SBC Leaders Magazine - Issue 25

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Where do we stand on gambling expansion? CAPITOL CATCH UP ISSUE 25 • APRIL 2023 Defining the FanDuel edge HoweAmy A deep dive into the Pennsylvania regulatory scene PENN TO PAPER The AGA's fight against illegal gambling A COMPLEX ISSUE MetroBets links up with Caesars PUERTO RICO

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CONTENTS

APRIL 2023

6-15 Spotlight

• Amy Howe: defining the FanDuel edge

16-49 Sports Betting

• Spotlight Sports Group: consistently unlocking value on a global scale

• Adam Greenblatt: from accounting to CEO of BetMGM

• Martin Lycka on setting the highest standards for responsible gambling

• Continent 8 Technologies: celebrating 25 years

• Where do we stand on gambling expansion?

• SportsDataIO's Greg Kirkorsky lauds a winning team and culture

• Todd Sims: SUZOHAPP is making sports betting more immersive

50-57 Canada

• Paris Smith: Ontario is the Pinnacle of our global expansion

• Rivalry: avoiding a cookie cutter approach to marketing

58-60 Lottery

• Jackpocket: leading the digital lottery ticket race across the US

61-71 Latin America

• Carlos Silva: reviewing the regulatory landscape in Chile

• Betano: sponsorships, Brazil and regulatory development

• Ismael Vega on revolutionising the Puerto Rican gaming market

72-87 Gaming

• Bill Miller: how can we combat illegal gambling?

• Jamie Hummingbird: a run-down of tribal regulations

• PlayStar’s Per Hellberg discusses player retention

• PGCB: more licences, more problems?

88-95 Payments

• Neosurf: why two regulators are better than one

• Are alternative payments the key to sports betting growth?

96-103 Events

• The Brain behind the Canadian Gaming Summit

• Rasmus Sojmark: SBC is coming to America… again!

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, Isadora Marcante

SALES TEAM: Rasmus Sojmark, Alyona Gromova, Conall McCabe, Jan Kowalczyk, John Cook, Richard Deacon, Bob McFarland, Craig Brown, Juan Ospina, Ray Filbert

DESIGNED & DELIVERED BY Better Mags (bettermags.co.uk)

All material is strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of Sports Betting Community Ltd. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, Sports Betting Community Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors it may contain. Sports Betting Community Ltd cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of any material, solicited or unsolicited. The views in the publication are not necessarily the views of Sports Betting Community Ltd or those of the advertisers.

Produced and published by Sports Betting Community Ltd

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The SBC Leaders Magazine is brought to you by SBC - Sports Betting
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INTRO

Welcome to Issue 25 of SBC Leaders Magazine!

“When someone says the word ‘America’, what do you think of?”

This was the somewhat desperate message I sent around to the SBC editorial team earlier this month when trying to find inspiration for writing this welcome letter. And answers ranged quite substantially - from the White House and Joe Biden through to Las Vegas, the Hollywood sign, the NFL and WWE. There were even some team members who thought of cheese - I couldn’t brie-lieve it either.

Something that this made quite clear, however, is the differing perceptions of North America and the US in particular. Think about the hustle and bustle of New York City, the bright lights of Las Vegas or even the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, they all conjure up different images.

You’re probably wondering why we’re starting off the magazine with a list of things associated with North America? Well, here comes my very long, convoluted segue to let you know we’ve added an American twist to Issue 25 of SBC Leaders Magazine.

When PASPA was struck down in 2018, the excitement around what could potentially be a leviathan US sports betting market was palpable. When it came to analysing what shape it might take and who would be the biggest players, it’s safe to say there was no shortage of “Monday morning quarterbacks“ ready with a sackload of predictions.

For this edition of the magazine, we have called upon some of the best and brightest from across the sports betting and gaming

industries to hear what they have to say about market developments.

Amy Howe, CEO of FanDuel, starts us off with her analysis of how she is leading FanDuel on the ‘path to profitability’ as she has taken the company’s growth from fantasy to sports betting reality. She tells us about her career prior to FanDuel, defining the ‘FanDuel edge’ to stand out from the crowd and the rationale behind such decisions as sunsetting the term “risk-free betting“.

Joining her in the discussions around sports betting developments is BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. With a heavy focus on responsible gambling efforts, he takes a look at comparisons between the US market and Europe - pointing out the dos, and more importantly the do nots, for regulation.

Bill Miller spotlights the fight against illegal gambling and the “major threat” that black market gambling can pose to players - with illegal operators estimated to cost the regulated sector upwards of $44bn.

In this magazine, we’ve covered everything from tribal gaming and sports betting regulation, right the way through to responsible gambling and cloud technology.

When pulling this magazine content together, it made me realise how interesting the postPASPA period has been. And now find we find ourselves looking at a market that has outgrown its nascent effervescence to one of growing maturity.

It’s a great place to be as SBC prepares to open the doors on the fourth iteration of SBC Summit North America. This issue also marks my final one as editor - but don’t worry, you are in fantastic hands as Martyn Elliott takes the reins. I will still be around to provide questionable puns and general cynicism about the state of the world as we know it.

So with that in mind, please enjoy Issue 25 of the SBC Leaders Magazine and the upcoming event in New Jersey!

4 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
WHEN PASPA WAS STRUCK DOWN IN 2018, THE EXCITEMENT AROUND WHAT COULD POTENTIALLY BE A LEVIATHAN US SPORTS BETTING MARKET WAS PALPABLE

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AMY HOWE Bringing the leadership factor

betting across the US was a large part of many discussions at Live Nation Entertainment, particularly when it came to liaising with major sports leagues such as the NFL and the NBA.

“When working with these huge sports leagues, I knew that sports betting was really taking off - we had big events like the NBA Tech Summit, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Sports betting was always front and centre of the conversations.

“At the time, I was working in an adjacent space, which was ticketing. As you can imagine, the pandemic was not particularly kind to the live entertainment industry. So when things started to shut down in the US, one of the pivotal moments was when the NBA suspended its season. After that, it was like dominos. Everyone subsequently suspended play.

When you think about leadership, a number of different images can often come to mind - whether that be influence, empowerment, integrity, trust or even financial growth of a company. Quite often, a ‘true leader’ is hard to come by. But when speaking with Amy Howe, CEO of FanDuel, it was very clear that she not only embodied all of these qualities but has become the poster figure for the growth of the US gambling industry.

Howe joined the ranks at FanDuel back in 2021 after heading up the North American ticketing operations at Live Nation Entertainment - a company that some might argue bears very few similarities to the gambling industry.

But as the FanDuel CEO explained to SBC Leaders, the roll out of sports

“There was a period of time when I was helping the company to manage its strategy throughout the crisis and, quite simply, get to the other side of the pandemic. But it became very clear that we were going to be in a holding pattern for quite some time. This was when FanDuel reached out.

“As I started speaking with FanDuel, I thought about the types of industries and opportunities that I'm attracted to. For me, there were really a few criteria that were very important. The first is that I’m very attracted to high-integrity teams with really inspiring cultures.

“I always say, life is too short. If you don't trust and respect the people you're working with, there's lots of other places to work, right? That mantra has always been a prerequisite for me. It’s

Howe do they do it? 6 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
OVER THE YEARS, FanDuel has established itself as a leading force in the US sports betting market. SBC Leaders sat down with CEO Amy Howe to find out the secret to the company’s success
SCALABILITY BECOMES REALLY PARAMOUNT FOR SUCCESS AS WE THINK ABOUT THE LONGEVITY OF OUR BUSINESS MODEL

I KNEW SPORTS BETTING WAS AN UNBELIEVABLY DYNAMIC INDUSTRY WITH MASSIVE GROWTH POTENTIAL, BUT IT ALSO COMES WITH SOME VERY COMPLEX PROBLEMS

SPOTLIGHT sbcleaders.com 7
Amy Howe, CEO of FanDuel, was awarded the Leader of the Year at SBC Awards North America 2022

front and centre of any work decision I make. But at the end of the day, you also have to be interested in the content.”

For Howe, the sports betting industry was a space that presented huge growth potential. But with those opportunities came a new set of challenges too.

Her background in consultancy and prior experience as a Partner at

McKinsey & Company did provide ample insight into ways in which she could find new solutions to the hurdles that the sports betting industry faces.

“I knew sports betting was an unbelievably dynamic industry with massive growth potential, but it also comes with some very complex problems,” Howe continued. “I previously worked at McKinsey where I had spent 15 years of my life solving

really complicated problems. I knew this industry had all of that, and then some.

“Then, being where I am in my career, I felt like this was a company and an industry where my leadership style and platform can really elevate the company's performance. But a lot of that also has to do with the things that we’re also doing around diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The opportunity that arose at FanDuel had a lot of the right ingredients for me to go in and have an impact and also have a lot of fun along the way.”

The entertainment factor

The switch from ticketing to sports betting was a move which, on the surface, did not seem like an obvious one. However, when you consider that both industries involve something of an ‘entertainment factor’, you can begin to see the connection.

As Howe pointed out, her time at Live Nation, which was preceded by a role at Ticketmaster, involved working in a sector that is facing digital disruption and experiencing substantial growth. She continued: “I think one of the most pivotal things I took from my previous roles is how you position an organisation for massive growth or change. You could argue that what Ticketmaster was going through is very similar to what sports betting is going through now - it’s an industry that is being disrupted by digital technology.

“It is also an industry that is going through huge growth. So the ability to come in and understand how you structure your organisation and create a culture for massive change and growth was one of the biggest learnings that was very applicable.

“Both Ticketmaster and FanDuel are big technology companies. And both companies show the importance of building scalable tech and introducing sustainable processes. We always speak about how PASPA was only repealed four years ago, we’re still in the very early innings of sports betting. So as you build your business from the ground up, we need to make sure we’re doing it in a scalable, sustainable way.

“There’s a lot of focus on the path to profitability while also gaining share and driving growth in the market. So scalability becomes really paramount for success as we think about the longevity of our business model, as well as the

8 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
Howe do they do it?
WE SPEAK ABOUT FANDUEL AS BEING AN ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, AND OUR PLATFORM BEING AN ENTERTAINMENT PLATFORM RATHER THAN SOLELY SPORTS BETTING

success of the industry as a whole.”

Learning how to position a company for further growth and regulatory change has also come with the challenge of learning how to prioritise different strategies - and more importantly deciding what areas of business do not require time, energy or resources.

Howe made reference to the magpie effect in which she explained it can often be very easy to become distracted by “bright, shiny objects” that may seem like attractive business opportunities.

However, she soon pointed out that when leading a company, you must keep the long-term goals in mind and only pursue sustainable ventures.

Delivering that element of entertainment is arguably the longterm ambition that Howe has in mind for FanDuel as she continues to scale the company even further. But with that sense of bettor enjoyment comes the added responsibility of ensuring that everyone bets in a responsible manner.

She continued: “We speak about FanDuel as being an entertainment business, and our platform being an entertainment platform rather than solely sports betting. I think that that’s an important point to make. We want to keep sports betting as a form of entertainment but also an industry that is responsible. FanDuel is doing a lot of work around responsible gambling.

“This was particularly apparent in the run up to the Super Bowl back in

February. In the US alone, there were 50 million Americans, most of whom were recreational customers who are just excited about betting being something that makes the game that bit more exciting. So having that entertainment factor balanced with responsibility is incredibly important.

“I think that as a leader of the largest sports betting company in America, it is my job to help consumers keep betting entertaining.”

Path to profitability

To say that a company is a leading force in a market as big as the US is a very bold statement to make. But when it comes to FanDuel, the numbers from recent industry reports are testament to the fact that the company is making its name known.

According to a recent report by Eilers & Krejcik, there are approximately 60 sports betting operators in the US market. And as it stands, FanDuel

holds a market share of between 4050% - making it the title holder for the sportsbook with the largest presence.

A large part of being able to gain such a significant market foothold, according to Howe, can be attributed to what she called "the Flutter Edge” and the knowledge that FanDuel has acquired from the senior leadership team of its parent company. It should also go without saying that Howe has played a significant role in accelerating FanDuel’s path to productivity.

“Gaining such a share in the market, for us, really comes down to three different things. It’s driven by our leadership position, which is a big reason as to why Flutter invested in FanDuel in the first place. We have that brand identity that everyone recognises. But we also had a head start because of the fantasy sports business. What that’s allowed us to do is acquire customers much more efficiently than many of our other competitors,” she said.

“So if you look at our economics of how we bring users onto the platform, they're significantly advantaged relative to the rest of the field. But I think perhaps equally, if not more important, is our product advantage.

“A lot of this comes from other parts of Flutter - from their strongholds in Australia, Ireland and the UK. Flutter has

SPOTLIGHT sbcleaders.com 9
THESE LAST 12 MONTHS HAVE SEEN FANDUEL BECOME THE FIRST SPORTSBOOK IN THE US TO REACH PROFITABILITY IN A TRADING QUARTER
I THINK THAT AS A LEADER OF THE LARGEST SPORTS BETTING COMPANY IN AMERICA, IT IS MY JOB TO HELP CONSUMERS KEEP BETTING ENTERTAINING

made considerable progress in product innovation around things such as player props, in-play betting and multiswhich has really fuelled our success.

“It’s a combination of that product innovation with the fact that we’re doing most of our developments in-house. We have a risk and trading organisation that operates on a global scale - you have almost 1,000 people spanning the engineering, trading and data science teams that are waking up every day and building these fantastic models that we use. That’s then translated to a stronger retention of our players. But it’s also better economics.”

These last 12 months have seen FanDuel become the first sportsbook in the US to reach profitability in a trading quarter. Howe fully expects this to continue going into 2023 and beyond.

Howe added: “To your question of profitability, so far we’ve been able to demonstrate that you can continue

to grow market share but also be profitable. In 2022, we were the first sports betting company in the US to be profitable in a quarter. We fully expect to be profitable for the full year and in 2023 too.

“If you’re looking at FanDuel from an outside perspective, there’s always been a level of discipline. If you think about the deals we do, and more importantly those we don’t, there’s so much money going into the landscape right now. One of the things that we have tried to maintain throughout - and

something that actually predates my time as CEO - is that discipline around marketing and investments.

“When we think about bonuses and player incentives, it’s very easy to get caught up in what the market is doing. But we look at our numbers and we know what numbers pay off. I think that has been one of the key drivers of our success and our ability to actually hit profitability perhaps sooner than some of our competitors have done.”

The US betting industry is currently valued at approximately $9bn, split between both sports betting and gaming. Howe predicts that at “market maturity”, which she believes will be in around 2030, the industry could reach the $40bn mark as more states begin to open up.

“There is still quite a bit of runway ahead of us. If you break that down into its different components, there's still quite a bit of momentum in the sports

10 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
it?
Howe do they do
FANDUEL HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ALL OF THE ASSETS AND THE SUCCESSES THAT WE'VE HAD IN OTHER PARTS OF FLUTTER AND BRING THOSE TO THE US
ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE TRIED TO MAINTAIN THROUGHOUT IS THAT DISCIPLINE AROUND MARKETING AND INVESTMENTS

betting space.

“But we’re still only at 40% of the US population that can legally place a sports bet, which translates to around 18 states. We're very focused on market expansion, however. We just had some very successful recent launches in Maryland and Ohio, both of which are going incredibly well.

“Our government affairs organisation is then doing a lot of hard work to keep driving legalisation in other states. I’m always reminded just how difficult it is to predict with any certainty exactly which states are going to legalise, when. It looks like a nice, steady line to that $40bn mark.”

With the growing regulated market also comes the lurking shadow of the offshore sportsbooks which, as a market in itself, is estimated to be around the $64bn mark according to the American Gaming Association. So it goes without saying that there is still work to be done to keep bettors within the regulated market.

As Howe outlined, the shift towards regulation can also present new opportunities not just for sports betting expansion, but also for the roll-out of igaming too. This is a vertical that the CEO believes presents a number of cross-sell opportunities for sportsbooks as they look to engage new bettors.

She said: “Sports betting does still stand to be the biggest growth driver, but behind that in close second, we think there is a very attractive igaming opportunity. It hasn't had the same regulatory momentum that sports betting has but eventually we think that will come. Even with the five states that are online right now, FanDuel has an opportunity to take all of the assets and the successes that we've had in other parts of Flutter and bring those to the US.

“We're really starting to get some nice momentum. Our product proposition, our promotional offering, our overall marketing and branding of our casino product has improved exponentially. Over the last 12-18 months, we’ve also seen the fruits of our labour in that regard.

“We speak about our business as a flywheel. We have this amazing scale advantage, so once you have that, the question really becomes ‘how do you use that momentum to introduce your consumers to other forms of entertainment that are complementary

SPOTLIGHT sbcleaders.com 11

and that also improve your overall economics?’

“At FanDuel, we’re very thoughtful about how we do that. We were the first operator to integrate our racing product into our sportsbook - which, to me, was a non-trivial undertaking. Ultimately, you have ˝four million engaged sportsbook users who are effectively one tap away from horse racing, which is obviously a huge sport outside the US. But it’s also a vertical that we believe has real potential. I really do think there are some huge opportunities ahead of us in 2023 and beyond.”

Regulatory hurdles

It should come as no surprise that when discussing regulatory changes and the roll out of new verticals, the conversation soon turned towards the recent failure of Prop 27 in California.

At the time of the vote, many commercial sportsbooks expressed their disappointment that sports betting regulation would not be making its way to the Golden State. But while the market is not yet open for business, FanDuel remains committed to creating

a “safe, regulated and competitive mobile sports betting environment in the US, particularly in California”.

“California is obviously a hugely important state - it's 12% of the US population. We were certainly disappointed with the outcome of the Prop 27 vote.

“We’re regrouping on the outcome of the vote, but we do think that any change is going to take some time. I think we're still seeing some positive momentum in many of the states. I just think it's going to take ongoing education.”

