Standing Out in an Oversaturated Market - Interview with Jan Urbanec

This week we’ve had the opportunity to chat with Jan Urbanec, CEO of Endorphina, about their creative approach to balancing innovation and quality when developing new products, gamification, and other topics circulating gambling news today.

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

My name is Jan Urbanec, and I’m currently the CEO of Endorphina. I enjoy improving myself, my work, this company, and the lives of people around me. I started to work at Endorphina due to my business development skills and stayed for the love of the games.

There is an argument that the slots market is particularly crowded at the moment, with some casinos offering players the choice of more than 1000 titles. Given the sheer amount of choice players have, how do you believe Endorphina’s slots stand out?

We understand classic slots. And more importantly, we understand the classic slot player.

Endorphina slots

Our brand identity has been carefully curated, and our games communicate it strongly. When you go to play one of Endorphina’s games, you know what you are going to get – usually a high-volatility, reliable game with a generous prize distribution in the paytable that does not shy away from solid wins

It seems that many companies are trying to outdo each other concerning innovative features. Do you feel that this is necessary, or do you think it is more important to produce extremely well-crafted games that build upon traditional features and themes?

If you take a look at our game portfolio, you will see that the answer is clearly the latter.

We see that the market is becoming oversaturated very fast with new mechanics that are being created for the sake of claiming to be innovative. Now, we understand the importance of introducing new concepts – but this cannot be at the expense of transparency and clarity towards the players. Also, the question of reliability is present – if you introduce so much innovation so fast, it has to be properly tested.

Today players are far more aware of factors such as volatility and RTP than ever before. Do you think this poses a challenge to the slots industry?

No, not at all. Players have the right to ask questions and receive answers about the games they play using their personal funds.

There is an industry-standard RTP, and most online providers are moving around this figure.

The question arises when regulators start to influence the RTP by introducing not well-calculated laws and taxes. Unfortunately, the player is punished at the end.

Volatility is a question based purely on the player’s general preference or immediate state of mind. Does he feel like risking more for the potential of a higher reward? Or does he feel less “risky” today?

In previous interviews you have discussed the idea of keeping RTPs in the range of 96% in order to find a balance between profitability for operators and player experience. Have you explored the idea of slots with a similar RTP to blackjack? If it were possible, do you think that this may attract a previously untapped demographic of risk-averse players?

I can imagine a slot that has a skill element in it. Skill can affect the RTP in a way through a player’s strategy. But if a casino would be full of only games like this, they would be unable to sustain themselves. The current costs of affiliates, payment processing, supplier fees, and fixed costs would kill a 99% RTP casino business very fast.

If the players are risk-averse, they should pick very low volatility games and play for low stakes. This option already exists in the market, and the player balance will not experience crazy swings.

In countries such as Germany and the UK, there seem to be more and more restrictions imposed on online slots, how detrimental do you think these will be to players and the industry?

Sometimes the exact restrictions that claim to be in place for player protection do, in fact, damage the player.

United Kingdom has more restrictions imposed on online slots

The latest UK changes in slot regulation react to popular game mechanics. By not allowing players to play games with their favourite feature, you are sending them to off-shore gaming sites where they can find games with this option.

In my option, the German situation was not very well calculated in advance by the authority. The tax is calculated in a way that no matter what the player does, he is losing a sizable chunk of an RTP when he plays on a German facing casino.

Not to mention that the state has put themselves in a position of a “budget police” telling every player (no matter their economic situation) that they are allowed to gamble only 1,000 EUR a month.

What is your view of the gamification of the wider casino experience? Do you think it will catch on, or will players always be more interested in the games themselves?

At this moment, the gamification features that some of our casino customers offer are a nice incentive for players to add some playtime. I believe it is right for the actual operator to come up with an innovative reward scheme. One that teases the player and makes it more interesting for them to play additional spins on their favourite game.

However, the “meat” is still in the actual slot game itself. Not in the added gamification tool on top. If the slot is bad, then even the best progression incentive will not keep the player playing.

How do you envision the industry and Endorphina’s place within it a decade from now?

I envision Endorphina games to be in such high demand that even land-based operators will be demanding holographic cabinets for their players. Our Slot-Gigafactory will be running 24/7, supplying the market with exclusive content.

But in all seriousness – the pandemic situation showed us that the online transition is here. Players that previously preferred land-based casinos and halls had no option but to learn how to deposit and play online.

The online industry will probably move to more entertainment-focused products, similar to Evolution’s game shows. However, I am confident that there will still be players that will require simple and transparent wagering. Something that does not complicate things for them and gives them a chance to receive a life-changing win.

What are you most proud of having achieved at Endorphina?

I am very proud that Endorphina is able to withstand the regulatory pressure, the harsh testing requirements, and day to day regulatory distractions from the main goal – to deliver a high-quality product to players with proven performance.

This is not an easy feat. It is a complex task. And mostly, I am proud of our team that is constantly working in sync to keep achieving growth in this very competitive industry.

About Endorphina


Endorphina is a developer of online slots with its headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. The company has produced a wide-ranging portfolio of titles with many games bringing an exciting twist to favourite themes. For more information, contact [email protected].

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