SBC Leaders - Issue 24

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Crafting racing's masterplan ALEX FROST UK TOTE GROUP Is California sports betting inevitable? A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY IGT heads to the silver screen ISSUE 24 • JANUARY 2023 EstrelaBet on Brazil A STAR IS BORN WHO YOU GONNA CALL? 10bet talks localisation NEW HORIZONS
www.betssongroupaffiliates.com | Enjoy gambling responsibly. BeGambleAware.org 18+

6-9 Spotlight

• Alex Frost: finding racing’s North Star

10-45 Sports Betting

• Derek Lloyd: celebrating 100 years of the Football Pools

• Jumpstarting Australia with BetMakers’ Todd Buckingham

• 10bet: learning to speak ‘Bettorish’

• A modern Cinderella story: LSports’ Dotan Lazar reflects on 2022

46-62 US & Canada

• SIS: esports betting is on the rise in the US

• Is California sports betting inevitable?

2023

CONTENTS JANUARY

• Super Bowl LVII: Arizona could hold the key to new betting opportunities

• Shelley White: educating youngsters on gambling risks

63-77 Gaming

• David Clifton: compliance in a world of regulatory crackdowns

• Going cashless? The future of US casinos

• Going Deutsch: Apparat discusses the German opportunity

78-83 Lotteries

• Who you gonna call? IGT takes us to the silver screen

• Player protection methods on the rise for lottery sportsbooks 84-96

Payments

• Six months of SCA: what next?

• Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh: building new fintech hubs in the UK

• Rahul Das: taking down the four horsemen of the payments apocalypse

• SEON: we can’t take a cookie cutter approach to fraud prevention

97-107 Marketing

• CRM: assessing a need for a new ‘secret sauce’

• Catena Media on becoming a US behemoth

• Xtremepush: creating a rich player experience

108-116 Latin America

• Estrelabet: a star in the making

• Breaking down barriers in Latin America: an overview

• What not to do: Retabet looks to Europe

117-120 Events

• Bigger and better: SBC Events are back for 2023

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Produced and published by Sports Betting Community Ltd

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The SBC Leaders Magazine is brought to you by SBC - Sports Betting Community: EDITORIAL TEAM: Erin Gallagher, Andrew McCarron, Craig Davies, Ted Menmuir, Joe Streeter, Chris Murphy, James Ross, Lucia Mouriño, Conor Porter, Charlie Horner, Jessie Sale, Fernando Noodt Molins, Callum Williams, Viktor Kayed, Martyn Elliott, Nick Ware, Lucia Gando, Jessica Welman, Ted Orme-Claye, Danny Lee SALES TEAM: Rasmus Sojmark, Alyona Gromova, Conall McCabe, Jan Kowalczyk, Richard Deacon, Bob McFarland, Craig Brown, Juan Ospina DESIGNED & DELIVERED BY Better Mags (bettermags.co.uk)
sbcleaders.com 3

INTRO

Welcome to Issue 24 of SBC Leaders Magazine!

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind. There’s been a World Cup, the global population outgrew the 8 billion mark and Elon Musk took over Twitter.

In the UK, it’s not exactly been plain sailing either. With Boris Johnson’s tenure coming to an end, economic markets were thrown into a frenzy as Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng announced a raft of ill-fated measures to drive growth. This was followed by more u-turns than I can remember.

At the time of writing this, Rishi Sunak has just surpassed Liz Truss in the number of days served as Prime Minister. You’re probably wondering why I’m just listing Conservative party leaders from the last 12 months.

Aside from trying to come up with a witty introduction, I also wanted to draw particular attention to the state of play in the UK as we await the review of the Gambling Act. And, more cynically, the number of people that have been in charge of the legislative overhaul since the review was first announced.

Granted, my introduction was a very convoluted way of doing this. But I think it's fair to say that with a new year ahead of us, a lot of the industry remains cautiously optimistic that we can expect some progress this year.

So with that in mind, let me walk you through what you can expect in Issue 24. Kicking off this edition, we have Tote CEO Alex Frost who discusses how his company has found itself at the forefront of the UK racing industry. He tells us about his background in equity sales and the somewhat surprising connection between the world of racing and the global financial markets.

We celebrate 100 years of the Football Pools with CEO Derek Lloyd as he takes us back to the company’s roots before offering his insight

into what the future holds for the pool betting institution.

Over in the US, our SBC Americas Editor Jessica Welman questions the so-called inevitability of sports betting in California as she assesses whether major online operators should be working alongside key state players such as the tribal nations to pass any potential legislation.

With the Super Bowl fast approaching, we also look at whether hosting the tournament in a state that has regulated sports betting presents new opportunities for sportsbooks.

David Clifton leads our gaming section with a walkthrough of some of the greatest legislative developments of late, explaining why he believes newly regulated markets should look towards the UK when considering what to do, and more importantly what not to do.

Meanwhile, IGT heads to the silver screen with its latest eInstant release, Ghostbusters Prized Possessions, as Chris Costello shares his views on bringing a blockbuster brand to the ilottery space.

In the payments world, LiveScore’s Rahul Das pinpoints what he believes to be the ‘Four Horsemen of the apocalypse’ as part of an indepth discussion on the relationship between friction, conversion, security and payments.

Xtremepush talks all things player engagement as Robbie Sexton shares his views on what he describes as “tapping into implicit buying behaviour”. And at Catena Media, Dustin Gouker reflects on the company’s growth and the increasing number of opportunities for affiliates in the online casino space.

Our Latin America section takes a look at the changing landscape within Brazil as EstrelaBet talks regulatory developments, market expectations and sponsorships. We reflect on our recent SBC Summit Latinoámerica and the ways the industry can better market itself to the public, before speaking with Retabet’s Pablo Viana about communication being a standard for industry growth across the continent.

If that’s not enough for you, fear not, we have more. 2022 was a record-breaking year for SBC with some of our biggest events to date. But in true fashion, we’re going even bigger in 2023 with a jam-packed schedule for you to sink your teeth into.

This is just a sneak peek into some of the great content we have featured in Issue 24 of SBC Leaders; there is plenty more in the pages that follow. I hope you enjoy what our editorial team has put together - and thank you to everyone who has contributed to this magazine.

Hopefully, we will see you at ICE and if not, catch you at the next event!

4 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
WAS A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR SBC, BUT 2023 WILL BE EVEN BIGGER
2022

Tap into a global network of experts

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ALEX FROST

FINDING RACING’S NORTH STAR AS UK TOTE GROUP CEO

AS A SPORT AND INDUSTRY that are inextricably linked, horse racing and betting both have a huge range of interest groups and stakeholders. And few have been at the forefront of recent trends as much as UK Tote Group CEO Alex Frost

The masterplan 6 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023

Reflecting on the ups and downs that racing has experienced in recent years, Frost observed from his position of leadership the challenges the sport must overcome and how this can be done - including the central role that the UK Tote and its international pool of betting partners strive to play in this task.

From passion to professional A graduate of Eton College and Southampton University, Frost’s interest in horse racing began at a young age. Like many sporting enthusiasts, it was shaped by family interests, specifically his father - who, as he put it, ‘is totally obsessed’ with the sport.

sbcleaders.com 7
SPOTLIGHT

Prior to Frost’s professional engagement with the sport - starting with the purchase of a stud in 2016his career began on the trading floors of London, where he worked in Equity Sales for Dresdner Kleinwort and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

It was during his time in the City that Frost first began to notice the “many parallels“ between the ways that financial markets operate and the liquidity of pool betting, adding that the racing and wagering sectors both ‘can learn a lot’ from his former profession.

“Crucially, the common factor is that both rely on liquidity to be successful. Everything we are now doing at the Tote is aimed at growing the Tote’s liquidity to create a successful and sustainable business,” he explained.

On how racing can benefit from studying the intricacies of the finance sector, the Tote CEO continued: “I’ve always felt that racing could learn a lot from how markets use data, and specifically the pool has so many similarities to how capital markets are traded around the world.

them conflict.

“We all need to row behind a masterplan, but we’ve found it difficult to home in on what the masterplan is, despite the Tote being inextricably connected to the sport.

“There’s no racing jurisdiction in the world that isn’t backed by a successful pool. So there is plenty of material evidence that an effective pool in the UK is very important. The challenge has been making sure it is presented in the right way.”

Facing the hurdles head on

As a sport which, as Frost noted, is interwoven with betting, horse racing has a distinct advantage over other sports such as football with regards to fundraising potential.

you make the product better from a betting and consumer perspective”, he remarked, citing the customer experience as being “central to the sport’s long-term success“.

He added: “Given the financial impact of British racing, and the significant number of people who work in the sport, it is crucial for British racing to work to make its product as attractive as possible to racing fans.

“This will ensure that as many people as possible want to watch, bet and be involved in the sport, either as a bettor, fan, spectator or owner.

“The sport needs a joined up plan, and in order to get people to really enjoy horse racing we need to bring them closer to the horse. We need to recognise that the underlying product is fascinating.

“But from a betting and consumer perspective, we also need to bring people closer to technology and understand how data can work for them. We’re bringing in tournaments and Tote Fantasy, which are much more innovative ways than people are used to betting on racing.

“It’s always interesting when the data provider doesn’t have an axe on winning and losing, as winning customers are always the best customers. It struck me as a great opportunity for the Tote that hadn’t been recognised.”

Having joined the Board of Epsom Downs Racecourse in 2017, and assuming leadership of the thennewly-formed UK Tote Group in 2019, Frost has had first-hand experience of the challenges faced by the sport over the past decade.

One of the most pervasive of the issues faced by the racing industry has been funding, he observed, pinpointing this as a widely recognised problem “that absorbs so much time and energy“ and “manifests itself in an almost constant conversation about prize money levels“.

“The big picture has to be a very clear plan and north star,” Frost continued. “Our challenge has been that lots of people are focused on different north stars, and a lot of

However, he observed that this has not quite been realised, and there are some harsh truths to admit - among them that betting can survive without horse racing, but not the other way around.

“It’s then a question of how do

“We want to present people with a fair and fascinating proposition where it is a game of skill - the ‘six and a half hour puzzle’ as it’s called in Hong Kong, where people understand the mathematical way behind picking their horses.”

Broadening the reach and appeal of the Tote and horse racing in general is, of course, a challenging prospectone that was not denied at all by Frost.

“It is a challenge, and I'm not sure if we’ve got it right so far. But people do get very enthusiastic about what they're doing and we have a very loyal customer base,” he said.

“We are going to keep chipping away and trying new innovations and ideas, such as our tournaments. We want people to keep sharing their views and enjoy the social element of betting which, I think, is much more appealing than a one-on-one battle with a bookmaker.”

Reaching the winning post

To make racing appeal to a wider audience, the Tote has implemented a new suite of products, with a focus on entertainment and engagement. In some cases, this has involved taking inspiration from overseas parimutuel betting operators.

The masterplan 8 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
OUR CHALLENGE HAS BEEN THAT LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE FOCUSED ON DIFFERENT NORTH STARS, AND A LOT OF THEM CONFLICT
I’VE ALWAYS FELT THAT RACING COULD LEARN A LOT FROM HOW MARKETS USE DATA

This has included the Tote Fantasy product, as well as its tournaments, which were rolled out across the 17 World Pool days, as well as Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals and continuing into the 2022/23 jumps season, enabling players to compete against each other for big prizes that have now exceeded £300,000.

Held in the UK and Ireland, World Pool days, when pool liquidity is combined across more than 20 operators around the world, have also been an area of innovation for the Tote and its partners, including the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which has had a substantial impact on financial support for horse racing.

As Frost observed, World Pool has also positively impacted the ability for global Tote operators to share information and examine ways in which they can better support the sport.

“We’re very fortunate to be cochairing the World Tote Association with our friends at ATG in Sweden, who

have a very similar philosophy to us, and everyone involved is very similarly aligned,” Frost continued.

“There are more than 20 countries that are working together in World Pool on a regular basis to explore opportunities to make the pools more effective and more appealing to bettors.

assessment that stakeholders should “row in behind“ such plans.

Looking ahead to the future of tote betting and the sport it supports, Frost reiterated that the company’s primary objective moving forward is to “play a bigger role in financially supporting British and Irish racing“.

He asserted: “This is central to our mission and a key tenet of our success for investors, the vast majority of whom are racehorse owners and breeders.

“There is also a lot of intellectual capital, data, international connections and technology, and there is the set revenue stream from the sport that comes directly from the pool which ultimately benefits everybody.”

The success of World Pool as a global initiative has been praised by a wide range of industry stakeholders in the years since its inception, such as Irish thoroughbred owner John Magnier, who has agreed with Frost’s

“Another way to address the challenges is maybe for the industry to assess where it wants to be in 10 years’ time and then plan towards this, and it could get to an incredibly exciting place.

“If you look at how transformative World Pool has already been in the past two years and annualise that growth trajectory, racing will be in a phenomenal place. World Pool can close the gaps, but it needs everyone to get behind it.” •

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SPOTLIGHT
WORLD POOL CAN CLOSE THE GAPS, BUT IT NEEDS EVERYONE TO GET BEHIND IT

DEREK LLOYD: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF THE FOOTBALL POOLS

These were the three main pools at the time. That carried on up until the war, when a lot of the offices were repurposed to help the war efforts, making parachutes, barrage balloons, etc.

As one of the oldest pool betting organisations in the world, The Football Pools will celebrate its centenary in early 2023. But since its inception, the company has undergone some tremendous changes.

SBC: So I imagine quite a few people may know this - but can you give us some background on The Football Pools - when was it created?

DL: The creation of The Football Pools goes back some time and was originally set up in 1923. It’s gone through a number of different owners since then.

It was started by John Moores, who was based out of Liverpool, alongside a few of his friends. They wanted to start a collective pool i.e., people could bet on the outcome of games, and their pool would form a ‘prize pot’ which would then be shared out between the players. This is essentially the basis of a cash pool game.

At first, John wasn’t very successful - so much so, that his friends decided they wanted to leave. John Moores himself was on the brink of calling it a day too. The story goes that his wife said, ‘she’d rather be married to a failure than a person who had

regretted not trying something’. So he stayed with The Football Pools and bought out his two business partners for £200 each. John then set out on developing the game together with his brother, Cecil.

From very stuttering beginnings, The Football Pools then started to grow exponentially - so much so that in the 1930s, it became the predominant game in the UK. With that success, people started to copy the formatthere was a company called Vernon’s and another called Zetters that became established competitors.

As part of a broader development plan, they really started to re-dedicate themselves to developing the business even further – expanding into catalogues and shops. With that, the Littlewoods catalogue became quite a popular home shopping process.

This carried on for quite some time. Obviously, people age and families develop - and families have different views on whether or not to continue with legacy games such as The Football Pools. By around 2000, after John Moores and his brother had passed away, the company was sold to Sportech which had a goal to combine all of the pools companies, or at least the main ones. They merged these with Littlewoods to form The Football Pools as we know it today.

Sportech had its own sort of international ambitions. To realise that strategy, they decided to put The Football Pools up for sale in 2016. Then a year later, it was purchased with the vision to develop it quickly and bring The Football Pools into the modern digital age. That was when I took over as CEO.

Our goal is to move away from the paper coupons and transition more into the digital age where you can play using an app or via a website. That would be much more in tune with the trends towards entertainment-led betting that we’re currently seeing.

I think the key thing for The Pools, which is different to the bigger betting companies, is that we wanted to remain very much in the entertainment betting space. So much of what we see is small stake, big win programmes. That really enhances the customer experience.

We’ve been transforming the company over the last five years or so,

Alternative entertainment 10 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
OUR GOAL IS TO REALLY MOVE AWAY FROM THE PAPER COUPONS AND TRANSITION MORE INTO THE DIGITAL AGE
DEREK LLOYD, CEO OF THE FOOTBALL POOLS, discussed all things growth, technology and appealing to those millennial bettors that are looking for an alternative form of entertainment

most of that has been implementing the digital foundation for changing the way The Pools is viewed by the customer.

SBC: So you mentioned that you joined as CEO back in 2017. What was it that made you want to join The Football Pools?

DL: Well, I was born in Liverpool. It was probably the first time in my career that I had the opportunity to work for a Liverpool-based company. This was quite a positive experience for me.

The second factor was that I was keen to help with the company’s transformation. My background is largely in business transformation - that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few decades. So taking a company which is so established, well-known and steeped in nostalgia,

and making that hip and current was a great journey to be on.

The Football Pools has now been transformed into something modern and relevant. So it’s very opportune to be a part of that transformation plan, but to some extent, also, to be able to go back to my roots and work in an area where I grew up.

SBC: If you were to reflect on your time at the company, what would you say have been the biggest

milestones?

DL: I suppose becoming the predominant football betting game in the world was probably one of the biggest achievements of the company. We’re also the oldest football betting game in the world! That’s some milestone.

But I think since our ownership change, the biggest milestone is that ability to bring The Pools into the modern digital age, something we didn’t previously have any presence in. Now, we’ve been able to start developing our games portfolio even further. It’s no longer a question of The Football Pools anymore, it’s more about what we can bring to the entertainment space.

One of the things that we can bring to that space is new Apps, an example of that, is Footie 5. It’s free to play, and the overall concept is quite simple. You pick five teams, you select the scores you think the matches will end up being, and if you’re right then you can win £25,000.

The beauty of this is that it can appeal to a much broader audience. You can pick teams from not just the Premier League but also within the Scottish Premiership, the Championship or even into the lower leagues.

This is a really nice way of being able to extend our reach among a much younger crowd, rather than just appealing to the traditional punter which - more often than not - tends to be a bit older.

SBC: Now the company has been going for 100 years which is super impressive! How are you marking the occasion?

DL: In all honesty, we’ve not quite finalised our plans just yet! We are looking at a few events to mark the occasion, some of which will be new variations on games - special prizes, features, etc. We’ll also be marking the occasion with various gatherings.

Given that we have transformed the company from being a one product company to more of a game development studio, we will also be developing new digital games and applications going forward. Our process is about how we move further into that digital space and, therefore, we want to make games that are fitting for the centenary.

sbcleaders.com 11
SPORTS BETTING
WE WANT TO ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE AN OCCASIONAL FLUTTER AND ARE LOOKING FOR ENTERTAINMENT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
Pools winners were often handed their winnings by celebrities such as comedian Benny Hill to help publicity. Copyright: Alamy

Alternative entertainment

SBC: How do you still continue to appeal to both recreational bettors as well as those that may be more statistically inclined?

DL: Recreational bettors are exactly our target market. We want to engage with people who want to have an occasional flutter and are looking for entertainment more than anything else. Our online offering and games development will be built with these players in mind. Games such as Goal Rush also help to engage recreational bettors too.

We have a few other games in the pipeline, but unfortunately, I’m going to have to keep my cards close to my chest for the time being as these are going through the development and testing process.

SBC: Now it would be unfair for us to ask what the company’s plans are for the next 100 years, but what insights can you give us for future plans?

DL: I think our plans are fairly obvious - put simply, we’re going to keep going digital. That has been evidenced by the fact that lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic really brought forward demand for online shopping by two or three years.

We’ve had a lot of people who would have typically been averse to online shopping now becoming incredibly used to it. To some extent, people had a crash course in the digital space. But what that means is it’s very difficult for those people to now revert to the offline.

So what that means is we have to place more and more emphasis on doing things digitally - which also means we have to improve that experience for players.

You can’t just do what you’ve done in the past, which is just throwing something out there on a digital platform and expecting everybody to tolerate it. Instead, the entire experience has got to be immersive. It’s got to have that quality and a sense of richness to it.

And most importantly, it’s got to be

entertaining. So over the next five to 10 years, we are all about improving that richness and the quality of our games.

This then goes in synchronicity with the amount of data that is available. As 5G becomes more established, customers are going to be demanding a higher quality of game experience. We’re going to see increased bandwidths which goes back to that

richness we have to deliver. This is where we’re going to see technology start to play a more symbiotic role in what is available.

Delivering that enriched digital experience is really our long-term goal. That’s why we want to focus on the small stakes, high wins space - and ensuring that entertainment remains at the front and centre of that entire experience. •

12 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
SPORTS BETTING
THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE HAS GOT TO BE IMMERSIVE. IT’S GOT TO HAVE THAT QUALITY AND A SENSE OF RICHNESS TO IT
How times change: A 1940s advertisement for Littlewoods Football Pools. Copyright: Alamy
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MOTRUK Deputy CEO Parimatch Tech SPEAKER PREVIEW
ANNA

STEFANO SORDINI: A YEAR IN REVIEW FROM THE EYES OF AN IGAMING HOSTING PROVIDER

STEFANO

CEO OF NETSHOP ISP, reflects on a year of big investments and major change for the data centre services and server hosting provider in 2022. Curaçao, Malta and LatAm provided some key highlights, and he predicts there’s more in the way of innovation to come from the firm in 2023

SBC: Stefano, we have seen a number of updates and product launches from NetShop ISP throughout 2022. Can you name the most important of them which relate to the hosting services offered to igaming companies?

SS: Yes, 2022 was a really busy and exciting year for us. We made some major investments and implemented key data-driven decisions that have proved to be very beneficial for our igaming clients.

We started out the year with the expansion of our Secure Private Network (SPN) in Europe, Asia and the United States, to effectively allow our customers to interact with their servers without the use of an additional VPN or secure tunnels. The SPN has helped our igaming clients deliver content faster and more securely, without them seeing an increase in their bandwidth traffic bills, which has become especially important since the pandemic began and many online casinos and live dealer studios saw a huge increase in bandwidth traffic.

In April, we carried out a casino games audit for igaming software provider and game development company, Fugaso. The successful completion of such a complex technical evaluation was a great accomplishment for our team and the optimisation recommendations proved extremely valuable for Fugaso, allowing it to gauge its overall performance and implement

the necessary technical suggestions. Another major update in 2022 has been our expansion within Asia and South America with three new data centres. Our two new Asian locations are in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and our very first data centre in LatAm is located in São Paulo. All three data centres are Tier III ready, SOC 1/2 Type 2, PCI DSS and ISO 27001 compliant and

Host story 14 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023

offer high-bandwidth dedicated servers of up to 10 Gbps.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a rapid increase in both the LatAm and Asian igaming markets so our decision to expand within these regions will allow our igaming clients to thrive with a local digital presence.

This year we also began providing hands-on support to our clients looking to obtain a Curaçao egaming licence. The licensing process in Curaçao is known to be relatively straightforward in comparison to other jurisdictions, but a thorough understanding of the legal and regulatory requirements is crucial. We walk our clients through the entire licensing process, from setting up a legal entity and preparing the necessary paperwork to obtaining an RNG certificate and setting up the right cloud or bare-metal server.

SBC: In terms of inquiries for hosting by gambling companies in 2022, has there been a booming jurisdiction this year? Which one was the most popular based on your existing customers' preferences?

SS: We’ve most definitely seen an increase in inquiries for Curaçao hosting over the last year. As mentioned in the previous question, Curaçao is wellknown for its straightforward gambling licence procedure, and remains one of the most attractive jurisdictions for both established and start-up online gambling operators.

The affordability of obtaining a Curaçao Gaming licence, as well as the jurisdiction’s unique zero tax rate on all foreign-sourced revenue, makes entering the market extremely feasible. In addition, its ‘one-licence covers all’ approach makes diversification of offerings a lot simpler for operators in the long run.

Generally speaking, Curaçao has always been highly welcoming for online gambling operators, and we’ve noticed a peak in interest in 2022, which could also be down to the challenges faced by Malta during the year.

With that being said, towards the end of the year we did see a significant increase in hosting requests in our Malta data centres too. Feedback from various igaming partners of ours has indicated that Malta is picking up again as a destination of choice. Perhaps more so for existing companies who choose Malta's MGA licence as a solid

jurisdiction to expand in Europe and worldwide, rather than for start-up igaming companies.

SBC: Online gambling is gaining more and more popularity in certain regions within Latin America and will continue to evolve over the next few years. How can NetShop ISP serve sportsbook and online casinos to establish a presence in the region?

SS: That’s right. The LatAm igaming industry has seen a significant rise over the last few years and it’s even been projected that Brazil has the potential to become one of the world’s leading markets for online gambling. Of course, sports gambling, in particular, is extremely popular in Brazil and operators are eager to capitalise on this.

purposes, hosting your website on a dedicated server here is also recommended to guarantee faster access for users and low network latency with local game providers and data feeds in Brazil.

We would also suggest that igaming companies host a local proxy server in Brazil to boost the SEO ranking of their domain name. These suggestions cover everything necessary to make a strong mark on the LatAm industry.

SBC: Out of all the Latin America jurisdictions, what has driven NetShop ISP to establish a data centre presence in Brazil specifically?

