3 July, 2023

Big Question - Self-production or aggregation: Where is the market now? 

Jaana Repo, Senior Account Manager at Realistic Games, Shelley Hannah, Director of Casino Products at Relax Gaming , Michael Bauer, Chief Games Officer at Greentube and Enrico Bradamante, CCO at Pariplay discuss self-production and aggregation and the current position of the gaming market.

The Big Question - Self-production or aggregation: Where is the market now? 


Jaana Repo, Senior Account Manager, Realistic Games 

Content is king. While quality is important, so is how that content is distributed. This is where aggregation comes in and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. In the ever-evolving landscape of online gaming, aggregators have emerged as key players, revolutionising  the industry through their ability to consolidate game content from various partners into a single, seamlessly integrated module.  

Creating games revolves around having an online gambling hit or an intriguing novelty to get players engaged and increase their loyalty. Today, it is easier said than done compared to the past, when the number of content suppliers in the iGaming industry was limited. So, it’s no surprise that with the increase in content, aggregation has come into play. 

The concept of aggregation is not unique to iGaming but is evident across many industries. The same way aggregation allows suppliers to access many markets and hundreds of operators through one integration is parallel to entertainment and e-commerce services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon. Consumers want content fast with easy access and that means accessing  it all in one place at the click of a finger. 

The noticeable shift towards aggregation is particularly significant for smaller suppliers who seek to achieve faster entry into the market. By partnering with aggregators, these suppliers can leverage existing distribution networks and reach a broader customer base, without having to invest heavily into their own infrastructure. It allows them to focus on their core competencies while benefiting from the aggregators’ established platforms. 

On the other hand, larger suppliers who have already saturated their distribution in the market may find it beneficial to eventually transition to taking control of the integration and eliminate the costs associated with working through aggregators. However, even for these larger suppliers, there are still advantages to staying with aggregators. They often provide valuable support services and additional features that can enhance the supplier’s offerings and improve customer satisfaction.  

This is the beauty of this vertical, as it brings a plethora of technological aspects and streamlined processes to the table. Acting as the glue that binds together online casinos, it’s crucial that aggregators excel at offering seamless integration through API. However, their influence extends beyond mere game integration. Aggregation encompasses payment systems, affiliate programs and promotional tools including free spins. Plus, through partnerships, suppliers can keep informed on market trends and incoming regulations.  

As the market evolves and the industry witnesses an increase in aggregators, that is not to say there aren’t any benefits to distributing through direct means.One notable advantage is cost efficiency. By distributing directly, suppliers can avoid paying platform fees or revenue shares associated with working through aggregators. This can lead to higher profit margins for the supplier.  

Moreover, direct distribution allows suppliers to have complete control over the integration process. They can add upgrades or new features to their distribution platforms without any integration restrictions sometimes imposed by aggregators. This flexibility empowers suppliers to customise their distribution channels according to their specific needs and preferences.  

Due to Realistic Games’ experience in the digital market, we find ourselves in a fortunate position with numerous direct integrations from the relationships we have built. However, in our pursuit of expanding our business further, we are embracing the aggregator approach. By partnering with aggregators, we gain access to a vast network of operators, opening doors to new opportunities and reaching a wider audience. This strategic shift towards aggregation allows our integration teams to redirect their focus towards platform upgrades and product innovations instead. So, overall: aggregation. 


Shelley Hannah, Director of Casino Products, Relax Gaming 

In today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, the role of aggregators cannot be overstated. Across industries, we see the rise of aggregators as a means of simplifying the process of delivering products to customers. Whether it’s music streaming services like Spotify or e-commerce giants like Amazon, people increasingly prefer having everything in one place, utilising a single delivery method. This trend is not only convenient but also demonstrates the demand for streamlined experiences. 

When it comes to our industry, aggregators play a crucial role in simplifying and consolidating the quality of delivery through proven technology and APIs. Handling massive levels of transactions across numerous regulated markets requires precision and quality, which aggregators are well-equipped to provide. In the past, the number of content suppliers in our industry was limited, but now we find ourselves amid a sea of providers. While this abundance of choice may seem overwhelming, it is not dissimilar to what other industries are experiencing. 

Within the proliferation of content providers, one thing remains clear: quality will prevail. Just as excellent music finds success in the music industry, high-quality content will rise above the rest. Operators have the power to select the content they believe will resonate with their target audience, emphasising the importance of delivering top-notch products. 

The beauty of aggregation lies in its ability to offer operators access to a wide range of content that meets their diverse player needs across different markets. This is particularly advantageous for new operators aiming to hit the ground running. By integrating with a single aggregator, they can quickly access a plethora of content options, setting themselves up for success. 

However, it’s crucial to understand that aggregation is not merely a technological offering – it serves as the foundation upon which a package of quality products and services is built. Aggregation encompasses various aspects, from product compliance add-ons to streamlined processes, easy commercial connections, market-specific relevance, centralised support, uptime management, invoicing and promotional products. Aggregators must excel in all these areas to instil confidence in operators and deliver a comprehensive package that simplifies their operations while minimising risk. 

As the marketplace witnesses an increase in the number of aggregators, it’s vital to approach the selection process with caution. While it’s healthy to support the increase in available content, operators must be discerning in choosing aggregators that prioritise quality. Finding the perfect aggregation setup might be challenging, but there are passionate players in the market who are striving for excellence. 