Something that does need to be taken into consideration when bringing

in regulation across California is the unique stakeholder relationships at play. State regulators must work closely with casinos, racetracks, the tribes and sports teams before greenlighting any sports betting legislation.

Howe continued: “As we regroup and think about what that strategy is for California, we want to make sure that we can build the right coalitions with the right stakeholders. I also think it's going to be increasingly important to educate the stakeholders, and also the California population around the implications of not legalising sports betting.

“When you think about a $64bn illegal market where all you're doing is pushing consumers and underage kids to a black market, there's some unintended consequences of not legalising it. We have got to keep doing the hard work and making the investment to make sure that we can provide the right safe environment that consumers want.”

This is a strategy that FanDuel is also considering when it comes to New York - another market that has been a hot topic of conversation when it comes to US sports betting, largely due to the state’s high tax rates.

12 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
Howe do they do it?
FANDUEL REMAINS COMMITTED TO CREATING A SAFE, REGULATED AND COMPETITIVE MOBILE SPORTS BETTING ENVIRONMENT HERE IN THE US, PARTICULARLY IN CALIFORNIA

“The right regulatory environment matters a lot. As we’ve seen from some of the more mature markets in Europe, there are implications of not getting that balance in regulation. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that consumers keep betting as a form of entertainment and that you’re not encouraging any form of unsustainable behaviour. That’s the first objective with regulatory change.

“The second objective is that if the regulatory environment is very draconian and governments are introducing unrealistic deposit limits, then what you’re doing is pushing people back to the unregulated market. So finding the right balance is important. So the reason why Christian Ganetsky and some of our other competitors are there is to educate on the implications of not getting that regulatory balance right.

“Because what eventually happens is that legal operators start to pull back because of a 51% tax structure. It becomes very difficult to make money. You’re then going up against offshore and illegal operators who don’t have to pay taxes. They don’t invest in KYC, AML, responsible gambling tools to protect their customers. As an industry, it’s a balance we really have to get right.”

It’s all about sustainability

Keeping regulatory balance in mind, Howe explained that individual sportsbooks also need to look introspectively at their own strategies to ensure that they are operating in a sustainable way.

One way that FanDuel is doing this is with its responsible marketing efforts such as becoming the first operator to sunset the term ‘risk free betting’ from its marketing strategy.

“As we think about it here in the US, we’ve got to build a sustainable business. On the one hand, you can look at the industry and say ‘wow, there’s so much growth potential’.

But if we don’t build a responsible business, we will come up against unintended consequences further down the line.

“If you look at consumer data, the number one driver for consumers as to why they pick a particular platform is trust. If we don’t get this right, this fundamentally impacts

who you acquire and whether customers actually stay with you in the long run.

“In 2022, we were the first major operator in the US to sunset the term ‘risk free’ from our marketing. As a business, we made this choice because we thought it was important to offer much better transparency to

SPOTLIGHT sbcleaders.com 13
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT CONSUMERS KEEP BETTING AS A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT AND THAT YOU’RE NOT ENCOURAGING ANY FORM OF UNSUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOUR
I REALLY DO THINK THERE ARE SOME HUGE OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD OF US IN 2023 AND BEYOND

the consumer, while also keeping our strategy in line with Flutter’s Positive Impact Plan.

“We’re now starting to see more pressure from some of the leagues and, as a result, more operators are beginning to follow suit. We thought it was important to make sure that we could be clear and transparent and not misleading in the language.”

Finding your voice

Looking towards the future, something that cropped up was the role of diversity, equity and inclusion and the way in which this can inform a company’s wider strategy for growth.

More often than not, many female CEOs face the question of ‘how difficult is it to work in a maledominated environment?’ - and Howe is no exception. As she told SBC Leaders, this is a question that has cropped up in many interviews in the past.

Howe suggested that her previous experiences within male-dominated industries have not only spurred her on to “find her voice”, but has also pushed her to advocate for meaningful change when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I was very fortunate to grow up at a firm like McKinsey where you’re given the toolkits to be able to flourish as an individual. I can go toe-to-toe with any executive on an intellectual level - I don’t have a hard time finding my voice when I’m the only woman at the table,” Howe said.

“There are a few observations to make though. One reason why I love what I do is because I can actually use my platform to advocate for talented women to make meaningful change around diversity, equity and inclusion at my company. That was also something that has driven my performance at McKinsey, at LiveNation and now here at FanDuel.

“The other side of the coin is that it’s a very clear indicator that we do have a long way to go when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m incredibly proud of what we’re doing at Flutter.”

Drawing reference to Flutter’s Positive Impact Plan, FanDuel aims to have 40% of senior leadership positions filled by women by 2026. However, something that Howe underlined is that there is much more

to diversity, equity and inclusion aside from gender representation.

“I have the opportunity to lead our Global Advocacy group and the Global Equity Committee that drives improvements in our diversity efforts. We’re doing some really exciting things right now around expanding our inclusivity.

“What is clear is that it’s a twopronged approach. You have to expand the pipeline of women coming into the organisation, especially in functions that have historically been underrepresented, like engineering, data analytics, risk management and trading. At the same time, you then have to support women on the way up the career ladder.”

“It’s very important to remember that it's not just about gender diversity. We're talking about all forms of diversity, as we think about how to make the organisation, and the sector

as a whole, better. We have a long way to go, but we are making positive steps.”

Power of the pack

Rounding off the discussion with SBC Leaders, Howe left us with some advice for those looking to climb the career ladder in the betting and gaming industry.

“Some of the most common advice I give to folks who are starting out is that regardless of what level you come into the organisation, you are hired for a reason. So, find a way to find your voice.

“You don’t always have to be the one that’s driving a meeting or someone that has all of the answers. But make sure that you have your own perspective and bring that unique viewpoint into conversations. I think that is really important.”

Howe reflected on her own career for her second piece of advice - a journey that, as she explained, has taken her on many “twists and turns”. This variety in job roles has exposed her to various different opinions, experiences and perspectives that have ultimately led her to where she is now.

“I think one of the common themes for my success was that I exposed myself to a broad range of problems early on in my career. This was partly because I went into consulting, so by definition, you have to consider a wide range of issues on a daily basis.

“I would encourage young folks to not get so pigeonholed into one thing. Try to get exposure to different ideas and different roles because that may change your view on what you ultimately want to do in your career.”

Her final bit of advice was what she described as finding “power in a pack”, as she referenced an article by the Harvard Business School. “This is a gender agnostic point, but I do think it is particularly true for women, is that you need to find your pack.

“There’s a great article by Harvard Business School called ‘Power of the Pack’ and it’s all about women who support other women and how this ultimately leads to more success in their respective fields. This is something I fundamentally believe in. You can find your own pack in different ways - at work, through friends, industry events. But leverage those connections because you never know what doors will open up for you.” •

14 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
Howe do they do it? SPOTLIGHT
I CAN ACTUALLY USE MY PLATFORM TO ADVOCATE FOR TALENTED WOMEN TO MAKE MEANINGFUL CHANGE

SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP: CONSISTENTLY UNLOCKING VALUE ON A GLOBAL LEVEL

SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP can justifiably lay claim to having a truly transatlantic view of the betting and gaming business, having achieved major success on both sides of the pond. Managing Director Harry von Behr spoke with SBC Leaders about the work behind that rise to prominence and what makes the firm tick so sweetly, and on so many different fronts

SBC: By way of introduction, what is Spotlight Sports Group all about and who are your customers?

HVB: Spotlight Sports Group (SSG) is built on the well-known Racing Post

brand but in recent years we have expanded well beyond our horse racing heritage. We now boast content and product teams on both sides of the Atlantic who specialise in all things sports betting, which power our affiliate properties and B2B division.

Our growth in recent years has led to Spotlight Sports Group establishing itself as the largest independent sports betting affiliate in the US and UK and allowed us to unlock audience value for bookmakers and media partners globally.

We deliver distinctive sports betting experiences both through our own brands and via the world's biggest betting operators and media owners. We do this in a variety of different ways but it is all based on our strong track record of creating high-quality content, supported by data and technology.

SBC: Spotlight Sports Group is very much a ‘transatlantic’ business given

Behr necessities 16 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

its experience operating in Europe and the US. Can you talk us through how those two sides of the business differ and how they’re currently performing?

HVB: While our roots are certainly in the UK and Europe, we, along with many other companies, saw the oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to jump into the North American market a few years ago and we now have strong teams in place in both markets.

Our business strategy is relatively consistent due to our expertise in content and data, but there are distinct differences in certain parts of the business. Our affiliate programmes in the UK and the US are quite similar, but with different brands leading the charge.

In the UK and Ireland we are led by the Racing Post, alongside our other brands Free Super Tips and myracing which have a large, highly engaged combined audience. The Racing Post has a distinctive position due to its heritage and brand authority, but Free Super Tips and myracing have built significant audiences, making the group a desirable affiliate partner for bookmakers.

In the US, Pickswise is our flagship sports betting brand. Since making its debut following the repeal of PASPA it has become a true authority in sports betting, growing to become the largest sports betting audience launched since the regulation of online sports betting.

The subtle differences between our UK and US affiliate strategies are repeated in our B2B division. In both markets we specialise in providing our partners with insightful sports betting content and data that is proven to engage audiences and drive turnover.

However, in the UK we are more focused on bookmakers, embedding our content into their platforms or developing standalone platforms that match their branding and enabling users to bet through their sportsbook. We also have a very successful retail division in which we power on-site betting terminals with Racing Post content.

In North America, we work more closely with media companies to help them grow their sports betting revenues as they compete to become leaders in the sports betting space. We do this with insightful content and technology similar to that produced

WHILE OUR ROOTS ARE CERTAINLY IN THE UK AND EUROPE, WE, ALONG WITH MANY OTHER COMPANIES, SAW THE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY TO JUMP INTO THE NORTH AMERICAN MARKET A FEW YEARS AGO AND WE NOW HAVE STRONG TEAMS IN PLACE IN BOTH MARKETS

in the UK. However, uniquely, we also provide engagement tools that help bettors and fantasy players make more informed decisions. We have also had great success in creating stand-alone free-to-play platforms for our partners that help engage audiences and educate them on betting principles.

Overall, we have seen tremendous success on both sides of the Atlantic because we have teams who are well-

versed in the local markets and have the ability to provide our partners with unique solutions that are geared toward their specific needs.

SBC: Content and data are two of the key binding ingredients in sports betting. How are they integrated into a) Spotlight’s betting-focused European activities and b) the company’s US media-driven business?

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SPORTS BETTING

HVB: You said it perfectly. Content and data are essential for all things sports betting and that is why those are the two key components of our offering on both the B2B and B2C sides of our business.

Quite simply, data is a part of everything we do as it powers our technology and helps us create content for 20+ sports. Our awardwinning content engine, Superfeed, provides pre-play and in-play betting insights for 80,000+ events annually and can provide content in more than 70 languages for 136 different markets.

That functionality is not possible without our historical and live data. Our ability to provide best-in-class sports betting and fantasy sports solutions

to bookmakers and media companies hinges on the power of data being combined with our content.

SBC: Tell us more about Pickswise. What’s the secret behind its rapid growth since the repeal of PASPA?

HVB: Pickswise benefited from the fact that we have a really strong team of people at SSG who know how to build affiliate products and draw in sports betting-interested audiences. This base knowledge was really important to get things started as we focused on audience growth through SEO, leaning on our existing content teams.

The brand truly hit its stride once we combined our UK team with an onboarding of experts on the ground in the US. We now have dedicated Pickswise content and marketing teams based in the US, which has allowed the platform to grow at an amazing rate. On Twitter, Pickswise surpassed 100k followers in mid-2021, which was an amazing achievement, but in less than two years since then the following has grown to more than 300k. The growth is entirely down to great collaboration between our SEO, marketing and content teams coinciding with the continuously rising number of legal sports betting jurisdictions in the states. This has led to strong affiliate relationships with all legal sportsbooks in North America.

SBC: And what about your media partnerships in the US? What can you tell us about those?

HVB: As the US market is still in the relatively early stages of maturity our B2B division has seen a lot of success in helping media companies develop their affiliate businesses. Due to our knowledge in building affiliate properties and having in-house technology that allows us to scale quickly, we have found that this is where companies in the US need the most help.

Providing sports content for a general audience is very different to producing actionable sports betting content for potential bettors, and the latter is where we specialise.

For instance, many of our partners own websites that have content teams who are experts in providing localised content for general sports news but we provide them with the betting content,

Behr necessities 18 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
AS THE US MARKET IS STILL IN THE RELATIVELY EARLY STAGES OF MATURITY OUR B2B DIVISION HAS SEEN A LOT OF SUCCESS IN HELPING MEDIA COMPANIES DEVELOP THEIR AFFILIATE BUSINESSES

affiliate relationships and technology they need to drive new revenues through sports betting.

SBC: Turning to Europe and the rest of the world, how are these markets shaping up in the post-Covid environment? Which jurisdictions are currently the most exciting to be operating in and why?

HVB: While sports betting regulation may be increasing in some parts of Europe, we’re actually finding that this is leading to an increase in demand for insightful and valuable content. As operators become less able to target new and existing customers through the mechanics of free bets and bonuses, it is the brands that have the best and most engaging product propositions which will win out.

We’re also seeing an increasing number of requests for content in Latin America as some of the traditional European affiliates and operators look to take advantage of the burgeoning markets in that region.

SBC: Can you expand more on Spotlight Sports Group’s retail vertical and what is evidently a highly productive division for the company?

HVB: Spotlight Sports Group has provided services to the UK and Irish retail industry since 1996, when it took over the Betting Shop Display Edition. This product, which combines a wall sheet Betting Shop Display and the Racing Post newspaper, has been a staple product in retail betting shops over this period, distributed to 10,000+ outlets on a daily basis at its peak.

In recent times, we have focused on the future of retail and how to digitise our products for our partners. Aimed at engaging a new, younger audience, the digital Betting Shop Display is live on 1,000+ screens in more than 200 betting shops across the UK and Ireland. This interactive product allows customers to access all the content in the print version on a single screen, toggling between meetings and all with live prices.

Racing Post is a highly trusted brand among retail customers, and SSG is ideally placed to provide content whether the customer requires it in a print or digital format. In addition to the Digital BSD, live products across the retail estate include a digital tabloid, a Departure Board counting down to the next six to seven live events, and a sports tablet.

In addition, Racing Post content has been a big driver in the growth in stakes on Self Service Betting Terminals. Now, working closely with

for the season so we can hit the ground running and unlock audience value for our owned properties and partners. Until the new NFL season arrives though, our teams will be focusing on the ongoing MLB season and expanding relationships with our current partners.

In the UK and beyond, we are closing out the current European football seasons and UEFA Champions League while preparing for the upcoming seasons which will start all too soon in August.

WHILE SPORTS BETTING REGULATION MAY BE INCREASING IN SOME PARTS OF EUROPE, WE’RE ACTUALLY FINDING THAT THIS IS LEADING TO AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR INSIGHTFUL AND VALUABLE CONTENT

Entain on its in-house SSBTs and Racing Terminals, a new ‘EasyView’ racecard is the latest innovation which is successfully engaging a new audience. SBC: What’s in the pipeline for the rest of the year in Europe/rest of the world and the US?

HVB: In the US, the next NFL season will be here before we know it and we have learned that not only is the NFL the most popular sport to watch in the States, but it is also the biggest betting product.

With that in mind, our B2B and affiliate teams are already preparing

Last year, we provided a handful of custom-built betting content sites to our partners and we expect to do the same this year as we go above and beyond the odds to round out the second half of the year.

Of course, at SSG we always have horse racing at the forefront of our minds and our Racing Post team is already preparing for big race meetings such as the upcoming Epsom Derby and Oaks and Royal Ascot in the UK, and the final two legs of the Triple Crown (Belmont and Preakness Stakes) plus the Breeders’ Cup in the US. •

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SPORTS BETTING
WE’RE ALSO SEEING AN INCREASING NUMBER OF REQUESTS FOR CONTENT IN LATIN AMERICA

ADAM GREENBLATT: WE’RE PUTTING OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS

IN A CONVERSATION WITH SBC LEADERS, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt takes us on the journey of his career as he discusses his experience in international markets and the ingredients it takes to be a true BetMGM-er

Accounting and betting are not two industries that jump out as being intrinsically connected with one another. So when BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt walked SBC Leaders through his previous roles, it came as quite a surprise to hear that he started out in auditing.

This formed the first stepping stone for Greenblatt to join Rothschild’s M&A One Team, which oversaw all things leisure and entertainment. During his time in the City of London, he helped build the gaming practice at Rothschild.

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SPORTS BETTING

Greenblatt began: “Fast forward 10 years, and one of my clients - who was the then-CEO of Ladbrokescalled me up and said ‘come and join the party! There’s lots to do, I have reorganised my PLC board, there are three roles that would suit you perfectly’. So I took that leap into the operator side of gaming.”

Whilst the transition from a financial institution to the B2C side of gambling is somewhat of a switch in career, it wasn’t long before Greenblatt found himself climbing the rungs of the ladder at LadbrokesCoral in the UK. But when the opportunity at BetMGM came up, Greenblatt packed up his bags and relocated to the US to take up the role as CEO. In this position, he noticed some key differences between the US and Europe - one of which is the sheer scale of the market.

He said: “At a player level and a market level, we’re seeing players who will regularly bet seven figures - simply because they can. It’s a reflection of their ability to participate in gambling activities. In the UK, and elsewhere for that matter, there isn’t really that depth of wealth that we’re seeing here.

“This depth of wealth is both on an individual level and a market level. We’ve all seen the reported numbers from players and the number of companies entering the market. The depth of the market is truly eye watering!”

With 33 states plus Washington D.C. now open to sports betting, the momentum at which regulation is being introduced gathered pace from 2018 to 2022 - with three more states launching this year, all going to plan. This leads us on to the second differing factor for Greenblatt.