SS: Brazil is truly an up and coming igaming hotspot. It has a population of over 200 million, and a staggering 75% of that comprises internet users. Not to mention the country is known for having a huge passion for football, amongst other sports, with its national team being considered one of the greatest of all time. This, in itself, makes Brazil one of the biggest esports markets in the world, and thus extremely attractive for igaming operators.

The sheer size of the LatAm market, growth data and future projections are what prompted our decision to move forward with deploying private network infrastructure in São Paulo, Brazil. The main service we offer here is bare metal dedicated servers which are ideal for sportsbook and online casinos seeking to solidify their presence in the region.

As well as a database server being required in the region for regulatory

In terms of infrastructure, Brazil is a lot more advanced than other countries in the region. More specifically, São Paulo is in the midst of a huge technological boom and considered the largest financial and corporate centre in South America. As the biggest business centre in the region, São Paulo has become a technological hub with a strong startup ecosystem. All of these factors, combined with resources from the leading national

sbcleaders.com 15
SPORTS BETTING
ANOTHER MAJOR UPDATE IN 2022 HAS BEEN OUR EXPANSION WITHIN ASIA AND SOUTH AMERICA WITH THREE NEW DATA CENTRES

Data Centre infrastructure provider, made Brazil the ideal choice to establish our presence in the region.

Our private network infrastructure in Brazil is located in Ascenty 3, and offers ultra-low latency to the Equinix IX and IX.br. The data centre has 24/7 on-site support, 99.99% uptime SLA and redundant 2 x 10G uplinks per server as well as the latest Intel CPU servers and unmetered bandwidth.

SBC: In addition to NetShop ISP's global infrastructure expansion, you also mentioned DDoS Attacks protection earlier. How is this related to your products/solutions offerings for igaming operators and suppliers?

SS: Online gambling sites are often targets of DDoS attacks, and not only are they a complete nuisance for operators, they can also be really

detrimental to businesses. It’s also quite common for DDoS attacks to be launched during major sporting events, which can result in a substantial loss of revenue for sportsbook operators. It has become crucial for businesses to be able to identify and mitigate attacks in a matter of seconds, so having the right solution in place is paramount.

We offer protection against the most common amplification DDoS attacks by default, with no further reconfiguration required on the customer side. This is already included in billing plans

at no additional cost. The filtering engine drops the malicious amplified packets, leaving the rest of the traffic intact. Some attacks covered by our solution are NTP amplification, DNS amplification, SSDP amplification and SNMP amplification, to name a few.

The mitigation is implemented completely on our network equipment and adds no latency to your packet round-trip time. In Amsterdam, we've got over 500 Gbps of bandwidth to implement that mitigation, and we could use upstream BGP flow spec rules.

Protection against sophisticated and expensive DDoS attacks could also be designed through our partner technology if needed. However, pricing for a solution like this could only be estimated after the initial solution engineering process.

SBC: Finally, please share any new exciting plans for 2023. Can we expect further expansion into new regions or any innovative solutions to be launched in the near future?

SS: We’ve got some exciting plans in the works and are really looking forward to another great year at NetShop ISP. Of course, we are always working towards implementing innovative hosting solutions to cater to the bespoke needs of our igaming customers and partners.

In terms of expanding into new regions, that is most definitely on the cards for 2023. But we always carry out in-depth research and market analysis prior to making these decisions. In order for us to move into a new region, it’s not enough for it to simply be "hot" in terms of gambling regulation. We also assess the country's technological capacity and infrastructure to make sure it meets our specifications.

When it comes to launching new products, in 2023 we plan on investing more in our global cloud infrastructure in order to enhance its redundancy and scalability, as well as in our cyber security solutions, everything from backup to disaster recovery and DDoS protection. •

16 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
Host story
ONLINE GAMBLING SITES ARE OFTEN TARGETS OF DDOS ATTACKS, AND NOT ONLY ARE THEY A COMPLETE NUISANCE FOR OPERATORS, THEY CAN ALSO BE REALLY DETRIMENTAL TO BUSINESSES

DOTAN LAZAR: LSPORTS HAS FOUND THE PERFECT PARTNER WITH STATSCORE

“We took our LVision product, which is all about computer vision and really advanced technologies, and from that we integrated it more into LSports and started strengthening the technology around that. I think that has definitely been one of our biggest achievements.

As we begin 2023, now is the time to take stock of the previous 12 months. For companies such as LSports, this last year has been filled with new products, expansions, rebranding and

even an acquisition to round it all off.

The company’s CEO Dotan Lazar spoke with SBC Leaders to reflect on some of the highlights from 2022. Two things stood out in particular, he explained: “I think that we have had a few major milestones this year. The first main highlight is our LVision product.

“Now, we have scouting automation based on the OCR. So today, if you are to create a betting event on TV or in-venue, that can cost hundreds of euros to deploy data scouts. But now, we can actually fully automate this process which can cost only one or two euros per event. We’re the only ones that are doing what we’re doing

Perfect synergy sbcleaders.com 17
SPORTS BETTING
LSPORTS’ CEO REFLECTS on some of the major announcements from 2022, including the company’s recent acquisition of STATSCORE and the ‘bold decision’ to revamp its visual identity

right now - with the added bonus of a high percentage of accuracy.”

The second milestone was one that was revealed towards the tail end of the year, and was arguably the largest of LSports’ announcements for 2022the company’s takeover of Polish sports data company STATSCORE.

Lazar shared that STATSCORE was the perfect acquisition for LSports due to the “synergy“ between the pair. He said: “STATSCORE has scouting in venues that we didn’t previously have access to, they also have a visualisation tool that we want to strengthen.

“As the old saying goes, ‘if the glove

“Obviously, STATSCORE is going to contribute to our bottom line, and we will do the same for them. In return, we want to help them become an even bigger company. Over the last three years they have been sliding into different areas and arguably lost that North Star that was initially guiding them as a company. But now, we want to bring them back on that path.”

Modern day Cinderella story

When chatting with SBC, it became abundantly clear that Lazar was incredibly proud of this new partnership with STATSCORE.

And whilst it’s an interesting comparison to make, the LSports CEO explained that the relationship with its new partner is equivalent to that seen in a fairytale - with the two companies sharing many of the same views on business, culture and product development.

fits’ - and in the case of STATSCORE, it was a perfect fit for us.

“We are very fortunate to be able to pursue these opportunities and make the most out of them. In the past, we have seen some M&A deals that have taken place but subsequently failed because that synergy wasn’t there. There may have been cultural differences, different business ideas. But for us, we really feel like we see things eye to eye with STATSCORE.”

Welcome to the family

Acquired for an undisclosed sum, STATSCORE has now joined the LSports “family” as Lazar described it. However, it will continue on as its own productive unit, with its own individual branding.

The CEO is confident that LSports can help scale the Polish sports data provider to new heights, and enrich learning for both STATSCORE and his own company.

“We don’t want to stop it operating as an individual company; we want to enrich learning and we want to make STATSCORE even bigger,” he continued.

“The company’s speciality is around creating and collecting data, and using that information to create widgets. That is an area where we want to strengthen our focus. We are going to sell STATSCORE’s products, they will then have their own development and scouting units. We will also benefit from each other’s technology.

“STATSCORE is a perfect match for LSports, both culturally and from a product perspective. That’s the primary reason why it has been the perfect addition to our company. Do you know that feeling when someone just completes you? That is the story of LSports and STATSCORE. It’s a modern day Cinderella story.”

But whilst LSports and STATSCORE still find themselves in that “honeymoon phase“, Lazar is confident that they will continue this mutually beneficial relationship as long as they continue to nurture their shared values.

“We found a company that actually suits us in every way possible. We see the world the same - technologically, culturally and in respect to business too. We both want to succeed with what we are doing.

“I suppose you could say that it’s similar to planting a seed in the ground. If you water that seed and treat it nicely, it will grow into a very nice tree. That is what we are hoping to do with this relationship. We want to nurture it and, eventually, sit back and look at what we have grown.”

A new era

With a larger company than ever before, LSports wanted to ensure that its visual identity reflects its company values. To do this, the company brought in an external design consultancy to assess how the company should now position itself.

As a result, the firm now sports a new visual identity which it believes is a true reflection of its recent growth, size, values and goals. At the time of the rebrand, Lazar explained that this new visual identity will pave the way for LSports to enter “a new era”.

Perfect
18 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
synergy
AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, ‘IF THE GLOVE FITS’ - AND IN THE CASE OF STATSCORE, IT WAS A PERFECT FIT FOR US
IF BETTER IS POSSIBLE, THEN SETTLING FOR SOMETHING THAT IS GOOD IS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH

Disrupting the industry

Even with a different look, LSports still plans to remain true to its roots by creating disruptive technologies that can create new and innovative experiences for its partners.

One such way that the company plans to do this, Lazar told SBC, is with scout automation, new technologies and further integration of machine learning models.

“There are so many things that we’re doing that I truly believe will disrupt the industry going forward - our Computer Vision is just one, which is enabling us to reduce the costs of data scouts by almost 90%. That’s a major disruptor.

He added: “In order to reflect your size, you need to make bold decisions. Our previous branding was done five or six years ago. I, personally, wasn’t that happy with it - there is a saying that ‘if better is possible, then settling for something that is good is simply not enough’.

“The rebranding really allows us to make that connection with our core ideas. We made that bold decision, we carried out our acquisition of STATSCORE, and we have grown considerably in the last few years.

“We have taken one of the best design companies in Israel to rebrand our company. I think that what they have done is fantastic. We still have plenty of work to do, but we are winning from behind.”

“The other thing is that we have our Outliers model that is based on machine learning. This helps to detect outliers in odds and suspend them. We have 360 radars scanning the industry and if something is off with prices, we can detect that and suspend those odds.

“The third thing is the scouts. We are going to bring our scouting to venues in much faster latencies than the market is used to by using new technologies and new applications. This is another massive force that we are going to bring.”

Looking forward to the year ahead

Lazar kept his cards very close to his chest when quizzed on what we can expect from his company in 2023. He did, however, allude to further product development and steps being taken towards “data feed perfection”.

He concluded: “I can’t quite share much more than what I have already told you. But in 2023, we are going to focus even more on sharpening our odds models and stabilising our data feeds. We’re not aiming to get 99.8% accuracy - we want 100%. Why settle for less?

“To get there, we have a long way to go, but we are on the right track. It’s like a pyramid, once you have the best data in the world, every product that you build using that data is 100% bulletproof. That’s really what we’re aiming for.”

sbcleaders.com 19
SPORTS BETTING
WE’RE NOT AIMING TO GET 99.8% ACCURACY - WE WANT 100%. WHY SETTLE FOR LESS?
WE STILL HAVE PLENTY OF WORK TO DO, BUT WE ARE WINNING FROM BEHIND
SPORTS
BUILT
GREAT DATA 0.03409 0.000009 S4 440
GREAT
BUSINESSES ARE
ON

CITY BET CLUB: EMPOWERING PUNTERS TO IMPROVE THEIR BETTING

City Bet Club is a boutique Sports Advisory service providing insight and informing members with daily bet recommendations to enhance their personal betting experience.

After several months of building and refining its product and the quality of information provided by the team of experts, City Bet Club made its debut in August 2022.

Now, six months on, the company is live with a paid subscription service that offers its members full access to its daily selections of recommended bets.

Company Director David Brown shared some data for the four months ending 1 December 2022 as he told SBC Leaders about City Bet Club’s growth since its inception.

SBC: City Bet Club has been up and running for a few months now. How has everything gone so far?

DB: We aim to keep our website, communications and product as simple as possible. Therefore, our priority since launch has been entirely on getting the product right. We are delighted with the feedback received so far.

We’ve focussed on simplicity. Tips are posted daily at 09:30 am via the website and are accessible under a single monthly subscription option.

We recognise that there are alternative providers in the marketplace

offering ‘tipping services’. Our objective is to provide quality and consistency to our members. The City Bet Club Team of experts analyse markets daily and aim to offer at least one best bet each day, with further recommendations presented when the opportunity arises and our information sources are confident.

We know the betting industry inside out, having held executive positions within the major companies for many years. Bookmakers have to price up

every UK and Irish horse race along with the wide range of sporting events each day. Our aim is to specialise in a few key events, we only advise selections to members when we believe we have an edge on a particular selection. This is a key advantage we have over the bookmakers.

We believe that for City Bet Club to be successful that our service must be underpinned with high-quality betting insight and selections. We

Join The Club sbcleaders.com 21
SPORTS BETTING
DAVID BROWN, DIRECTOR
AT CITY BET CLUB, speaks to SBC Leaders about the first few months of operation and the plans that lie ahead for the sports advisory service
WE KNOW THE BETTING INDUSTRY INSIDE OUT

have exclusive access to our team of information sources from around the globe. Our providers are drawn from contacts acquired within the betting industry over many years. We only use information sources that we know have a track record of being profitable long-term bettors.

Since launch members have enjoyed a highly successful return for their £20 subscription.

We’ve provided members with some gems along the way including winners at 10/1 (three times), 9/1 (twice), 8/1 (twice), 15/2 and 7/1 plus many other smaller priced winners.

Two particular selections stand out.

l We were probably the only information source to confidently oppose (before the race) Baaeed on the ground in the Champion Stakes when we advised Bay Bridge to members at 10/1.

l Somehow one of our providers knew the quality of Ralph Beckett’s unraced Remarquee as he duly dispatched the odds-on favourite in a Salisbury maiden race in September. City Bet Club members enjoyed the 9/1 early price against an SP of 5/1.

Over the first four months of published betting selections, we’ve made a profit margin of almost 50 points . This means that if a member’s average bet is £20, then they would have made a profit of nearly £1000 to date. This is a superb performance and we are proud to shout about this. We believe this beats other main tipping services in the market.

Whilst most of our daily selections to members are on horse racing, we do advise on other sports too. Football and boxing are our second and third most selected sports and during the first four months of operation we are showing a profit of 17% and 30% respectively on those sports. I’m sure you will agree that’s an excellent return for our members .

Many members have reached out with positive feedback and it feels great to know that we’ve been able to help a large group of punters transform their betting from a recreational flutter, to profitable bettors.

From our decades of experience in this industry, we know any bettor who makes 10% or more from their betting is exceptionally good. It is estimated that less than 1% of all bettors make a

profit and we agree with this statistic. We know from our extended pre-launch trial and our first four months of live operational activity that we significantly exceed this historical benchmark of 10%, as you might expect given the quality of our information.

However, even the very best bettors around the world do not win on every bet. City Bet Club is no different. Our

WE ARE SHOWING STRONG PROFITS ON BOTH OUR FOOTBALL AND SPORTS SELECTIONS

method of selecting recommended bets never alters but profitability will be variable in the shorter time periods. We will have hot streaks and also losing runs which is the natural volatility of betting.

It is always important, as all professional gamblers will say too, to ensure you follow the selections and staking plan we advise exactly. This will

ensure members maximise the good runs and ride out losing runs to ensure long-term profits.

SBC: When you spoke to SBC back in September, you mentioned that you would be moving towards a subscription model. How has this been received by members so far?

DB: We were pleased with the sign ups during our free trial during August and September. This was a unique ‘try before you buy’ opportunity over an extended period of time. In this free period we delivered stunning profits to our free audience. So, for anyone betting in modest stakes of £10 they would have won over £400 without paying us a penny. Not a bad freebie!

We then had an encouraging conversion rate when we switched from free to paid. People understand that we are a business and we must generate revenue to continue to grow the business and enhance our services. We are delighted with our levels of loyal

Join The Club 22 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
Cape Town, South Africa

members now enjoying our services.

Any customer who had enjoyed the free trial but chose not to continue into the paid service would have recovered their £20 monthly subscription in the first week with a profit of over £180 (to £20 stakes).

We’ve aligned ourselves on a single price point in line with other popular digital subscriptions in the wider market. Members have been happy to pay for our services and we enjoy a low attrition rate.

We have a low price point compared to competitors and feel that we offer tremendous value for money. Betting each of our recommended selections at £20 per point recommended would have made an average of over £240 profit per month so far.

Also, we guarantee we will not increase the core £20 subscription rate until 2024 for our founder members. We think this is an excellent offer and in line with our brand values on transparency and providing first class value for money.

Long before we went live, we tried and tested several different approaches for recommended bets. Based on these results, we know that the performance of the first few months for members is no anomaly. We are long-term winners and we expect this form to continue for club members.

SBC: 2022 was filled with some major sporting events such as the World Cup and the Women’s Euros to name just two. Have you found that members are requesting expert insights on a wider range of sports, or is it very much a racing-focused demographic at the moment?

DB: Much of our betting expertise is within horse racing and the fixture calendar lends itself perfectly to a daily

tipping product, so that’s our core product.

Aside from horse racing, we always first consider the betting profile of a recreational punter. Our background as operators gives us great insight into this, we know which events punters like to bet on.

Top-level football such as the Premier League along with the big European matches midweek is essential for coverage. While we understand that these are hard competitions to win money on, the competitiveness of the market helps us. There is generally zero margin across the best prices from different bookmakers in these leagues, and with the big syndicate activity often moving the market prices significantly, this gives an opportunity for smaller staking punters to pick off good prices. This is where we focus, we’ve made a solid profit on football selections so far this season of 17%

majors, the Super Bowl and big boxing events, any event with huge betting interest we aim to cover. Thankfully we have a large network of experts and we’re confident of beating the market on anything we tip.

We were asked to offer selections on the NFL futures (ante-post) market. We do have contacts in the USA and we advised:

l 1 point win Miami Dolphins at 40/1 (currently 14/1)

l 1 point each way San Francisco

49ers at 16/1 (currently 6/1)

So, members have enjoyed great value on these picks to date and could hedge out for a guaranteed profit if they wished. We recognise by the time this article goes live that much will have changed and our picks may have been eliminated or potentially be in line for a trip to Arizona for Superbowl LVII. The tips show our versatility at identifying great value in advance of events as well as daily selections.

Lower leagues in the UK and overseas football offer great value and we’ve had a number of winning selections that we have considered advising. However, prices can contract quickly after a series of bets and we’ve already seen how our members can move the prices with bookmakers. So, as we concentrate on building the product, we’ve not advised selections on anything other than mainstream football. That may of course change as the business evolves.

Further to football, we also advise on the key sports events such as golf

SBC: With that in mind, do you plan to roll out an extended product which features sports information on more international sports in the months to come?

DB: In terms of new products, our aim is sustainability. For customers, it’s essential that they can get ‘on’, hence our focus on major events. For operators, we want to play ball. We do not tip any obvious pricing errors that appear on websites, although we spot them daily. Our aim is to beat the bookmakers fair and square. We know from experience their weaknesses.

As we have said earlier, we know the bookmaking teams need to price almost every event available in mainstream sports, our advantage is that we only put out a recommendation when we believe we have identified value on a single selection of the prices offered by the bookmakers.

With this in mind, one of our new product ideas focuses on Bet Boosts. Operators are happy to lay these selections for small stakes and many of them offer good value to customers. Our experts take the time to calculate the true odds of each bet boost and when we are sure that they are real value, we

sbcleaders.com 23
SPORTS BETTING
WE KNOW THAT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FIRST FEW MONTHS FOR MEMBERS IS NO ANOMALY, WE ARE LONGTERM WINNERS AND WE EXPECT THIS FORM TO CONTINUE

will collate the best boosts and highlight them to our members. This allows members who enjoy more frequent recreational bets to have further access to good value selections.

We have already started posting a few Bet Boosts and members can expect this to be a regular feature in ‘23.

SBC: You previously mentioned that you had carried out a soft launch of CBC in South Africa with a territory partner, albeit under a different brand. What have been the key learnings from doing this? And how has this helped inform your UK strategy?

operates quite differently to the UK as well. Whilst UK racing is available every day, market release times are later on UK racing and the market generally bets for a higher margin. Additionally, the South African market does not offer standard UK each-way terms. This makes it much more difficult to achieve the level of success for a South African audience betting on UK racing.

However, we do have excellent form contacts in South Africa. We don’t rule out a launch into that market in the future or indeed adding selective recommendations to members on South African racing as part of our service, as

quality marketing partner, as this is not our expert area. This has always been our business plan post-launch.

Our growth to date has been organic through search engine placement, limited paid digital advertising and word-of-mouth referrals. We did enjoy a large spike in activity after the SBC article you ran in September, which was very helpful. Our next stage has always been to engage a full-time digital marketing partner.

We are delighted to have recently agreed a partnership deal with creative marketing company Square in the Air. We know the team at SITA well from our previous work and they are, without a doubt, the industry leader for marketing all things betting.

We are also considering within this partnership with SITA to engage a brand ambassador or influencers to promote the City Bet Club brand. This will offer us a face of City Bet Club and add more interesting content to the website.

SBC: And finally, given that your first few months have gone so well. What more can we expect from the company over the next year?

DB: Our business plan is to keep the product simple and continue to deliver an excellent, long-term profitable product for our members.

We are committed to continually improving the product, all while keeping to our single all-access subscription price of just £20 per month.

DB: To be honest, we learnt an awful lot of valuable lessons, especially when it comes to what doesn’t work so well.

For example, marketing and social media activity has to be managed by agencies who really understand the UK-focussed digital market and also the target betting audiences a sports advisory business needs to engage. It’s no use engaging digital marketers if they have no experience or feel for our target UK audience. So, for a UK target audience you must have your digital marketing in-territory.

The recreational betting market in South Africa is much smaller than the UK, so our target customer base would not be ideal for the investment required at this stage.

The betting market in South Africa

all credible UK bookmakers offer betting on the South African product.

SBC: Going into 2023, how do you plan to raise awareness of the CBC brand even further?

DB: We are a pragmatic team at City Bet Club and we understand where our strengths and opportunities for improvement lie. While internal efforts will continue to focus on the product, we have looked externally for a top

We will continue to deliver marketleading bet recommendations daily, as well as having the main sports events covered. Our experts do the research so our members don’t have to. We have a broad sports expertise within our experts and members are likely to see more advice on golf, snooker, Gaelic football and hurling to name a few.

Our marketing efforts are being ramped up for the first time now, so we look forward to the challenges a growing membership base brings.

We aim to be the go-to service for recreational bettors to follow our recommendations, and similarly for more expert gamblers, to add our selections to their portfolios for consideration.

At just £20, who would sensibly not want to subscribe to such a great value service? We are excited by the future and we hope readers choose to join the club. •

24 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023 Join The
Club
OUR BUSINESS PLAN IS TO KEEP THE PRODUCT SIMPLE AND CONTINUE TO DELIVER AN EXCELLENT, LONG-TERM PROFITABLE PRODUCT

DARIO JURČIĆ: TRANSFORMING NSOFT INTO A MAJOR PLAYER

SBC: As we know, NSoft is recognised as one of the leading providers in the betting and gaming industry. What would you say has been key to its success?

DJ: Since the very beginning, NSoft has been customer and product focused, while taking care of the people in the company. These are our three key focus areas to date. A nice proverb says that if you take care of your people, they will take care of

your business. And this honestly is what is happening at NSoft. Satisfied employees create a great culture, promote core values, stay with us and spread the knowledge to the new generation of employees. Every company has its challenges, but with great companies,

internally healthy companies - the challenges are not felt by the customer. The employees live and breathe the product; they own every part of it and are proud when the customer is satisfied and is doing good business. In our experience, which spans more than a decade, we listen we listen to market and customer feedback, spice it up with our flair, and constantly improve our products and services.

Doing business worldwide means a lot of feedback, which requires thoughtful prioritisation and roadmap planning to have the fastest time to market and greatest features - a challenge in itself. But it also means if you as a customer have a request, we’ve probably heard about it before. This approach has resulted in low customer churn, lower employee churn and constant growth of the company.

Stepping up 26 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
IF YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR PEOPLE, THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOUR BUSINESS
about the company’s journey since its inception in 2008, touching upon his appointment as CEO and the ways he is transforming the organisation into a major player in the industry

SBC: NSoft has built its name in the retail sector. Is this still so, or are there some changes in the business strategy?

DJ: I would say that no other B2B company in the world can offer what NSoft can in retail across multiple jurisdictions. Often, we see companies unable to support the thousands of devices in retail, on terminals/SSBTs and the operators are coming to us asking for help and support.

Our robust SEVEN platform can manage any retail challenges, giving the operator a centralised place to seamlessly manage the whole

network of shops and devices from a single location. You can instantly turn products on and off, connect remotely to the devices, deploy updates, and scale indefinitely.

On a global scale, as of today, we run tens of thousands of devices from a single codebase, scaling both horizontally and vertically. That being said, the dominance we have in retail allowed us to expand to other channels such as mobile and web, and today we offer a complete omnichannel solution supporting native apps, terminals, web and retail.

