. So we’re ready for when regulations change, to be there for our clients.

How do you adapt your platform to different operators? Do you tailor a bespoke service to each operator, or provide the same toolbox in which an operator can pick and choose what they’d like for their payment solution? 

One of the benefits we feel Nuvei can provide is that every service we offer is available á la carte. We don’t offer a solution in a box and say “we hope you like it.” In fact, every solution we have is specifically tailored for a certain merchant or operator. I would say, around the world, no one solution is identical between operators. We merely adapt to the needs of the merchant and ensure we’re there to support them. They can use all or part of our service, in one jurisdiction or many. Being able to customise on behalf of the operator is a key selling point.  

Similarly, how must you adapt your offering to different regulated jurisdictions?  

Every regulated market is different. It’s important again here to be able to adapt, to be nimble. Looking at the US alone there is no central, federal set of rules and regulations, it’s on a state-by-state basis; it depends on state law. Several states have rules and regulations related to payments specifically. Such laws include the number of credit cards allowed; some states allow them and others don’t. In certain states, money that comes into an account has to come out the same way that it was deposited. So, being able to adapt your cashier, being able to adapt the service you’ve offered to the operators, to ensure they remain compliant is key. And that’s just in one country; things can be entirely different in other worldwide jurisdictions. It’s crucial to stay on top of that and create a seamless solution for all your clients.  

What two jurisdictions could you say are the complete polar opposite of one another, in terms of payments regulation? Or are they all so different it’s impossible to discern two distinctly different markets? 

There really are a lot of differences between jurisdictions. It gets even more complicated when payment regulations get introduced. Market acceptance rates, consumer preferences and our ability, legally, to support that, all come into play. From a regulatory perspective, when Vegas first came online years ago you couldn’t use your credit card.
In New Jersey, however, you could. So that’s one example of change and a historic difference between markets. Furthermore, certain issuing banks will approve consumers to use their debit cards, but not their credit cards – that’s aside from any legislation.That’s more of a payment acceptance issue between a consumer and their bank, but it gives an example of just some of the many nuances between jurisdictions and even outside of jurisdictions. From our perspective, it’s really about supporting our merchants and their customers, and making sure we provide the best service possible. 

Can you see any advantage for an operator in using a closed-loop payment system, one with high rewards and loyalty, over a more typically used open-loop system?  

I think there are pros and cons to each. But, at the end of the day, when an operator comes to us wanting an open-loop system, that’s something we’re going to provide. If a client wanted a closed-loop system, that’s something we could help them with as well. For Nuvei it’s about supporting the needs of the client, regardless of what those payments needs are. I think with loyalty programmes, this becomes very important when seeing a convergence between land-based operations and the online space. Loyalty at casinos – the real brick-and-mortar sites – has been at the genesis of the casino industry for so long. The question these casino operators have is how best to transfer these loyalty programmes into the online space when expanding into iGaming and online sports betting. Will people follow casino operators online with their loyalty programmes? For us, it’s about supporting the merchants in whatever they choose to do. We never push a solution, but support an operator’s choice.   

You’ve recently introduced real-time deposits (RTP) to your portfolio of solutions. How does this instant bank transfer system advance your offering?  

Consumers want everything now. Not just in gaming, but in life in general. We’re in this world now in 2022 where everyone wants instant gratification; people want everything as fast as possible. Nuvei was the first group in North America to launch RTP for withdrawals from operator accounts. Traditionally, when a consumer requests the money back to their bank account through automated clearing house (ACH) systems, it would probably take between eight and 72 hours for your money to return to you. The time in which your money would be returned to you was dependent on your bank, actually. Most people were unaware of this difference in return times between banks, and most people that withdraw their money from an operator still withdraw through an ACH system.  

So we’re the first group to develop RTP in North America for gaming payouts. This system has been an incredible success so far for operators that have opted in. When you think about it from a consumer’s standpoint, when you ask the operator for your money and they send it to you, you get it instantly in your bank account. What we’ve also done is become the first to supply RTP for deposits too. Consumers can now get money in and out of their account with an operator in seconds. This technology is really innovative and extremely game-changing for North American markets.