“There is also a pace here that is much faster than we are seeing in Europe - whether that’s the number of states adopting sports betting

legislation, customer onboarding, the pace at which the market is growing and even analyst coverage. Everything is just supercharged here,” he continued.

“Social media is also playing a more central role in marketing efforts here in the US. It’s a sentiment driver. You see a lot of the leadership and following actions - where’s the best bonus? Who’s offering what? Social media has been the driving force behind some of our communications going viral and driving new customers to our site.

“As a means of communication, social media is much more central to how people live their lives here, how they make decisions and gather information. It’s really a function of how customers interact with brands

and products. Ultimately, it also offers an outlet for thought leadership and decision making.

“The other difference, which seems somewhat obvious, is US sports centricity. More than 80% of our offering is focused on US sports. With that comes the increase in products available - parlays, player props, inplay betting.

“Interestingly, US bettors have a bias towards pre-game bets which speaks to the relative immaturity of the market. In-play betting is slowly getting there, and will eventually reach the same popularity as pre-

A new pace 22 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
THERE IS ALSO A PACE HERE THAT IS MUCH FASTER THAN WE ARE SEEING IN EUROPE
WE’VE ALL SEEN THE REPORTED NUMBERS FROM PLAYERS AND THE NUMBER OF COMPANIES ENTERING THE MARKET. THE DEPTH OF THE MARKET IS TRULY EYE WATERING!

game. As of late, we’re also seeing a growth in micro betting.”

Showing who we are

As we all know, the outbreak of coronavirus presented a unique set of challenges for companies across the world. In the betting sector, we saw sportsbooks and casinos alike close their doors to the public for the best part of a year.

Similar to many other industries, the sports betting and casino sectors shifted towards the digital space and employees took to working from home. Greenblatt noted that this was arguably the biggest hurdle that he faced as CEO as he sought to preserve the BetMGM identity.

He told SBC Leaders: “I think that the pandemic was something of a

defining moment for our business as we transitioned to remote working. At that time, we were still a relatively small business with only 135 employees. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have increased our headcount 18 fold.

“What this has meant is we had to cultivate and disseminate what it really means to be a BetMGM-er. We had to show who we are, what our values are, what we stand for. I think

that was a primary challenge for us.”

Greenblatt was arguably doing something right, however, as the company recently announced a new accreditation which he believes is a testament to the work culture and employee satisfaction at BetMGM.

He continued: “Over the last few weeks, we earned an accreditation with an organisation here in the US called Great Place to Work. What has truly been the mic-drop moment for me is that 92% of employees at BetMGM say it’s a great place to work compared to the US average of 57%. There’s a lot to be proud of.”

With new accreditations under his belt, Greenblatt told SBC Leaders that the challenges his company faced gave him a new perspective on what makes a ‘good leader’.

“My key takeaways for leadership have been to communicate more than you think is necessary. Be transparent. Also own up to your mistakes - these missteps are an essential and healthy part of growth for both a company and an individual. Leaning into your mistakes, exposing the flaws within your leadership and talking about it shows that we’re all human. How we respond to those issues is also very important.

“This concept of authenticity is a big one for me and for the business. You have to show up in an authentic manner. The other thing that we’ve really embraced as a company is showing up in the moments that matter - especially during your colleagues’ times of need. Doing this signposts the type of behaviour that you would like to see from everyone within your business, and can also engender loyalty.

“For me personally, the key challenge I had was that shift in perception from being a GVC person to being perceived as a BetMGM person by MGM Resorts, our other shareholder. That was a journey that I personally needed to navigate and I am delighted with where that

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SOCIAL MEDIA IS MUCH MORE CENTRAL TO HOW PEOPLE LIVE THEIR LIVES HERE, HOW THEY MAKE DECISIONS AND GATHER INFORMATION
US BETTORS HAVE A BIAS TOWARDS PRE-GAME BETS WHICH SPEAKS TO THE RELATIVE IMMATURITY OF THE MARKET

relationship is today. I also had to establish credibility as a first time CEO which came with its own set of unique challenges.”

Lessons learned

Given his experience in Europe and the time he has spent with a US-facing company, Greenblatt highlighted a number of key lessons that he has taken from his career so far.

One of the biggest lessons, he explained, has been speed to market and the roll out of best-in-class products. The way to achieve this is to survey your player base to “truly understand the opportunities and pain points” that they face and adapt your offering accordingly.

Something that he highlighted as being unique to the US market, however, is the internalised culture of responsible gambling efforts. Arguably, this comes from witnessing what has taken place in European markets that have been left “unchecked” - Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK to name a few.

“The thing I’m really focusing on right now is the whole topic of

THERE ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH EXAMPLES FROM EUROPE WHICH SIGNPOST THE RISK TO SUSTAINABILITY OF THE SECTOR, THE TAX CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE PREVENTION OF THE BLACK MARKET. THIS CANNOT BE IGNORED

responsible gaming, how we organise ourselves and how we invest in that area,” he commented.

“We also need to manage our stakeholders - customers, regulators, lawmakers and the media. There are more than enough examples from Europe which signpost the risk to sustainability of the sector, the tax contributions and the prevention of the black market. This cannot be ignored.

“You'll see, one of the features of

the US market has been that we as an industry have leaned more into ensuring that we have the best player protection measures in place from the get go. We’re very encouraged by our colleagues within the gambling sector who have leaned more into doing this alongside BetMGM.

“This is happening much more quickly than it has in other markets. The US market is still in a stage of relative infancy, but the conversations around responsible gambling and the actions being taken by gambling companies are way ahead of markets around the world. I take encouragement from that.”

So how do you ensure that the industry continues to operate in the best interests of player protection? For the BetMGM CEO, this comes in the form of industry-wide initiatives and a codified list of principles.

A new pace 24 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
THE CONVERSATIONS AROUND RESPONSIBLE GAMING AND THE ACTIONS BEING TAKEN BY GAMBLING COMPANIES ARE WAY AHEAD OF MARKETS AROUND THE WORLD

Discussions soon turned towards the launch of the 12 Principles of Responsible Gambling, which aims to highlight the tools available for player protection - including a unified, toll-free helpline, socially responsible advertising and player education initiatives.

“We’re also investing in research - we’re putting our money where our mouth is. So we've given a grant to the International Center for Responsible Gaming, which operates independently from BetMGM. They will conduct research on safer gambling.

“What we want to do is create a credible research benchmark for the impact of advertising on problem gambling because, ultimately, we’re a data-led company. What we want to do is create a data framework against which we can evaluate trends from across the industry.

“We can ascertain whether problem gambling is increasing, decreasing, and the role that advertising plays in this. But the only way to know if we’re effectively combating problem

gambling is to measure it against a baseline.”

In addition to the responsible gaming tools, Greenblatt acknowledged that education and training is fundamental. To do this, the operator partnered with UKbased EPIC Risk Management to deliver training that focuses on lived

Gambling. And just a few weeks ago, we announced an extension of our relationship with GameSense who are an excellent partner. We think that they have one of the world’s leading programmes in player education. They have excellent resources available to help players gamble responsibly. We’re proud to offer their tools across our retail and online channels.”

The future of igaming

At the time of writing, BetMGM is live in 26 states with its sports betting offering, and five states and provinces for igaming.

experience and the precursors to problematic gambling behaviour.

This training is complemented by ARC - a tool starting to be used across the BetMGM platform that analyses changes in player behaviour and flags any potential risks.

“We’re also a platinum member of the National Council on Problem

So when pressed on the company’s plans for expansion of its igaming offering, Greenblatt pointed towards the disparity between the speed of legalisation of the two verticals.

“In time, we expect 80% of the US market to have access to some kind of sports betting offering, and 38% to have access to igaming. We do think that igaming is moving slower at the moment, although there are promising shoots that we’re beginning to see

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WE EXPECT 80% OF THE US MARKET TO HAVE ACCESS TO SOME KIND OF SPORTS BETTING OFFERING, AND 38% TO HAVE ACCESS TO IGAMING

in states such as Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and New York.”

Whilst legalising igaming can have commercial benefits for companies looking to offer new products to players, it can also bring with it additional advantages in terms of player protection and tax contributions.

So what’s causing the delay in regulation? “The reality is, you can search on Google and find illegal operators available right now. But something to remember is that these operators do not offer the player protection benefits nor the tax contributions that licensed operators do.

“When you consider that there will likely be requirements for more tax revenue over the coming years as a result of the pandemic, and then acknowledge that the groundwork is there for the igaming market, you begin to ask why states have not regulated igaming at the same speed as sports betting.

“I think that the protectionist behaviour of some of the landbased operators combined with some political opposition has posed some challenges. [abg: this was an observation about the pace of future

sports betting legislation: But despite this, I do see igaming gathering momentum but it will be slower than it has been already. By definition, once the first state legalises, it becomes more difficult as you get to the back of the queue. But we do see some positive signs from a handful of the new sports betting states in the next 12-18 months.]”

newcomers looking to enter the market. “You need to position yourself for the future. I think there is going to be a shake-out of B2C operators coming. There are some big trends affecting the outlook of B2B players too,” he said.

“We’re going to see more consolidation of the market around the top end. So BetMGM, DraftKings,

Online casino has been somewhat of a growth area for BetMGM, with its igaming products helping to deliver a more enhanced omnichannel experience for players.

Greenblatt told SBC Leaders that in 2022 alone, the company saw a 120% growth in omnichannel first time depositors - an increase that he showed great pride in.

In defence

Talk soon turned towards the CEO’s predictions for the gambling industry, and more specifically, the advice that he would give to

FanDuel. The leaders are bringing more and more tech in-house. So if you’re not one of the leaders within the B2C space, the costs of entering and participating in the US market are incredibly expensive. I’m not optimistic about the outlook for the longtail of operators here in the US market. It’s just too onerous.

“If you’re a B2B player, make sure that the thing your business is providing has its own solid USP but can also act as an add-on for one of the leaders in the B2C space. Selling to the longtail doesn’t really help if the market is consolidating.” •

26 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 A new pace
SPORTS BETTING
I THINK THERE IS GOING TO BE A SHAKE-OUT OF B2C OPERATORS COMING. THERE ARE SOME BIG TRENDS AFFECTING THE OUTLOOK OF B2B PLAYERS TOO
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SETTING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR PLAYER PROTECTION

WITH THE 2023 PLAYER PROTECTION SYMPOSIUM set to take place in New Jersey in May, SBC Leaders caught up with Martin Lycka, Entain’s SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, to discuss post-PASPA progress on consumer protection issues

Having spent more than a decade working in the European sports betting and igaming industry before relocating to the US in 2021, Lycka is one of the best-known figures in the world of responsible gambling. He is also uniquely well placed to offer an informed assessment of the North American approach - and it’s fair to say that he’s impressed by what he has seen so far.

“I'm delighted to report that there are an ever increasing number of states, led as always by New Jersey, that have introduced, or are in the throes of introducing, robust responsible gambling standards,” he said.

“This theme will definitely be reiterated and replicated going forward, and we’ve already seen Ohio, Colorado, Massachusetts and New York look at beefing up their responsible gambling practices. So I believe that, ultimately, it will spread across all the states that have regulated sports betting or igaming.”

Lycka is also full of praise for the regulators he has encountered in North America, who have “an open door

policy and are always prepared to have a chat and listen”.

There is, of course, still plenty of work for legislators, regulators and operators to do. As the individual state markets start to mature and the focus switches from the dash for player acquisition to the long-term impact of legal online gambling, new issues have begun to spring up.

Some of the challenges will be familiar to European audiences, such as a negative narrative in the established media putting pressure on regulators and operators, but others are unique to the US. Chief among them is how to manage the relationship between sports betting and high-profile college sports.

While many states have adopted a largely positive attitude to wagering

A safer gambling superhero 28 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

on college sports, as long as the right measures are in place to protect the athletes and their fellow students,

others such as New Jersey and Massachusetts have chosen to impose restrictions. Lycka strongly favours the more liberal approach.

“Firstly, I'm of the view that allowing betting on college sports in a controlled environment and subject to robust sports integrity controls is preferable to banning it,” he said. “By permitting betting, there are even more pairs of

eyes - in this instance, the operators that keep a very close eye on those matches - to help protect the key asset of the game itself.

“Secondly, together with EPIC Risk Management, the Entain Foundation US has launched a programme that gives lived experience responsible gambling classes to colleges up and down the country, as well as to the NCAA itself. The programme has provided this education in more than 60 colleges already, including household names such as Clemson and Auburn, and we intend to grow it.”

The work with EPIC is just one of many projects that the Entain Foundation US has backed since the London-listed gambling giant launched the nonprofit in September 2019, with Lycka as its chair and former New York Giants star Amani Toomer and international gambling regulatory expert Bill Pascrell III among the trustees.

ALLOWING BETTING ON COLLEGE SPORTS IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AND SUBJECT TO ROBUST SPORTS INTEGRITY CONTROLS IS PREFERABLE TO BANNING IT

“Entain is investing in a research project with the Division on Addiction at Harvard Medical School,” explained Lycka. “In the field of research, we've also been working very closely with UNLV and, sticking to the theme of the university space, we've been one of the driving forces behind the Seton Hall gambling compliance bootcamp here on the East Coast.

“Besides that, we've set off on a course to educate both professional and amateur student athletes. In addition to our work with the NCAA, we have partnered with the NFL Players Association and MLS Players Association, and we're talking to the other leagues about joining the programme.”

In addition to that wide-ranging education project, the Foundation has teamed up with Kindbridge, My Wager School, the National Council on Problem Gambling and Nicasa Behavioral Health Services to launch the Gamble Responsibly America app.

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ENTAIN IS INVESTING IN A RESEARCH PROJECT WITH THE DIVISION ON ADDICTION AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

A safer gambling superhero

Available for free via the App Store and Google Play Store, it contains a host of useful information about responsible gambling and advice on how bettors can help themselves if they encounter any signs of problem gambling behaviour.

One of the channels used to promote the app has been the Foundation’s sponsorship of ex-New York Knicks star Charles Oakley’s ‘Oak Out Hunger’ community project, a step that has helped to take the safer gambling message to deprived communities.

At a slightly more frivolous level, the work with the NBA All-Star has given Lycka an unexpected alter ego. He explained: “We’ve launched a set of responsible gambling superheroes, including Oakley as ‘Charles, the Limits Enforcer’ and me as ‘Martin, the RG Preacher’. Players will be seeing the full set across the app soon.”

Lycka is understandably proud of the impact of the work undertaken by Entain and its Foundation in the responsible gambling space, but he is also quick to pay tribute to the efforts of the competition.

Entain is one of a group of leading US-facing operators - alongside BetMGM, MGM Resorts International, DraftKings, FanDuel and Bally’s - to have agreed to and published a set of responsible gambling principles that they will abide by. The group is now working on recruiting other major operators and strengthening those principles, which extend to prevention, research and treatment support.

“That work has been picked up and the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States is now working on a resolution of its own. I’ve been working quite closely with them on it and they’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the operators’ principles,” said Lycka. “But it’s two-way traffic and we may want to draw inspiration from their document when it’s published this summer.”

With operators and regulators largely on the same page, Lycka believes that the approach to responsible gambling in the US is “really all coming together” and that all the hard work will benefit the industry.

“Just like in Europe and all around the world, Entain strongly believes that the only way of achieving long-term

sustainability of the US markets is by means of deploying and ultimately enforcing very strong consumer protection controls,” he concluded.

One possible stormcloud on the industry horizon is New York Congressman Paul D. Tonko’s ‘Betting on our Future Act’, a federal bill that seeks to ban radio, television and online advertising by sportsbooks. While Lycka recognises that the gambling advertising landscape is far from problem-free, he does not view Tonko’s proposal as providing the solution.

think about frequency and think about what we promote. There’s already been a step away from constantly offering free bets, which I believe is for the best, but the industry needs to make sure that it is sensible about advertising moving forward.”

Legislators in states including New York and Massachusetts have, at relatively early stages of their regulated markets being live, begun to tighten rules around advertising. Lycka’s hope is that any further changes will not inadvertently curb operators’ ability to use marketing as an education tool.

“Advertising can go a long way towards addressing the concerns the likes of Congressman Tonko and others may have as, used in the right way, it’s a great channel to convey responsible gambling messages,” he said.

“I strongly believe, and it goes beyond advertising, that bans in this space are counterproductive because they only drive consumers into the welcoming arms of the black market,” he explained.

“Having said that, the industry does need to think about introducing a further element of reason to its adverts. What I mean by that is that we should

“Not only does it provide the opportunity to educate consumers about why they should choose a legitimate licensed operator to bet with and how they can gamble in a safe and sustainable way, it is also a chance to utilise big personalities who have chosen to become champions of responsible gambling. Sports fans will really listen to a message delivered by Amani Toomer, the Manning brothers or Charles Oakley.” •

30 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
SPORTS BETTING
SPORTS FANS WILL REALLY LISTEN TO A MESSAGE DELIVERED BY AMANI TOOMER, THE MANNING BROTHERS OR CHARLES OAKLEY
Martin Lycka speaks alongside Charles Oakley at the Player Protection Symposium in 2022

JUSTIN COSNETT: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF CONTINENT 8 TECHNOLOGIES

CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER JUSTIN COSNETT discusses the strides that Continent 8 Technologies has made in the US market and how his company is helping gambling operators to best protect against potential cyber attacks

SBC: The US market is growing rapidly, with more states due to open up to regulated gambling in the next few months. Are there any particular markets that you believe hold great potential for Continent 8?

JC: Continent 8 Technologies has already made great strides in the US market and today we are live in 25 states and counting. We’ve taken a first-to-market approach across North America, allowing our customers to enter regulated states and provinces from day one.