When you add to that the fact that

we have our own PAM, sportsbook, games/casino and our own factory of SSBTs - we are a truly unique company in today's betting and gaming landscape and can be your single source of good business you’ll ever need.

Of course, our SEVEN platform has plenty of integrations to other solutions such as casino aggregators, payment aggregators, CRMS, tax authorities etc, which means if it supports integrations - we can have it.

SBC: Among NSoft’s portfolio of products, are there any that you believe are a “game changer”?

DJ: Our product portfolio is vibrant and diverse. A game changer for sure is the fact that you don't have to run around looking for different partners to whatever you might need. Do you need a sportsbook? We got it. Do you need games? Yep, that too. Do you need all of that to run on SSBTs? Not only do we have a platform for that, but we have a production of STARK terminals in-house too. Do you want to run your own bookmaking or lean on us? We’ve got you covered. How about next-gen KYC through computer vision in retail?

Our Vision software gives you unprecedented richness of information so that you can know who exactly visits your shops, what kind of players they are, and what their preferences are. But also you can manage retail risks from the ones done by the employees, customers, or you can enrich your sportsbook risk management connecting it with the data from computer vision so that you know who precisely is placing bets in the retail. A concept unseen so far in our industry. I could talk a lot about

sbcleaders.com 27
SPORTS BETTING
TO SET THE MARKET PACE, WE NEED TO CONSIDER WHAT PLAYERS MIGHT NEED

Stepping up

our products, but make sure to visit our website and see for yourself.

SBC: And what’s new in the NSoft portfolio?

DJ: We are constantly revisiting our products and improving them for tomorrow’s market needs. To set the market pace, we need to consider what players might need. For example, even our most popular product, Lucky 6, is constantly getting new features and updates. From seasonal appearance changes, like that of the World Cup, to new features like Lucky Loser.

To meet today’s online player preferences, we have added a layer of gamification to our games - immersing the player even deeper with a sense of progress, rewards and recognitions and adding tournaments and special events across our products portfolio.

Our product team is constantly looking for fresh approaches to the market, and it would be hard to single out one new product or feature. One of my personal favourites is Smash Drops - a completely new mechanic on the market where each game played brings a different experience and requires real-time player engagement in comparison to the dull key spamming I dislike about many casino products.

SBC: You were appointed as a CEO during the pandemic, in the most challenging times for the industry. Tell us more about the obstacles you have faced and your leadership style.

DJ: For me, it was and still is a very fun ride. It’s great to be out there, to be part of the great game of market share, product competition and industry transformation. Every little step we see as a challenge is a step up from where NSoft and I have been.

A challenge makes us rethink our strategies and requires us to be on our toes and never relax. It’s great to be part of the industry where you see so

much innovation and competitiveness. We celebrate our success, but we understand that it was hard earned and we need to fight each and every day to prove ourselves to our partners, create value and maintain growth. To juggle all of this, to balance being good to the employees but also demanding and progressive, to learn about new things every day - for me, this is a great opportunity, and I’m humbled to be given a chance to experience it.

SBC: Looking to the future, what do the next 12 months look like for NSoft?

DJ: They will be the same as the previous 12 months: we will plan, we will adjust for what we couldn’t plan, and to new and arising opportunities and risks, we will look for value and never stop improving ourselves. •

28 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
TO MEET TODAY’S ONLINE PLAYER’S PREFERENCES, WE HAVE ADDED A LAYER OF GAMIFICATION TO OUR GAMES
A CHALLENGE MAKES US RETHINK OUR STRATEGIES AND REQUIRES US TO BE ON OUR TOES
IT’S GREAT TO BE PART OF AN INDUSTRY WHERE YOU SEE SO MUCH INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS

TODD BUCKINGHAM: JUMPSTART AUSTRALIA

SBC: Hi Todd, great to catch up. Can you begin by telling us why 2022 has been such a transformative year for BetMakers and the development of its product portfolio?

TB: BetMakers has grown significantly in the last 12 months and along with this growth has come the operational requirement to support this growth. This includes growing to a workforce that now exceeds 500 staff globally.

We have executed the successful roll out of our bookmaking platform and trading solution, growing from six to 24 customers.

Finally, we deployed a new tier one technology platform for the launch of BETR in what is being regarded as the most successful launch in the Australian market, onboarding more than 300,000 customers in the first four weeks of launch.

Going global sbcleaders.com 29
SPORTS BETTING
THE CEO OF BETMAKERS analyses the Australian market and plans to expand the company’s Global Tote offering to Europe and Latin America

SBC: Focusing on Australia, how has the market been disrupted by the break up of Tabcorp’s lottery and sportsbook units?

TB: There was a real consolidation in the Australian market a few years ago when Stars and Flutter merged which created just a few key players in the market. Since then, there has been an influx of new operators with unique offerings that have started to have a material impact in the Australian market.

Tabcorp has been required to innovate and move with the times and the demerger has given them the ability to do just that. Management are doing a pretty decent job, however this is costly and they need to get results in a tough competitive market.

Some of the innovation we are seeing out of Australia, driven by this competitive landscape, is the best globally and is transitioning across to other markets.

SBC: As a technology incumbent, you have partnered with Matt Tripp’s new BETR venture. What will this brand bring to the Australian market?

TB:

the Australian market.

BETR has an experienced management and leadership team with a proven track record of scaling tier one betting brands. I expect that they will look to utilise their media partnership with Newscorp Australia for a tighter integration of wagering content and media assets.

Over the medium term, they will look to bring new products, ideas and user experiences to the market and leverage these media assets to promote, engage and understand the new age punter.

SBC: Despite regulatory reforms, Australia still maintains fragmented betting laws. How has this impacted the state of play in the market and products available to wagering consumers?

TB: The Australian market is well established and mature and while there are some differences in each of the states, it is for all purposes similar.

This model is proving to be a very

Going global 30 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
Matt Tripp is the pioneer of online wagering in Australia, having started and exited from two scaled operations in
SOME OF THE INNOVATION WE ARE SEEING OUT OF AUSTRALIA, DRIVEN BY THIS COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE, IS THE BEST GLOBALLY AND IS TRANSITIONING ACROSS TO OTHER MARKETS

sustainable one in which operators can make a margin and industry stakeholders can benefit from wagering while government and regulators can protect consumers. It’s a very good jurisdiction to measure yourself and compete.

SBC: Can you explain why a highperformance racebook is such a desired property for BETR and other Australian sportsbooks?

TB: The “always on“ nature of racing is important - especially given Australia does not have any igaming or true inplay sports betting. The combination of high frequency and high margin means it is the number one product for every successful wagering business.

The Australian wagering landscape is an incredibly competitive one and that starts with the racebook. The depth of racing content is matched by an array of markets that need to be presented in a seamless way for punters.

SBC: You took control of the Global Tote in 2021, how has BetMakers innovated the racing product to appeal to wider wagering audiences.

TB: The first thing we did was rebrand the division as Global Tote - which is exactly what it is and what our plans for parimutuel wagering will involve. Global liquidity, and large scale partners from all around the world working together to drive industry returns and create a more stable funding model.

SBC: Beyond Europe and Australia, can BetMakers expand the Global Tote for US and Latin American markets?

TB: Global Tote already has a strong presence and existing base of quality racetrack partners in both the US and Latin American markets.

What we are seeing is the need for these tracks to evolve their offering to keep up with the changing needs of consumers and present their products in ways to attract a

new customer base. This is where BetMakers is really excited to deploy our technology solutions and grow with the opportunity.

SBC: Looking forward to 2023, why should all betting technology

stakeholders be monitoring BetMakers development closely?

TB: We have an exciting year upcoming with our new products branching into new markets and existing agreements coming to fruition such as: Platform and Managed Trading Service offering growing into new markets, the launch of our Quantum tote system in Norway, the further roll out of customers betting through our Global Tote hub and the emergence of BETR in the Australian market as a serious tier one operator.

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SPORTS BETTING
THE ‘ALWAYS ON’ NATURE OF RACING IS IMPORTANT - ESPECIALLY GIVEN AUSTRALIA DOES NOT HAVE ANY IGAMING OR TRUE INPLAY SPORTS BETTING
WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS THE NEED FOR THESE TRACKS TO EVOLVE THEIR OFFERING TO KEEP UP WITH THE CHANGING NEEDS OF CONSUMERS
WHILE THERE ARE SOME DIFFERENCES IN EACH OF THE STATES, IT IS FOR ALL PURPOSES SIMILAR

We’re going places.

If global conquests are your thing too, join our journey seizing the world’s most exotic markets.

truly local approach

10BET: SPEAKING ‘BETTORISH’

ALTHOUGH GAMBLING IS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE, each country has its own unique dialect. Somehow, 10bet manages to speak to millions of bettors across three continents and still be understood. This, 10bet told SBC Leaders, is the key to its success

SBC: Irmi Nir, 10bet’s Brand Manager, what’s your angle, and what do you want to achieve with it?

IN: 10bet treats betting differently. It’s not “better” or “worse,” it’s just... well, actually it is better. Our focus is on creating the world’s freshest, most playful betting environment. Having great odds and offers is a great beginning, but we nailed that part 20 years ago, when we began. Today, our product is no longer betting; it’s creating happy bettors, all around the world.

SBC: That sounds interesting. How do you do that?

IN: Ever been to an amusement park with a personal butler? Me neither, but that’s the idea. Combining a customer-centric approach with a unique and joyful tone and style gives a betting experience you can’t find anywhere else. From quirky offers to relatively funny newsletters, we’re the friend you like to bet with while watching the game together.

SBC: How do you apply this on a global scale?

IN: For a minute there, I was afraid you’d never ask. 10bet UK or .com acts differently from 10bet Africa and 10bet Latin America, because each country has its own unique betting culture.

Having a self-developed tech platform allows us to be highly agile and finetune our product according to each country we land in, while keeping our global brand essence. And with millions of bettors across three continents, I think it’s safe to say we’re doing something right.

SBC: Arthur Perry, CEO for 10bet Africa – you launched your African operations a year ago. How has it been so far?

AP: Before launching in Africa, we had a solid preparation, strategy and business plan. With every new market launch we localise and adapt our

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A
SPORTS BETTING
TODAY, OUR PRODUCT IS NO LONGER BETTING; IT'S CREATING HAPPY BETTORS, ALL AROUND THE WORLD

technology, product and offering. We combine our long-term global knowhow with the expertise of local talent; we open local and regional hubs to help us best serve the market and to be close to our customers. It all works and helps, but in the past year we learned a lot and we adapted even more.

At the beginning, our strategy was to be present and to have our brand live in as many countries as possible – and we did it, we launched four markets, in three months. By the end of 2022, we launched another two markets with South Africa being the latest addition. However, Africa is extremely challenging for operations – almost everything works differently there.

The continent doesn’t have a long history in online gambling. While local authorities are figuring the best frames to legalise betting, we need to be extremely adaptive, as legislation is vastly different and can change in a matter of weeks.

At 10bet we strive for flexibility –we’re agile and fast and this helps us

direct our efforts in the best possible way to bring growth to the business. This is what we’re doing for Africa right now – we focus our strategy on markets where we see a better short-term potential, but at the same time we keep our long-term goals for becoming a pan-African brand.

SBC: How have you positioned 10bet in Africa and how do the local bettors respond to it?

AP: With our customer-centric approach, we focus meticulously on every customer touch-point. We adapted our product to answer the continent’s technology and infrastructure limitations. We don’t compromise on our offering – we deliver a 360-degree product, inclusive of sportsbooks with every league, betting market and feature, as well as a wide range of casino games, but we stripped the interface to bare minimum.

We offer our African bettors a clean, fast and workable interface that is a pleasure to navigate. We’re also one of the few operators in Africa

that provide a comprehensive mobile site and a dedicated mobile app and we’re quickly becoming a preferred choice for the local bettor.

For each country we operate in, we have a dedicated Customer Satisfaction Team that encompasses local talent and knowledge backed by our global longterm experience and methodology. The combination of our powerful analytical tools and continuous strategy for improvement and development led to maintaining extremely high customer satisfaction rates. We have one of the fastest response and resolution times in Africa.

Despite the different payment systems from country to country, we have strong partnerships and we provide our players with all major local payment methods. In South Africa, we offer the fastest withdrawals in the country.

10bet’s creative and experienced CRM team always comes up with unique and entertaining retention strategies that turn our bettors into true and loyal followers.

We’re getting excellent reviews of our product and services from bettors and we have millions of registered players. I would say that this is a good testament that we’re successfully speaking the African dialect of ‘Bettorish’.

SBC: Yaniv Oz, you’re the CEO for 10bet Latin America. You recently launched your first market in LatAm, could you share what are your plans for this continent?

YO: At 10bet we prefer to focus on more ‘exotic’ betting markets. Every challenge we face makes us stronger and wiser and we already overcame many of them, but we like to keep our sports form, so we challenge ourselves daily.

Latin America is one of these challenges and we feel prepared for it. We’re armed with the experience, the localisation approach, investment in local talent, as well as powerful technology and we just tackled our first market on the continent –Mexico.

We have a deep understanding of the Mexican customer behaviour and needs, backed up by our local network and presence. At the same time, we bring to the table our international experience, market-

A truly local approach 34 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
AFRICA IS EXTREMELY CHALLENGING FOR OPERATIONS – ALMOST EVERYTHING WORKS DIFFERENTLY THERE
THE POTENTIAL IS NOT A SECRET FOR ANYONE –DENSE POPULATION, HIGH MOBILE PENETRATION, FAST GROWING TECHNOLOGY, ADAPTABILITY

leading technology and methodology and all this will support 10bet’s success in Mexico.

10bet Mexico will achieve its goals by bringing something different to the market and for us this means something fresh, cool, fun, and of course, combined with excellent service.

SBC: What is the potential and challenges you see for the LatAm market?

YO: There’s a huge diversity of market maturity in each country – operators need to have a truly localised strategy in order to be able to succeed and this is where we excel.

You also need to be an absolute master in navigating legislation country by country, as in the majority of the cases it’s archaic dating as far

as 1947. We have strong local and international partners that help us navigate these waters extremely well.

Another big challenge, especially for international operators, are the payment systems and operational organisation.

However, once you overcome the challenges, the potential is not a secret for anyone – dense population, high mobile penetration, fast growing technology, adaptability – all factors poised for the continent to become a major player in the worldwide online

gambling industry.

10bet is one of the leading international online operators and for nearly 20 years has provided millions of players with the highest quality sportsbook and casino experiences. Trusted by millions globally, 10bet has a customer-centric approach and offers a diverse range of sports and markets to bet on, user friendly and intuitive interface, rewarding and engaging gameplay, great odds across all sports, fast payouts and an online casino powered by multiple providers.

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SPORTS BETTING
LATIN AMERICA IS ONE OF THESE CHALLENGES AND WE FEEL PREPARED FOR IT
OPERATORS NEED TO HAVE A TRULY LOCALISED STRATEGY IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO SUCCEED AND THIS IS WHERE WE EXCEL
Arthur Perry, CEO for 10bet Africa Yaniv Oz, CEO for 10bet Latin America

RESPONSIBILITY VS POPULARITY: THE PATH TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT BRAND AMBASSADOR

IMOGEN MOSS, Solicitor and Gambling Industry and Regulatory Expert at Poppleston Allen, explains the importance of the reputation that precedes a chosen star, and what strategy operators should adopt to transfer this to their product or brand

In choosing the right brand ambassador, it is key to ensure a balance between popularity and responsibility with a growing number of organisations turning to celebrities to boost their recognition in the industry in recent years.

Looking specifically into the betting industry, Moss stated: “With all gambling marketing needing to be socially responsible, operators must ensure that the activities of their partners and affiliates comply with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and industry codes of practice.

“Historic irresponsible behaviour should be a consideration as this could negatively impact on the perception of the operator’s business. As some gambling companies like to remain somewhat controversial, the past exposure of any potential partners should be evaluated for future marketing practices.”

A fairly recent example of an online casino partnering with a celebrity is the Stake.com x Drake deal. With the rapper having a following of around

Reputation matters sbcleaders.com 37
SPORTS BETTING

126 million people on Instagram alone, this would have brought a significant amount of exposure to the brand.

Moss asserted that even though the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) guidance for the recently introduced rules restricting the use of personalities who are of strong appeal to under-18s, with the guidelines focused heavily on athletes, musicians could also fall into the high-risk category - and could subsequently be banned from gambling advertisements.

(CAP) guidance. It says marketers must have processes in place to withdraw ads or change soundtracks if the music used suddenly becomes more popular with under-18s, for example, through social media memes or use in a contemporary film.

She explained that a partnership with a musician could be risky if that person’s work is unexpectedly used elsewhere.

“Operators could put in place restrictions over the musician’s

Sportsbet.io is a client - suggested that such arrangements could be key to promoting crypto.

He stated: “Partnerships with music and entertainment figures can be key when promoting crypto to a new generation of bettors, you just have to think about the word ‘entertainment’ itself as it encompasses so many different areas, including music, sports, games, betting etc.

“When the right type of partnership is formed with someone from the music and entertainment industry, it can enable a brand to benefit from engaging and communicating with new audiences in ways that they would never have been able to do before, therefore, opening up unique opportunities, through which to promote sectors such as crypto to a new generation of bettors.”

“The new rules say that gambling firms should avoid ‘popular personalities who are likely to influence under-18s’, and this is quite broad-ranging and could be applied to many celebrities, including musicians,” she continued.

“Gambling companies wanting to enter into partnerships with musicians need to make sure their fanbase and social media following is predominantly over-18.”

Additionally, there are some specific requirements set out with relation to music in the Committee of Advertising

other deals during the course of a campaign, but it would be difficult for anyone to predict what song might be used in a viral meme,” the regulatory expert added.

Similar deals also include MaximBet, which partnered with Nicki Minaj in May - the globally recognised rapper joined the bookmaker as a Global Ambassador, alongside athletes such as Charlie Blackmon - as well as Kenyan rapper King Kaka who linked with Sportsbet.io.

On the latter deal, Dean Akinjobi, CEO of Football Media - of which

Moreover, when Moss was asked if a musician being already heavily associated with gambling could be considered to have a largely adult appeal, she responded: “Being relatively new, the regulations are thus far largely untested. It will be interesting to see how regulators deal with a personality being used who is already heavily associated with gambling.

“The guidance does say that adult-oriented and gambling-related sports such as horse racing and darts are low-risk. However, before using a personality associated with such a sport an operator would need to assess their other work, their social media following and their other partnerships before deeming them low risk of appeal to under-18s.

“A TV star or musician who happens to be a prolific gambler could be much riskier than such a sportsperson. However, as many will be viewed as appealing strongly to children via their work so it would be questionable whether

Reputation matters 38 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
THE NEW RULES SAY THAT GAMBLING FIRMS SHOULD AVOID POPULAR PERSONALITIES WHO ARE LIKELY TO INFLUENCE UNDER-18S
High-roller Drake is a partner of Stake

it was appropriate to use such a personality.”

A recent incident indicative of Moss’ arguments relating to brand ambassador reputation to have hit the headlines is the case of True Geordie - the popular YouTuber who was recently dropped by PokerStars after making Islamophobic comments about controversial social media personality Andrew Tate.

In terms of companies ensuring that such emotional connections are pursued in a responsible way, particularly with regards to popular sports figures who may appeal to young audiences, Moss suggested that they need to do robust research on the audience of their chosen personality.

The ASA has said that in cases it investigates, it will expect to see a ‘detailed assessment’ on why the content does not fit into this category.

“This could lead to marketers’ jobs changing quite significantly,” Moss continued. “Apart from using analytics tools to try and work out the demographics of someone’s

social media following, they might find themselves doing some counterintuitive tasks.

“Instead of looking for ways to appeal to millennials, as gambling companies frequently are, marketers might instead spend time researching celebrities who are viewed as ‘uncool’ by younger demographics, or seeking out personalities who’ve refused to get on board with social media.”

However, Moss reiterated that the ‘strong appeal’ rules are not applied in media where under-18s can be entirely excluded from the audience of an advert.

All gambling firms must verify the age of customers before they play, so online firms could use celebrities in marketing that can only be viewed by

registered users and who had been verified as over-18.

“Online firms have a slight edge over land-based firms in this regard. While it would be difficult for a shop to display a sports personality in-store as it would not be able to ensure everyone who viewed it was over-18, an online firm could more easily restrict marketing to age-gated areas of its site,” she concluded.

“Companies must, of course, still comply with the CAP and BCAP rules on gambling advertising. The ASA will also expect marketers to provide evidence to demonstrate that the systems used to identify audiences from which under-18s are excluded are robust.”

There is a strong possibility that we could see more of these music and entertainment-based partnerships. That said, if the UK were to introduce a gambling ban on sports sponsorships, it seems as though the most logical shift would be an increase in digital sports sponsorships across fan sites and influencer channels. •

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SPORTS BETTING
THERE IS A STRONG POSSIBILITY THAT WE COULD SEE MORE OF THESE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENTBASED PARTNERSHIPS

Vice President of SIS Content Services, gives her view on the exponential growth within the US esports betting space as of late, explaining how SIS Competitive Gaming is overcoming esports pain points for sportsbooks

Esports betting currently generates around $134m in the US, which is a small and arguably disappointing percentage of the overall handle. Many of the sportsbooks that have entered

the market have encountered issues that haven’t encouraged them further.

In particular, there have been headaches surrounding integrity, streaming latency, inconsistent margins and prices, unwieldy tournament formats and the high suspension of betting lines.

But all of that is about to change – and then some. In fact, forecasts we have seen suggest the figure is going to skyrocket to an eye-watering $9.5 bn by 2027, with operators set to invest in a safe and well-regulated space that will benefit all stakeholders. They just need a reliable product in order to do so.

At SIS, we have set out to remove the hurdles currently affecting the product by offering a complete endto-end esports betting solution that went live for the first time in New Jersey in December.

The launch of SIS Competitive Gaming with bet365 in the Garden

A sector on the
40 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
rise
US ESPORTS BETTING SET FOR METEORIC RISE IN THE NEXT FOUR
MICHELE
SIS:
YEARS

State was a landmark moment in the history of esports betting in the US, as we became the state’s first-ever nontournament esports provider. By doing so, we overcame the pain points that the tournament-based esports betting events have created for operators.

Experience

In creating SIS Competitive Gaming, we leaned heavily on our expertise in creating profitable betting events over the past 35 years and, in particular, the delivery of live, round-the-clock events.

We are the industry’s only end-toend esports betting solution, providing operators with the entire package: data, ultra-low latency streaming, live commentary from our casters, onscreen graphics with betting triggers,

and an extensive range of markets and odds.

From the beginning, it was always about serving the needs of sportsbooks and their bettors with compelling, short-form entertainment. Developed specifically for betting, the SIS H2H Global Gaming League hosts over 150,000 events per year.

Within our secure studios for esoccer, ebasketball and CS:GO,

we have brought together highperformance operational teams, gamers, officials, and casters that have experience in every aspect of esports.

To enhance our CS:GO esports trading capability, we have partnered with esports betting solutions specialist Oddin.gg to provide odds and trading support to operators. The partnership with Oddin.gg brings with it unmatched uptime, an increased

sbcleaders.com 41
US
WE OVERCAME THE PAIN POINTS THAT THE TOURNAMENT-BASED ESPORTS BETTING EVENTS HAVE CREATED FOR OPERATORS

A sector on the rise

number of live markets and the highest margins for sportsbooks.

Typically, esports tournament-based offerings feature streams that are provided separately through Twitch or YouTube, creating issues whereby a stream might lag behind the real action by anything up to 15 seconds. This causes major concerns for trading teams, with integrity issues arising which no operator wants to face. With SIS Competitive Gaming, our web streaming platform ensures that streams are delivered with ultra-low latency.

In terms of integrity, SIS has also recently become the first esports betting events supplier to meet stringent new criteria produced by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), created to set unmatched levels of integrity and safety in the esports betting industry.

The ESIC Gold Standards is designed to build on its existing principles by

setting out a list of standards for tournament organisers, ensuring that events are run to the highest level of integrity and safety for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Attractive

One particular area of the esports betting landscape we have great faith in is sports simulations. The last few years have brought a huge surge in popularity of competitions featuring FIFA, NBA2K and more, with major sporting organisations endorsing events that have generated vast worldwide audiences.

What is particularly attractive for sportsbooks is that sports simulations have a small barrier to entry, with regular bettors easily able to interpret on-screen action that mirrors the real thing. That is not to suggest that our CS:GO offering is impenetrable for the non-aficionado; on the contrary, it has been designed in a simplified 2v2 format that is easy to follow, and

features the sort of betting markets that would normally be found in a regular sporting setting.

The launch of ebasketball in New Jersey with bet365 represents only the start of a journey. We believe that sports simulations in particular are an area of esports betting that is ripe for expansion in popularity, with forecasts suggesting that while this genre currently makes up 12% of total esports GGR, that proportion is set to rise to a 20% contribution by 2027.