The speed at which our industry evolves often leaves little room for verbalising gaps in the aggregation product offering, or collaborating effectively over the latest regulatory changes. However, it is crucial to take a step back and dedicate the time required to make things right. Adopting a product mindset and evolving in these fast-moving times will help us stay ahead of the curve, and ensure the industry’s continued growth. 

Having observed many small suppliers thrive through the aggregation setup over the years, it’s evident that aggregators can serve as a great springboard to success. They enable suppliers to succeed where direct integrations might have posed significant challenges; and operators to offer truly unique titles that are market compliant. Aggregators must recognise and celebrate the growth and achievements of their rising star suppliers. By doing so, they can create a mutually incentivising environment that encourages collaboration  and continued excellence. 

The beauty of aggregation lies in its ability to offer operators access to a wide range of content that meets their diverse player needs across different markets Shelley Hannah, Relax Gaming 

As market regulations continue at pace and low-quality content threatens to drown out the smaller, innovative suppliers, aggregators remain an essential part of our evolving global marketplace. However, it’s undeniable that there is always room for improvement. Suppliers should focus on their areas of expertise, creating amazing games, while leveraging the power of a strong aggregation bundle. This combination has already proven to propel suppliers to success, and it will continue to do so in the future. By fostering a culture of constant improvement, aggregators can better serve the industry and contribute to its ongoing growth.   


Michael Bauer, Chief Games Officer, Greentube 

It really all depends on the level of resources that are available to the supplier.If you look at the bigger suppliers within our industry, what you see generally is a willingness to work on direct integrations with operators into major regulated markets. For this approach to be successful, these suppliers need to have extensive support teams in place to gather the requisite certificates and licences. The benefit here for suppliers is that once they have formed an agreement with a particular operator, they have complete control over that relationship, rather than relying on a mediating third party.  

However, the direct integration approach is not realistic for smaller suppliers that are without the resources necessary to navigate a very fragmented and complex regulatory landscape. They simply cannot afford to go it alone and integrate directly with a host of operators in multiple markets, while managing and maintaining each relationship.  

Smaller studios will always have a key role to play in bringing fresh ideas to the iGaming industry. However, they inevitably need to select a technology partner that is able to bring their content to players in regulated jurisdictions, delivering speed to market at scale. At Greentube, we have our own technology stack that our studio partners use to develop and deliver content, along with a range of essential, advanced engagement and retention tools. Aggregation platforms can deliver not only content, but also a range of added-value services that can help smaller suppliers make a big impact when launching content across multiple jurisdictions. 

There is another aspect to this question, which is the unregulated iGaming market. Whenever regulation is introduced that is too restrictive for the ecosystem to flourish, the net result is a gain for black-market operators that do not play by the normal rules; and the worse the regulation, the bigger the risk to player channelisation. Of course, this is not in the interest of Greentube. 

Finally, there is the technology aspect to consider. Many of the bigger platforms in our industry are faced with the challenge of owning a tech stack that is inflexible, somewhat outdated and unsatisfactory in the context of a modern-day iGaming environment. For some of the market-leading platforms, they face a situation whereby a wholesale revamp of their technology would be hugely costly. At the same time, to integrate directly into these platforms can be very complicated and time-consuming. This is where aggregation comes into play, allowing suppliers the benefit of audience reach; all while taking away the need for platforms to devote large-scale resources to creating their own aggregation solutions. 


Enrico Bradamante, Chief Commercial Officer, Pariplay 

The ever-shrinking global map means operators need to be able to stand apart in whichever way they can. This can encompass anything from UI to local knowledge or, most obviously, through market-leading product portfolios. With the ever-expanding spread of regulation in markets, there has never been more potential for gambling brands, nor more competition.  

A sure-fire way to take a broad swathe of content to market quickly is via an aggregation platform. The modern platform serves the needs of every element of the iGaming ecosystem, which for operators is an important factor. 

Given that the landscape has altered over the last few years, there is now less pressure on operators as a business to have their own Remote Gaming Server (RGS) and direct integrations. With an aggregator partner, new, innovative and top-performing content can go live swiftly and securely, with little action required from an operator partner.Not only is this a huge boost for operators, but also for studios – especially the smaller ones that possibly lack the vast commercial infrastructure required to maintain relationships with many operators.  

Aggregation platforms now are expected to offer so much more than simply products on a platform. With more and more markets embracing regulation, keeping on top of compliance requirements for products can be both costly and time consuming. 

Nowadays, the role of aggregators such as Pariplay is to assist studios looking to get their content live in markets, utilising the iGaming licences and dedicated compliance teams. This allows for studios to enter multiple states and provinces with only one integration.In addition to compliance assistance, modern platforms are offering ever-more sophisticated engagement tools offered by third parties to further bolster product engagement.

Gamification isn’t a new concept, but being able to boost engagement, drive up retention rates and increase ROI via an aggregation platform offers a whole new opportunity for operators. Having the perfect harmony in the ecosystem is vital to its success, and suppliers that can balance their aggregation offering with powerful in-house offerings will always hold an advantage in an incredibly competitive space.