Our US market expansion will continue throughout the year with launches in Nevada, Minnesota and Georgia in the pipeline. We are also building secondary or disaster recovery solutions in a large number of states, most recently in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Louisiana.

We expect to see changes to regulations in several other states, so there’s plenty of potential opportunity for further growth for Continent 8 and our customers in the region.

SBC: How will Continent 8 use its regulatory know-how and experience

Going continental 32 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

WE’VE

to support companies looking to expand their footprint across the US?

JC: We’ve spent the past 25 years supporting customers in regulated markets, including in the US. The fact that we power 80% of the 2022 EGR Power US ranking operators is a testament to the quality of our solutions and services, but also our ability to guide customers through the regulatory challenges they face.

Because of our first-to-market approach, and close working relationship with state regulators, our customers can hit the ground running from day one of the market opening, confident that their infrastructure is fully compliant. This is crucial given the state-by-state nature of the US, with each market having slightly different requirements for operators to meet. This makes having a blueprint for infrastructure almost impossible, elevating the importance of working with a provider that is approved in all regulated states.

SBC: Continent 8 recently made its debut in Ohio where you made your iGaming Cloud available to licensed operators across the state. For those that might not know, what is the iGaming Cloud?

JC: Our regulated iGaming Cloud offers a scalable and resilient infrastructure platform that allows customers to host virtual servers, compute, containers, storage and network-edge devices without the need for physical hardware. Customers can scale usage up and down in line with demand, while also benefiting from our powerful DDoS protection. When it comes to market entry, Cloud solutions provide the quickest and simplest route into a new state.

SBC: How is the iGaming Public Cloud removing the leg work when it comes to hardware procurement and compliance?

JC: With our iGaming Public Cloud, operators and suppliers don’t need to

worry about hardware procurement and management at all. Continent 8 manages up to and including the hypervisor but with customers having complete control of their virtual data centre and virtual machines.

Usage is scalable and with, a commercial model that suits the customer’s needs, it is the most cost-effective way of deploying infrastructure in any regulated US state.

SBC: What are your plans for rolling out the Public Cloud to additional states? Are there any markets that are particularly high on your agenda?

JC: It is available to licensed operators in key regulated states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and most recently Ohio. We will expand to additional states in the coming months.

sbcleaders.com 33
SPORTS BETTING
THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY IS ONE OF THE MOST ATTACKED, SO IT’S VITAL FOR OPERATORS AND SUPPLIERS TO TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO PROTECT THEIR SYSTEMS, NETWORKS, INFRASTRUCTURE AND DATA
TAKEN A FIRST-TO-MARKET APPROACH ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, ALLOWING OUR CUSTOMERS TO ENTER REGULATED STATES AND PROVINCES FROM DAY ONE

SBC: From your experience, what are the biggest challenges that operators and suppliers face when it comes to cyber security? And how do you overcome these?

JC: The gambling industry is one of the most attacked, so it’s vital for operators and suppliers to take a proactive approach to protect their systems, networks, infrastructure and data. There is no doubt that the industry will continue to be under attack over the coming 12 months, so operators and suppliers must act now to ensure they have the necessary policies and protections in place.

Those that don’t leave themselves incredibly vulnerable and should an attack get through, will have to contend not only with the financial loss that results, but also the reputational damage of having customers’ personal and financial data compromised. This is damage that can be very hard to repair indeed. To prevent this from happening, a multi-layered approach is an absolute must, and this means rolling out DDoS and WAAP protection as well as MDR/ EDR and SIEM/SOC solutions.

SBC: 2023 marks 25 years of Continent 8, congratulations! What can we expect from Continent 8 in its 25th year?

JC: Thanks! It’s been quite the journey and Continent 8 achieving this significant milestone is a proud moment for the entire team. When you compare where we started to where the business is at today, it’s clear that Continent 8 has come a very long way indeed. Not only has the business changed, but so too has the industry and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Our aim has always been to help our partners overcome these challenges and seize the opportunities on the table, and we do a very good job of both. This year, we will continue to do the same while also expanding

our network – we are set to pass 100 locations – and the range of products and services we offer, to best serve our customer base.

This includes our growing powerful Gaming Exchange, a private internet exchange that can only be used by Continent 8 customers, allowing them to connect directly with one another. It offers a VPN across our backbone network in conjunction with third-party circuits to let customers exchange traffic at the lowest latency and highest performance, while being secure and private. Launched last year, this is a game-changer for our customers.

SBC: And if you were to look into a crystal ball, where do you see Continent 8 in the next few years?

JC: We will further establish ourselves as the go-to infrastructure provider of choice for operators active in regulated markets around the world. We will continue to deploy our ambitious expansion plans in North America and Latin America, while also strengthening our position in Europe and Asia. •

34 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Going continental
SPORTS BETTING
WHEN YOU COMPARE WHERE WE STARTED TO WHERE THE BUSINESS IS AT TODAY, IT’S CLEAR THAT CONTINENT 8 HAS COME A VERY LONG WAY INDEED
Powering the biggest US online gaming brands. Your hosting, connectivity and security partner for every regulated state you need. Visit us at BOOTH A140 sales@continent8.com |

CAPITOL CATCHUP: WHERE WILL SPORTS BETTING BE IN 2023?

DAN

Since the repeal of PASPA back in 2018, it has seemed like everywhere you turn a new state is opening up to sports betting in some form or another. Whether online, mobile or retail only, 37 US states have legalised sports betting in some way with a steady stream of states passing legislation each year.

Whilst 2022 saw five new states launch regulated sports betting, only three actually passed laws during the year - Maine, Kansas and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, a series of states narrowly - or not in some cases - missed out on the party.

California, Georgia and Kentucky could not get legislation through before the end of the legislative session and even Massachusetts lawmakers had to sit throughout the

night before they managed to finish squabbling to finally pass the law.

The Golden State in particular was an embarrassment for all involved. Infamously $600m was spent on campaigning for both Proposition 26 and 27 and both were flatly rejected by the Californian electorate.

And yet, in 2023, the legislative season doesn’t look too much brighter, either.

Despite a whole wave of bills being proposed by lawmakers, confidence in much movement on the legalisation of sports betting this year is in low supply as the final few states remain without wagering.

With only 13 states left to legalise, SBC Leaders spoke to gaming and betting lawyer, Dan Wallach, to assess

Smash, bang, Wallach 36 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
WALLACH BRINGS US UP TO SPEED on the latest developments taking place within the US sports betting industry and the key regulatory challenges that states face when getting legislation over the line

the challenges the industry faces with further expansion.

A political mismatch?

Sometimes, complex political battles can be neatly summarised. And the current scenario in the US is one of those. Simply put, 13 remaining states is not too many. And if sports betting hasn’t been legalised after five years in those states, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to be a tough fight to turn opinion around.

Wallach explained: “The reason so many of these states remain not legal for sports betting is there are legal complications caused by state constitutions. Maybe there's some competition among stakeholders as to who gets to offer; these weren't the easy states to begin with.

“The easy states were done in the first year or two. Now, we're getting to some of the states that have had issues in the past and difficulty in getting over the finish line.”

Issues in the past can be a bit of an understatement when you consider some of the vehement anti-gambling stances in some communities, particularly amongst religious groups.

In southern and conservativeleaning states there can be difficulty getting lawmakers to back any form of gambling expansion, though it isn’t necessarily a red versus blue issue. Some Democrats are against gambling expansion due to the risks of problem gambling, too.

But despite the pushback, there is significant support for sports betting in remaining states, including Georgia and Texas, where sports teams and stakeholders are publicly backing sports betting legislation.

This, Wallach believes, could provide the weight needed to force legislators to offer sports betting to voters in upcoming elections.

Citing Texas and Georgia, he explained: “Those are two states that have a political dynamic that makes enacting any gambling legislation an uphill battle, because you're dealing with a political and religious climate that's antithetical to gambling expansion. But you only have to do it once. And there are lessons to be learned from previous failed attempts.

“But now you have the muscle and the weight of the professional sports

teams in their states pushing for legal sports betting. And the lobbying has become more effective over time so that in the second or third attempt to pass sports betting in those states, they've actually gained over the

stakeholders who have benefited from getting a better understanding of the political and legal climate in those states.”

Geographic competition

Another consideration that lawmakers face in legalising sports betting is that, as bordering states introduce wagering, players are flocking across those borders and spending money that contributes to competitors’ coffers.

Take Texas, for example, which is close to several sports betting states including Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona and Kansas. The logic of pro sports betting campaigners is that

sbcleaders.com 37
SPORTS BETTING
IF SPORTS BETTING HASN’T BEEN LEGALISED AFTER FIVE YEARS IN THOSE STATES, YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR IT’S GOING TO BE A TOUGH FIGHT TO TURN OPINION AROUND
WE'RE GETTING TO SOME OF THE STATES THAT HAVE HAD ISSUES IN THE PAST AND DIFFICULTY IN GETTING OVER THE FINISH LINE

gamblers are going to flock to those states to spend their dollars, or worse, potentially head to the offshores and black market operators.

This argument has worked before, Wallach claims, and has garnered success in Massachusetts, an area where states were legalising betting left, right and centre. Massachusetts residents would often spend their dollars in New Hampshire, forcing the legislature to rethink their stance towards sports betting to keep dollars in the Bay State.

Wallach explained: “That argument has already worked in states like Massachusetts and New York, which have witnessed their residents travelling across state lines and taking their discretionary spending to other states.

“For several years, New Hampshire's legal sports betting framework has been powered by upwards of 30% of Massachusetts residents who travelled to New Hampshire just to place a bet. And the numbers are even more dramatic in New Jersey, based upon the proximity and the population size

of New York City.”

And this approach could be a way of winning over legislators in Texas, moving forward.

“States like Texas, which is surrounded by legal sports betting options and neighbouring states, face significant pressure or at least face a real migration issue of whether the state of Texas continues to maintain the status quo.”

The Constitutional Problem

Another glaring issue of expanding gambling in the US is that some of the remaining states would need to make a constitutional amendment. This, in several cases, would mean getting two-thirds of the legislature to vote in favour of a bill to then send to

the electorate to vote on and give a majority to.

Clearly this makes things even more difficult and, considering some of the other issues covered, these hurdles can be insurmountable.

The issue of a constitutional amendment was a sticking point for lawmakers in Georgia this year. Several measures tried to tie sports betting to the lottery, therefore bypassing the requirement for a constitutional amendment.

However, for some, this was unconstitutional and disingenuous.

Senator Bill Cowsert, who filed a bill that would require a public vote, said: “I think it’s only fair if we’re going to make that big of a cultural change in our state to let the people of Georgia decide to do that.

“There are a number of legislators who have personal opposition to gambling, but feel like it’s only fair to let the people of Georgia decide.”

Ultimately, sports betting legislation died in Georgia this year, unable to make it past the March 6 deadline for bills to make progress to the Senate.

Smash, bang, Wallach 38 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
NOW YOU HAVE THE MUSCLE AND THE WEIGHT OF THE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMS IN THEIR STATES, PUSHING FOR LEGAL SPORTS BETTING

But Wallach did not necessarily agree with Cowsert’s assessment and argued that Georgians could have passed sports betting without a constitutional amendment.

He outlined: “I've been speaking in a consistent voice on this issue for nearly four years and I've not needed to evolve one iota. The Georgia Constitution does not include a blanket ban on all forms of gambling - it only prohibits three specific categories of gambling, pari-mutuel betting, casino gambling, and lotteries, but also allows the Georgia lottery to operate for the benefit of statewide education.

“So even if sports wagering were to be viewed as a lottery, the state-run lottery could still operate as a lottery game.”

For all the talk of constitutional amendments and public votes, the industry does not have a good experience with the electorate in recent times, with last year’s California vote still fresh in the mind.

Despite $600m in campaign funding, both Prop 26 and 27 resoundingly failed, not even garnering 25% support

from the electorate.

Brandt Iden, VP of Government Affairs at Fanatics, spoke to SBC last year around the time of the California vote, explaining why the measures were doomed to fail and what it would take to reach a breakthrough.

Iden said: “My prediction is everybody sort of goes back to their corner and takes a little time off. I’m hopeful and optimistic that the

Iden knows about the legislative process for legalising sports betting, having played a pivotal role in bringing it to Michigan, where he was a Representative for the 61st District.

Asked about his role in that process and how politicians can overcome some of the hurdles outlined in this story, Iden explained that everyone needs to work in the same direction and iron out their differences civilly.

commercials and the tribes will maybe sit down and try to figure out that this can be done legislatively.

“But it will take a compromise as we’ve seen in Michigan, Arizona, and Connecticut, where tribes and commercials have been able to work together. It would be really disappointing to see us go back to the ballot in 2024 and spend another almost half a billion dollars, if not more, on another fight.”

He explained: “One of the pieces that then made that very successful is the integration of the tribes and the commercials working together within the market. It took a massive compromise to get that done.

“In fact, it took me five-and-ahalf years in my six-year career, and the first time it got vetoed by the governor. So it took me a long time to get that done. And it was a lot of hard work.” •

sbcleaders.com 39
SPORTS BETTING
IT WOULD BE REALLY DISAPPOINTING TO SEE US GO BACK TO THE BALLOT IN 2024 AND SPEND ANOTHER ALMOST HALF A BILLION DOLLARS, IF NOT MORE, ON ANOTHER FIGHT

GREG KIRKORSKY LAUDS A WINNING TEAM AND CULTURE

GREG KIRKORSKY took up the role of Chief Commercial Officer at SportsDataIO earlier this year. Here, he talks to SBC Leaders about his experience of working in the sports betting space and how his new employer’s solutions, such as its BAKER engine, are helping drive the business to new heights

SBC: Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself - how did you come to work at SportsDataIO?

GK: I joined SportsDataIO, as Chief Commercial Officer, Feb 1, 2023. Previously, I spent 25+ years in similar roles at sports data/content companies, STATS LLC and Perform Group Plc,

before they merged. Since then, I’ve consulted for a number of companies in the space including Genius Sports, Synergy Sports and Sportz Interactive, based in India. Most recently I was Chief Revenue Officer at SimWin Sports, the first virtual sports league in the Metaverse offering fantasy sports.

I wanted to join SportsDataIO because I really missed working in the traditional sports space. I had grown to know and respect CEO Scott Gimpel and President Dustin Sullivan and admired the impressive business they had built. They are highly respected amongst their peers/partners and from afar I

Data day sbcleaders.com 41
SPORTS BETTING

always wondered what it would be like to be a part of their winning team and culture. They are product led and it’s the people that really impresses me the most. With a growing marketplace fueled by the early momentum gained from legal sports wagering in the US, it was the perfect opportunity for me to bring value to the company while continuing to grow personally and professionally in my career.

SBC: So the last time we spoke, we discussed the launch of SportsDataIO’s BAKER Engine. Since then, how has it been received by partners?

GK: It’s been great; we have a number of sportsbooks and fantasy sports partners licensing our BAKER Prediction Engine. It’s really one of one in the space - meaning there isn't another AI data tool drilling down at a discrete play-by-play level, looking at decades of historical sports data and simulating predictive performance and outcomes 10,000 times (at both the micro to macro level). Thus, we are able to provide predictive forecasts that are more accurate, since we have such depth and breadth of underlying data.

For example, more and more sportsbooks are dependent upon simulations to power their betting markets. A few have significantly

invested in people and technology to set and price their markets. More will look to capitalize on similar technology and people. We are in the perfect position to partner with them, saving them money and providing a faster and more accurate solution supporting their predictive pricing and trading processes. By trusting and leveraging BAKER we can support them with our predictive analytics complementing their work force and trading operations.

determine pre or in-game “tune in” messaging predicting when (or how often) a highlight-worthy play is likely to happen while the game is live. The Predictive BAKER Engine will continue to supply nuggets for storytelling and short form insights and graphics appealing to the diehard sports fan, as well as the casual observer, bringing them closer to the athletes/game as a fan.

SportsDataIO will continue to evolve BAKER’s visualisation outputs through APIs and widgets, sharing short form insights, analytics and social publishing tools. These products will increase the time users/fans spend on site, extend fantasy/sports sign ups/participation. Both provide for increased eyeballs and traffic supporting advertising growth and higher sponsorship dollars.

SBC: Outside of sports betting, what applications does BAKER Engine have for other retailers?

GK: SportsDataIO will stay committed and focused on the sports vertical. We see new opportunities across sports media supporting ad sponsored campaigns. Examples include predicting performance “milestones” or “commemorative moments” that no one anticipated happening. BAKER can

Another use case is ticketing for live sporting events. Ticket service providers have an important job of setting ticket prices for every game. BAKER can determine and prioritize the right data/ criteria to help define and optimise pricing by team and market. The criteria may include probability of how well their team might do, how close the game might be, how likely is their team to make the playoffs, etc. These providers need future game simulations and projections to support their businesses and typically don’t have access to the

Data day 42 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
IN-PLAY WAGERING, SPECIFICALLY MICROBETTING, IS CONTINUING TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR DISCUSSIONS WITH OPERATORS AND SPORTSBOOKS

depth of data, nor the data scientists to produce these insights.

SBC: The Super Bowl was not too long ago, and was held in a state with legalized sports betting for the first time. From your perspective, was there a change in demand for play-by-play data and visualisation widgets in the run-up to the event?

GK: We typically sell Super Bowl content as part of our NFL regular season/postseason offerings.

That type of sale is usually six months in advance of the start of a sports’ regular season. For the NFL we are selling now for the September, 2023 NFL start. Saying that, we did entertain a few endemic brand specific campaigns for the Super Bowl that were dependent upon our in-progress data - timestamping statistical milestones initiating data triggered advertising, while the game was broadcast live.