Sports simulations are projected to outgrow classic esports significantly across the next five years. In the US – the second largest esports market globally – this trend is particularly apparent.

There is no doubt that we will look to expand our sports simulation offering to match demand, with the addition of further US-centric disciplines a distinct possibility. This is an exciting time for both SIS and esports betting as a whole.

42 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
US
IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT SERVING THE NEEDS OF SPORTSBOOKS AND THEIR BETTORS WITH COMPELLING, SHORT-FORM ENTERTAINMENT
SPORTS SIMULATIONS IN PARTICULAR ARE AN AREA OF ESPORTS BETTING THAT IS RIPE FOR EXPANSION IN POPULARITY
SPORTS SIMULATIONS ARE PROJECTED TO OUTGROW CLASSIC ESPORTS SIGNIFICANTLY ACROSS THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
Your Trusted Hardware Partner! Sports Betting ∙ Cashless ∙ Gaming SUZOHAPP.COM/SPORTSBETTING From start to finish, SUZOHAPP can build a complete solution to fit all your sports betting hardware needs. PORTRAIT TABLETOP 7-9 Feb 2023 ExCel London Booth N3-130

New approach to sports betting

TIM KENNEDY: SAME SUZOHAPP, DIFFERENT MINDSET

AS THE INDUSTRY DESCENDS ON EXCEL LONDON for what is likely to be a revitalised ICE, SUZOHAPP VP of Sales for Europe Tim Kennedy shares his views on the event, explaining how the company’s self-service terminals are creating a more ‘social’ retail experience

SBC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. So, ICE is upon us - what can you tell us about your plans for the event? What can attendees expect when they pop by your stand?

TK: We are very excited to be back at ICE this year and we’ve got a lot of great things planned. We’ll be showcasing our new SBT-2000 and SBT-500+ that we launched at G2E this year along with a few of our latest product launches for OEMs.

Similar to our G2E setup, we’ll be featuring our hardware and solutions products but with more tailoring to the European market. Be sure to stop by to grab a drink at our sports bar and see what it feels like to place your bet in a retail setting!

SBC: It’s been almost two years since the last ICE London you exhibited at. How does it feel to be heading back?

TK: We are thrilled to be back at ICE again. It’s hard to believe all that has happened in the world since we were last there and how much we have evolved as a company. Although we’re still the same SUZOHAPP, we’re

44 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023

approaching ICE with a new mindset. We are more focused and more knowledgeable than we were at ICE 2020.

In the past two years, we’ve seen the sports betting industry develop practically overnight in the American market which has resulted in some great strides in innovation. As the mature market for sports betting, Europe is perfectly poised for these products and we can’t wait to showcase them.

SBC: You recently unveiled some new products - SBT-500+, SBT-2000 and SBT-Handheld device. Can you tell us what these products are and how they will enable SUZOHAPP to deliver new and engaging experiences for land-based bettors?

TK: SUZOHAPP has approached sports betting from an inherently consumer centric viewpoint. While betting kiosks may be a quick solution for retailers looking to add the option, they don’t actually capture the customer in the moment of play.

In Europe, roughly 70% of sports bets are in-game bets. In a retail setting, that doesn’t work with kiosks as you have to leave your seat, possibly queue for a kiosk and exit yourself from the game in order to place your bet.

We designed our sports betting ecosystem to meet customers where they want to be, where they are watching the game — at the bar, at the stadium — and allow them to immerse themselves in the experience with our SBT-500 and SBT-500+ bartop and SBT-2000 seated models.

SBC: Are SBTs such as these the key to emulating that digital betting experience in a retail environment?

TK: Our approach isn’t actually to emulate the digital experience but to enhance the retail one. People go to sports bars to watch sports. Sports betting intensifies and elevates

sbcleaders.com 45
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ALTHOUGH WE’RE STILL THE SAME SUZOHAPP, WE’RE APPROACHING ICE WITH A NEW MINDSET
SUZOHAPP HAS APPROACHED SPORTS BETTING FROM AN INHERENTLY CONSUMER CENTRIC VIEWPOINT
IN EUROPE, ROUGHLY 70% OF SPORTS BETS ARE IN-GAME BETS

New approach to sports betting

companies partner with you?

TK: We have years of experience in the industry and a global network of partners including industry leaders such as Elo, Custom and many more. We can provide expertise and sourcing for gaming needs from top to bottom as a trusted hardware partner.

the experience of watching a game by adding the element of personal chance and gain.

By making sports betting a part of watching the game by seamlessly integrating it with the game environment, the conversion of sports fans to bettors is likely much higher, much less expensive and will generate recurring revenue as people will come back.

Overall revenues will be higher with increased food and beverage spend and longer duration of stay means larger bills and larger tips for staff. We aim to create that experience with our terminals to help ensure that watching sports at a bar remains social by blending the process in with the environment.

SBC: As well as sports betting, SUZOHAPP also has a strong presence in the gaming sector. What is it that makes SUZOHAPP the leading provider for hardware needs for casinos, operators and OEMs? Why should

SBC: Speaking of partnerships, you have signed a number of strategic deals - Elo, Custom, Newland, CountR and Microhard to name a few. What do these agreements bring to the SUZOHAPP brand? And how do you plan to showcase these partnerships at ICE?

TK: We are honoured to have such great partnerships with the likes of Elo, Custom, Newland, Microhard and CountR. We have strategically selected partners across all peripheral product categories that we believe are the leaders in the market and by working through us, we provide them access

to top tier customers and provide the convenience and expertise to provide the right solutions for their designs.

SBC: Now that 2022 has come to a close, what have been the biggest learnings for you so far over the year? And how will these shape your strategy through 2023?

TK: Looking back at the end of 2021 and into 2022, there were so many questions about how or if the industry would bounce back from the restrictions and closures of the pandemic. The biggest learning we’ve had is that the demand is there. And it only continues to grow. We just need to be prepared to supply it and we are working tirelessly to ensure that we meet those needs.

SBC: And finally, what can we expect from SUZOHAPP in 2023?

TK: We have many exciting announcements and new launches on the horizon for this year. If you want to find out what they are, stop by our booth at ICE! •

46 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
WE AIM TO CREATE THAT EXPERIENCE WITH OUR TERMINALS TO HELP ENSURE THAT WATCHING SPORTS AT A BAR REMAINS SOCIAL
THERE WERE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW, OR IF, THE INDUSTRY WOULD BOUNCE BACK FROM THE RESTRICTIONS AND CLOSURES OF THE PANDEMIC
THE BIGGEST LEARNING WE’VE HAD IS THAT THE DEMAND IS THERE AND IT ONLY CONTINUES TO GROW

IS CALIFORNIA SPORTS BETTING REALLY “INEVITABLE

THE FAILURE OF THE ONLINE BETTING ballot measure in California wasn’t just a loss, it was a beatdown. The Sacramento Bee described it as “one of the biggest California election flops in decades”. Just 16.7% of voters casted a ballot in favour of Proposition 27, a measure that would have brought major online operators into the state.

Yet, these major operators speak about the loss as a tiny bump in the road. A bump that cost several hundred million dollars, but a bump nonetheless. At the Global Gaming Expo, which took place in the final weeks before election day, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins and FanDuel

CEO Amy Howe appeared on stage together and acknowledged that Proposition 27 would likely fail, but still felt confident that California was on the road map for the future.

At the FanDuel Capital Markets Day presentation a couple of weeks after Election Day, FanDuel Group President Christian Genetski went so far as to say this: “There's one thing on which all

the relevant stakeholders agree – the national online operators, the large tribal gaming casinos in California, the small non-gaming tribes, policymakers in California – and that is that as sports betting continues to spread across the country in the majority of the United States population has access to mobile sports betting, California is not going to be an outlier.”

Except, here is the thing – that is actually not what all those stakeholders listed think about the situation.

“When people say [California sports betting] is inevitable, they typically point back to the fact that there's 30plus states that have legalised, but the vast majority of those states didn't go through the voters,” said San Manuel Vice President and Chief of Staff, Frank Sizemore.

“This whole ‘inevitability’ is something that’s a PR effort,” added San Manuel Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dan Little.

The San Manuel Band of Mission

sbcleaders.com 47
A golden (state) opportunity
US
” ?

Indians was a major part of the No on 27 campaign in California. In a state where tribes often have differences of opinion, 27 was a measure that united a large number of its members through a common cause.

“I don't think there was any division. Like I said, there were a few tribes that decided to exercise their own sovereignty, and we respect that. But for the most part, the majority of tribes were opposed to Prop 27,” Little recalled.

Where there was more division was Proposition 26, a measure to allow retail sports betting at tribal casinos that qualified for the ballot before Proposition 27 did. San Manuel had no official stance on 26, though many tribes were pushing for the measure.

“We felt like 27 was such a threat to San Manuel operations and tribal sovereignty that we wanted to focus all of our resources and our energies just on making sure that we kept the commercial operators out of the state,” Sizemore explained.

The California tribal gaming economy is massive. But for tribes and

for the state, according to Little, the industry produces 180,000 jobs as well as billions in economic impact.

Looking at who joined the campaign, this impact on Caifornia does not go unnoticed by state officials. Gov. Gavin Newsom officially opposed Proposition 27, albeit his endorsement came long after it was clear the measure would fail.

The campaign also had support

from all four major leaders of the state legislature. Bipartisan agreement at that level is unusual, particularly in this politically contentious time.

“Gov. Newsom has worked really well with the tribes over the years,” Little said. “And he understands the value that the tribes bring to the state, but he also understands the partnership that we have.”

Another group that overwhelmingly

A golden (state) opportunity 48 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023

spoke out against Proposition 27 was the editorial boards of state newspapers. After speaking with key stakeholders both for and against the measure, major papers like the Los Angeles Times came down against it.

In op-eds explaining the stance, many of these publications expressed hesitance about any kind of gambling expansion, not just sports betting.

“The rationale was that California doesn't need any more gaming, we have plenty,” Sizemore said. “We have card rooms, we have horse tracks, we've got the lottery, we've got tribal casinos. So I think the general consensus was that there's enough gambling here already, we don't need more gambling to occur.”

The LA Times minced no words in its stance, stating: “In just one month last year, sports gamblers wagered $7bn - a 20-fold increase from three years earlier. That’s money they’re not spending in other parts of the economy, or worse, money they borrowed that they may not be able to pay back.”

That is a big statement and a good example of the increasing number of mainstream media outlets focusing on the negatives of the gambling industry. Sizemore and Little also pointed out the recent slate of New York Times stories as another reason why Californians might be sceptical about gambling expansion.

They expressed the sentiments of many people who are concerned about the speed at which the new industry of online gambling is launching.

After getting crushed at the polls, major operators nonetheless seem content to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and try again in two years. But, even if there is not a competing measure the next time around, how can another campaign win over Californians to the idea of online betting?

In his talk, Genetski acknowledged that 2022 would have been “audaciously ahead of schedule”. In fact, he said even getting on the ballot exceeded the company’s expectations. Company leaders at the major operators have said they are ready to try again in 2024 and apply lessons learned in this first campaign, but even if the operators are ready, Californians may not be.

The campaigns for and against Proposition 27 wore voters out. Brandt Iden, who now serves as VP of Government Affairs for Fanatics, but previously served in the Michigan legislature noted that when it is a voter referendum, these campaigns are designed to intentionally create

confusion around the issue.

“Even if voters did support it, they really don’t know what the issue is that they’re voting for anymore,” he said.

If there is one takeaway for all parties involved, it seems to be that competing initiatives will always result in defeat. Getting consensus in California, where there are so many gambling stakeholders, has always been difficult. Coming in as outsiders with a ballot measure failed.

For once, these competing interests in the state united to strike it down. Will the lesson for major online operators in 2024 be to reach a compromise that includes key state players like tribal nations? Some might say it is inevitable.

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EVEN IF VOTERS DID SUPPORT IT, THEY REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ISSUE IS THAT THEY’RE VOTING FOR ANYMORE
Dan Little,
13-15 JUNE 2023 METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTER TORONTO #CANADIANGAMINGSUMMIT CANADA’S PREMIER GAMING & BETTING EVENT 150 SPEAKERS 75 EXHIBITORS 2,000 DELEGATES

ARIZONA SUPER BOWL: THE BIG GAME IN A REGULATED STATE FOR THE FIRST TIME

AS PREPARATIONS RAMP UP for this year’s Super Bowl, we ask whether hosting the game in a state that has regulated sports betting could present new opportunities for sportsbooks across the Grand Canyon State

The NFL’s final game of the 2022 season, Super Bowl LVII, will be hosted in Glendale, Arizona at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, in February 2023.

When the game takes place, history will not only be made on the field but off it as well, since the Grand Canyon State will become the first regulated

sports betting state to host the Big Game since the repeal of PASPA in 2018.

The game has generated huge excitement, even though the two teams who will be competing for American sport's biggest prize have not yet been decided.

GeoComply has predicted it will be a "betting bonanza", as data from the Arizona Cardinals’ opening home game of the 2022 NFL season against

Super Bowl LVII sbcleaders.com 51 US

the Kansas City Chiefs revealed over 66,000 geolocation checks from more than 7,300 accounts at State Farm Stadium.

David Highhill, the NFL’s Vice President and General Manager of Sports Betting, also anticipates big things.

Highhill commented: “We are incredibly excited to welcome our fans to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona this February. Arizona will be the first state we have played a Super Bowl with legal sports betting (though we have played many games in states with legal sports betting since 2018).

“Arizona’s sports betting laws will allow fans all over the state to engage online and at retail locations. Arizona’s broad consumer access, coupled with their robust integrity and consumer protections, are examples of a model state betting framework.

“We know that the Super Bowl is peak excitement for sports betting in the US, and would expect February 12th in Arizona to be no different! We will look to see how our fans engage with our betting partners Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel on-site and online to continue to enhance the gameday experience throughout the season for our fans.”

With the Grand Canyon State

already one of the top 10 sports betting markets in the US in its first year of operation, with 18 mobile operators and 25 different retail venues, what heights could sports

betting achieve during the week of the country’s biggest sporting event?

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG), the state’s regulatory authority, is excited about the potential the Super Bowl could bring.

Max Hartgraves, Public Information Officer for ADG, said: “The Super Bowl has already had a lasting impact on Arizona. Arizona has hosted four Super Bowls, the latest being Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. It is estimated that Super Bowl XLIX produced a gross

52 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
Super Bowl LVII
IT IS ESTIMATED THAT SUPER BOWL XLIX PRODUCED A GROSS ECONOMIC IMPACT OVER $719M FOR THE REGION
ARIZONA’S SPORTS BETTING LAWS WILL ALLOW FANS ALL OVER THE STATE TO ENGAGE ONLINE AND AT RETAIL LOCATIONS

economic impact over $719m for the region.

“Sports betting and the other new casino games such as craps, roulette and baccarat, are now legal in the state due to Arizona’s modernisation of gaming in 2021. These new games provide another reason for tourists to visit, particularly for major events such as the Super Bowl and the Phoenix Open (which are held on the same weekend in the Phoenix Metro area), which sees thousands of out-ofstate visitors come to Arizona.”

Despite this, the ADG has stated it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what to expect and they haven’t forecasted any specific handle amount.

BetMGM, which partnered with State Farm Stadium and the Arizona Cardinals to launch a sportsbook on the Great Lawn tailgating spot within walking distance of the Super Bowl venue. It is preparing for the Big Game the same way it has in previous years, but it is still expecting the event to provide new highs.

The sportsbook operator noted that in-game betting will be available to those that wish to wager on their mobile inside the stadium.

“We’re expecting record handle and bet amounts, this is likely to be the most bet on the Super Bowl to date,” commented Jason Scott, VP of Trading at BetMGM.

“We’re excited to get more fans into the BetMGM Sportsbook at State Farm Stadium. I think that will be a great experience that will bring more exposure to the fun of being in a retail book environment.”

When asked if the Super Bowl could result in the Grand Canyon State breaking its sports betting records, Scott said: “Yes, definitely, between betting now being legal and Arizona hosting the Super Bowl I think we’ll see big numbers coming out of Arizona.”

However, Hartgraves is unsure. “It is hard to tell. In 2022, Arizona saw just under $500m wagered in the state during the month of February, which includes the period of the 2022 Super Bowl. We look forward to seeing how it compares to 2023,” he said.

For the Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the American Gaming Association forecasted 31.4 million Americans

would wager $7.61bn. Following the Big Game, New Jersey and Nevada both declared new Super Bowl sportsbook handle records of $143.7m and $179.8m respectively.

At the time of writing, sports betting is live in 32 US states plus the District of Columbia, with Kansas and

Maryland both launching since the last Super Bowl. Massachusetts is also scheduled to go live ahead of the Big Game in February 2023 as well.

In 2024, the Super Bowl will be hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be played in Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

It will be interesting to see if the Silver State learns, or takes anything away, from the Grand Canyon State’s hosting of the Big Game in a regulated sports betting state for the first time in preparation for when the Super Bowl visits the gambling capital of the world next year. •

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IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF THE SILVER STATE LEARNS, OR TAKES ANYTHING AWAY, FROM THE GRAND CANYON STATE’S HOSTING OF THE BIG GAME

RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING COUNCIL: EDUCATING YOUNGSTERS ON GAMBLING RISKS

SHELLEY

CANADA, explains how the organisation uses player education campaigns to reduce the risks of gambling harm amongst those aged 18-24

Responsible gambling is an increasingly crucial part of the industry’s inner workings. Both internal and external pressures have made operators, suppliers and other stakeholders take notice of the work they do to protect players from gambling harms.

Whilst attention has traditionally gone towards making existing gamblers aware of the risks associated with wagering, often those gamblers are of older demographics. A survey conducted by Statista in December

2021 found that the age group that had the most weekly sports betting participants was those aged 35-44.

Yet, as the rise of online and mobile gambling has increased the accessibility and usability of gambling to those of much younger age groups, the focus has shifted to ensuring that young people growing up around

RESEARCH SHOWED THAT THE AGE GROUP THAT HAD THE MOST WEEKLY SPORTS BETTING PARTICIPANTS WAS THOSE AGED 35-44

gambling do not get sucked in by the risks of online gambling.

At the forefront of this in Canada is the Responsible Gambling Council, which has conducted research into gambling harms for decades and has taken up a role as an educator. The RGC has ramped up its efforts in recent times to educate young people aged 18-25 to reduce the impact of online gambling.

There are a myriad reasons why young people may get involved in gambling, especially online. Peer pressure through social groups, access to drugs and increased accessibility certainly all play a role, but a far more intrinsic and internal reason plays a part.

Shelley White, CEO of the RGC, told SBC Leaders that neurology is a key influence on young people’s susceptibility: “There's a neuroscience element to this, and that the prefrontal cortex, which manages judgement, really doesn't develop fully until

Collaboration is key 54 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023

the age of 25. So actually, prior to that age, young people are making decisions with more of the emotional side of their brain.”

A popular way of educating players is to encourage players to not drink and gamble. But in Canada, specifically, there is an issue too with the use of cannabis and gambling, which White noted plays a big role in young people’s risk.

“In several jurisdictions, it's in that age range that they have legal access to alcohol and to substances such as cannabis,” she added. “And, in a few jurisdictions globally, we know that based on research there is a correlation between higher gambling risk, and simultaneously using alcohol or cannabis.”

An evidence-based organisation, the RGC always conducts thorough research before undertaking any line of strategy. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the organisation conducted a study into the effects of lockdowns on the gambling behaviours of those aged 18-24.

Owing to financial issues, mental health deterioration and loneliness, young people were found to be at increased risk of gambling harm during this period.

As the RGC’s lead outlined: “Young adults aged 18 to 24 years were consistently found to be at an increased risk of gamblingrelated harms during COVID. More specifically, young adults are more likely to have suffered negative financial impacts due to losing their job or reduced work hours.

“Over 50% experienced a reduction in their household income. And in line with the financial harm, young people were also significantly more prone to mental health concerns, reporting greater levels of severe anxiety and depression, as well as lower life satisfaction compared to older adults. And social isolation contributed to that immensely.”

But having well thoughtout and reasoned research

isn’t the only factor in creating an effective player education program, White noted. Striking the right tone, developing the most engaging language and reaching the correct medium is essential to communicating with this digital-savvy cohort of gamblers.

“That's one thing that we've learned

over the years, that it's so important to tailor the message to the audience. So because we understand that youth and young adults are at an increased risk, we've really created a dedicated youth and young adult portion to our website that provides information to these groups about what is gambling because we know that they're online, they'll go to websites to seek information.”

As well as carving out a specific youth page on its website, RGC has developed several other ways to reach younger gamblers while using the correct language to create an effective piece of education.

White addressed the need to use appropriate language within the messaging: “Public service announcements (used to be) more directive, like don't drink and drive, to a culture that is more about engagement and giving people the information so they can make choices.

“So if we look at the alcohol industry, it's gone from ‘don't drink and drive’, to 'plan your ride home’ and giving people options, which we know is extremely important. Providing individuals with messaging that lets them know what the risks are, lets them know what the options are, but gives people choices.

“We also know how to communicate with language that isn't patronising, so the inclusion of humour is really helpful too. We did research and created an ad campaign for young people about the risks of gambling while under the influence of cannabis.

“When cannabis became legalised in Canada, we developed a whole campaign called Grunk that had this young guy who was trying to teach people gambling while he was under the influence of cannabis, so that you could see how ridiculous and how his judgement was impaired.

“It was really

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HAVING WELL THOUGHTOUT AND REASONED RESEARCH ISN’T THE ONLY FACTOR IN CREATING AN EFFECTIVE PLAYER EDUCATION PROGRAM

successful in terms of helping to communicate that message in a way that young people could relate to.”

Ensuring that youngsters are protected from harm is essential for the campaign, yet for the RGC this doesn’t mean that any form of gaming must be ruled out of the messaging.

After all, young people nowadays have, for the most part, grown up with game consoles and other devices, meaning they can often be engaged and informed by gaming content.

White explained: “We've also gamified the approach - we find that gamification of the message also resonates well with this particular age cohort as well, just given the fact that they've grown up with video games. So for teenagers, we have a programme that goes into secondary schools throughout the province called the Game Brain and it's more like a game show.”

Having created player education campaigns to reduce the impact of gambling harms on young people across Canada, the RGC is turning its attention to measuring success, as well as reinforcing its messaging and creating new campaigns.

For White it will be a long process, as she admitted that it can be a difficult task to measure changes in gambling activity or individual activity.

But remaining adamant and consistent that problem gambling is a stain on Canadian society will help to reduce the issue.

“I have to say that measuring behavioural change is somewhat difficult, but we believe that being consistent is imperative,” she said. “We consistently reach different segments of the population with our programs and campaigns, and we're constantly reevaluating the message and the tactics that are evidence-informed and backed by research.”

It’s not just the RGC that has a reason to fight this battle. It remains a key priority for all stakeholders,

particularly operators, to fight problem gambling across all demographics, not just younger people.

iGaming Ontario is mandating all partners in the province to undergo the RGC’s RG Check from April 2023 to ensure they employ best practices when it comes to RG. At the same time AGCO remains strict on its advertising standards, which include banning offers and inducements.

Concluding, White noted that every industry stakeholder has a shared responsibility and the initial signs

are encouraging. “I think it's a real partnership,” she noted. “I have to say that at RGC, we're really encouraged to see how seriously operators are taking responsible gambling and that it's at the forefront of their work. You'll see it on the homepages of their sites, they're really trying to incorporate it into the player experience.

“They're talking about player sustainability, customer loyalty, they see it as really important to the sustainability of the industry. And these are operators around the world. So we really believe that collaboration is key.” •

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CANADA
MEASURING BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE IS SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT BEING CONSISTENT IS IMPERATIVE

DAVID CLIFTON: COMPLIANCE IN A WORLD OF REGULATORY CRACKDOWNS

With a ramp-up of regulatory activities having been witnessed on a global scale, it could be argued that the changing public perception of gambling has not been evidenced in a more clear fashion than it has in the UK.

This hasn’t been helped by an increase in regulatory action which saw 16 operators, during the 11 months to November 30, 2022, pay out a total of £45m due to failures identified by the UKGC. This included a record £17m settlement paid by Entain.

For comparison, in the 2016/17 fiscal year, action was taken against just three operators that paid out £1.7m for regulatory failures.

To delve into the issue of compliance amid a deluge of regulatory crackdowns, we spoke to Licensing Expert David Clifton to gather insights on whether lessons have been, or are being, learned, and if a precedent has been set that would later be observed elsewhere and more.

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An industry challenge
AS THE MICROSCOPE that the industry finds itself placed under becomes ever more tightly focused, can a path to potential rejuvenation in the eyes of the public be envisaged and, perhaps more crucially, achieved?

