MERKUR UK’s Sascha Blodau joins gaming industry and fintech leaders at OKTO’s first European Digitalisation Forum

European Digitalisation Forum OKTO
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80 percent of transactions in UK pubs are non-cash which made the first European Digitalisation Forum organised by OKTO both timely and relevant.


Sascha Blodau, General Manager of MERKUR UK, was among a distinguished panel of gaming industry and fintech leaders to address the European Digitalisation Forum held in Athens and organised by OKTO, a leading fintech company powering digital payments. The international forum which was attended by over 50 delegates drawn from nine countries, brought together payments experts, gaming insiders, digital futurists and innovation coaches to debate and analyse a broad range of topics including digital transformation and leadership, the impact of future technologies, shifts in consumer behaviour, digital cashless payments as well as emergent strategies for 2021 and beyond.

European Digitalisation Forum OKTOReflecting on the OKTO Forum which was hosted by OKTO CEO Filippos Antonopoulos and Cecilia Paolino Uboldi, International Partnership Director of Carnival Corporation, Sascha Blodau said: “First of all it was a great honour to be invited and to provide a sector overview of where the UK gaming industry is in terms of digital transformation in land-based gaming. What was particularly significant was the specialisms of the delegates. It wasn’t just gaming industry executives or just payments experts: the mix of backgrounds which included digital futurists, enabled us to be part of what were quite significant conversations some of which could well help shape the future of payments in gaming.”

He continued: “From the perspective of MERKUR UK and in particular our Regal single-site operating brand I was able to explain the revolution that’s taken place in terms of digital gaming. In 2015 only 4 percent of pub gaming machines were digital, now that figure stands at 43 percent: by 2022 100 percent of the Regal estate will be digital. The benefits of what has been a player and connectivity driven transformation are many fold. It enables digital gaming operators to provide players with enhanced entertainment and game variety, it provides the ability to download new content, undertake remote diagnosis and provide anti-fraud initiatives an area which has blighted machine operations historically.

“The move to digital has also opened the way for Regal to specify the OKTO wallet and incorporate it as part of the gaming offer to our PubCo customers. Modern consumers are looking for complete freedom as to how to use their money and embrace a complete cashless journey on gaming machines and beyond. The OKTO app enables users to spend their funds across the entire payment ecosystem from the gaming machines, the bar to buy drinks and food, in fact, to any retail or online business accepting Mastercard through OKTO’s Prepaid Mastercard ® linked to the OKTO wallet. The OKTO Payment Wallet gives consumers more ways of paying which consolidates its status as the most complete cashless solution on the market. Some 80 percent of transactions in pubs are now non-cash, so the OKTO solution is extremely timely.”

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