We also offered up the BAKER Predictive Engine and shared our five “Best Bets” for the big game and highlighted the probability of winning each Super Bowl Square (home/ away scores). The latter gave fans an understanding of how likely they were to win at the end of each quarter/ final score based on the history of the Super Bowl “scores”. This showed off the power of BAKER and was not only a current offering, but served as a dynamic content to support our sales efforts heading into MLB and the Women’s World Cup 2023.

SBC: How important has in-play, granular data been in engaging bettors ahead of, during and after large-scale events such as the Super Bowl?

GK: In-play wagering, specifically micro-betting, is continuing to be at the forefront of our discussions with operators and sportsbooks. The granularity of our data, discrete data points at the play-by-play level, is very important for sportsbooks to handicap, price and settle bets across their in-game markets. The speed for which we capture this data and deliver to operators, via socket connections or other delivery protocol(s), offer sportsbooks an opportunity to increase their volume of bets during a live game. The more wagers they take, the higher their handle and earnings. It’s a volumebased business!

While the big global one-off sporting events are great, the larger and more lucrative opportunity allows for all of these in-play bets during an entire league’s season, to attract a larger audience, over a longer period of games/time and create a much larger betting window throughout a season.

SBC: What can we expect from SportsDataIO for the remainder of 2023?

GK: The sports betting marketplace will continue to attract much of ours and our clients’ attention. Thus, we will continue to expand our pre-match solutions, add markets across our

aggregated odds service(s) and provide latency-dependent data delivery solutions to support in-running and micro betting.

SportsDataIO will continue to apply the BAKER Predictive Engine across new sports. We are launching MLB this month and will have added college football, college basketball and the NHL for Fall 23’. In addition, we are expanding our data coverage across golf, tennis and will continue to add to our international soccer coverage, which is important as we add more partners across EMEA, APAC, Central and South America(s).

Lastly, in Q4, 2022, we announced an exclusive distribution partnership with NBC Sports' Rotoworld to bring an instant integrated best-in-class Data-plus-News feed to market. We are excited about having access to Rotoworld’s Player News and now a full calendar year to market and distribute this content to our partners. •

sbcleaders.com 43
SPORTS BETTING
WE WILL CONTINUE TO EXPAND OUR PRE-MATCH SOLUTIONS, ADD MARKETS ACROSS OUR AGGREGATED ODDS SERVICES
Greg Kirkorsky, Chief Commercial Officer at SportsDataIO
Your Trusted Hardware Partner! Sports Betting ∙ Cashless ∙ Gaming From start to finish, SUZOHAPP can build a complete solution to fit all your sports betting hardware needs. PORTRAIT TABLETOP
SUZOHAPP.COM/SPORTSBETTING Automating
Betting Cycle from Buy-In to Payout sports betting ecosystem 500+ May 9-11, 2023 New Jersey, US Booth A404 SBT-1000 SBT- OTC SBT- 500
the

TODD SIMS: MAKING SPORTS BETTING IMMERSIVE

SUZOHAPP’S VP SALES,

& AMUSEMENT FOR THE AMERICAS speaks with SBC Leaders about the roll out of self-service betting terminals across the US and his plans for Latin America and Canada

SBC: As we approach SBC Summit North America, what can you tell us about the products you will be showcasing at your stand?

TS: After an incredible show here last year, we are very excited to be back at this year’s SBC Summit North America and we’ve got a lot of great things planned. We will feature our complete sports betting ecosystem which automates the betting cycle, from cashier, to bet, to payout. Visitors will be able to check out our standard kiosk terminal, our bar top terminals, our over-the-counter experience as well as our cash redemption options.

Additionally, we’ll be showcasing our new SBT-2000 seated terminal and the SBT-500+ bartop that we launched at G2E this past October. There truly is nothing else like them in the market.

These new betting stations are truly able to immerse customers in the full sports betting experience and turn every sportsbook seat into a revenue generating spot. Like last year, I will also be a panel speaker for “Payment over Play? Is deposit / withdrawal the key for customer satisfaction?” on Thursday 11th. Be sure to check it out!

SBC: At ICE, you revealed some of your newest innovations - including SBT-500+ and SBT-2000. Given that much of the European market has a penchant for in-play bets, how

will these new products bring that in-play, engaging experience to the North American market?

TS: In most retail venues, you have to leave your seat and possibly queue for a kiosk and exit yourself from the game in order to place your bet. In general, betting kiosks are a

quick solution for retailers looking to add sports betting to their offering but they don’t actually capture the customer in the moment of play.

We at SUZOHAPP have approached sports betting from an inherently consumer-centric viewpoint by designing new solutions, such as the SBT-500 tabletop and the SBT-500+ bartop terminals, and SBT-2000 seated terminal. They allow customers to place in-play bets in retail settings without removing themselves from the social event, without having to sign up or download a specific app and, instead, engaging the social

It’s all (SUZO)happening now 46 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
GAMING
WE BELIEVE THAT IN-PLAY BETTING IS AN UNTAPPED AVENUE FOR US SPORTS BETTING WITH MASSIVE EARNINGS POTENTIAL

atmosphere with a sporting event. By making sports betting a part of watching the game and seamlessly integrating it with the sports game environment, the conversion of sports fans to sports bettors is higher with a lower cost of customer acquisition. Additionally, overall revenues of sportsbooks benefit from additional time spent on location with increased food and beverage that means larger bills and larger tips for staff. In Europe, roughly 70% of sports bets are ingame bets and we believe that in-play betting is an untapped avenue for US sports betting with massive earnings potential.

THESE NEW BETTING STATIONS

ARE TRULY ABLE TO IMMERSE CUSTOMERS IN THE FULL SPORTS BETTING EXPERIENCE

SBC: In February, SUZOHAPP announced the first installation in a stadium of self-service sports betting terminals at the newly opened Fanatics Sportsbook at the home of the Washington Commanders. How did it feel to be selected to power the sportsbook offering at the first instadium sportsbook?

TS: We are so proud to be a part of the Fanatics journey into the sports betting retail market! They made history with the opening of the NFL’s first in-stadium retail sportsbook at FedExField, a 5,000 square foot sports bettor's paradise with eight betting windows and 21 SUZOHAPP self-service betting kiosks. Fanatics Sportsbook has tremendous momentum and is building a great reputation with consumers in the sports industry.

We believe they will be extremely successful in converting sports fans into sports bettors by creating a seamless betting experience using our hardware. We are so thrilled about this partnership, and we look forward to more exciting moments as Fanatics are rolling out their sportsbooks across the US in the near future.

SBC: We’ve seen SUZOHAPP expand into a number of new markets in 2022 - Ontario, Latin America to name a few. Focusing on LatAm, what are your plans for this region?

TS: Latin America is a promising market,

thriving with great potential and with a recent wave of fast-paced development, so a lot of our attention is focused there. As we’ve begun to see the rise of the legalisation of sports betting in the LatAm region, it seems like a natural progression to follow where these

markets emerge.

These regions present a significant growth opportunity for us and we definitely want to bring our knowledge and customisation capabilities from our experiences in the Americas and Europe.

sbcleaders.com 47
SPORTS BETTING

SBC: How does the retail betting experience in Latin America differ from that in Europe and North America?

TS: Every region has its unique approach and core way of doing business but ultimately what we’re trying to achieve with sports betting, as an industry, is the same regardless of market. In the US, each state has different regulatory requirements which can be challenging to navigate but the same is true of each country in Europe, and same with Latin American countries. Some countries are stricter while others have greater flexibility.

Europe has had sports betting for many years now but operates in a very different format than the US, on what tends to be a more individualised scale and in betting shops with different regulations. But we can only guess as to how Latin America will evolve and react as it does. In the US and even more in Latin America, sports betting is new and operators need additional guidance to choose what solutions will likely work best.

SBC: You have already made quite a splash in the Ontario market via

your partnership with Great Canadian Entertainment and Mohegan Sun. How is SUZOHAPP offering a complete ecosystem of sports betting products to customise and automate the entire betting cycle for sports betting in Canada?

TS: We are very excited to see Ontario open up for sports betting. I think we’ve arrived at the ideal time as the region is growing quickly and

BEING

showing huge potential from a retail standpoint. We’ve been very fortunate to be working with the dedication and support of the AGCO in getting our products approved for the Canadian market.

Ontario is the first Canadian territory to allow retail sports betting and will really be a test market for the rest of Canada to see how successful it is. For us, being the leader in this market it is important to set a standard of

excellence in the region with our sports betting ecosystem and keep looking forward. We really can’t wait to see what Canada has in store for us!

SBC: What can you tell us about your plans for 2023 and beyond?

TS: We are very positive for 2023 as we have a lot planned for the year! We aim to continue growing in our existing markets and, with the continued rise in

sports betting, also expanding into new territories, particularly in Latin America. We have many new projects in the pipeline, and we will be participating in quite a few trade shows globally.

In the coming months, you can find us at SBC North America in May, Canadian Gaming Summit in June, and SBC Barcelona in September. Be sure to visit our booths if you plan on attending these shows — we’d love to give you a demo of our ecosystem! •

48 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 It’s all (SUZO)happening now
SPORTS BETTING
THE LEADER IN THIS MARKET, IT IS IMPORTANT TO SET A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE IN THE REGION WITH OUR SPORTS BETTING ECOSYSTEM AND KEEP LOOKING FORWARD
WE REALLY CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT CANADA HAS IN STORE FOR US!

PARIS SMITH: ONTARIO IS THE PINNACLE OF OUR GLOBAL EXPANSION

SINCE THE ONTARIO MARKET OPENED ITS DOORS in April 2022, all eyes have been on Canada. We have seen many European and US companies look to get in on the action - sports betting operator Pinnacle has been no exception. Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith speaks with SBC Leaders about the expansion into Ontario, the golden opportunities this presents and the plans to celebrate 25 years of Pinnacle

SBC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! So Pinnacle recently announced that it had received a licence to operate in Ontario - why was this market the next stop on your global expansion plan?

When you look at the Ontario market, perhaps a better question might be, how could it not have been our next stop? Ontario is a huge, sophisticated and active market and its opening in 2022 presented an amazing opportunity.

A chance to provide one of the largest jurisdictions in North America with the best betting opportunities and the exemplary customer service that Pinnacle clients have come to expect. There was too much potential not to get involved right from the start.

SBC: How does your offering differ from that in other markets such as Malta, Sweden and Italy? Are there any particular sports / markets that you see a heightened demand for?

PS: That’s a great question and something we were excited to explore once we got up and running in Ontario. We saw a strong interest in soccer (football), in large part thanks to the World Cup this past November/ December.

In Canada, hockey is king, so there’s been a lot of interest in our NHL offerings. But with the strong performance of Canada’s national soccer team leading up to the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if that heightened

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE ONTARIO MARKET, PERHAPS A BETTER QUESTION MIGHT BE, HOW COULD IT NOT HAVE BEEN OUR NEXT STOP?

interest translates to increased action on MLS and other soccer leagues. Our expertise with North Americanbased sports made Ontario a key market to provide clients with a product that they are familiar with and also require from any operator.

The height of sports betting 50 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
ERIN GALLAGHER

We have seen a strong interest in basketball, baseball and American football. Part of this can be attributed to Ontario being home to the country’s only major league basketball and baseball teams – both of which have very strong followings.

CANADA

and AGCO worked well and, based on the recent experience we received when we launched in Sweden and Italy, we were in a good place with Ontario. We have a lot of respect for the approach the regulators took to implement the licences.

Most, if not all, RG or auditing requirements we either had in place or were already in development. Having said that, internally we did spread the work over a small group of very talented individuals while we were in project mode, but in the last eight months we have hired a wide range of experts locally to address the growing needs in managing the Ontario market.

SBC: What were the biggest challenges when it came to acquiring an Ontario licence, given that the market has some tough legislative requirements?

PS: The Ontario licence application and meeting the requirements were not that difficult. The partnership with iGO

SBC: What role does educational content play in driving bettor engagement and also promoting responsible gambling measures?

PS: What’s the old expression, knowledge is power? Pinnacle is committed to responsible gaming and our aim is to empower bettors and help them become more knowledgeable. When a bettor feels more knowledgeable, we hope they will be more engaged and more comfortable with their decisions.

We feel that Pinnacle offers one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice you’ll find online. With over 2,000 articles in our Betting Resource archive and six series on the Pinnacle Podcast, we are constantly working to better educate and engage with bettors regardless of their prior knowledge or experience.

SBC: There has been some talk about how sports betting operators can offer bonuses to players, given the restrictions on advertising in Ontario. How do you achieve that balance between generating brand awareness, standing out from the competition whilst also remaining compliant with the regulations?

PS: Although we are at the early stages of our Ontario marketing program, we will continue to do what we do best and the great news is that the Ontario market (and related regulations) create the best environment for us to tell the Pinnacle story and why players will

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WE ARE VERY PROUD OF WHAT WE HAVE BUILT AND WHERE WE ARE GOING AS AN ORGANISATION

benefit from having us on their roster of sportsbooks.

Since we don’t have to rely on bonus-heavy messaging or complicated promotions to attract players, we will continue to communicate the value to the players of having the best odds, highest limits, our Winners Welcome advantage as well as a responsible and secure platform.

You can’t buy a good reputation, it is something that must be earned, and we have spent a quarter century earning ours. Ultimately, we feel that’s the best branding, and as word gets out about what Pinnacle has to offer, we will find ourselves in a great spot in the Ontario market.

SBC: With that in mind, how is Pinnacle showcasing its “Winners Welcome” mantra to sports bettors in Ontario?

PS: The best way we can showcase it is to live it every day in the market. By subscribing to our “Winners Welcome” approach, we aren’t afraid of winners or sharp players, instead, we use those experiences to constantly learn and therefore improve our offerings and that ultimately is a win for bettors. When we entered the Ontario market, I said Ontario’s sports fans and bettors

deserve the best betting opportunities, and that’s what we are delivering –great odds, high limits and excellent customer service.

It’s pretty simple for us at Pinnacle, if you win, we don’t limit you or remove you from the sports betting platform. I mean how frustrating is that to players in Ontario? Whether through our vast betting resources, content, podcasts or special editorial pieces we support players daily to become more knowledgeable and better informed and we reward you with being able to accommodate higher limits as you grow and industry-leading RG features.

and as you know, in this business, that’s quite an achievement. We are very proud of what we have built and where we are going as an organisation and we are looking forward to celebrating our successes. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we definitely have some exciting plans in store as we get closer to the anniversary date in August.

What I can tell you about 2023 though, is that we have an exciting new Casino redesign, our first native mobile app, as well as many new player-requested features that are being added at a pace faster than we ever have before.

SBC: What are Pinnacle’s plans for 2023? Are there any new markets on the horizon?

PS: Well, 2023 is an exciting year for us as it’s Pinnacle’s 25th anniversary

With respect to markets, we are really excited about the prospect of adding new markets in 2023/24 and over the next three to five years in general. There are lots of encouraging developments coming out of Latin America and we don’t see that slowing down over the next two years. We believe that the LatAm-licensed online gambling revenue across 11 Latin American countries will reach US$4bn in the next two to three years. That number is significant as it means that it will grow over four times from today’s estimates. •

52 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 The height of sports betting
CANADA
THERE ARE LOTS OF ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENTS COMING OUT OF LATIN AMERICA AND WE DON’T SEE THAT SLOWING DOWN OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS
PREMIER CANADA’S GAMING AND BETTING EVENT JUNE 13-15, 2023 METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTER | TORONTO FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT SBCEVENTS.COM 150 SPEAKERS 75 EXHIBITORS 2,000 DELEGATES BRUCE CAUGHILL Managing Director Canada Rush Street Interactive STEVEN SALZ CEO & Co-Founder Rivalry DALE HOOPER General Manager Canada Fanduel AMANDA BREWER Country Manager Canada Kindred Group SCOTT VANDERWEL CEO PointsBet Canada PAOLO ROBERTO DE LEON Director - Online Casino Content & Partnerships Caesars Digital TYJONDAH KERR Director, Program Development and Delivery Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) ILKIM HINCER EVP & Chief Legal Officer Hard Rock International SPEAKER PREVIEW

STEVEN SALZ: ENGAGEMENT IS A ‘JOB NEVER DONE’

Betting’s entry into the internet age is well documented, but for some, the sector’s marketing and engagement approaches could benefit from a digital upgrade to better appeal to Gen Z and Millennial customers.

Steven Salz, CEO of Canadian esports specialist operator Rivalry, broke down this assessment in a discussion about the firm’s creative attitude to marketing and engagement.

The benefits of being obsessive

As the company’s Q3 report and 2023 projections made clear, bettors that are considered to be Gen Z and Millennial have been key to Rivalry’s success.

This approach has often seen the company look to non-betting sectors for inspiration, whilst adopting a content narrative around internet and gaming culture. Salz explained that this has driven the company’s ambition to become “the Red Bull of the internet”.

“You need to look at how great consumer products are designed generally, look outside of sports betting to companies like Apple and its attention to even the subtlest details,” he said.

“They’re so successful because they’ve done everything right. And

if you look at their history, they’ve been obsessed with every part of the consumer experience.

“This builds a brand and product continuity throughout all of the experience. It starts with the customer acquisition experience, like seeing something on social media or some content from one of our creators. That gets the customer interested, but you can’t stop there, you need personality and continuity to your approach.”

While Apple has been “obsessive” about the customer experience, Salz outlined Rivalry’s personal obsession with customer support. This has been particularly important for engaging

new bettors who may have queries about the site and markets.

Streamlining this process, Rivalry’s “Support Heroes” report directly to the firm’s CEO. Each carries a name specific to the target demographic, whilst customer support scripting is designed to fit with the brand’s unconventional image.

This line of thinking has filtered down to all levels of Rivalry’s approach to bettor engagement, as Salz also pointed to investment apps such as Robinhood and cash transfer platforms such as CashApp.