An industry challenge

SBC: We saw an uptick in regulatory action across numerous regions as 2022 progressed, with this particularly evident in the UK. Why do you believe this is?

DC: As a newly-qualified solicitor, I first started advising British gambling operators in 1983, shortly after evidence of skimming, junketing, fraud, corruption and the provision of unlawful credit led to the closures of several London casinos.

In many ways, it was a different time then.

1983 was six years before Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide

Web. It was 13 years before the first money was staked on an online casino, resulting in fears that gambling on the internet was akin to the lawlessness of the American Wild West of a century earlier.

It was 18 years before the USA

Patriot Act was passed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. At the same time, the UK Government considerably strengthened the provisions of its Terrorist Act 2000 and, hot on the heels of that, introduced the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

It was 21 years before casinos were brought within the ambit of the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations for the first time.

It was 24 years before the UK Gambling Act 2005 came into force with an assurance from the UKGC that it would apply a “light touch“ and “proportionate“ regulation in relation to the three new licensing objectives focusing on crime prevention, fair and open gambling, and protection of children and the vulnerable.

In that same year (2007) Apple released the world’s first smartphone, enabling people to carry a casino around in their pocket, always open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It was 30 years before the UKGC started to take serious enforcement action to uphold those objectives, having identified operators’ AML and social responsibility failings for the first time. It was 33 years before the UKGC’s then CEO famously announced that the regulator wanted gambling companies to do much more to put consumers at the heart of the businesses.

Why have I delivered that history lesson? It’s because the answer to this first question lies in all that happened over that very same period of time.

Competition grew rapidly as online gambling spread across the globe. Regulatory boundaries got pushed as commercial considerations outweighed compliance responsibilities. In the UK, public trust and confidence in the industry declined dramatically as negative stories about FOBTs, gambling-related tragedies, consumer

58 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
REGULATORY BOUNDARIES GOT PUSHED AS COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS OUTWEIGHED COMPLIANCE RESPONSIBILITIES
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE INDUSTRY IS THAT, IN THE EYES OF MANY REGULATORS, LAWMAKERS AND THE PUBLIC ALIKE, TRUST IN GAMBLING OPERATORS HAS BEEN LOST FOREVER

complaints and the sheer volume of gambling advertising started to grab media headlines.

The UKGC’s actions soared (culminating in this year’s record sanction of £17m for AML and social responsibility failings) as the regulator lost patience with an industry that it believes has not learned sufficiently from its repeated mistakes.

Similar trends, concerns and clampdowns have occurred in other countries, prompting newly-regulated jurisdictions to impose more restrictive regulatory regimes and longestablished jurisdictions to come down increasingly hard on non-compliant operators.

But was it really such a different time back then in the early 1980s? One only has to look at the cause of the recent casino scandals in Australia to learn that in the field of international gambling regulation, the well-known epigram “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose“ is most certainly applicable in spades.

SBC: This increase undoubtedly has a detrimental effect when it comes to the public’s perception of the industry, so have lessons been learned or are they being? And why?

DC: Lessons have very definitely been

learned for all of the reasons I have mentioned above. However, have operators learned from those lessons?

Whilst he was the CEO of Mr Green, Jesper Kärrbrink appeared to have learned from such lessons when he said: “I think we as an industry have a lot to blame ourselves for; being too aggressive and having a business model of buying new customers all the time. It’s not sustainable in the long term and we come across as greedy and loud.”

that, in the eyes of many regulators, lawmakers and the public alike, trust in gambling operators has been lost forever, that the online gambling sector in particular was given a ”rope of opportunity” to self-regulate effectively but proceeded instead to use that same rope to hang itself. However, even if some believe that such a suicide has been committed, surely something can still be salvaged from the situation?

More recently, outgoing Flutter Entertainment CEO for UK & Ireland, Conor Grant, was quoted as saying: “I think we have to acknowledge that what has happened in the past in some instances hasn’t been right, and we have made mistakes – but I think we have to move the discourse on,” adding: “We have to be part of the solution.”

The final part of that quote chimes with the UKGC’s repeated call for “collaboration”, the buzz word of its last CEO Neil McArthur.

The challenge for the industry is

For example, although Entain was the unfortunate recipient of a UK record £17m penalty earlier this year (incurred by reason of regulatory failings during 2019 and 2020), it is widely regarded as now leading the way on both sides of the Atlantic in terms of setting the highest standards in player protection and social responsibility.

In addition, UKGC statistics published this year have indicated not only continued maintenance of lower problem gambling rates in the UK, but also significant increases in

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THE UKGC’S ACTIONS SOARED AS THE REGULATOR LOST PATIENCE WITH AN INDUSTRY THAT IT BELIEVES HAS NOT LEARNED SUFFICIENTLY FROM ITS REPEATED MISTAKES

An industry challenge

more positive public perceptions of gambling. All is not yet lost.

SBC: Could these actions potentially set a precedent that could be witnessed elsewhere? What could newly-regulated markets, or those looking to regulate soon, learn?

DC: UKGC Deputy CEO Sarah Gardner accurately summed up the opinion of many in a speech delivered in mid-November when she said that “gambling has changed radically in recent years, looking more like a global tech industry than the traditional gambling sector many people think of when they think about gambling”.

I have long held the belief that the more robust regulatory standards set by the UKGC would become a benchmark for other gambling jurisdictions. That is why I have warned in several international conference speeches of my own in recent years that both operators and regulators in new online markets should learn from the UK precedent –both what has worked and, sadly more often, what has not worked.

In October this year, the UKGC’s present CEO, Andrew Rhodes, issued

his own warning when addressing an audience of international gambling regulators. He said: “In Great Britain we have the largest online gambling market in the world and one of the most liberalised. So, what happens in the UK will likely happen in your jurisdiction, if

it is not already happening.”

He explained the reason for that comment with the following forecast: “Many of us will be dealing with the same operators and groups of operators. We will be tackling the same issues too, whether you are a newly-regulated market, licensing online gambling for the first time or a large and mature market,” adding: “… and ultimately, we all want the same thing too - operators who are compliant with our regulations and rules. But we know as well as you, in such a volatile and innovative environment, it can be hard to keep pace. And a lot of the time, that story suits all too many operators in the gambling industry.”

His speech concluded with the following appeal to his fellow regulators: “If we can crack ways to better work together - sharing data and intelligence, adopting common approaches and co-ordinating actions where possible - we can achieve globalised progress across a globalised marketplace.”

I believe it is inevitable that will happen, and that it will happen sooner than many may think. •

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Andrew Rhodes, UKGC’s current CEO
OPERATORS AND REGULATORS IN NEW ONLINE MARKETS SHOULD LEARN FROM THE UK PRECEDENTBOTH WHAT HAS WORKED AND, SADLY MORE OFTEN, WHAT HAS NOT

CASHLESS IS AN

In the words of Bill Gates: “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.”

Throughout the land-based casino sector, we’re seeing these words come to fruition with the constant partnerships between payment firms and brick-and-mortar properties leading to the integration of cashless payment options to gaming machines.

Earlier this year, Acres introduced its Cashless Casino, a product that enables operators to deploy cashless gaming and loyalty solutions.

At the time, Noah Acres of Acres Manufacturing Company noted that early deployments of the Foundation’s new product have “proven” that cashless players increase their play and visitation.

On whether there is a noticeable difference from physical cash, Acres explained that early returns prove that cashless helps casinos to generate more profit. He believes this trend “will continue”.

He commented: “Over 80% of consumer purchases are made using non-cash methods and casinos are one of the last remaining cash-only businesses. Today’s cash players frequently have to make a trip to the bank to withdraw cash for casino play.

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IN EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY THAT HAS GONE CASHLESS, THERE IS A LIFT IN SPEND – AND GAMING IS NO DIFFERENT
SINCE THE PANDEMIC, we’ve seen a shift towards cashless payments as many bettors shun physical notes and coins. But could this trend towards digital help improve the overall brick-and-mortar experience?
OPTION, NOT A RULE - THE EVOLVING WORLD OF LAND-BASED PAYMENT

A new omnichannel experience

“Those that don’t plan ahead may have to pay expensive ATM or cash advance fees at the casino. This adds friction to the process and makes the player experience more burdensome.

“Penn Entertainment reports cashless players increase visitation by 18% and time on device by 22%. Many of the early adopters to cashless will be high-limit players that can continue to reload their mobile wallet without leaving the game.”

Sightline Payments is another firm making headway in the cashless field, with the firm gaining approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission on its petition to provide casino customers with a “streamlined cashless experience” at the start of 2022.

This change would also enable Sightline to implement digital identity verification on behalf of its operator partners in Nevada.

Jonathan Michaels, SVP of Strategic Development & Government Affairs at Sightline, stated that, in time, properties will certainly see an overall lift by transforming to digital payments.

Michaels explained: “Cash is a huge cost centre for properties – from the cost of acquiring it, from the people to transport it and count it and the security issues around having large amounts of cash. In every other industry that has gone cashless, there is a lift in spend – and gaming is no different.

“You have seen Penn Entertainment’s CEO, Jay Snowden, talk about the early successes of their cashless program and the increase in spend seen when comparing properties that have cashless to properties that do not.”

“The importance of omnichannel payments here is paramount,” Michaels continued. ”As digital gaming continues to grow, you want to serve your customers wherever they want to play. Our view on omnichannel is that money and loyalty should follow a customer wherever they go. This omnichannel lift in spend and play is already apparent too.

“Caesars reported that customers who they sourced

from their digital channels spent $200m at brick-and-mortar properties. In their last earnings call, MGM Resorts reported that 40% of their overall MGM Rewards enrollments now come via their digital channels.

“This omnichannel tie is going to be the focus for operators over the next two years and the best way to leverage this is to allow for omnichannel payments, allowing the same funds to be used online and onproperty.”

Looking into how this new way of paying will improve player engagement and retention for landbased properties, Acres observed that smart casinos want their players to download an engaging mobile app, emphasising that “cashless will be the glue that holds this app together”.

“In the case of Acres, our Foundation platform merges cashless payments with loyalty and bonus using real-time player data, which will make the overall play experience more entertaining and rewarding,” he said. “Players will want to use cashless because they’ll be able to win more.”

Echoing these thoughts, Michaels expressed that there are “several avenues” that land-based operators can go down to leverage digital payments and technology to aid

The Sightlight SVP continued: “On the engagement side, cashless will be a mobile-first proposition. We leverage our Mobile+ app platform, which is live at more than 100 casinos nationwide, providing them with avenues to

“Leveraging cashless, you can build a true and customised picture of what your guests want to do on property. Be it gambling, restaurants, nightlife, entertainment, hotel, spa – whatever it may be, you can better engage that guest by leveraging the personalisation aspects afforded by cashless

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“Leveraging that personalisation, you can
THE IMPORTANCE OF OMNICHANNEL PAYMENTS HERE IS PARAMOUNT
Noah Acres of Acres Manufacturing Company

increase retention by delivering rewards and loyalty that matter to that guest. The days where you send out expensive hard-mailers with an offer to all your guests are gone – and they will be replaced by custom targeting based on guest activity both on and off property.

“Payments allow you to meet your guests wherever they are – be it visiting your casino or via your digital channels. The goal we help reinforce for our operator clients is to help them best engage their customers wherever

they may be – and cashless is an incredible tool to help them do that.”

However, with the ever evolving digitalisation throughout society as a whole, could we see brick-and-mortar casinos lose that so-called cliché ‘old school’ appeal?

Responding to that point, Acres argued that losing old-school appeal is a “common misnomer” that is “without merit”.

He stressed: “Cashless is an option, not a rule. Players who want or prefer cashless can use the new technology while those with old-school physical cash preferences can continue uninterrupted.

“But the idea that casinos adopting new technology burdens or turns players off is an oft-repeated misnomer in the casino industry.

“In the 1990s the experts said players preferred mechanical spinning reels and didn’t “trust” video reels. This was completely false and today you can see roughly 90% of all slots are video.

RIDICULOUS

“The same experts also told us that players loved using coins in slot machines and wouldn't adapt to bill validators or TITO technology. The expert logic said players loved handling coins and that slots couldn’t survive without the audible noise of coins clanging in the coin tray.

“Of course, today almost everyone would be completely disgusted with handling a large volume of coins, let alone lugging coin buckets from machine to machine.

“Remember that 80% of consumer transactions are non-cash. How ridiculous is it for someone to argue that cashless won’t work in a casino?”

Throughout any changes in the industry, the main clarity we hear is that customer service is the biggest focus and evolutionary directions also factor this in mind. That being said, what are the implications of going cashless in a land-based casino to AML and KYC?

On this, Michaels concluded that digital payments provide a “huge benefit”.

He explained: “Regarding AML, all digital transactions have a corresponding digital record – and can be tracked accordingly by properties, payment companies and law enforcement where appropriate.

“AML is trying to find a needle in a haystack. With cashless payments and cashless wagering accounts, you can reduce the size of that haystack.” •

sbcleaders.com 63
GAMING
HOW
IS IT FOR SOMEONE TO ARGUE THAT CASHLESS WON’T WORK IN A CASINO?
CASHLESS WILL BE A MOBILE-FIRST PROPOSITION
Jonathan
Michaels,
of Strategic Development & Government Affairs at Sightline Payments

CHALLENGING REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS is nothing new to the German gaming market. As operators and suppliers will readily testify - it’s one of the toughest European jurisdictions to crack. Apparat Gaming’s Thomas Wendt explains how the jurisdiction has been coping during the latest regulatory transition

A market in flux 64 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
NAVIGATING
APPARAT IN GERMANY:
A ‘CONSERVATIVE’ MARKET IN TRANSITION

During this unprecedented time for the German igaming space, operators, suppliers and players have faced combative issues that restricted them from performing as they would in most other regulated jurisdictions. And, according to Wendt, “there is still a long way to go” before they can compete.

have to go through an extremely lengthy certification process to ensure that their games are suitable for the country. Wendt focused on this topic of authorisation as one of the key issues that remains unclear as the GGL gets to work.

He said: “From our point of view, the certification of the games is currently a major, unsolved problem. The approach chosen by the legislator of approving each game individually for each operator, regardless of whether it has already been authorised identically somewhere else, is obviously not very practicable.

“I do not want to engage in speculation,” said Wendt when asked why he thought that the German regulators had implemented such tough restrictions in comparison to other European markets. “Because this is the result of a primarily political process, where one should know all who were involved in the decision making.”

He continued: “Since I don’t know, I can only look at the outcome. The ‘cui bono’ can best be answered in reverse, as it is not to the advantage of the established market participants in the online industry - perhaps that is already part of the answer.

“The current regulation definitely influences the development of the market, because the still incomplete licensing process for the approximately 70 casino applications or the approval process for the games shows that everything will take at least a little longer here than in other comparably regulated countries such as the Netherlands.”

“To put it quite simply: if staffing does not allow for the implementation of their own regulations, then they could look to the best practices of other markets. And that would mean outsourcing game certification to reliable partners who are willing to comply with strict standards, instead of trying to do everything themselves.”

The Interstate Treaty also saw a number of limitations presented to

’G

aming with a German accent’ is the tagline of Apparat Gaming, the Malta-based company that has served the regulated market in Germany since its inception. With the turn of the year behind us, SBC Leaders sat down with Co-Founder and Director Thomas Wendt to discuss how this jurisdiction has been performing during a crucial phase of regulation.

Going back as far as January 1, 2022, de Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) assumed sole responsibility of combating illegal gambling in Germany through a noticeably strict regulatory framework.

As a supplier, Apparat Gaming has faced a number of challenges in its bid to market games for German players, with the Interstate Treaty on Gambling placing a number of restrictions on the way they can enjoy its slot titles.

These restrictions include a monthly deposit limit of €1,000, a bet limit of €1 per spin and a ban on autoplay features and progressive jackpots.

In addition to considering these limits, suppliers

GAMING
sbcleaders.com 65
FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW, THE CERTIFICATION OF THE GAMES IS CURRENTLY A MAJOR, UNSOLVED PROBLEM

A market in flux

operators within the jurisdiction, as they must go through a similarly lengthy approval process for German licences.

Wendt explained how these limitations, when combined with the issues Apparat itself faces, have caused the company to warn against creating games that stand out from the competition. Due to the Treaty’s lengthy approval process, similar games have been pushed out by studios as they know they are more likely to be approved.

The Apparat Co-Founder commented: “The German market is still in a transitional phase, which will probably continue for a while due to the special circumstances, in particular the limited range of games on the market.

“Our games are specially designed for the German market and its needs, and to that extent our expectations have been fulfilled so far. At the same time, however, we also observe and warn against distortions in competition, because the tough approval process for games makes it difficult to differentiate offers.”

While the country’s restrictions on players, suppliers and operators have been unwelcome in the igaming industry, companies have been working hard to find ways of

succeeding in one of Europe’s most densely-populated countries.

With 10 slot titles to its name, Apparat is still finding its feet as a slot creator. But Wendt explained how the company tries to tailor its games to German players while navigating the strict regulations.

“With 10 titles, our games portfolio is still quite small to allow a general statement here,” said Wendt. “But since we have built up our portfolio

operators, delving into the German igaming market is simply not worth it. However, Wendt instilled hope that the country’s igaming space will find its feet if the regulators can pull together to address these issues.

“One or two stumbling blocks will have to be cleared out of the way,” he said. “This can only happen through real cooperation between regulators and industry. Calling for eye level here sounds presumptuous, because there

directly with the German market in mind, it is already a quintessence of what works well as an intersection in the European markets, but primarily in Germany, in terms of features and themes.

“The German market is somewhat more conservative than other markets, but that doesn’t have to mean that the games look stale. Our approach of giving the ‘German accent’ a refresh has worked very well so far.”

It comes as no surprise that due to the Interstate Treaty’s various limitations, for some companies, particularly smaller studios and

is a good reason why regulation and player protection take place, and the regulator is well advised not to be taken in by particular interests.

“There is still a long way to go before we have an internationally competitive market - and having a functioning, regulated market should be the common goal. Some other markets are undoubtedly a few years ahead of the German one, but we are confident that you don’t have to make every mistake yourself to learn from it and that it is only a matter of time before the German market fulfils its potential.” •

66 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
GAMING
THE GERMAN MARKET IS STILL IN A TRANSITIONAL PHASE, WHICH WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE FOR A WHILE DUE TO THE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, IN PARTICULAR THE LIMITED RANGE OF GAMES ON THE MARKET
23-25 MAY 2023 INTERCONTINENTAL MALTA #CASINOBEATSSUMMIT SBCEVENTS.COM 3,000 DELEGATES 160 SPEAKERS 50 EXHIBITORS JOHAN STYREN CEO & Founder Dilanti Media MAYA YAZAKI Country Manager – Japan Rhino Entertainment BERND HENNING Casino Director Bet3000 DAINIS NIEDRA COO Enlabs (Entain) CHRISTOFFER ANDERSSON COO 500.casino KAREN HOPE Director of Casino Goat Interactive MATTHIAS CIAPPARA Head of Gaming Innovation Entertain PAUL FRASER General Manager Casino Catena Media CHRISTOPHER DALLI CEO L & L Europe Limited LEANNE MULEBA COO Matching Visions LUCAS LEBLEU Casino Director Betcris TOM BANKS Head of Corporate Affairs UK Kindred SPEAKER PREVIEW THE FUTURE OF PLAY iGAMING STRATEGY, INNOVATION & DEVELOPMENT

CHRIS SCICLUNA: THE WORLD OF SOCIALLYCHARGED CASINOS

seats with each spin.

SBC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with SBC Leaders! So, we're now in 2023 - how have the last 12 months been for Livespins? What have been the main highlights for the company?

CS: It’s been a breakthrough year for Livespins as we continue our mission to provide socially-charged online

casino experiences to players around the world. A big highlight for me has been the onboarding of so many quality slot studios including Relax Gaming, Yggdrasil and iSoftBet to the platform.

Slots are vital to the success of a stream, which is why we continue to partner with in-demand providers that know exactly how to get streamers and audiences on the edge of their

Another milestone has been putting pen to paper on several operator partner deals with WynnBet in the US and Campeon Gaming in the rest of world. These are major operators in their respective markets and mark the arrival of Livespins as a tier-one provider.

SBC: In a post-pandemic world, how important is it that the igaming ecosystem places more of an emphasis on the social side of gaming? How can this be done effectively?

CS: Even without the pandemic, it’s clear that consumers are seeking more interactive and community-

Community-driven entertainment 68 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
THE CEO OF LIVESPINS takes us on a journey through the world of slots and the ways in which his company is meeting the demand for a more interactive, community-driven entertainment experience

driven entertainment experiences.

Online casino is competing with other entertainment options such as mobile/ video gaming, streaming and social media, all of which provide deep social elements and features.

To draw consumer attention away from these competing pastimes, online casino operators need to provide similar levels of engagement and interaction and that is exactly what Livespins provides. We do this through our bet behind system, which allows players to bet directly on the streamer’s action taking place across the reels. This creates a group bet and a shared experience, but with each player able to set their bet size and number of spins.

Players can communicate with the streamer and each other throughout, as well as add reactions and emojis. This means that regardless of whether they win or lose, they are having a fun, social, community-driven experience.

SBC: As the industry prepares for ICE London, what can delegates expect to see when they pop by the Livespins stand?

CS: They’ll be able to see what all the fuss is about. For operators, they’ll be able to understand just how Livespins integrates within their casino and the additional revenues a live streaming offering can generate while still being

compliant and providing high levels of responsible gambling.

For studios, they can learn more about how Livespins offers unrivalled exposure for their games among audiences and players, and the ways in which our streamers can market new titles by unboxing slots and talking audiences through bonus features and gameplay.

For streamers, they can find out how Livespins allows them to do what they love doing the most, while enjoying the stability and security

sbcleaders.com 69
GAMING
THEY CAN STRAP THEMSELVES IN AND FEEL WHAT A SOCIALLYCHARGED ONLINE CASINO EXPERIENCE IS REALLY LIKE

Community-driven entertainment

that comes from working for a large, well-funded business. For anyone else, they can strap themselves in and feel what a socially-charged online casino experience is really like.

SBC: In the last few months, we’ve seen a big focus on technologies such as the metaverse, artificial intelligence and machine learning. What role will these technologies play at Livespins when it comes to delivering a more social gaming experience?

CS: For Livespins, it's predominantly AI and ML that we engage with. An example is moderation of the social features, where we deploy these technologies to ensure a safe and responsible social environment for the community. I think the Metaverse and the definition of such is still in its infancy and for now we focus on the near-term landscape, but of course keep a keen eye on all developments that will influence consumer entertainment consumption and behaviours.

SBC: Are there any particular trends which you believe will truly capture

the industry’s attention in 2023 and beyond?

CS: From a streaming perspective, it’s hard to ignore Twitch’s decision to ban some online casinos from its platform. This will have a huge impact on how online casinos and studios leverage the popularity of streaming to engage these audiences and ultimately market their brands to players.

social, entertaining experiences they are seeking. Streaming will have a big role to play in this.

SBC: What can we expect from Livespins over the coming months?

CS: The next 12 months are going to be big for Livespins. Our main priority is to shift focus away from onboarding studios (we now have more than 20 integrated into the platform) to signing deals with operators. We’re already up and running with CasinoFriday and in mid2022 announced we’d partnered with WynnBet in the USA.

Livespins is the perfect alternative or at least complement to Twitch, and because we integrate directly into the casino lobby any concerns around responsible streaming and compliance are totally mitigated.

I think discussions will also continue around how online gambling brands can tap into the psyche of the next generation of players and provide the

At the back end of 2022, we also put pen to paper on an agreement with Campeon Gaming to add Livespins to the lobbies of its roster of casino brands. We carry this momentum into 2023 where we have several big-name operator partnerships lined up.

As part of this, we will make a major push into North America, a market where we see huge potential for Livespins, while also continuing to make progress in Europe and other regions around the world.

70 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
I THINK DISCUSSIONS WILL ALSO CONTINUE AROUND HOW ONLINE GAMBLING BRANDS CAN TAP INTO THE PSYCHE OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF PLAYERS

IGT: BRINGING A BLOCKBUSTER BRAND TO ILOTTERY

tells us about the reasons why the US gaming giant chose to take inspiration from a much-loved comedy in its latest eInstant title, Ghostbusters Prized Possessions

Ghostbusters Prized Possessions, IGT’s latest eInstant, packs quite a proton punch. Leveraging one of the company’s high-quality licensed brands, the game’s strong design, entertaining bonus rounds and eye-catching animations are destined to make it a supernatural success.

“We designed Ghostbusters Prized Possessions with players in mind, adding in layers of movie iconography and interesting ways to win,” said Chris Costello, IGT eInstant Studio Senior Director.