“They are very Gen Z and very current,” he said. “At a simple level, a

Do you know what I meme? 54 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
TED ORME-CLAYE
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING that you cannot use a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. But how do you make sure you best appeal to new player segments? Rivalry’s CEO discusses

modern UX appeals to those who grew up in the 90s, whilst some traditional sportsbooks have more of an archaic ‘spreadsheet’ model.

“At Rivalry, if you use a parlay, you get some emoji icons that move around the betslip to give an ‘easter egg’ type experience, with comic-book style pop ups to keep people engaged and entertained.”

Doubling down on the experiential

When it comes to marketing and engagement, Rivalry has taken particular pride in breaking from tradition by reducing spend bonuses and promotions by over 50% relative to its revenue in 2022 vs. 2021.

Salz explained: “We focus on obtaining brand affinity through world-class execution and innovative products, rather than focusing on subsidising customers and bonus promotions.

“The way we’ve done that is via our acquisition model, by leveraging great creatives to produce great content that engages the gaming and internetfocused consumers globally, which drives activity.

“The huge focus has been on gaining organic brand recognition, acquisition and loyalty through these means, rather than by promotions and bonuses.”

From the UK to the Netherlands and from Australia to the US, the extensive marketing spend of the industry, as well as the visibility of bonuses and promotions, has raised concerns for consumer protection reasons.

As a result, Salz argued that among the new generation of operators, a shift in attitudes is occurring, with a focus on brand equity and content in which responsible gaming is “entrenched in the brand”.

“It’s very difficult for the older, more mature brands that are built on that classic model, but we feel that we are seeing a shift in the industry towards that approach,” he continued.

From the outset, it is clear that content is central to Rivalry’s brand marketing, covering memes and influencers, distributed to existing and prospective customers across social media channels.

By utilising internet culture-based content, such as memes, along with its overall look, digital aesthetic, and

backed by its “world-class creative team”, Rivalry is seeking to diverge from the marketing techniques of the old breed of bookmakers.

“You need to double down on experiential things so that customers realise why they chose to bet with you, along with a lot of original material,” Salz continued.

“For example, our Casino.exe

product is very unique. It has a weird feel to it and has in-house games, is customisable and comes with an MP3 player type system. These are the types of features that differentiate our product from others and make Rivalry unique.

“The company is built around a continuous thread of experience and community groups - the job is never done when engaging customers.”

Backing your narrative

Striding towards Rivalry’s goal of tapping into the Gen Z zeitgeist are two of the most visible phenomena to have graced consumer’s laptop

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YOU CAN’T STOP THERE, YOU NEED PERSONALITY AND CONTINUITY TO YOUR APPROACH

and phone screens in recent years - the aforementioned memes and influencers.

Again referencing the plan to become the “Red Bull of the internet”, Salz praised the energy drink company for creating an “aura and affinity” that connotes a level of success around being signed by its brand, particularly within extreme sports.

Rivalry is targeting the same brand image, but for esports. The CEO continued: “That has always been our vision. We wanted to be a clear community supporter and innovator, and for signing with Rivalry to really mean something. We have influencers that have followers in the millions.

“Influencers are approaching our global team asking to join a partner programme and become an official partner. I can’t imagine many sports brands are having that experience, and we’ve noticed that some are getting targeted by other brands once we sign them.

“We put a massive creative powerhouse behind our influencers, we plan massive activations, we find people for them to collaborate with in

the local market and ultimately create long-term leverage.”

For both memes and influencers, localisation is paramount. This is especially true when dealing with the highly diverse esports scene, with its fan base spread across Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia - although this principle can, of course, be applied to traditional sports too.

are a marketing technique.

“Memes are just a way of communicating on the internet, especially if you’re under the age of 30. People grow up with it, and the internal culture of Rivalry is very much a meme culture.

“They are simply a way that humour is conveyed now, but you have to be very nuanced to do it as a corporation, it can come across as a little dystopian when it's done in the wrong way!”

Differences in player preferences among esports fans and internetculture enthusiasts can transcend languages, Salz emphasised. For example, a Spanish esports fan may have a very different taste in content to a Spanish-speaking fan from a South American nation.

Additionally, when using memes, companies should be careful to cultivate the right image, with Salz observing that many internet users are more than aware that social media posts by, for example, fast-food chains,

Summing up Rivalry’s ultimate attitude towards marketing, Salz stated that great marketing cannot exist without a great product. When it all comes down to it, the two are one and the same as part of the wider customer experience.

“Creative marketing distils a narrative about your company, and when customers get to the product, they then see that the vision is valid,” he said.

“The two go hand in hand - you can’t have one without the other, especially for consumer products. You need creativity and marketing, but you need to have that product that proves you are what you say you are.” •

56 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Do
you know what I meme?
CANADA
THE INTERNAL CULTURE OF RIVALRY IS VERY MUCH A MEME CULTURE

JACKPOCKET: LEADING THE DIGITAL LOTTERY TICKET RACE ACROSS THE US

PETER SULLIVAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF JACKPOCKET, reflects on the company’s growth ahead of its 10th anniversary this year, and how this is just the start for the digital lottery ticket industry

The global lottery industry has, for a considerable period, been in a state of flux, principally owing to the new technologies and practices that it has incorporated. Reflecting other industries, lotteries have embraced - with open arms or begrudging

acceptance - that their audiences are increasingly receptive to more modern methods of service.

With this in mind, Jackpocket was created in 2013, becoming the first third-party app in the US to provide a secure way to order official state lottery tickets.

Since its inception, Jackpocket appears to have gone from strength

to strength; from launching in New York and New Jersey - the first states to formally authorise lottery courier services - the app is now accessible in 15 states, most recently launching in Arizona in early January.

Players, meanwhile, have won over $250m in lottery prizes since 2013, with 27 winning prizes worth $1m or more. This includes a player in New Jersey who won $9.4m in 2021, making it the largest mobile gaming win in the US to date.

But how has Jackpocket coped as a ‘trailblazer’ in the industry?

Sullivan explained: “The reception from new and long-time lottery players

Hitting the Jackpocket 58 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

has been terrific - as evidenced by our 4.8 star rating in the App Store with over 120,000 user ratings. Long-time lottery fans appreciate the convenience of ordering a ticket right from their phone.

“We’ve also had great success introducing the lottery to a younger, tech-savvy generation through compelling features like the ability to play in a digital lottery pool with friends and colleagues, to set up an Autoplay so you never miss a drawing, or to place your ticket order seamlessly using Venmo or Apple Pay.

“In fact, nearly 70% of Jackpocket users are aged 45 and under.”

Evidently players - particularly those with fewer ‘miles on the clock’ - are onboard. But as a digitally-focused service, one might expect less warmth from traditionalists concerned at the impact on their own companies and the direction the lottery is heading in.

One way in which Jackpocket has helped to overcome that hurdle is through a partnership with Circle K, one of the largest convenience store brands in the US.

The two initially joined forces in the summer of 2020 through a 30-day pilot programme in Austin, Texas, before a more formal arrangement was finalised in July 2021.

More recently, Circle K helped to facilitate Jackpocket’s entry into Arizona, where it is regarded as one of the top lottery retailers in the state.

As Sullivan detailed, the partnership has helped to apply a digital touch to the in-store experience and cater to a larger audience.

“Our mission at Jackpocket is to make the lottery accessible for everyone, and Circle K, a brand renowned for its commitment to customer convenience, fits seamlessly into how we accomplish that,” he said.

“Together, we have teamed

up to deliver exclusive deals to lottery players in the store and in the Jackpocket app. As part of the partnership, Circle K customers in particular stores and markets receive $5 off their first lottery ticket order on Jackpocket. Our app users can also unlock special deals on Circle K products with surprise alerts via the app and email to drive foot traffic to physical stores.

“Since the start of the partnership, we've seen particular success in acquiring new Android users and those aged 18-35, and have seen an increase in new users in states like Texas and Ohio.

“Having a visible brand presence and association with an established brand like Circle K positively exposes Jackpocket in these markets, and we’re able to pass exclusive Circle K in-store deals back to our users.”

Another way in which Jackpocket has helped to leverage itself in front of potential new players is via partnerships with professional sports

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LOTTERY
LOTTERIES HAVE EMBRACED - WITH OPEN ARMS OR BEGRUDGING ACCEPTANCE - THAT THEIR AUDIENCES ARE INCREASINGLY RECEPTIVE TO MORE MODERN METHODS OF SERVICE
PLAYERS HAVE WON OVER $250M IN LOTTERY PRIZES SINCE 2013

clubs, including the New York Islanders, Texas Rangers and, most recently, the Dallas Stars as its ‘Official Digital Lottery Courier Partner’.

“We also know that playing the lottery with an app is a brand new concept to many. Our eight professional sports partnerships across the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL help introduce Jackpocket to a wider audience as a safe, easy option for playing the lottery,” said Sullivan.

“By doing so, we help state lotteries reach new audiences, and ultimately raise more state lottery funds that benefit important causes in local communities.”

The effect of such visibility across

the world, and particularly in the US, has earned Jackpocket some major accolades.

Last July, Jackpocket was ranked as the number one free app in the App Store - ahead of TikTok no less - as the app cashed in on the $2bn Mega Millions run.

In the last six months, the company has also been used for up to 4% of national Powerball sales for particular drawings, despite only being available in 31.35% of jurisdictions.

“This shows just how far Jackpocket and the industry have come in the past 10 years, and the continued growth potential for the next 10,” said Sullivan.

Growth is certainly at the forefront of Sullivan’s mind as Jackpocket continues to strive for further success in 2023, with the wheels already in motion for the lottery courier app to launch in several more states across the country. Furthermore, there are plans to release a new online casino product in New Jersey through a skin partnership

JACKPOCKET IS BUILDING THE FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT THROUGH EXCITING NEW DIGITAL EXPERIENCES FOR THE REAL-MONEY GAMING INDUSTRY

with Caesars Interactive Gaming in New Jersey.

“Jackpocket is building the future of entertainment through exciting new digital experiences for the real-money gaming industry,” Sullivan enthused.

“Our vision is to build a large mall of interactive customer experiences where our players can win real money prizes, using our lottery product as the anchor tenant or incentive to ‘drive to the mall’ in the first place.

“From there, players will be able to visit our other ‘stores’ – sweeps, slots, bingo, social games, sports lottery and other experiences – that will create new and exciting ways for users to engage with us.” •

60 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Hitting the Jackpocket
LOTTERY
WE HELP STATE LOTTERIES REACH NEW AUDIENCES, AND ULTIMATELY RAISE MORE STATE LOTTERY FUNDS THAT BENEFIT IMPORTANT CAUSES IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES

CARLOS SILVA, DREAMS: A REVIEW OF THE IGAMING REGULATORY LANDSCAPE IN CHILE

THE CASINO OPERATOR DREAMS has built a solid business throughout Chile to become one of the leading companies in the industry. Now, it’s going after a merger with its main competitor, Enjoy, which would result in the creation of a Latin American mega-operator, with 58% of the land-based market

After renewing four of its licences in Chile, Dreams now has seven licences in the country, on top of its eight in Peru, two in Colombia, one in Panama and one in Argentina. As you can see, the casino operator has established itself as a leader in the region.

As of late, the company has been closely monitoring developments from the local regulator, while the Superintendence of Gambling Casinos (SCJ) awaits the resolution of Congress around the igaming and sports betting regulations.

As international companies look to expand their footprint into the Chilean market, Dreams is actively participating in the national debate to create a regulatory framework that incorporates the development of new technologies, making sure that the interests of the already established players are taken care of.

The Economic Commission of the

Chamber of Deputies has welcomed experts, such as the operators and the regulator, in different hearings to discuss different viewpoints from various stakeholders.

At the same time, the Commission delayed the discussion to sometime during the first semester of the year.

Although it has been revealed that the project which will be discussed is the one unveiled by the former Undersecretary of Finance Alejandro Weber, which predicts that gaming companies will generate $55m in annual tax revenues.

To share the current and expected legal provisions in Chile, the Attorney and Corporate Affairs Manager of Dreams Carlos Silva analysed the challenges of the bill and the demands from the licensed operators that are already established in the country.

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THE STATE COULD COLLECT CLOSE TO $55M FROM TAXES FROM OPERATORS OF ONLINE BETTING AND VIRTUAL CASINO GAMES

The Chilean Presidency presented to Congress a bill that regulates the development and operation of betting platforms and online casino games. This project is very promising, since it addresses the need to update the legal framework for gambling in Chile.

Currently, the Chilean Constitution states that the betting regulation must be approved by law. Within this framework, the general rule is the ban on gambling and games of chance. Consequently, the commercial exploitation and public offer are considered crimes. Exceptions to this rule can only be made expressly in a law that establishes a special authorisation that regulates the operation.

The local Criminal Code penalises anyone who exploits gambling with prison sentences, and it doesn't differentiate between land-based or virtual operations.

On the other hand, the Civil Code establishes that betting debts are illegal, so collecting money from bets is prohibited.

However, special laws allowed three exceptions to this rule: the lottery game developed by two public entities, the horse betting offered by the racetracks of Chile and the land-based casinos operated by companies licensed by the SCJ. These casino licences are obtained after a public bidding process where they need to meet several requirements, such as justifying the origin of the funds that finance the casinos.

According to the bill, the State could collect close to $55m from taxes from operators of online betting and virtual casino games, which could equate to approximately 20% of their gross income. The licensees would also have to pay $78k a year for a general licence and $8k for a temporary one.

However, if online platforms also offer sports betting services, they

have to contribute 2% of their annual gross income to the National Sports Federation of each sport. In addition, the operators would need to monitor problem gambling activity and create a “National Policy for Responsible Online Gambling”.

To get the regulation up and running, online gaming companies must spend at least 1% of their annual gross income on actions to promote responsible gambling.

Furthermore, players would have to pay 15% of their income from gambling when withdrawing money from their personal accounts. The regulation also indicates that the companies must be established in Chile and report the origin of the funds to operate their

business, share information about their shareholders and final beneficiaries, in addition to reporting suspicious money laundering operations. Finally, the SCJ would be in charge of authorising and supervising the market.

However, it doesn’t solve the urgency of generating income for the Chilean Treasury, since the gaming platforms - which currently operate illegally in Chile - are not penalised and continue to contribute nothing in the country while the law is being discussed.

Moreover, Chile rewards companies who are committing crimes today - such as virtual casinos and online betting platforms - enabling them to participate in the process, making it

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TO GET THE REGULATION UP AND RUNNING, ONLINE GAMING COMPANIES MUST SPEND AT LEAST 1% OF THEIR ANNUAL GROSS INCOME ON ACTIONS TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING

easier for them to unfairly compete with the new operators.

Considering that competition in the online gambling market revolves around databases, it’s obvious that, during the years where they illegally operated, the platforms collected information from the players - identity, addresses, consumption habits, etccreating these databases, which are essentially to compete.

The bill, however, doesn’t solve the situation and would allow the current platforms operating in Chile to participate in a future regulated market from a privileged position, leaving new entrants - who have complied with the law - at a disadvantage.

It would be interesting if the law incorporated solutions that have already been tested in other jurisdictions, such as establishing a cooling off period, to prevent anticompetitive advantages. Finally, in relation to the databases that the

online gaming platforms have already set up, it doesn’t address a sanction for obtaining the data without authorisation, while the protection of personal records and essential information remains unresolved.

We hope that the regulation change that is being processed in Congress is done in accordance with the public policies that have supported the gaming industry in Chile, such as the development of responsible entertainment, the promotion of the local economy and the development of the territories, with consumers as a priority and protecting personal data, free competition and preventing money laundering. •

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WE HOPE THAT THE REGULATION CHANGE THAT IS BEING PROCESSED IN CONGRESS IS DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC POLICIES THAT HAVE SUPPORTED THE GAMING INDUSTRY IN CHILE

AMERICA’S MOST COMPREHENSIVE PLATFORM

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ALEXANDRE FONSECA, BETANO'S COUNTRY MANAGER BRAZIL, spotlights the company's latest developments and his opinion on the current state of the Brazilian gaming landscape

The popularity of sports betting continues to grow around the world and companies are looking to boost momentum through sponsorship deals that can lead to a better level of exposure.

Many operators choose to partner with sports teams to build brand exposure, a path that Betano has just ventured down. Arguably, the operator hit the motherlode when it managed to strike a sponsorship deal with the FIFA Club World Cup.

Although the agreement was aimed at the European market, the Kaizen Gaming brand extended its relationship with the international governing body for football and signed a similar agreement, but with the World Cup. This time around, the operator had a more global focus, which included Latin America.

In the southern hemisphere, Betano has already established its brand as one of the most recognised internationally but, more specifically, in Brazil, where it sponsors top clubs Fluminense and Atlético Mineiro. The operator also holds the naming rights for the Copa do Brasil and the Supercopa do Brasil, among other contracts with different sporting organisations.

ONLINE SPORTS BETTING COULD TURN BETWEEN R$2BN AND R$6BN INTO STATE COFFERS

With more than 214 million inhabitants, the South American giant is one of the markets with the greatest potential for the global gaming industry. And, after years of twists and turns, the political power has finally decided to move forward with the regulation of the sector in 2023.

According to the government’s forecasts, online sports betting could turn between R$2bn and R$6bn (approximately $387m to $1.16bn USD) into state coffers, making it impossible for lawmakers to continue to ignore the approval of a proper legal framework.

Given this promising scenario for the gaming industry, visibility and building trust with local players is key to riding the wave of sports betting in the local market.

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BETANO: BRAZILIAN SPORTS BETTING COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED AT A BETTER TIME

SBC: How did the deal to become the World Cup’s first betting partner originate? What about the recent deal with the Club World Cup?

Alexandre Fonseca: Kaizen Gaming, Betano's parent company, recently celebrated 10 years since its establishment. In the course of these 10 years, sponsorships have been a key pillar of our strategy and our contribution to sports. We already have some of Europe's and South America's biggest football clubs in our roster, including "Os Tres Grandes" in Portugal, meaning Porto, Benfica and Sporting as well as Atlético Mineiro and Fluminense in Brazil, among others.