“In my favourite bonus round, players battle the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to save the city and win prizes. The game is 100% slimy fun that will quickly become a player favourite.”

The enduring popularity of the Ghostbusters mega brand and the game’s vibrant graphics make Ghostbusters Prized Possessions the perfect eInstant portfolio addition to

• Iconic

On the silver screen sbcleaders.com 71
LOTTERY Sponsored by
Ghostbuster Prized Possessions Features:
Tumbler-style game play
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Man battle
Stay-Puft Marshmallow
bonus round
movie characters and props
Captivating and colorful art and design
Plus, lots of slime! WE DESIGNED GHOSTBUSTERS PRIZED POSSESSIONS WITH PLAYERS IN MIND, ADDING IN LAYERS OF MOVIE ICONOGRAPHY AND INTERESTING WAYS TO WIN

On the silver screen

engage players and drive revenues for good causes.

Based on past licensed-property performance, IGT predicts a long shelf life for this game, with it exciting players for years to come.

Licensed brands – an acquisition strategy

Knowing players’ affinity for licensed content, IGT sources the best brands to deliver games with the highest appeal for lottery players. Along with Ghostbusters, the firm has a successful and long-standing relationship with the premium brand Wheel of Fortune across casino and lottery products.

In 2022, IGT developed the Wheel of Fortune Prize Burst eInstant, making players feel like they stepped into the game show with its familiar icons, sounds and, of course, the wheel prize spin. Wheel of Fortune Prize Burst recently launched with a US lottery, and it is proving to be popular with players ‒ approximately 80% played the game in its first week.

For lotteries interested in omnichannel content, IGT’s game portfolio also includes instant tickets that let players access their favourite brands across channels.

“Along with top-performing mechanics and innovative features, it’s our attention to detail that sets our eInstants apart,” said Costello.

“We take great care in designing

games with high-quality art and animations that elevate the entertainment value. It shows in our customers’ eInstants gross gaming revenue.

“Year over year, US eInstants grew 6% while IGT US eInstant’s year-over-year gross gaming growth was approximately 45% in fiscal year 2022.” •

To learn more about Ghostbusters Prized Possessions, Wheel of Fortune Prize Burst and IGT’s diverse eInstant library, contact your IGT Account Manager or stop by our Stand N3-150 at ICE London to play the games.

72 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
LOTTERY Sponsored by
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GET READY TO PLAY at ICE London and IGTi Lottery.com The Blockbuster Hit is Here! Brought to life with rich artwork and animations Player-favorite Packed with iconic characters ©2023 IGT. Ghostbusters ™ & © 2023 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The trademarks and/or service marks used herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of IGT, its affiliates or its licensors. Artwork, descriptions, game play, photographs, videos, and other product details depicted herein are subject to change.

Over the last few years, the gambling industry as a whole has been forced to address some uneasy and intimidating issues. Player protection is one of them. While businesses have - and always

will - profess the value of customers as of paramount importance to their existence, that has, frankly, not always been the case.

But attitudes are changing across the board as a more forward-thinking culture develops. Mental health is no longer a repressed topic, and the breakdown of such a stigma has helped

feed into the now widely-accepted narrative that health really is wealth.

In a gambling context, this has helped to propel the issue of player protection among businesses. Pertintently, this has been evident across numerous lotteries who have moved to create a safer environment for their sports betting customers.

‘Tried and trusted’ Nikos Konstakis, Chief Product Officer at OpenBet, has been one of the key figureheads in implementing safer gambling for lottery sportsbooks. As a provider of sportsbook technology, content and services, OpenBet has

Proactive not reactive 74 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
GAMBLING FOR LOTTERY SPORTSBOOKS: PLAYER PROTECTION METHODS
THE
PLAYER
PROTECTION
HAS OFTEN BEEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED as a cornerstone of lottery sportsbook policy, but an even greater focus has been shone on the subject in recent times
SAFER
ON
RISE

partnered with some of the biggest sports betting brands and helped World Lottery Association members across the globe.

The firm counts the sportsbook brands of Czech-based lottery company Allwyn and Danish lottery operator Danske Spil among its partners, and Konstakis delved deeper into how a shared vision has helped OpenBet to further hone its player protection methods.

“We have all the tried and trusted tools at our disposal, such as deposit limits, timeouts and self-exclusion, and these form the basis of what we do. We have developed these tools in recent months and years to include time limits and session reminders, as well as hard limits, such as a tool that will remove a player after a certain time elapses.”

Konstakis added: “Lotteries have been vital for OpenBet for many years, and we have had significant success with them in recent times. Historically, lotteries have always had a focus on

social responsibility, and this sits well with the OpenBet ethos.

“As far as our audience is concerned, we are genuinely blessed with our customer base. Each one is taking its approach to responsible gambling seriously, so rather than educating, it is more a case of collaborating with them. We share our ideas and maintain an open dialogue to ensure the best, safest outcome is achieved.”

Getting ahead of the game

For lottery sportsbooks, there has also been a greater focus on becoming proactive, rather than reactive, therefore being able to identify an issue before it snowballs into something bigger.

Australian company Tabcorp completed a demerger of its lottery and keno business earlier this year, but its recently-published FY2022 sustainability report highlighted some key aspects while the lottery sector was still under its jurisdiction. They included the introduction of a system to proactively detect potential selfexcluded customers who are opening new accounts to stop harmful activity from occurring.

“Where we identify customers that are ‘at risk’, we conduct a review of their activity,” the report noted. “Depending on the result of the

PROACTIVE, RATHER THAN REACTIVE

review, customers may be contacted to complete a Responsible Gambling (RG) check and learn more about our RG tools. Where a customer acknowledges having a gambling problem or we believe the customer is no longer able to hold an account responsibly, we may close the account temporarily or permanently.”

Recognising responsibilities

Placing the power of responsibility into the hands of players has also been an important feature of safer gambling policies launched by lotteries.

Recently, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) stepped up efforts to protect players with the launch of its new self-exclusion programme ‘My PlayBreak’, marking the latest addition to the RG programme ‘PlaySmart‘ which enables players to take a break from play at Ontario casinos, the Charitable Gaming Centre, or online at OLG.ca.

Alexandra Aguzzi-Barbagli, Senior Vice President, Brand, Communications and Sustainability, said: “OLG prioritises

sbcleaders.com 75
LOTTERY
HISTORICALLY, LOTTERIES HAVE ALWAYS HAD A FOCUS ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND THIS SITS WELL WITH THE OPENBET ETHOS
THERE HAS ALSO BEEN A GREATER FOCUS ON BECOMING
Nikos Konstakis, Chief Product Officer at OpenBet Alexandra Aguzzi-Barbagli, Senior Vice President, Brand, Communications and Sustainability at OLG

Proactive not reactive

player health and is focused on continuous improvement of its RG programming. My PlayBreak is just one of the RG tools in OLG’s sophisticated and unmatched PlaySmart portfolio that is integrated across multiple product lines to help customers create and maintain healthy habits that enable a lifetime of sustainable play.”

AI influence

Technology has played a pivotal role in making gambling safer for players, whether that be through the aforementioned settings and automations implemented by sportsbooks, or via the marketing and messages spread online.

The growing use of AI methods cannot be overlooked, either. German lottery provider ZEAL Network SE has been a major proponent of this, recently partnering with trust services provider Nect to utilise its AI-based identity verification technology for the safety of minors.

Nect Ident, its fully automated identification method based on AI, allows users to independently identify themselves using an ID document and a “selfie video“ on an app, with the integrated technology able to detect attempts at digital manipulation so that

ZEAL can discern fake profiles from real accounts and block out false identities.

Prior to this partnership, ZEAL also joined forces with the Danish company Mindway AI, gathering feedback from AI to identify gamblers potentially at risk of gambling addiction. Based on scientific findings and algorithms, the system automatically detects gamblers at risk of gambling addiction at an early stage.

Mindway AI’s fully automated GameScanner works like a “virtual psychologist“, and is applicable to all forms of gambling. Rasmus Kjaergaard, CEO of Mindway AI, noted: “Although

lottery products have a low potential for addiction, it is essential to reduce possible risks and to monitor and protect at-risk gamblers.”

Innovation and realisation

Meanwhile, Norwegian operator Norsk Tipping earned praise in the lottery industry for its “customer-friendly systems, effective campaigns, attractive products, high levels of trust and good reputation” after winning the 2022 European Lotteries innovation award for its work in the field of responsible gaming in October. Norsk Tipping’s ‘unique’ campaign was praised for its prevention methods for at-risk players, while its personable customer touch also drew plaudits.

However, recommendations made by Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet – the Norwegian Lotteries Authority - just a couple of months before Norsk Tipping earned the honour, indicate that there is still significant room for improvement in the responsible gaming field, even from those considered to be leading the way. •

76 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
LOTTERY
THERE IS STILL SIGNIFICANT ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN THE RESPONSIBLE GAMING FIELD, EVEN FROM THOSE CONSIDERED TO BE LEADING THE WAY
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO REDUCE POSSIBLE RISKS AND TO MONITOR AND PROTECT AT-RISK GAMBLERS
Rasmus
Kjaergaard, CEO of Mindway AI

SCA COMPLIANCE SIX MONTHS ON: HOW AGILITY HAS BEEN CRITICAL TO CASHIER OPTIMISATION

STRONG CUSTOMER

AUTHENTICATION BECAME MANDATORY for all online transactions in the UK earlier this year. For igaming operators, taking a dynamic approach to Transaction Risk Analysis for exemption rules has been key to minimising cashier abandonment without increasing fraud rates, writes Warren Tristram, Head of Gaming, Lottery and Esports at Nuvei.

In May 2022, after several postponements, the full enforcement of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) under PSD2 legislation came into force in the UK. The regulation mandates multi-factor authentication for online transactions with the intention of reducing fraudulent payments, but online businesses have long been concerned about the impact that additional friction might have on their checkout conversion rates.

This is especially true in igaming, where optimising cashier performance is critical to overall success. As the final hurdle to winning new players, enabling fast, secure and frictionless payments plays a vital role in the overall player experience; compromising these risk damaging

sbcleaders.com 77
A dynamic approach
PAYMENTS

A dynamic approach

conversion rates, which in turn increases player cost per acquisition (CPA) and reduces player lifetime value (LTV). Both can have a dramatically negative impact on revenue.

Frictionless is king when it comes to cashier optimisation

Industry data from the past six months is clear that introducing more friction into the deposit process via SCA has a detrimental impact on cashier performance, including increased abandonment. On one hand, this could be considered a positive, as the primary purpose of the legislation is to eliminate fraudulent transactions and at least a percentage of walkaways will be bad actors being prevented from conducting criminal activity.

However, as well as restricting fraud, by enforcing multi-factor authentication indiscriminately,

igaming operators will inevitably boost cashier abandonment from legitimate players. That’s why many operators have taken a targeted approach to SCA enforcement, utilising Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) exemptions to bypass multifactor authentication on the vast

majority of transactions in a manner that is compliant with the regulation.

By enforcing SCA against a very small percentage of transactions, operators can keep 99% of their payment traffic frictionless and minimise the negative impact of cashier abandonment from legitimate players.

78 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION IS TO ELIMINATE FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS

Staying dynamic to minimise risk

But simply having a plan to maximise exemptions and keep as much payment traffic frictionless isn’t a complete solution to SCA compliance. This higher-risk approach potentially exposes operators to higher fraud-to-sales ratios if payments aren’t identified for multi-factor authentication effectively.

This not only causes financial and reputation damage to the operator, it will also inevitably increase the overall volume of transactions where SCA is applied in the medium-term to bring this back under control, driving up cashier abandonment as well.

Maintaining an optimised balance to frictionless payments and security is key. This relies on enforcing SCA on transactions that are flagged using customised, specific parameters and forensically identified trends.

For example, if a BIN range or card type with high fraud-to-sales ratios is identified, the operator cannot simply apply SCA to the entire range as this would be counterproductive to an overall frictionless payments strategy.

Instead, this must be overlayed with additional rules (for example, account age or status), and by coupling more than one parameter it is possible to narrow down the volume of payments traffic where SCA is enforced without excessively raising exposure to risk.

And it is critical that these exemption rules remain reactive to emerging fraud data and trends to be effective. In the six months since the SCA enforcement date, operators have continued to refine their own rules for applying SCA depending on what they see in their payments traffic, to continue optimising payments performance through customisation quickly and at scale.

Informed decision making leads to success

The ability to continually customise exemption rules to comply with SCA relies on more than having a customisable rules engine with an extensive number of parameters. In addition to having technological agility to refine their approach, operators need data and market-leading insight to make optimal decisions on when TRA exemptions should and should not be applied.

Leading payments providers in igaming not only offer best-inclass, agile exemption engines, but also a dedicated team of experts that monitor performance 24/7 and proactively raise and fix issues on the occasions that occur.

So in addition to harnessing the power of their own payments data, operators must collaborate with risk management experts from their payments partner and listen to recommendations based on assessment of payments data when

taking a strategic approach to SCA optimisation.

Looking ahead

The impact of SCA compliance has long been considered a threat to cashier performance by igaming operators. But we have seen in the six months since enforcement that there is much that can be done to not only comply with the regulation in a way that doesn’t negatively impact cashier optimisation and conversion rates, but also combats fraud effectively as well.

Enforcing SCA on specifically targeted transactions based on an agile set of rules that can be refined using shared insights and expertise is critical to success. Operators and their payment partners that work together to make this happen will be the ultimate winners of SCA and PSD2 regulation. •

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PAYMENTS
IT IS CRITICAL THAT THESE EXEMPTION RULES REMAIN REACTIVE TO EMERGING FRAUD DATA AND TRENDS TO BE EFFECTIVE

UK FINTECH: MAINTAINING A GLOBAL LEADERSHIP POSITION

but what is Manchester/Edinburgh doing differently to expand its own regional fintech sector?

From the birth of Open Banking, to the vast amount of fintech firms such as Revolut and Stripe calling the English capital home, London has demonstrated time and time again why it is a global leader of the payment industry.

This has, in turn, expanded all across the UK, with major cities such as Manchester, Cambridge and Edinburgh developing their own thriving fintech and payment sectors, demonstrating that startup firms are not limited to a “if it isn’t in London, it won’t work“ mentality.

Two firms that have exemplified this the most are Manchester-based fintech BankiFi, and crypto company Zumo located in Edinburgh. Both have capitalised on the opportunities that lie outside of the UK capital, showing what benefits devolution can bring.

Nick Reid, Head of Strategic Growth, Europe at BankiFi, and CEO and CoFounder of Zumo, Nick Jones, spoke to SBC Leaders to gauge the differences between London and the city they’re based in and how they intend to help strengthen fintech and crypto innovation across the country.

SBC: London has almost become the hub for fintech growth and innovation,

Nick Reid: Back in 2011 when I graduated from University, I have a distinct memory of a seasoned professional telling me that “all the jobs are in London“. I don’t think this statement was true then, but it certainly isn’t now.

One common misconception is that funding is more readily available in the South East. Although it has taken some time, investment is now reaching other cities like Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh, to name just a few. This investment towards innovation in the North West has created technology hubs, companies setting up headquarters or second offices in the region and has consequently led to thriving communities.

It is important for companies to take a partner approach to their investment where the relationship is more than just about money. This is why at BankiFi,

Spreading the love 80 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
LONDON HAS LONG BEEN A HUB for financial innovation both in the UK and on the global stage. But with other cities emerging as front-runners in the fintech space, how can the UK maintain a leadership position?

we have a close relationship with our investors at Praetura Ventures, as we believe in combining our missions to help improve SME banking and funding, and working together on implementing this – from our offices in Manchester.

Nick Jones: Scotland has a long history of strength and innovation in financial services and, through its strong and distinct university and education system, has the network in place to deliver the talent needed to bolster its position as a growing fintech hub.

The business support ecosystem is robust and Zumo itself has been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of some of the supporting initiatives in place, ranging from the TechNation Fintech 4.0 growth accelerator to targeted grant funding via bodies such as Scottish Enterprise.

The fintech boom within the UK has accelerated to heights envisaged by ex-Chancellor George Osbourne when, in 2014, he announced plans to help make the UK a “global capital of fintech“.

This was highlighted in a Findexable Global Fintech Rankings Report last year, ranking the UK as the secondhighest performing fintech sector in the world, falling behind the United States for the top spot.

What was more revealing in the report was that London was the second highest ranking global city for fintech performance for its ecosystem.

Manchester ranked 34th, with other UK cities climbing the ladder such as Cambridge (38th) and Edinburgh (109th) as the country continues to spread its growth.

SBC: What are some of the challenges of being a fintech firm based outside of London, but also, what are the benefits?

Nick Reid: I genuinely believe that being a successful fintech based outside of London isn't, and shouldn't ever be, a challenge. I have spent my career working as a provider to banks, financial institutions and other financial technology providers and not being located in Canary Wharf has never made our work less visible.

The rise and adoption of technology, combined with remote or hybrid working accelerated by the pandemic, presents opportunities but also challenges. I have noticed a number of my industry connections recently

moving on from big corporations to take up new roles with tech companies.

On the flip side, with work no longer being exclusively in-person, some London-based companies are recognising this and luring talent from other regions. Salaries are undoubtedly

a factor, but the attraction of working for a big corporation without having to commute every day to London will be powerful for some.

One trend that has become noticeable is employees with specific skill sets are commanding higher salaries. The danger for the UK in general, but fintechs may be especially vulnerable to this, especially in the current macroeconomic climate, is that businesses will be forced to turn to nearshoring or offshoring talent.

Nick Jones: At Zumo, we operate a hub-and-spoke business model which means that, although we are

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I GENUINELY BELIEVE THAT BEING A SUCCESSFUL FINTECH BASED OUTSIDE OF LONDON ISN’T, AND SHOULDN’T EVER BE, A CHALLENGE
Nick Reid, Head of Strategic
Growth, Europe
at BankiFi

Spreading the love

Scotland-based, we also have a London presence and are regularly represented there. It's one way to strike the balance.

What I would say is that our remote and decentralised workforce is indicative of the industry we are infrom our perspective, it allows Zumo to draw on a wider talent pool and be less subject to the geographical constraints that have previously defined business operations.

No doubt London deserves a lion’s share of the credit for bolstering fintech and payments growth within the country. Open Banking was established in the capital city and has become one of the pivotal landmarks of innovation within the sector, with API transactions growing from £66.8m in 2018, up to £6bn by the end of 2020.

But now it's time for other countries to boast on their latest technological breakthroughs. Zumo is enabling customers with new and efficient methods of cryptocurrency payments, whilst BankiFi is tapping deeper into

APIs, launching a superapp last April known as ‘Open Cash Management’.

SBC: What is your company working on that will move the UK fintech sector forward in its next cycle?

Nick Reid: Supporting and enabling SMEs to do more from their trusted bank’s online and mobile banking channels will help to move the fintech sector forward in its next cycle.

This year, we have been working on a number of ways to help improve our services for SMEs, with one example being our partnership with TSB to launch the Revenu app. The app enables small businesses to get paid quicker and reduce time spent on managing their business’ finances.

In 2023, I think many SMEs will have laser focus on their immediate-term needs in the face of some serious economic headwinds. For some, that will mean getting paid for services delivered as quickly and conveniently as possible. That will mean getting access to capital quickly to fund the assets that they need to grow their

No doubt, crypto is the sector with the highest risk - and the highest potential. We're here to build a unicorn business and put a stake in the ground for the next era of finance: go big or go home. Given crypto's nature as a global product and market, it's about being at the cutting edge of new technology that

At Zumo, we're pioneering that technology and believe it will transform the fintech landscape for the better. •

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NOW IT'S TIME FOR OTHER COUNTRIES TO BOAST ON THEIR LATEST TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGHS
Nick Jones, CEO and Co-Founder of Zumo
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Transactions being an obvious strength of LiveScore’s Payments Director, Das went on to summarise the dangers of choke points for operators that are inconsistent with their depositing and withdrawal journeys.

“Choke points in the payments depositing and withdrawal journeys can be hugely damaging for betting operators. Players use our products to wager and win – if either of those two elements are disrupted (and to wager, you usually must deposit), the overall brand promise and experience is tainted.

“Given that some players are of a superstitious nature, any disruption to the ‘normal’ or ‘expected’ flow can cause them to walk away to another operator. Signposting the journeys is critical here – so if some choke points are inevitable (e.g. from the card issuer) – make them as predictable or ‘normal’ as possible.”

In its decades-long lifespan, LiveScore has managed to refine the payment process in a way that combines simplicity with effectiveness. Always on par with regulations, the company became one of the UK pioneers to deploy 3D Secure for card transactions.

Das went into more detail: “When it comes to card transactions, we were early adopters of 3D Secure and made use of exemptions, deploying these well before the SCA deadlines hit UK merchants.

“The insight we worked with was that we needed to ‘train’ the machine-learning risk engines on the issuer side, so we did a fair bit of experimenting around 3D versions and exemptions with each issuer, to achieve the best acceptance rates.

“With payment methods in regulated markets, ‘less is more’. You have more recreational punters, so you’re better off offering a smaller selection of recognisable methods, rather than dazzling them with a long list of obscure alternatives.”

Such recognisable methods also include digital wallets, which Das believes can carry a lot of weight for operators that have to deal with a large customer flow.

Although the speed they offer in terms of payments and verification can help manage the player base,

fraudsters can still convert “really well”, according to Das, bringing more problems with them when operators choose speed at the cost of friction.

“You have to understand the value that digital wallets bring to the table. SCA for card transactions has given issuing banks a mandate to interrupt payment flows willy-nilly, regardless of the true chargeback/fraud risk, and they do.

“Consider the nuisance of having to go into a bank app on a phone you might not have at hand, to authorise a £5 transaction for a quick bet before you hit the next tunnel

on your commute. Or, you use PayPal or ApplePay to quickly complete the transaction in one step.

“Digital Wallets still have to meet the SCA requirements – they just approach the problem differently, utilising technologies such as behavioural biometrics.

“Can you use a card to register and deposit with an operator? Nope. With some digital wallets, checkout is a breeze in comparison, filling in everything from your name, billing address and date of birth in one quick, consented journey.

“But, not all digital wallets are created equally, and they will have varying levels of player verification. You must always remember the maxim that fraudsters convert really well – so sometimes friction is actually desirable, and will, in turn, drive up player value.”

With LiveScore’s global perspective,

Is less more? 84 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
DIGITAL WALLETS STILL HAVE TO MEET THE SCA REQUIREMENTS – THEY JUST APPROACH THE PROBLEM DIFFERENTLY

Das was also able to point to some of the international markets that can be used as case studies for operators looking to learn more about the payment journey and customer friction.

“Each of our markets has a unique twist to how they do things,” he noted. “Verifications in Nigeria were an eyeopener for example, where, by hunting around with local experience, we realised that we didn’t need customers to send in documents at all – we can simply look up the documents, based on their document number and personal details.

“This process also builds trust with the customer and establishes us as a fully-licensed and legitimate operator. In the Netherlands, the opposite is true – being able to operate and offer IDEAL bank transfers means that while IDEAL does generate friction, it also shows you as a legitimate operator.

“The lesson here is that friction itself isn’t the problem – it’s understanding the customer’s attitude to the friction, to then determine the best way to address it, and whether to accentuate or minimise it.”

Of course, when it comes to payments and friction, the question of security is also frequently raised. Luckily, technology advancements have allowed for the deployment of modern antifraud measures such as biometrics.

weighing up the pros and cons” due to the adoption costs.

“It's worth analysing the painpoints in the customer journey, from the perspective of acquisition fraud/verifications and abandoned transactions,” he said. “Also, there are perhaps other technologies that can be used more easily to achieve the desired results, e.g. the use of Open Banking and eIDs.”

Asked to then go back and reflect on the future of SCA and PSD2 regulations and how they might affect investments in Europe, Das explained that there are currently large opportunities in bankto-bank transfers at scale that open banking companies should exploit.

However, Das explained that gambling operators may have been placed at a disadvantage due to how limited usage the technology brings to the table in comparison to PSPs.

Saying that, in his eyes, the biometric technologies have evolved “not as much as hoped, and at the same time massively”, Das continued.

“From an operator perspective, the use of biometrics has been limited to specific use-cases such as customer verification (think selfie IDs or videos), and login.

“Delegated SCA is the ideal vehicle to implement biometric technologies, and has been part of the SCA framework right from the start. But in practice it hasn’t been rolled out to merchants by the card schemes.

“On the other hand, the adoption of biometric technologies has been rapid when it comes to PSPs, who have been using the technologies to make SCA easier for their customers.

“So, they’ve made life easier for customers wanting to make deposits to operators – but life for the operator hasn’t changed much, beyond benefitting from liability shifts and a dip in fraud rates.