Our motto is continuous improvement and after having sponsored many successful teams, going for a big tournament sponsorship such as the World Cup has always been the next step and within our targets. We are very happy to have been the first in our industry to secure a partnership with FIFA and the Club World Cup was further proof of our

commitment to football and sports in general.

SBC: How important is it to have a responsible gambling team to score this type of deal? Is it a requirement, is it just added value or is it something that gets worked on over time?

AF: Responsible gaming is a core principle for us. At Kaizen Gaming, we believe that betting can only be fun if it's healthy and therefore we keep investing in new technologies that aim to protect our players' health and data against any sort of vulnerability or fraud.

SBC: Betting sponsorships have taken

The real deal 66 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
WE THINK SPONSORSHIPS HELP TO STRENGTHEN OUR TIES WITH THE LOCAL MARKET

over Brasileirao’s Serie A and some of the latest deals have been the biggest in some clubs’ history. How important are these big types of deals for the development of Brazilian football?

AF: The entrance of sports betting operators into the Brazilian market, which therefore generated this wave of huge sponsorships, couldn't have happened in a better time. I believe everyone is benefiting from this, the brands which are associated with big clubs and engaging with their fans, the clubs which are receiving more resources to be invested on structure and players as well as the fans who can benefit from multiple activations and promotions made by the sponsoring brands.

SBC: What role have sports betting sponsorships played in the growth of Brazilian dominance in South America’s club football over the last years? What does the improvement of a club’s performance mean for an operator that has its brand printed on its shirt?

AF: I think it does, mainly on the "smaller" clubs which are now seeing a volume of investment bigger than ever. With the contribution of the betting industry we can definitely expect to see an overall improvement in the quality of the football in Brazil and Latin America.

SBC: What value do these sponsorship deals bring for sports betting companies in Brazil as we continue to await for the segment’s regulation? Does the exposure lead to adoption and, therefore, to a bigger need to set a proper regulatory framework?

AF: It depends on the operator. Some operators like us have sponsorships at the core of their strategy and we think it helps to strengthen our ties with the local market and, of course, with the fans through activations and promos, while others are more interested in media and credibility associated with multimillion dollar contracts.

SBC: Have sports betting operators been in contact with Brazilian lawmakers to share their input on the industry’s regulation proposals?

AF: Since 2018, when the law was introduced, we saw many initiatives from different operators in trying to set a communication channel with the government. Now with the Lula's

administration and with a more mature market, we believe the time has come and we are confident that the industry will be invited to discuss the best practices and how to create a sustainable regulated market in Brazil.

SBC: Has anything changed in your expectations for the industry’s regulation with the change of president? What are the prospects for the gaming industry during Lula’s mandate?

AF: Yes, we feel that the current administration is more willing to regulate the market given the massive adoption we saw happening in Brazil mainly during the last two years. I think finally the government has understood the importance of regulating the segment in order to protect the players and of course to generate tax which will highly contribute to the development of the Brazilian economy. •

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THE GOVERNMENT HAS UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF REGULATING THE INDUSTRY IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PLAYERS AND OF COURSE TO GENERATE TAX

METROBETS: REVOLUTIONISING THE PUERTO RICAN MARKET THROUGH RELIABILITY

ISMAEL VEGA, GENERAL MANAGER OF CASINO

METRO, spoke with SBC Leaders about how the partnership with Caesars was born, what relevance both companies give to responsible initiatives and what type of betting offer players can expect as the industry continues to develop locally and regionally

When thinking about expanding into the Latin American region, South America is the main focus for multiple companies. Markets like Argentina, Colombia and the up-and-coming Brazil are usually highlighted as the most interesting ones.

For Caesars Entertainment, the expansion to the South had a first stop in the Caribbean with Casino Metro in Puerto Rico, where it made its regional debut with a sportsbook.

Unlike the South American countries, the Caribbean and Central America region has certain peculiarities that are not found in other parts of the continent. It’s not just about the interest in baseball and American football, but also about the regulatory structure in terms of compliance, player protection and risk management.

For Ismael Vega, General Manager

of Casino Metro, one of the benefits they find in this association is the union of two brands that carry their own weight, since they bring “integrity and reliability” to the operations.

“Joining forces with the global leader in casinos and sports betting is

a great vantage point and customers are looking for just that: to have the best experience when placing their sports bets. This partnership offers just that,” he said.

A mutual approach is what linked the two operators: “Caesars was looking for the best operator in

Good PR 68 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

Puerto Rico”, and according to Vega, that’s how they found Casino Metro.

When announcing the partnership, the President of Caesars Digital Eric Hession shared: “As we pursued sports betting in Puerto Rico under its unique framework, we wanted to align with the best possible partner that would provide deep, localised knowledge of the market. We found that partner in Casino Metro, which has a strong brand and customer base in the Puerto Rico market.”

The companies also shared their plans to eventually launch a mobile app in 2023, subject to regulatory approvals, something that in some

JOINING FORCES WITH THE GLOBAL LEADER IN CASINOS AND SPORTS BETTING IS A GREAT VANTAGE POINT AND CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING FOR JUST THAT: TO HAVE THE BEST EXPERIENCE WHEN PLACING THEIR SPORTS BETS

regions is essential to be able to compete in the market.

According to the General Manager, Casino Metro is in the process of reviewing internal controls in order to comply with the licensing requirements of the Puerto Rico

Gaming Commission.

The idea is to be able to have an application ready by mid-2023, “which will feature an expanded offering” for customers compared to the one in the land-based sportsbook located in the casino.

To be able to offer this type of betting service, Puerto Rico walked a different path than its peers in Latin America. Being a US territory means that Puerto Rico had the possibility to open its betting market after PASPA was repealed at a federal level in 2018.

After officially launching its process to regulate the industry in

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LATIN AMERICA

2021, the Gaming Commission and the Government announced at the beginning of November 2022 the approval of seven companies, one of them being MetroBets with Caesars Sportsbook.

The Commission highlighted that betting has the potential to be “an important source of jobs and the creation of commercial spaces for entertainment,” while it will also “generate new revenue for the Treasury”.

In fact, the betting space inside the Casino Metro represented a $2m investment, while MetroBets created 30 new jobs, totaling a workforce of over 170.

Currently, and only a few months after launching operations, the MetroBets sportsbook recognises one sport as being the most dominant: basketball.

“The NBA continues to be our customers' favourite sport. The overall behaviour remains to be seen at MetroBets as we need to analyse the Major League Baseball season and the World Baseball Classic, held from March 7 to 21,” Vega said.

However, the operator's digital marketing strategy and efforts around promotions, offers and partner activities will allow it to expand its reach to include more options for partners and more opportunities for new customers.

As an example, Vega said that MetroBets showed the Super Bowl on a giant screen outside the casino, on a

closed street and with live music and entertainment from “one of the most beloved entertainment characters in Puerto Rico”.

Furthermore, in order to compete with other similar markets, both in Latin America and the United States, entering the mobile sports betting market will be key. “In every jurisdiction, 80% of the income from

sports betting comes from mobile operations,” he asserted.

Another key point to succeed in the market is to have appropriate compliance measures in place, as well as provisions to protect players.

In MetroBets’ case, currently, the most important measure is that players have to register physically at the casino, since the only way for them to bet in person or on mobile is by registering at one of the kiosks.

“This measure is very important. The fact that we’re associated with a giant like Caesars gives the customer a degree of reliability and seriousness that their bet is safe,” said Vega.

“Fortunately, the Gaming Commission has done an amazing job around licensing. All operators have to be registered as a service provider. Every state is different. In Puerto Rico, we have one of the most rigorous states and jurisdictions. For example, some states don’t require physical restoration, since they validate data in a different way.”

When analysing the benefits that both Casino Metro and MetroBets bring to the island, Ismael Vega was very clear in highlighting that they provide another offer to tourists.

“There’s people who travel to gamble. There’s people who travel for business and pleasure and Puerto Rico is a ‘total package’ with sports betting in place. Caesars has global customers who will see the island as an alternative: they don’t lose the Caesars element to place their bets.” •

70 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Good PR
LATIN AMERICA
CAESARS HAS GLOBAL CUSTOMERS WHO WILL SEE THE ISLAND AS AN ALTERNATIVE: THEY DON’T LOSE THE CAESARS ELEMENT TO PLACE THEIR BETS
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AGA’S BILL MILLER ON ERADICATING ‘A MAJOR THREAT TO OUR INDUSTRY’

Following the publication of a latest data set (at the time of writing), which demonstrated that the gaming industry significantly outpaced expectations through 2022, Miller spoke in depth regarding the fight of an illegal ecosystem that is said to be “firmly entrenched in the US”.

Despite acknowledging progress made thus far, the AGA, which has been, and remains, vociferous when addressing the illegal and unregulated industry, is under no illusions as to the size and complex nature of the path that lies ahead.

“Offshore sportsbooks and casino websites have been targeting American consumers for decades and unregulated machines are rampant across the country,” he explained.

“Our research shows that Americans wager more than half a trillion dollars in the illegal market annually, demonstrating the massive scope of this issue.

“Eradicating a problem of this magnitude is certainly complex and made even more challenging by the lack of transparency of the illegal marketplace.

“Even though this is a complicated issue, the AGA is chipping away at the illegal market every day.

“We’re working with Congress to ensure law enforcement prioritises investigation and prosecutions; engaging state attorneys general and US attorneys on how bad actors flout the law; weighing in with state legislatures to strengthen laws and close loopholes; and working with private sector stakeholders to shut off platforms for illegal gambling operations.”

The issue, emphasised Miller, is one that affects individuals across all regions of the US, not just those that may have adopted regulated forms of gambling.

“Offshore websites and online sportsbooks disguised as daily fantasy sites are available to anyone with access to the internet, and ‘skill’ machines are

Combatting illegal gambling 72 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
“ILLEGAL AND UNREGULATED GAMBLING is a major threat to our industry and combatting it will continue to be a top priority,” said Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO, in a far reaching conversation for the latest edition of SBC Leaders
ERADICATING A PROBLEM OF THIS MAGNITUDE IS CERTAINLY COMPLEX

available in gas stations, convenience stores and taverns in many states,” he said.

He added that those actors that occupy a space within the unlawful, illicit ecosystem are increasingly becoming “adept at taking advantage” of both the growth of legal gaming and attracting “unsuspecting customers who believe they are playing legally”.

“Before the illegal market expands any further, it is incumbent upon all levels of government and law enforcement to take action to eliminate this threat to consumers,” Miller warned.

However, despite refusing to get complacent regarding any perceived level of progress in trying to drive down unlicensed, unauthorised and unsanctioned operators further still, he suggested that “we’re beginning to see the fruits of our labour”.

Citing an “impressive migration” of

activity away from illegal operators, Miller referred to research that suggests a drop in revenue. This, he explained, has seen a one-time $150bn annual illegal sports betting industry, before the invalidation of PASPA, fall to approximately $64bn during the last year.

“But there is still more to be done. This is a fight we are in for the long haul and something that is crucial for the future of the legal gaming industry,” he reiterated, while reinforcing the point, that every stakeholder within the gaming ecosystem has a part to play in ending illegal activities.

Miller, who has previously described the illegal market as a “scourge on our society”, was also quizzed on what needs to change, or be maintained, to ensure its constant eradication. By way of a response, he issued a plea to lawmakers to help lessen the influence of illegal actors.

“Policymakers and regulators must close loopholes that erode regulations and permit unnecessary consumer risk and create competitive regulatory frameworks for the legal market,” he said.

“Businesses must actively monitor for and remove access to illegal websites and unregulated games. Third parties like payment processors, media and tech companies must stop providing a platform to bad actors to conduct business.

“And finally, federal, state and local law enforcement must aggressively go after bad actors and enforce the laws

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THIS IS A FIGHT WE ARE IN FOR THE LONG HAUL AND SOMETHING THAT IS CRUCIAL FOR THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL GAMING INDUSTRY

already in place. We are encouraged by the recent crackdowns on unregulated machines we’ve seen in places like Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina and others. We’ve also seen law enforcement officials publicly denounce illegal online gambling.”

Citing one particular example in backing up this aforementioned point, Miller turned his attention to that of the National Football League’s Super Bowl showpiece, and action taken ahead of the Spectacle held in Arizona.

Here, Attorney General Kris Mayes issued a consumer alert to all interested parties that call on sports fans to only wager utilising legalised betting options, in addition to warning of the myriad of dangers that can go hand-in-hand with ignoring such a plea.

Among the tips offered by Mayes regarding online sports bets in Arizona, was an urge to observe a Arizona Department of Gaming list of approved operators as well as a rundown of approved events and wagers.

It was also reminded that many illegal sportsbook companies are outside the US, and could leave consumers with no

possible course of action in the event of a dispute, and that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Mayes also elaborated on what illegal offerings could lack, which included key facets of an operation such as testing to ensure compliance with regulatory standards designed to guarantee fair play, oversight to ensure consumers are

operators, action from all these stakeholders can go a long way toward educating the public about the dangers of unregulated gambling and putting everyone on notice that it’s not okay to support the illegal market in any way,” he said.

Earlier in the year, it was revealed that US commercial gaming revenue toppled the $60bn barrier for the first time, and in the process smashed a previous record of $53bn that was set one year earlier.

According to the AGA’s commercial gaming revenue tracker, the $60.4bn figure was aided by an “all-time high” quarterly revenue of almost $15.9bn that was gained through Q4.

paid their winnings, security standards to protect personal and financial information and compliance with antimoney laundering law.

Amid such a high-profile plea to all football fans to use only legal sports betting, the AGA acknowledged much hope of witnessing an increase in similar law enforcement action in the space moving forward.

“Even without convictions of these

Sports betting and igaming each marked single quarter highs, with traditional gaming growing 1.7% yearon-year. Retail gaming comprised 80.5% of the overall figure, with online gaming soaring to a best performance by accounting for the remaining 19.5%.

With US commercial gaming soaring above the highs previously experienced, Miller looked at how much these figures could potentially grow

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Combatting illegal gambling
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST AGGRESSIVELY GO AFTER BAD ACTORS AND ENFORCE THE LAWS ALREADY IN PLACE

should the illegal sector experience a decline in impact and influence.

“AGA research indicates that illegal gambling cost the regulated industry more than $44bn in gaming revenue last year,” he explained.

“With combined commercial and tribal gaming revenue set to hit $100bn in 2022 when tribal numbers are reported, this means that illegal gambling revenue equates to nearly half the amount generated by legal operators.

“It would be unheard of in any other industry for nearly half of a market to be captured by illegal or unregulated operators. And we’re not going to let it stand here.

“However, this is about more than how unregulated gambling impacts the legal industry’s bottom line.

“Illegal gambling with offshore websites, bookies and unregulated machines costs communities an estimated $13.3bn in taxes annually. States could more than double their gaming tax revenue – which stood at $11.7bn in 2021 – by addressing the illegal market.”

As the conversation drew to a close, Miller concluded by looking at what major highlights will be reflected upon across US commercial gaming in 12 months time.

He explained: “Illegal and unregulated gambling is a major threat to our industry and combatting it will continue to be a top priority for the AGA throughout 2023.

“When the legal gaming industry does well, our communities thrive and state and tribal budgets grow, unlike illegal operators that only pad their own pockets. We are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to this fight.

“Beyond combatting the illegal market, I am optimistic that 2023 will be another strong year for the commercial gaming industry, building on the record $60bn in revenue last year.

“Casino gaming has shown

impressive resiliency and sustained consumer demand in the face of recent economic uncertainty. Even though macroeconomic concerns remain, we are confident in the strength of our industry as we navigate 2023.

“Lastly, we are expecting 2023 to

bring new ways for our industry to raise the bar on responsible gaming. We’ve seen major strides in this area in recent years, but there’s always more we can do.

“The AGA is doing our part by convening the industry, regulators, advocates and key stakeholders in a discussion around evolving responsible gaming for the modern era of gaming.

“Responsibility is the core of the US gaming industry and ensuring we do not become stagnant in this area is key to ensuring our industry’s long-term success.” •

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AGA RESEARCH INDICATES THAT ILLEGAL GAMBLING COST THE REGULATED INDUSTRY MORE THAN $44BN IN GAMING REVENUE LAST YEAR
ILLEGAL AND UNREGULATED GAMBLING IS A MAJOR THREAT TO OUR INDUSTRY AND COMBATTING IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE A TOP PRIORITY FOR THE AGA THROUGHOUT 2023

JAMIE HUMMINGBIRD: TRIBAL REGULATIONS ARE BROADER THAN MOST REALISE

TRIBAL GAMING HAS LONG BEEN A PILLAR of the US gaming industry, but what are some of the key regulatory and technological challenges that the sector faces in 2023?

Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City have long been hubs for land-based gaming across North America, with many US bettors flocking to these cities for an occasional flutter.

However, in the late 70s and early 80s, we saw a shift in strategy from tribes as many began to offer bingo games at their properties. Arguably, this marked a pivotal moment for the future of gambling in the US.

The success of tribal bingo games soon caught the attention of local and

state governments who were beginning to authorise gaming as a means of generating new revenue streams, something that the tribes had already done successfully.

As you can probably guess, this caused significant friction between tribal governments and state legislatures. One such example is the landmark 1987 legal battle between the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians and the California State government, which resulted in a US Supreme Court decision.

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Very soon thereafter, the US Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 that set forth the framework under which tribal gaming has operated ever since.

Jamie Hummingbird, Chair for the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators, ahead of his appearance at SBC Summit North America, explained: “The Act effectively split the authority to offer, conduct, and regulate gaming between the tribes and states. Class II gaming – bingo, pull-tabs and, in some cases, poker – were within the exclusive jurisdiction of tribes. Class III gaming, slot machines, card and table games required the tribes and states to enter into compacts, which allowed the state a portion of the revenues and a degree of oversight of tribal operations.