“The time for biometrics in betting is coming – with the rollout of Passkeys and delegated SCA, we’ll see a continued growth in this direction.”

But use of biometrics shouldn’t be the end goal, as LiveScore’s Payments Director added that “it’s worth

“PSD2 mandates Open Banking, but that’s not the end of the story. I look at the PSD2 SCA mandate as being part and parcel of the same goal: to drive bank-to-bank payments, and diminish the role of the card schemes.

“I don’t know if it’s a case of unintended consequences, but SCA has meant that most cardholders now have the means to authenticate card transactions on their phones, while they may not have bothered with mobile banking apps before SCA was rolled out. Of course, that also now means that they have the ability to authenticate bank-to-bank transfers from those very same bank apps.

“So, in a sense, the mandated SCA for cards has enabled support for bankto-bank transfers at scale, so the scene has now been set. Investment in Open Banking infrastructure now needs to step in to exploit that, as we’ve seen with companies like TrueLayer.”

LiveScore is already looking into 2023 with its investment planning, looking to focus specifically on technology. This is what Das believes is the “transformative” way to drive the company forward.

“We’re investing heavily in technology to flatten the headcount growth as we scale up as a business, and to pay down some of the technical debt we’ve accumulated.

“As a smaller operator, we didn’t have to worry about straining our suppliers and the cost of outages was small –now the focus is on bullet-proofing our services, building resiliency and scale. 2023 will be a transformative year for LiveScore.” •

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THE LESSON HERE IS THAT FRICTION ITSELF ISN’T THE PROBLEM – IT’S UNDERSTANDING THE CUSTOMER’S ATTITUDE TO THE FRICTION
THE LEADING iGAMING & SPORTS BETTING EVENT IN NORTH AMERICA MAY 9-11, 2023 MEADOWLANDS EXPOSITION CENTER, NEW JERSEY #SBCSUMMITNORTHAMERICA 3,000 DELEGATES 250 SPEAKERS 50 EXHIBITORS

Fighting fraud

SEON: YOU CAN’T TAKE A

APPROACH TO FRAUD PREVENTION

AT SEON, highlights the importance of a robust KYC process and the need for igaming companies to take a more bespoke approach to fraud preventiona decision which can, ultimately, help protect the bottom line of their business

SBC: Firstly, can you tell us about why the threat of fraud within gambling is so unique and requires a specialist approach?

JF: Especially in places like the United States, we’re seeing lots of companies run promotions to help establish loyal customer bases and I think that has led to bonus abuse becoming a particularly severe problem. Similarly, various fraud types like multi-account and account takeovers remain alarmingly popular. Once again, these are issues affecting every online sector right now, but still something the industry needs to take very seriously.

Money laundering also remains a huge issue across the igaming sector. Now more than ever, igaming businesses need to know exactly who they are dealing with when accepting money online, or in-person. If they don’t then it’s easy to see how money could be laundered through an

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ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL

igaming provider, which could lead to legal troubles further down the line and, more broadly, would have the potential to tar the name of an entire sector.

Thankfully, effective online fraud prevention systems, such as the one we offer at SEON, are able to minimise risk and combat online fraud. Our solution can detect and stop igaming fraud in its tracks in real-time, mitigating the problem before it’s even occurred. What’s more, the highly flexible and adaptable system can be tailored over time, to help igaming providers deal with an ever-changing regulatory landscape and the rising volume of fraudulent activities.

SBC: When it comes to implementing a secure process, how vital is minimising friction and how do you ensure that there is as little friction as possible in the consumer journey?

JF: It’s absolutely crucial, especially in such a competitive marketplace. Igaming operators need to focus on finding the best conversion processes and user experience for their customers, and prioritise solutions that allow them to reduce user friction, ensure player legitimacy and gain a complete view of the user journey. All these steps are interconnected, and

the right fraud prevention system is able to satisfy all needs in an efficient and convenient manner.

Unfortunately, some gambling operators take a one-size-fits-all approach to fraud prevention. This either makes their fraud prevention processes too heavy-handed, or largely inefficient. By contrast, a good fraud prevention tool should give you enough flexibility to alternate between light and heavy know-your-customer (KYC) processes. Our revolutionary

whilst promoting more responsible gambling practices amongst users. In doing so, the powerful solution helps igaming operators to mitigate challenges associated with online fraud.

SBC: What extra challenges does a fast-paced environment present, where a significant number of transactions are taking place?

JF: There are two main ones. The first is one you’ve mentioned, finding

AI machine-learning fraud prevention does just that and makes fraud management simple and accessible to all by analysing over 50 online platforms to help validate a person’s identity via one API call.

Unlike some alternatives, our solution can be integrated into existing fraud prevention stacks to allow businesses to enact real-time customer verification and consumer affordability checks. As such, our platform helps to limit things like multi-account attacks, account takeovers and bonus abuse,

the balance between a robust fraud prevention and a frictionless customer journey. When you work in a sector with high transaction volumes, such as igaming, then this problem intensifies. If your system is too relaxed, then fraudsters will take advantage which could incur significant costs. By the same token, if it’s too rigid then genuine customers may take their business elsewhere.

Similarly, high transaction volumes often leave customer service and fraud management teams thinly stretched,

Fighting fraud 88 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
THE BEST TIME TO CATCH AN ONLINE CRIMINAL IS AT THE POINT OF SIGN-UP, WELL BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO INTERACT WITH YOUR SERVICE
TAKING A ‘ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL' APPROACH IS MORE THAN JUST UNSUITABLE, IT’S PRACTICALLY UNVIABLE

rendering manual reviews obsolete. That’s why I’d recommend businesses in the igaming sector to explore enhancing their existing systems with more comprehensive fraud prevention solutions.

There are fraud prevention tools, such as ours, that can be onboarded in a matter of minutes and will start to deliver a return on investment almost immediately, helping businesses to save on the time, labour and monetary costs previously associated with fighting fraud.

SBC: Why is it so pivotal to catch potential fraud early in the consumer journey?

JF: Again, like with any sector, the earlier you catch a fraudster, the less damage they’re able to cause across your platform. To this end, the best time to catch an online criminal is at the point of sign-up, well before they’ve even had a chance to interact with your service.

Our technology is enabling igaming providers to do that, by assessing key digital identity points, such as analysing over 50 social lookups, at the point of sign-up and doing more robust fraud checks should an account appear suspicious.

SBC: How can the evolution of biometric technology be key to enhancing fraud detection, specifically within the digitalised payment space?

JF: If used correctly, biometric technology can offer a low-friction, high-impact authentication system for businesses across several verticals, including digital payments. In recent times, we’ve already seen how successfully these systems can be incorporated into embedded payment features, such as ApplePay. However, there are still many problems associated with biometric technology, which mustn't be ignored.

Less sophisticated biometric technologies often produce false positives, which undermines their effectiveness. What’s more, we’re now seeing the rise of biometric spoofing, where criminals use fake biometrics to gain access to accounts, funds or even spaces they should not have access to.

There are methods coming to the fore, such as liveness detection, which can help to ascertain if a biometric marker has been provided by a real

person, or is more likely to have been spoofed. Over time, these solutions might help to mitigate the challenge, but they aren’t universally adopted yet.

different customers, as well as different periods of the year. Taking a onesize-fits-all approach is more than just unsuitable, it’s practically unviable and could end up costing your business significantly in the long-run.

Thankfully, effective online fraud prevention systems, such as the one we offer at SEON, are able to minimise risk and combat online fraud. Solutions like ours can detect and stop igaming fraud in its tracks, mitigating the problem

SBC: Do you believe that a more intricate approach to fraud detection can have a positive impact on safer gambling and KYC?

JF: It’s an unequivocal ‘yes’ from me. The challenge for those working in the igaming sector is to find flexible approaches to fraud prevention management, which can be tailored appropriately to suit different markets,

before it’s even occurred.

What’s more, the highly flexible and adaptable system can be tailored over time, with the ability to set up custom rules and unique restrictions to limit certain features or functions across transactions. Thanks to this, igaming providers are able to deal with an everchanging regulatory landscape and the rising volume of fraudulent activities. •

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WE’RE NOW SEEING THE RISE OF BIOMETRIC SPOOFING, WHERE CRIMINALS USE FAKE BIOMETRICS TO GAIN ACCESS TO ACCOUNTS

CRM NEEDS A NEW ‘SECRET SAUCE’ IN A WORLD WITH NO BONUSES

Years of regulatory interference and voluntary adjustments have resulted in the popular opinion that marketing is undoubtedly the most difficult business discipline for igaming operators to succeed in.

Yet amongst igaming’s multitude of marketing facets stands Customer Retention Management (CRM) as the segment most disrupted by the wholesale changes to how operators are required to engage with customers whilst also ensuring that they abide by new compliance rules across all regulated markets.

A gathering of igaming experts in London’s Southbank Centre discussed how “boundaries could be pushed on igaming CRM and player engagement” against a fast-changing regulatory backdrop, testing the resources and technical capabilities of operators and their related software suppliers.

Respecting costly boundaries

The limits and boundaries on player retention were detailed as a prominent concern by William Hansen, New Business Executive of Xtremepush, who reminded the audience that “customer retention begins outside an operator’s remit in the channels

of Facebook, Google, Apple iOS and other major tech platforms”.

Across all jurisdictions, big tech policies have tightened on gambling promotions, which must be accounted for when planning campaigns or launching new third-party software to track customers.

Hansen recognised that marketing and CRM teams operate within a “hypersensitive ecosystem, as penalties are no longer simply the domain of regulators”. This, he said,

was the reason why big tech platforms can double the penalty cost on those operators and software providers that are found to be non-compliant - a situation that incumbents can ill-afford to hinder their businesses with.

Of note, Hansen outlined recent changes on Apple iOS related to the “technical interpretation of real money gaming apps and operator campaigns and free-to-play (FTP) promotions being rejected by Facebook”.

The conundrum has recently

Future of CRM 90 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
AS OPERATORS NAVIGATE A WORLD with restrictions on bonuses, SBC Leaders asks whether CRM is the future for understanding customer behaviour and being able to create player engagement strategies
William Hansen, New Business Executive of Xtremepush

intensified as big tech platforms play a critical role for tier-1 operators who have doubled down on recreational player strategies to lead their marketing campaigns as they seek to replace revenues that might previously have come from VIP customers.

The onus on operators to implement their recreational player strategies throughout all marketing components (CRM, acquisition, promotions) takes place as player behaviours change across all jurisdictions.

Poof… no more bonus!

The trend was visible to customer engagement expert Andreas Hartmann, CEO of VAIX, the personalisation studio of Sportradar AG. He noted: “If we compare to previous years, we are seeing that player retention curves are going down across the majority of markets ... and this trend is only getting quicker.”

For Hartmann, it’s easy to dissect the root of the downturn, which reflects “markets such as Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands, where the traditional options to acquire and retain players have been taken away from operators”.

“In these markets it’s been poof… and bonuses and incentives have been taken away,” he said. “Plus, the new rules demand that you can only engage a customer when they are logged in.”

Working alongside marketing teams, Hartmann noted a tough transition for “operators who have solely based their player journeys on providing bonus rewards, with little else to

communicate”.

Stricter bonus limitations have been applied at a time when operators continue to expand the products available in their casino suites to now

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Andreas Hartmann, CEO of VAIX

Future of CRM

include new slots and live games. Many of these companies often choose to also deepen their offering of in-play betting markets.

However, restricted on the use of bonuses, Hartmann acknowledged that it is harder for operators to test their new games and betting markets with customers – an engagement dynamic that should concern all software suppliers.

When asked about potential resolutions to this debacle, Hartmann responded: “I believe that it’s about bringing simplification back to the customer.

“No one can pick a game out of a catalogue of 10,000 casino titles. So preference here is fundamental. For sports betting, we are seeing the emergence of micro markets, especially in the US.

“Operators have more data on customer preferences, yet they are still not sure if they are delivering the right content to the customer. Without a bonus, it's about packaging that game, acca or bet to your customer at the right moment … that should be the focus.”

Intelligence wins

Taking a back-to-basics approach, operators are left wondering what the secret sauce will be to replace bonus incentives.

As game suites have expanded their content portfolio, number of markets and even the bet types that are available, the bonus has remained ever-present as an unchanged blunt tool ingrained in operators' day-to-day retention strategies.

Overseeing CRM disciplines for over 50 UK online casino and bingo brands, Rebekah Douglas of Grace Media believes that data intelligence is the optimal discipline to customer engagement success.

Douglas highlighted the successes of CRM, having recently spearheaded Grace Media’s CRM transformation

from a data management team to an intelligence unit for its UK brands.

Reflecting on a three-year transformation, she noted: “It was a decision we had to take, as we could no longer wait to have each campaign approved by compliance.”

Tough adjustments saw Grace Media revise the data channels that it was using to feed its network of sites: “We undertook an audit, focused on the interactions of recreational players.

Moving away from VIP segments, Douglas said: “It might sound trivial, but it was critical to understand which players were playing on fish-themed games and when they were playing.”

In previous campaigns, Grace Media had segmented by two or three different criteria on customers. However, its new solution allows for optimal targeting of up to 10 individual

“What we found is that we had a lot of systems that could tell you a player’s worth and average spend, blunt measures but little else, creating silos in our approach to targeting customers”.

Aware of customer changes affected by bonus restrictions, Grace Media rebuilt its CRM tools and framework of third-party solutions to provide

customer variables, thereby providing an optimised platform to target and improve the conversion of recreational customers.

“Bonuses and free spins work, but they can fatigue the customer,” Douglas concluded. “What is required is real intelligence on the customer and why they play without any form of incentive.” •

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marketing teams with granular data on player engagement.
BONUSES AND FREE SPINS WORK, BUT THEY CAN FATIGUE THE CUSTOMER. WHAT IS REQUIRED IS REAL INTELLIGENCE ON THE CUSTOMER AND WHY THEY PLAY WITHOUT ANY FORM OF INCENTIVE
OPERATORS HAVE MORE DATA ON CUSTOMER PREFERENCES, YET THEY ARE STILL NOT SURE IF THEY ARE DELIVERING THE RIGHT CONTENT TO THE CUSTOMER
Rebekah Douglas of Grace Media

CATENA MEDIA: STAYING ON TOP ARGUABLY HARDER THAN GETTING THERE

Admittedly, it felt a little strange being tasked with talking to someone else about how Catena Media’s North American operations work. I was Employee #2 when Catena started the division. Employee #1, Dustin Gouker, now serves as Vice President of Content for North America.

We worked together through pre and post-PASPA repeal, over 20 state online gambling launches, and a period of growth where it seemed like all we were doing was interviewing new content creators. What started as a portfolio of sites covering a handful of states with a skeleton crew grew into a behemoth in the US affiliate space in the span of four years.

It’s been 18 months since I last worked with the Catena team though, and in that time, the company has continued to grow both internally and through key acquisitions like Lineups.com and i15 Media. If I thought we had changed at break-neck speed over four years, speaking with Gouker, I realised perhaps as much, if not more, change has been packed into the time since I left.

There are the obvious, external changes like the addition of a datadriven site like Lineups.com, but with

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DUSTIN
outgoing Vice President of Content for North America at Catena Media, reflects on the company’s growth over the past four years and the increasing number of opportunities within the online casino space

that comes internal change. For Gouker, integrating a site like that into a portfolio comes with internal changes as well.

“We try to let the acquisitions be what they were,” he explained. “I think we try to use as many differentiated approaches as possible.” Moreover, he noted there are opportunities to improve existing successful formulas by sharing what they know with new acquisitions in addition to learning from them.

Learning as they go is essential for Catena. The company is one of the top affiliates, but that status isn’t something you achieve then rest your laurels upon. Catena definitely had a head start, but things have changed since 2016.

WITH EVERY PASSING STATE LAUNCH, THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT OF NEW SIGN˝-UPS DRIES UP A LITTLE MORE

“Five years ago, we were really the only ones focusing on North America. And it was almost too easy at that point because the amount of competition was so low. Then it started getting aggressive quickly,” Gouker recalled. “We're still the leader in North America, but there's so much more competition and that's not just from the will that other affiliates have brought to this but traditional media as well, which really only manifested

itself in the last year-and-a-half.”

What is interesting about the emergence of traditional media competitors is that, in many instances, they team up with affiliates rather than compete against them. For example, Catena recently took over the deal with Advance Local to work together on NJ.com. These partnerships are one of the few areas where Catena has not been a pioneer and its competitors have been quicker to embrace traditional, local newspaper partnerships.

Gouker conceded these partnerships have value, but he also questions if they are a sure-fire return on investment.

“Those deals have been kind of pricey for everyone. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Sometimes, smaller sites can work. Sometimes, the larger sites that are more expensive to get, that audience could work or could not.”

Meanwhile, he cited Crossing Broad as an example of a smaller site with a dedicated audience that has converted into very successful affiliates.

“We'd be silly to think that just niche affiliate gambling sites are the only things that are going to win. Basically, if you have a good authoritative site, you have a chance to be a good gambling affiliate as well,” he added.

Establishing that authority is something that has changed over the years as well. Ranking for core search terms has always been integral to the business, but Catena initially built its reputation with quality news stories

on sites like Legal Sports Report and Online Poker Report. Now, though, news is an even more important component of the game plan.

“News results were not part of the game in search at one point in time. Now, it's a huge part of it,” Gouker said. “You have to be thinking about that in terms of whether you can capture that share of the audience as well. It's gotten a lot harder and we can't just rely on what we've done.”

The difficulties extend beyond SERPs, too. With every passing state launch, the low-hanging fruit of new sign ups dries up a little more. More mature

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markets across the world continue to need affiliates long after launch, but Gouker readily admitted the shrinking map of states without sports betting impacts the bottom line.

“Especially in sports betting, so much of that water is under the bridge. Launches are this critical mass of when people sign up for sportsbooks. If you've missed that, you've missed a lot of the cash grab so far. It’s not like this is a bad business to be in, but you're trying to compete for a share of recurring revenue instead of establishing yourself number one right away, and taking that cash up front.”

That is not to say a new competitor couldn’t come into the sports betting affiliate space, run a standard SEObased affiliate playbook, and succeed. Where that could work though is online casino.

Catena is already paying attention to the potential of online casino, particularly with its Play brand of sites. Gouker also understands that the market is more complex than tacking casino pages onto a successful sports betting site.

“If you're not looking at the casino and that opportunity, then you might be behind. It’s a different audience. Even though there's cross-sell, it's a different type of site,” he said. “I don't think you can always just bolt on casino to sports betting and say, ‘hey, that's going to work.’”

Affiliates are increasingly finding situations where the conventional approach either isn’t as effective or won’t work. Period. Canada is a great example. The industry standard has been to highlight bonuses and deposit offers. Those are off the table in Ontario. Moreover, the top operators so far were grey operators before, so there wasn’t the same pool of potential players to convert at launch.

“If you're an existing grey market operator, in Ontario, you have a pretty good advantage. If you're an endemic Canadian brand, if you have an advantage, you don't have to go acquire customers. You already had

the customers, you just transferred your base.”

New operators are struggling in Ontario, both because they don’t have that pre-existing base of customers in the territory and because the marketing rules limit both affiliates and operators when it comes to presenting what they have to offer.

AFFILIATES ARE INCREASINGLY FINDING SITUATIONS WHERE THE CONVENTIONAL APPROACH EITHER ISN’T AS EFFECTIVE OR WON’T WORK. PERIOD.

“If you are a new player, it [online gambling] doesn’t look terribly attractive to you if you don't know what's going on and an operator can't talk about what bonuses they offer until you actually get on their site. So that's a tough slog for all of us. Not just affiliates, but for operators, especially new operators,” Gouker noted.

Ontario isn’t the best affiliate model, but it could be a sign of things to come. Catena Media and others need to continuously adapt to new regulations, new markets, new competition, and new algorithms. The climb to the top may have been relatively simple, but defending the summit is a complex and difficult ongoing battle.

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XTREMEPUSH: KEEPING PLAYERS HAPPY, ENGAGED AND EXPERIENCE-RICH

Player engagement 96 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
ROBBIE SEXTON, Director of Partnerships and Sports Betting and Gaming at Xtremepush, took time out with SBC Leaders to share his views on what he describes as “tapping into implicit buying behaviour”

The ability to measure player engagement, said Sexton, relies on an operator’s ability to consolidate and analyse player data collected from across the entire digital estate. Who they support, what games they like to play, how long they play for, how much they win and how often.

He explained: “This data sits within your customer data platform and helps to create a player experience that keeps them happy and engaged. Engaged players spend more, boosting their player lifetime value and making them less likely to churn. Player retention should be at the heart of every operator’s marketing strategy.”

While the industry’s operators focus on ramping up the number of new players, they are also learning how expensive such an exercise can be. “Cost of acquisition is on the rise and while the global average sits at $300 per player,” said Sexton. “In countries like the US, cost per acquisition can be between $1,000 and $2,000 per player. But player lifetime value sits at around $2,500.

“This is in no small part due to increasing competition. The more choice players have, the harder operators have to work to win new players onto their platform. This means the amount of money operators can expect to make from each player is shrinking.

“By extension, just as it’s harder to attract new players, it’s getting harder for operators to keep the players already active on their platforms.”

By way of a solution, he offered: “The better you understand your customers, the easier it will be to hold on to them. Personalisation is the obvious place to start but to win in the hypercompetitive world of SBG, operators need to dig a little deeper.”

Driving engagement

According to Sexton, operators have a huge amount of first party data to draw on to help them engage with their audiences. “Everything from what games they like or the team they support - all the way through to deposits and win rate. The more data they can consolidate into one place, the greater the level of segmentation they can apply to their players.

“Granularity of data means operators can create more sophisticated engagement and retention campaigns. Content, games, offers and promotions can be personalised based on interests to maximise open rates, clicks and conversions.

“The best thing about it is it becomes almost self-sustaining, as the more players interact with this personalised content, the more accurate the content becomes.”

Sexton emphasised that the data can even be used to create an engaging VIP experience that rewards players in a highly personalised way. “If operators know what teams players support during tournaments like the World Cup or an NFL season, then it’s easy

IN COUNTRIES LIKE THE US, COST PER ACQUISITION CAN BE BETWEEN $1,000 AND $2,000 PER PLAYER. BUT PLAYER LIFETIME VALUE SITS AT AROUND $2,500

enough to build incentives around them, or offer something as simple as tickets to the World Cup final or the Super Bowl.

“The more consolidated data operators have access to, the easier it is to put relevant content and games in front of players that they will engage with.”

The delivery is also important, he believes, adding: “Presenting players with their preferred form of betting or gaming helps to build trust between them and their chosen operator. They feel valued and understood and are far more likely to engage with that operator for longer as a result.

“The more data operators have on their players the easier it becomes to provide players with their explicit needs.”

He continued: “Providing players with what they say they want is a great way to keep them happy. Using analysis and artificial intelligence, you can start to predict those explicit needs. This allows operators to get out in front of the inevitable drop in interest.

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Player engagement

Presenting players with new, relevant content helps to sustain engagement and player lifetime value.”

Understanding implicit buying behaviour

Sexton believes that operators can also use the same data to push players towards implicit behaviours by using nudges, FOMO, incentives and other methods.

He said: “Predicting explicit behaviour is getting easier thanks to marcomms technology and artificial intelligence. These tools present players with more information, content or games that they like based on either stated preferences or observed

needed a sugar hit all play a part in triggering implicit behaviours.”

Creating a similar environment for players, advised Sexton, will allow operators to surprise - and possibly even delight - players with games or experiences that are in line with their interest.

“By leveraging the data they have about each of their players, operators can encourage players to act out implicit behaviours,” he said. “Using

extend that level of engagement.”

He added: “Introducing a new game as a pop up at the point the data says they usually log out is powerful. As is a well-timed promotion around the time of day your players login to check odds or place bets.

“Nudging them towards placing a bet on a different game, in addition to the flutter they usually place, is something that can be scaled rapidly and when amplified across all players boosts revenues and retention.”

The rub

Realistically, this can only be achieved if operators have consolidated all their player data in the first place, noted Sexton. “It’s essential that they have complete player profiles located in a single customer data platform or CRM system. Without this technology it’s going to be very difficult to get the insight needed or to segment players into the various data points.”

Equally, he said, the ability to ingest, analyse and segment data in real time is essential. “Without this functionality operators will be too slow to respond to player behaviours. Having pre-built campaigns triggered when players meet set criteria means operators don’t need to manually intervene.

behaviour. The real challenge for operators is anticipating and driving implicit behaviour.

“To clarify - explicit behaviour is deliberate. Someone logging in to their email or driving a car to carry out an errand. Implicit behaviour is spontaneous. Stopping at a bakery for a doughnut on the way home, for example.

“The key component is that the person stopped for a doughnut, rather than understanding what prompted the driver to make that spontaneous decision. A variety of factors such as slow moving traffic giving the driver a good view through the window, a special offer on the sandwich board outside, missing breakfast, or they

the same data to provide players with the experience they’ve asked for, operators can provide an experience that encourages implicit behaviours too.

“Player data points towards clear preferences and trends of behaviour in terms of deposits, frequency of play and win rates etc. It’s relatively easy to use this data to present them with a game, an offer or exclusive odds to

“Rather, between their platform and an omnichannel customer engagement platform, they have all the tools they need to create an environment in which implicit behaviour is more likely to occur.”

Sexton warned that in the absence of this “synergistic technology”, operators would be forced to intervene manually. “Any such approach would be time consuming and costly to the point of impractical, and slow to the point of irrelevant.

“After all, the secret to tapping into implicit buying behaviour is creating an environment in which players feel safe to respond impulsively. Which is why learning how to meet a player’s explicit behaviours first is so important.”

He concluded: “Without that trust or sense of value, players wouldn’t respond as favourably to seemingly spontaneous offers.” •

98 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
MARKETING
JUST AS IT’S HARDER TO ATTRACT NEW PLAYERS, IT’S GETTING HARDER FOR OPERATORS TO KEEP THE PLAYERS ALREADY ACTIVE ON THEIR PLATFORMS
PROVIDING PLAYERS WITH WHAT THEY SAY THEY WANT IS A GREAT WAY TO KEEP THEM HAPPY
OCT 31- NOV 2, 2023 SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, MIAMI CONNECTING LATIN AMERICA’S SPORTS BETTING & iGAMING MARKETS FOR MORE INFORMATION SBCEVENTS.COM LATAM 1,000 DELEGATES 100 SPEAKERS 50 EXHIBITORS

A STAR IN THE MAKING: ESTRELABET’S RAPID GROWTH ECHOES BRAZIL’S PROMISING FUTURE

FRAGA, CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER OF ESTRELABET, sat down with SBC Leaders to discuss what the industry can expect from Brazil and the company in 2023. He weighed up whether there is room for more operators and what role sponsorships have in the South American country

Measuring the size of the sports betting market in Brazil is virtually impossible.

Not because there’s no data or accurate analysis around it, but because it seems to keep growing every day. What was supposed to be a legal and regulated market in 2023 will,

once again, turn into a legislative piece pushed into the new government’s agenda, with the hope of finally validating this lucrative industry later this year.

Regardless of Jair Bolsonaro’s inaction around the bill that would’ve regulated the sports betting industry, companies are still building their operations and signing sponsorship

deals - the latter often being one of the largest contributors to their finances.

EstrelaBet is on its way to becoming a major force in the region, with a complete offer featuring multiple verticals and games, relevant sponsorships - such as those with the Brazilian Football Confederation, SC Internacional and America Mineiro - and most importantly, its own responsible gambling rules. This is something that the company takes very seriously as prioritising clients is at the core of all its business operations.

A new global powerhouse 100 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
SBC: Do you think the results of the elections will shape the future of the industry? Can we expect a positive outcome?
FELLIPE

FF: The elections left high expectations for the entire industry about what will happen in 2023. Because even though Bolsonaro’s presidency had its own regulation, a process that involves amendments, it needs to have the support of both chambers - Deputies and Senators - and also the approval of the next President.

SBC: Although there is no firm regulation, there are currently a large number of operators in Brazil, ready to share their products. What makes EstrelaBet so different from the competition?

FF: We have the capacity to connect with people in general. The team that works with EstrelaBet knows how to carry the message to attract entertainment, while also being responsible.

Right from the beginning, we choose the highest ethical quality and responsible control, through internal work and partnerships with top providers in the industry. All our actions go through an intelligence and strategy process until a final decision is reached, allowing us to operate with fewer mistakes.

SBC: Is there enough market for all the operators interested in Brazil? And as we expect increased competition, what steps are the most important to become the biggest one?

FF: Without a doubt, yes, there is space [for everyone]. There is an important fact around this: the number of people who can play and place bets is approximately 30 million. To be the main operator in the long term, it’s necessary to be willing to change [the operations] to marketing needs and new technologies.

We hope to be recognised as such, because we’re known to be fast and responsible. Our clients understand our values and think very highly of us.

SBC: Going back to the elections and the missed deadline, do you think that the long wait for a firm framework has prepared the operators and the players to take Brazil to the top? How has this long wait influenced the market?

FF: If I had to make a bet, I would say that Brazil will be one of the three most important markets in the world in five years. The law was clear and allowed

us to have over 1,000 operators in the local market.

During that wait, especially in the last four years, there has been a lot of growth, even in regards to the culture around it, despite some negative comments. Of course the pandemic

helped a lot, and so did technological evolution. More and more people are talking about gambling, so we are ready not only for what is coming, but also to take us to the highest levels in the industry.

SBC: About being ready, how would you describe EstrelaBet’s meteoric rise in the local industry? Can you name some examples that have helped you achieve this position?

FF: Our success has both secret and not-so-secret key points. We have a very strong team in all sectors,

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WE ALSO UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO KNOW BRAZILIANS, THE PUBLIC, HOW THEY THINK AND HOW THEY CONSUME PRODUCTS

A new global powerhouse

with excellent professionals. We also understand the need to know Brazilians, the public, how they think and how they consume products. The most important thing is to know how to reach people so that they not only see us but also feel that we are with them.

In Brasileirao’s Série A, the country’s top football competition, all football teams have a sports betting sponsorship. If their brands are not featured on the men’s kits, they’re either on the women’s or at the stadiums or websites.

Brazilian football has become a synonym for sponsorships, and sportsbooks have reached an indisputable position as one of the largest contributors for local teams. Consequently, they have more resources to compete both locally and regionally.

SBC: Do you think there is a direct relationship between the success of Brazilian football at a continental level, like in the Copa Libertadores or Copa Sudamericana, and the number of existing sponsorship deals with sportsbooks, compared to other countries such as Colombia and Argentina, where there is still a long way to go to reach these agreements?

FF: There is immense competition in Brazil when it comes to sports betting sponsorships. You know when you have to buy a special outfit and you say it’s for a wedding that the prices go up? The same thing happens with this. Teams now receive bigger contributions, and there is not a team in Serie A or Serie B without a betting sponsorship.

But that current success is not only thanks to these betting deals. Teams like Flamengo and Palmeiras - who have won the last four Copa Libertadores - have been executing a good strategy for years now. Palmeiras even has a sports betting sponsorship and that brand doesn’t even show up on its kit. So I think that the effect of the bookmakers will be felt later, especially from 2023.

SBC: How important are these sponsorship opportunities for EstrelaBet’s strategy in Brazil?

FF: There’s two main focus points. The first one is that we not only showcase our brand through sponsorships, but also that we’re committed to the sport and that we can support winners. It seems obvious, but many believe that sports betting companies won’t pay the prices.

So when we say that we have partnered with one team, or several, it helps.

The second point, one that is special for us, is that our work is more than a sponsorship. In fact, EstrelaBet is also a supporter. EstrelaBet and fans are equals, and every day we get to know them better. In 2023, we’ll have a lot of things to learn, but I will leave those surprises for later. •

102 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
BRAZILIAN FOOTBALL HAS BECOME A SYNONYM FOR SPONSORSHIPS

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO BETTER MARKET ITSELF TO THE WORLD

by Cristina Romero, Partner at Loyra Abogados.

The panel session, which took place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, assessed the latest developments from across the sector - taking inclusion, diversity and corporate social responsibility into account.

It’s quite difficult to pick just one word to describe an entire industry. But when assessing the current state of play of the betting and gaming sector, panellists at the

SBC Summit Latinoamérica chose to describe it as “controversial“.

This was something that caused quite a stir among attendees during the ‘LatAm Leaders - Breaking down the barriers of Latin America’ discussion, which was moderated

The panel agreed that highlighting industry innovations in order to stay in line with current values can afford the sector a better reputation. This is especially true given its “controversial” nature and the mainstream rejection experienced from other sectors, such as the

SBC Summit Latinoamérica sbcleaders.com 103
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IN AN INDUSTRY THAT IS CONSTANTLY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE, reputation matters. But how can the gambling industry shift an outdated stigma and better showcase the positive work that is going on behind the scenes?

government and the banking industry.

Lourdes Britto, General Director of Apuesta Total, believes that it’s important to report that the gambling industry is one of the most regulated sectors at a global level and that it’s showing significant progress by creating new job opportunities and training young executives.

“Being a young industry, we work a lot on executive development, especially in Latin America. Training is very important because the industry grows much faster than the number of executives does,” she said.

This sentiment was echoed by fellow panellist Mara Ares, CEO of Ares Gaming Labs and Richmedia. She underlined her view that by including employees with diverse backgrounds - in terms of gender, age and location - the gambling industry has disrupted the technology space and brought in new, innovative perspectives. This, Ares said, is something that is hardly taken into account as an emerging market in the region.

“We need diverse perspectives, greater flexibility. We also need to move the debate forward and take into account the needs of different audiences.”

A shift to online

According to Ares, the pandemic has accelerated this disruption even further, allowing for new collaborative methods and enabling companies to expand their workforce through remote working practices.

She pointed out: “Being able to count on leaders around the world and being able to give many people the chance to develop professionally is something we focus on. We must highlight the importance of team building, developing the capacity of the groups within our inclusion and innovation plans.”

In response to Ares, Lenin Castillo, Online COO of Logrand Entertainment, shared the brand’s experience in Mexico during the pandemic, where it had to quickly adapt its entire business model to the online space. At the time, the government ruled that all land-based betting venues were to remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Thanks to our DNA, as new technologies are integrated, we were able to change our internal operations.

And we achieved this thanks to the team’s diversity,” he said.

He brought the discussion back to fostering diversity - both within his company and at a general level across the industry.

He warned that to truly be an inclusive industry, a new business culture needs to be implemented across the board - one that considers, and implements, different views and perspectives and offers sufficient training and professional development opportunities.

The goal is for this to not only be a concept, but to consolidate the daily execution that contributes to a modern, flexible, inclusive and sustainable industry.

Reputation matters

As all the panellists agreed, one of the biggest challenges is to showcase the positive side of the gambling industry - a sector which has long come under scrutiny from the wider public. This is despite the fact that betting is one of the most popular forms of entertainment.

The moderator drew comparisons with the alcohol industry. This is a sector that, despite its widespread criticism, has transcended its “bad reputation” through strong advertising campaigns.

Romero said: “They have great advertising, always protected by integrity frameworks, like ours. I think we should continue on this path, we are trained to do so, and we should stop being overshadowed by mainstream industries.

“In this industry, you can also see how there are many women in high-level positions, and every day more young professionals in Latin America are interested in the sector. However, we continue to be very bad at making ourselves known.”

The Logrand representative agreed

SBC Summit Latinoamérica 104 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
Lenin Castillo, Online COO of Logrand Entertainment
BEING ABLE TO COUNT ON LEADERS AROUND THE WORLD AND BEING ABLE TO GIVE MANY PEOPLE THE CHANCE TO DEVELOP PROFESSIONALLY IS SOMETHING WE FOCUS ON

on this point and stated the need to be “consistent in advertising how we work internally to reflect what the industry is like”. He added that this is achieved through “clear policies, regulatory frameworks and accountability”.

Logrand has set out on a path to change its reputation by joining the United Nations Global Compact on sustainable and socially responsible policies.

In doing so, the operator has committed to generating annual reports where it announces its best practices and collaboration - reporting on the number of jobs it generates, and actions that benefit society such as anti-money laundering activities, among other things.

Another way to achieve this, according to Britto, is to strengthen the relationship with the sports sector. “We’re an industry that not only lives because of sports, but also contributes to it,” she said.

“Being seen as an industry that contributes to society is extremely important for us to be sustainable, and we have the opportunity to position

ourselves correctly if we know to positively communicate everything we contribute.”

Additionally, she referenced Peru where 10% of the revenue from landbased casinos is directed to sports, something that “no one is aware of”.

“That’s why communication is key. With sports betting, we now have an opportunity to improve perception, because it’s an industry that contributes a lot,” she said.

and added that by understanding how the industry works, there are better chances of executing cooperative work, since “there are regulatory and legislative elements that are better than in many other industries”.

Although it is considered that Latin America should stop looking at Spain as an example, with many believing that the market there has lost its transparency, there’s an element that should be emulated in the way of more data to discuss with regulators.

Britto also assured that “everyone has the responsibility to report what’s being done”, no matter where they operate. The collaboration between industry members is key, despite the competition between companies, as in the case with the Peruvian Sports Betting Association (APADELA).

Romero highlighted Britto’s comment

“In Spain, we have a project called the Annual Gambling Report, which has been used to discuss official matters with regulators, financial entities, and create discussions in universities or hospitals that work with addiction issues, among other things. If you have data, it’s easier to debate and report,” she said.

To conclude, Ares said: “Participating in these debates, which is what we aim for, makes us value the information that circulates to share knowledge and achieve a better position before regulators, business people and society in general.” •

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Lourdes Britto, General Director of Apuesta Total Mara Ares, CEO of Ares Gaming Labs and Richmedia Cristina Romero, Partner at Loyra Abogados
THIS IS AN INDUSTRY THAT NOT ONLY LIVES BECAUSE OF SPORTS, BUT ALSO CONTRIBUTES TO IT

RETABET: COMMUNICATION AS A STANDARD FOR INDUSTRY GROWTH IN LATIN AMERICA

According to Viana, there are a lot of companies trying to get noticed in the igaming and sports betting industry, a sector that as of late has been both competitive and thriving. He has high expectations for this trend to come “with developments in its regulation”.

The igaming and sports betting industry continues to grow in Latin America, but some countries are struggling to pass their own regulations. Meanwhile others are beginning to take their first steps.

After a successful roll out of sports betting in Colombia, which is already starting to reap the benefits from a regulated market, we are seeing more jurisdictions such as Peru and provinces in Argentina follow suit -

with their gaming sectors now up and running.

Countries like Chile and Brazil have yet to catch up, despite having the potential to generate millions in taxes for the state coffers. As a result, the industry still awaits any updates on what may happen there. This is especially true when considering the ongoing regulatory push in Brazil that has had everyone on the edge of their seats, more so since Luiz Inázio Lula Da Silva came out on top in the presidential election, beating Jair Bolsonaro.

“There’s no doubt that regulation will give more value to the industry and attract investment from big companies into the market,” he said as he highlighted the hard work that RETAbet is currently doing “to become one of the first operators to get a licence in the Peruvian market” after Law 31,557 was enforced.

While trying to draw upon lessons in European markets, he puts Spain as a “mirror for a large part of Latin American jurisdictions” - a market which has largely been dominated by the Royal Communications Decree.

The new rules were a big project from the Minister of Consumer

Learning from experience 106 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
PABLO VIANA, LATAM MANAGER AT RETABET, assesses the changing regulatory landscape across the continent, taking into consideration what more mature markets such as those in Europe have done right, but more importantly, what they have done wrong

Affairs, Alberto Garzón, and set major restrictions on the private gambling segment’s advertising capabilities since its enforcement in 2021.

“The decision of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to limit advertisement generated a great controversy among every related industry, including operators, agencies, sports teams/leagues, media, and more,” he said. “Everyone should be able to play by the same rules.”

Viana also voiced his concerns over “differences between advertising rules for private and public gambling”, and emphasised his company's will to “comply with every requirement” and its drive to “work side by side with public institutions”.

This is something that he considers to be “essential to improve revenues, protect consumers and encourage investment”.

Still, this is no news for the industry as Italy imposed similar restrictions on gambling advertising and set an all-out ban on sports sponsorships from January 1, 2019.

Despite major opposition from giants such as Serie A, the top football competition in the country, or the Italian Football Federation, the government did not give in and deprived the industry of major exposure opportunities and Italian sports from what would likely be a large revenue stream.

The Spanish Royal Decree and the Italian narrative has since found its way to Chile, where an igaming and sports betting sponsorship ban is gathering momentum - having already received major support from the Chamber of Deputies.

The bill would prevent the betting and gaming sector from supporting sports events and teams, something that Viana was largely critical about. “I’m not in favour of prohibitionism. I don’t think it’s the right way, but a sound regulation with reasonable terms is,” he said. “Banning ‘the

problem’ is the easiest and quickest way governments usually take.”

However, he considers partnerships with sporting organisations as “necessary” to get enough brand exposure, “especially in an environment where most companies are 100% digital”.

RETAbet’s LatAm Manager

“It makes sense to have a fight over a share of the market,” Viana explains, noting that it "results in greater promotions for customers and a lower margin for the operator”.

“Every operator must have defined KYCS strategies and a responsible bonus strategy,” he stated, pointing out that “tools to conduct promotional campaigns or discounts like those from other segments are being excessively restricted”.

In regards to what companies should do to prosper in the different Latin American markets, he believes that each one will follow its very own strategy, "based on the requirements

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CHILE OR BRAZIL HAVE YET TO CATCH UP, DESPITE HAVING THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE MILLIONS IN TAXES FOR THE STATE COFFERS
I’M NOT IN FAVOUR OF PROHIBITIONISM. I DON’T THINK IT’S THE RIGHT WAY, BUT A SOUND REGULATION WITH REASONABLE TERMS IS

SBC’S 2023 EVENT SCHEDULE MORE AMBITIOUS, FOLLOWING RECORD-BREAKING YEAR

2022 WAS A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR for Events and Media firm SBC. However, in true SBC fashion, the company’s 2023 plans are even more ambitious

We managed to break records' was the phrase of the year during the SBC post-event company calls in 2022. This comes in

stark contrast with the 2022 Oxford word of the year, 'goblin mode,' chosen for the first time by public vote. SBC was neither lazy nor failed to meet expectations. Quite the opposite.

6,000 attendees at SBC Summit Barcelona, a charity poker tournament

with the iconic Molly Bloom, two new SBC First Pitch industry start-up competition winners, a new list of Hall of Famers, coveted keynote speakers, a football Championship at the RCDE Stadium, a charity Boxing Championship, a networking event at the Miami Marlins, spectacular parties in London, Las Vegas and Malta. The 2022 SBC events had it all: networking, business opportunities, education, and fun!

Following the 2022 success, SBC is excited to announce this year's events schedule.

Ambitious
108 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
plans

SBC Summit North America

The Leading Sports Betting and iGaming Event in North America

MEADOWLANDS EXPOSITION CENTER, NEW JERSEY 3,500+ delegates l 300+ Speakers l 50+ exhibitors

SBC Summit North America is the leading conference and trade show dedicated to the region's rapidly-growing igaming and sports betting industry.

The event, gathering thousands of industry leaders and decisionmakers, represents one of the year's best business opportunities, offering the platform to network, exchange ideas about emerging opportunities and growing pains,

launch products, and generate a return on investment.

The Summit will host new sportsbook and igaming technology on the 61,000-squarefeet expo hall and a speaker lineup of 250+ experts from leading operators (commercial and tribal), affiliates, suppliers, investors, regulators and legal experts, and professional sports leagues and teams.

"SBC Summit North America has quickly become one of the must-attend events for the US gambling industry — a convenient location, powerhouse speakers, and excellent networking."

Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling

sbcleaders.com 109 EVENTS
9-11 MAY 2023

CasinoBeats Summit

23-25 MAY 2023

The Future of Play - iGaming Strategy, Innovation & Development

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, MALTA

3,000+ delegates • 160+ speakers • 50+exhibitors

CasinoBeats Summit is the premier conference and exhibition for igaming-focused professionals, offering quality content on strategy, innovation and development and unique networking opportunities with international industry heavyweights. The fifth edition of the CasinoBeats Summit will deliver three key elements — knowledge sharing, business opportunities, and fun.

Delegates will enjoy a conference that focuses on the product side of igaming and addresses the issues that will shape the next generation of games and technology. The exhibition floor will feature state-of-the-art new products from industry leaders and rising stars and connect igaming operators, game studios, affiliates and other stakeholders in the very heart of igaming.

" What sets CasinoBeats apart from some other igaming events on the island is that it focuses on conferences with great ambition to bring up new topics to the table and provoke conversations that ultimately could resonate beyond Malta. Seeding innovative igaming topics at CasinoBeats could eventually set Malta apart as a strong influential igaming hub for the world."

Canadian Gaming Summit

Canada’s Premier Gaming and Betting Event

METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTER, TORONTO

2,000+ delegates • 200+ Speakers

• 75+ exhibitors

The Canadian Gaming Summit (CGS) is Canada's premier annual event for gaming and sports betting executives from Canada and beyond, offering the leading platform to network, share ideas and conduct business with key industry stakeholders.

SBC will be working in partnership with the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) to build on the event's status and ensure it continues to support the industry's growth and deliver the most niche and powerful insights on the Canadian gambling market.

The compelling speaker line-up will feature industry front-runners with regional expertise, and the exhibition floor will host leading operators, affiliates and suppliers showcasing their latest innovations, products, and technologies.

"We are thrilled to welcome SBC as the official event organiser of the long-standing Canadian Gaming Summit. I'm an old friend of SBC and have always thoroughly enjoyed their events. Their impeccable reputation precedes them, and we are truly delighted to support their team during this exciting new beginning. I am confident SBC will find the right balance between re-imagining the CGS to strengthen its standing as a must-attend industry event and ensuring that the event's main mission of promoting the development of the industry in Canada remains the primary focus."

Ambitious plans 110 SBC LEADERS • JANUARY 2023
13-15 JUNE 2023

SBC Summit Barcelona

The Global Betting & iGaming Show

FIRA BARCELONA MONTJUÏC, BARCELONA

10,000+ delegates • 450+ Speakers

• 300+ exhibitors

19-21 SEP 2023

SBC Summit Latinoamérica

Connecting Latin America’s Sports Betting and Gaming Markets

SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA 1,500+ delegates

SBC Summit Latinoamérica is Latin America's premium betting and igaming conference and trade show for senior executives that delivers top-quality conference content, helps facilitate business relationships and addresses the state of the industry and the emerging opportunities in the LatAm markets.

SBC Summit Barcelona is the leading global betting and igaming show with a comprehensive high-level conference, a programme of product launches, and a massive 38,000 sq m expo floor.

With its flagship event, SBC offers delegates the unique opportunity to reach and network with thousands of attendees from all across the globe, covering all industry verticals.

The exhibition floor space will be split into the following areas — Sports Betting Zone, Casino & iGaming Zone, Payments & Compliance Zone, Affiliate, Marketing & Media Zone, and Emerging Tech, Blockchain & Metaverse Zone.

There will be plenty of networking and business opportunities, including evening networking parties and exclusive invite-only dinners for affiliates, operators and payment specialists.

"SBC delivered more than promised. The big and exciting expo and the educational panels and presentations brought the already close iGaming community even closer. The networking options were out of this world! Meeting partners and suppliers in person is a game changer, and SBC created a nice, relaxed, yet professional atmosphere to do that. SBC is a must-attend event for everyone who wants to know, enter, grow and succeed in the industry."

The show will bring together the leadership teams of the region's most prominent and promising markets, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay. The program of evening networking events in Miami's most stylish venues will further facilitate meaningful connections in a more relaxed setting.

The star-studded roster of speakers will provide an assessment of the industry's future in this exciting region, and the exhibition area will allow delegates to get an exclusive first look at new localised sportsbooks, casinos, payment solutions, game studios and lottery products.

"Participating in SBC Summit Latinoamérica has been a rewarding experience in every sense of the word, not only because of the quality of speakers and the covered topics but also because of the brand exposure opportunities and the relevant industry visitors. SBC Summit Latinoamérica facilitates business networking. My sincere congratulations to the organisers for such an amazing event."

"Quality over quantity has always been SBC's motto. As our events gain momentum and position themselves on the calendars of leading industry professionals while also growing in numbers, SBC's goal remains the same — providing an unforgettable, exclusive and all-inclusive networking experience to its exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and attendees. Let's grow together!"

EVENTS
• 150+ speakers • 60+ exhibitors
NOV 2023 VISIT SBCEVENTS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE 2023 EVENTS SCHEDULE
2023 SAVE THE DATE – THE KEY INDUSTRY EVENTS FOR YOUR DIARY FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT WWW.SBCEVENTS.COM SPONSORSHIP AND EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE – FOR ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT SALES@SBCGAMING.COM 23-25 MAY INTERCONTINENTAL MALTA MEADOWLANDS EXPOSITION CENTER, NEW JERSEY MAY 9-11 METRO CONVENTION CENTER, TORONTO JUNE 13-15 FIRA DE BARCELONA, MONTJUÏC 19-21 SEPTEMBER SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, MIAMI OCT 31 - NOV 2
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