“In the 35 years since the passage of IGRA, tribes have taken this framework and grown their local bingo parlours into world-class casinos and resorts.”

and licensing. This is in addition to cybersecurity, money laundering, responsible gaming as well as active shooter prevention and response.

“The nature of the business we’re in is constantly evolving and the NTGCR does its best to make sure tribal gaming regulators receive the most upto-date training possible.”

So how does this differ from non-tribal gaming? In short, the differences are differences are few and far between.

According to Hummingbird, many of the procedures for reviewing games are “very similar” to those used by commercial gaming operators. Tribal organisations, he added, also carry

it comes to working with tribes is that, unlike receiving a licence from a state or country where you are free to offer your products or services to anyone within that jurisdiction, you must seek authorisation from each individual tribe.”

To improve the licensing process going forward, Hummingbird suggested that the gaming sector must “learn from those that came before us” - a mantra he believes the vast majority of tribes subscribe to.

“Oftentimes tribes have been the innovators in regulation, but when we are not, we tend to pay attention to what has happened in other jurisdictions,” he continued.

It should therefore come as no surprise that tribal gaming has played a significant role in the development of the US betting scene.

For Hummingbird, the growth of the tribal gaming sector has largely been driven by the NTGCR and the education that it provides. He explained that this organisation has helped spearhead the creation of new gaming regulationssomething he believes are “more broad than most people realise”.

Hummingbird continued: “In 2018, the organisation began offering its regulatory certification academy as a way to introduce new and growing tribal gaming regulators to the many facets of the positions they hold.

“Tribal gaming regulation is more broad than most people realise and, as such, our training is equally diverse. We provide training on electronic gaming machines, card and table games, auditing, background investigations

out similar background checks when it comes to licensing.

“Gaming licence applications are comparable to those of any non-Indian jurisdiction,” he said. “Similarly, the technical standards used to evaluate electronic games and equipment are on par with state and federal, and to some extent, international standards.

“The main thing to remember when

“We look at all levels of regulation and ask ourselves ‘would that work here?’, ‘is there anything we need to modify to fit our laws?’, ‘what else can we do / what do we need to learn?’.

“I like to say that I’m not above stealing my best ideas – if someone has a workable solution to an issue I’m facing, I’m thankful that I can learn from the example they’ve set. I think most regulators, tribal or otherwise, can appreciate that.”

The biggest challenge that the Indian gaming sector faces is the question of cybersecurity and the roll out of sports betting legislation.

He explained: “Using ransomware, digital criminals have crippled a number

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TRIBES HAVE TAKEN THIS FRAMEWORK AND GROWN THEIR LOCAL BINGO PARLOURS INTO WORLD-CLASS CASINOS AND RESORTS
TRIBAL GAMING REGULATION IS MORE BROAD THAN MOST PEOPLE REALISE AND, AS SUCH, OUR TRAINING IS EQUALLY DIVERSE

of tribal operations, some for extensive amounts of time, and have demanded large sums for the return of casino data and control of their systems.

“Tribal gaming management and regulators are each responsible for integrity of the gaming environment and have recognised the growing need for new technology, new practices, and additional personnel to combat this threat.”

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, sports wagering is currently considered to be a Class III game, which requires a compact between a tribe and the state to be authorised at a tribal property.

Within certain states, however, tribes have the exclusive right to gambling activities - some of which include sports wagering. Hummingbird noted that this does not mean that there have not been attempts by commercial gaming operators to get in on the sports betting action.

“There have been tribes that have seen significant declines in their revenues immediately following the introduction of sports wagering in

states where tribes did not have exclusivity,” stated the NTGCR’s Chair.

“In these areas, tribal gaming revenue is often the main, if not the only, means of income for tribal governments, which means tribal communities could be devastated as a result.

“This is why the discussion around the legalisation of sports wagering is so critical to tribes. The realities of sports wagering are still becoming clear and only time will show the true impacts of the nationwide legalisation of sports wagering.”

governmental service programmes.

Hummingbird commented: “For others, tribal gaming revenues are the lifeblood of the tribe and essential to meet the needs of tribal citizens. Health clinics, food service programs, housing and education services are among the many resources available to tribal citizens that would be negatively impacted with the loss of gaming revenues.”

Tribal gaming could soon face another landmark moment with two ongoing legal cases. One case relates to the Seminole tribe and the State of California and the second is the Maverick Gaming case in Washington State, which was dismissed. However, an appeal the US Supreme Court is expected.

Something that Hummingbird underlined in his discussion with SBC Leaders is the commercial benefits that gaming can bring for tribal communities. He explained that gaming revenues are the largest contributor towards the funding of tribal

Both cases revolve around the state’s right to negotiate a compact, which some say would create tribal monopolies. Hummingbird concluded: “Should the Supreme Court decide to hear the case, the facts strongly support a decision to uphold the rulings of the lower courts and reinforce tribal sovereignty and tribal self determination.” •

78 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Spreading our wings
GAMING
TRIBAL GAMING REVENUES ARE THE LIFE-BLOOD OF THE TRIBE AND ESSENTIAL TO MEET THE NEEDS OF TRIBAL CITIZENS

PLAYSTAR CEO PER HELLBERG: THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG RETENTION STRATEGY

TAKING A SINGLE-STRATEGY ROUTE to market might be seen as placing all of one’s eggs in the proverbial basket. But according to Playstar CEO Per Hellberg, positioning an online casino-only offer to the growing US gaming market is not only covering cost of entry, but delivering an early return on investment and enhanced customer retention

Per Hellberg, CEO of PlayStar Gaming Group AB, has attributed the online casino brand’s strong results in the US market so far to its ability to not just acquire new customers, but retain a loyal base of players. The company, which launched its fully-licensed online casino product in New Jersey in July last year, said the brand has already exceeded its KPI forecasts.

PlayStar's stated goal is to provide an online casino experience that’s heavily focused on personalisation and player engagement, made achievable through the use of real-time data and predictive modelling to create journeys that are tailored to the player.

When asked about the New Jersey launch, Hellberg stated that PlayStar is retaining customers much sooner than initially anticipated and believes the brand is one of the best in the US market when it comes to retention. By way of explanation, he said: “Based on how we approached this and the experience of the people we

Per say 80 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

have - and having the support systems ready to control and adjust - I think that has worked far more efficiently than we thought it would do.

“What that has led to is the fact that we're not only acquiring the customers at a better price than we thought we would have, we're retaining them for far longer than we ever thought we would do. We are now retaining customers that we thought we would in maybe three or four years from now. And I dare to say that we're probably one of the best in the US market at retention currently.”

Key to building that vital player retention, said Hellberg, is PlayStar’s sole focus on online casino, as opposed to the approach adopted by competing operators that offer a broader product selection. A specialised gaming offer and retention strategy, he argues, can result in increased player values and a better return on marketing investments.

PlayStar’s impact in the US is already garnering attention. The operator recently saw $15m worth of equity investment ploughed into its future growth by Meyer Global Management. That funding will be used to support its launch in Pennsylvania, with more state launches that are expected to follow.

When it comes to investing in the US commercial gaming industry, Hellberg believes that now is the “best time ever” to do to do so. This is due to the fact that operators are becoming more “financially efficient” and far savvier at adopting smart retention strategies while simultaneously recruiting knowledgeable teams.

Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the big push has inevitably been focused on sports betting, prompting PlayStar to take an alternative route to market

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BASED ON HOW WE APPROACHED THIS AND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PEOPLE WE HAVE - AND HAVING THE SUPPORT SYSTEMS READY TO CONTROL AND ADJUSTI THINK THAT HAS WORKED FAR MORE EFFICIENTLY THAN WE THOUGHT
WE'RE NOT ONLY ACQUIRING THE CUSTOMERS AT A BETTER PRICE THAN WE THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE, WE'RE RETAINING THEM FOR FAR LONGER THAN WE EVER THOUGHT WE WOULD DO

with its sole online casino offering. Consequently, revenue generated from the segment against its operational expenses has helped keep overheads low.

That approach, he said, has ensured that the cost of entry into New Jersey has been covered. “It means that we can launch into states quite cheaply. Of course, there are licensing and marketing costs to take into consideration, but above that there's very little additional cost beyond customer support.”

The CEO believes that even in high-tax states like Pennsylvania, by sticking to its strategy the company should still be able to see a strong return on its investment.

But with plenty of states yet to open up to online casino gaming, PlayStar is already working on market access deals in anticipation of legislation making it onto the statute books. That forward-thinking approach and deal making has been aided by the funding it has attracted. Hellberg said: “It has demonstrated to potential partners that we’re sustainable and can be trusted to deliver when that time arrives.

As for potentially expanding beyond the US and into Canada, the CEO noted that the market is “quite populated already”. If PlayStar had wanted to be in the Canadian market, it should have done so earlier in order to avoid splitting its focus between the two North American countries, he conceded.

Hellberg explained: “The key thing - if you want to run a very focused

continuing to serve the customer, making sure it utilises their data to keep them coming back.

That, emphasised Hellberg, will require a data structure that is “personalised per customer” and one that works in real-time, targeting players in the right way and “delivering a quick and efficient service to keep them happy”.

WE CAN LAUNCH INTO STATES QUITE CHEAPLY. OF COURSE, THERE ARE LICENSING AND MARKETING COSTS TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION, BUT ABOVE THAT THERE'S VERY LITTLE ADDITIONAL COST BEYOND CUSTOMER SUPPORT

business - is to actually stay focused. And if we had intended to go into Canada, we should have probably done that around now or even a bit earlier. But we would have needed to split our attention between the USA and Canada - and rest assured, those markets are very different.”

Looking ahead, besides launching in more states and having broader market access agreements, PlayStar said it remains firmly focused on

He concluded: “We know that the market average for player retention is about 30% to 40% over four months in the US, which we believe is a bit low. We now have 50% of our customers still with us after four months.

“That’s unheard of; but it’s how it’s worked out because we started from a position of being able to personalise or offer and talk to the human instead of an account.” •

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GAMING

MORE LICENCES, MORE PROBLEMS?

A DEEP DIVE INTO THE PGCB

ONLINE CASINO GAMING has seen a fruitful performance in Pennsylvania that now spans over half a decade of operations. Just last year, performance reports revealed that the Keystone State had overtaken New Jersey as the largest online casino market in the United States

This success on the online casino stage has urged the commonwealth’s regulator, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, to open up petitions for more companies to apply for the appropriate licences to take advantage of its growing market and operate an online casino within the state.

Communications for the PGCB, has held a position on the regulatory board since 2006. In that time, he has overseen the journey that the Pennsylvanian online casino market has taken - from regulation first being discussed in 2017 to its launch in 2019.

Outlining the growth seen in Pennsylvania’s igaming space, Harbach explained: “While poker revenue numbers have stayed stable, there has been a significant increase over the

past year of play and revenue for slot machines and table games.

“To be specific, both of these sectors have seen an increase of over 23% from 2021 to 2022, with both also ranking in the top three jurisdictions in the country for states that have commercial casinos.”

Harbach ensured that the board will stick to its solemn requirements when reviewing each application for a new licence, stating that the PGCB’s stance on which operators are deemed suitable for the state “really has not changed since the establishment of legalised gambling in Pennsylvania 17 years ago”.

MANY INDUSTRY DELEGATES MAY BE STARTING TO QUESTION WHETHER THE PGCB CAN KEEP CONTROL OF AN IGAMING MARKET THAT IS GROWING EXPONENTIALLY

Each requiring a one-time licence fee of $4m, the PGCB has 12 remaining igaming licences up for grabs. These opportunities include licences for three online slot operations, three housebanked table game operations and six non-house-banked table game operations, such as poker.

Commenting on the application process currently being undertaken by the PGCB, Harbach said: “We require background investigations on all applicants, licensees, principals and key employees. For individuals, the approval is made only if the board sees the applicant as a person of good character, honesty and integrity, and is therefore eligible and suitable to be licensed.

“Beyond that, we will need to see who and how many requests come in for these additional igaming licences.”

As state officials seek new licensees to bring more wealth to PA’s rapidly expanding igaming sector, many industry delegates may be starting to question whether the PGCB can keep control of an igaming market that is growing exponentially and, as a result, becoming more difficult to govern.

Throughout 2022, the PGCB had to take action on a number of

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regulatory failures taking place at land-based venues. The board issued fines and punishments for a range of transgressions, spanning from selfexclusion failures to individuals leaving children inside parked cars in casino parking lots as they gambled in the establishment.

Detailing how the organisation has managed to maintain a particular level of governance when balancing each sector, Harbach noted that “for land based casinos, we hire additional personnel to be onsite and monitor regulatory issues”.

He continued: “The PGCB has added additional staff over the past two years to oversee igaming and sports wagering initiatives and will continue to monitor any additional staff as growth continues. At the same time, we continue to seek efficiencies in properly monitoring all forms of gaming without any significant staff additions.”

Unfortunately, a number of these regulatory issues overseen by the PGCB have been fuelled by something that is out of the board’s controlalcohol.

Last year, the Washington Trotting Association was penalised $40,000 stemming from a pair of incidents in which Hollywood Casino at the Meadows staff served alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons.

One of these incidents saw Hollywood Casino personnel serve an individual 17 draft beers during a near 13-hour period, leading to that patron falling over and injuring themselves.

Another intoxicated incident saw an individual provided with five mixed drinks, three shots and a beer in a period of three-and-a-half hours. This patron then went on to physically assault two other customers and two security guards at the casino.

Commenting on the abundance of alcohol-related failures, Harbach revealed that, to this date, the PGCB has issued over half-a-million dollars in fines for matters involving booze.

“While the PGCB does not regulate the sale of alcohol at casinos,” explained Harbach, “each casino has in place and has submitted the board its alcoholic service guidelines. To date, the board has approved fines to casinos totalling $552,500 related to matters

involving an intoxicated patron.”

Despite these issues, which are experienced in any jurisdiction that operates casinos, the PGCB has managed to balance both its online and brick-and-mortar casinos enough to see its gambling market continue to thrive, turning over $464.48m in yearly revenue.

Whilst the state is home to a number of much-loved sports institutions, such as the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Super Bowl LVII runnersup the Philadelphia Eagles, igaming

audience such as sports fans, but not as broad an audience as those other forms of gaming have.”

Regulating online services can often be tricky for regulators as problem gamblers are able to gain access to casino platforms, at any time of the day and can jump from one platform to another with ease.

As permitting new licences could cause a potential rise in these irresponsible gambling incidents, Harbach detailed how the regulator

continues to outperform sports betting in revenue, contributing $133.11m compared to $39.25m from sports wagering.

Harbach was quick to acknowledge the wide appeal for igaming, and casinos in general, as grounds for its continuous dominance over sports betting, stating: “Sports wagering will never produce the amount of revenue as casino slots and table games, or even igaming.

“It has broad appeal to a certain

offers protective measures to reduce harm caused by online casino gambling.

He noted: “We have options in place that permit online players, whether casino-type online gaming or online sports wagering, to be assisted in any gambling problem.”

Harbach listed self-exclusion as an example, which he suggests “allows an individual to voluntarily request to be banned from all legalised igaming activities”.

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THE PGCB HAS MANAGED TO BALANCE BOTH ITS ONLINE AND BRICK-AND-MORTAR CASINOS ENOUGH TO SEE ITS GAMBLING MARKET CONTINUE TO THRIVE

He continued: “When on this list, a person is prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses or accepting complimentary gifts or promotions.”

The PGCB’s Director of Communications went on to list self-imposed limits, including deposit limits, spend limits, wager limits, daily time-based limits and temporary suspension as other ways in which the board has set up each operator to ensure that responsible gambling is prioritised.

Whether encouraged by the PGCB’s regulation, or the qualities of an active online casino market, Pennsylvania’s igaming sector and the funding it brings to the table could encourage other states around the country to consider launching an online casino space of their own.

After all, Pennsylvania was the second state to introduce igaming after New Jersey which launched its market almost six years earlier in 2013.

Having already knocked NJ from its online casino perch, several states have aimed to repeat this feat with subsequent market launches in Connecticut, Michigan and West Virginia.

Each of these jurisdictions will understand that a power dynamic between regulators and operators is key for an igaming market to succeed, and PA can provide a stellar example of keeping operators under a watchful eye.

Greenwood Gaming operates PARX Casino, a land-based establishment

located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The company’s online services have also reached the Keystone State, with Marc Oppenheimer, Chief Marketing Officer at Greenwood Gaming, noting that its “online casino business is growing nicely in PA”.

When questioned on the operator's relationship with the regulator for Pennsylvania, Oppenheimer said: “Any operator, whether land-based or online, must comply with all PGCB regulations.

”We have processes in place to do that. And, likely due to this focus, we’re one of the least fined operators in PA.”

He added: “We work very well with the PGCB. Any operator has to be able to work within the guidelines and regulations of their state. The PGCB is responsive to questions for clarity, that’s all we can ask.”

The Pennsylvania igaming market is expected to continue its strong momentum into the remainder of 2023. And while new licences may present the PGCB with an increased workload, a boost in its gambling economy could see the state secure itself as a staple jurisdiction for all sectors of gambling, whether online or not. •

86 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Putting Penn to paper
GAMING
A BOOST IN ITS GAMBLING ECONOMY COULD SEE THE STATE SECURE ITSELF AS A STAPLE JURISDICTION FOR ALL SECTORS OF GAMBLING
#1 Payments Platform in iGaming Powering Play, Safely Stand A41 Come visit us at paysafe.com

NEOSURF’S ANDREA MCGEACHIN: WHY TWO REGULATORS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

gambling regulations instructions for ourselves is about managing our AML duties such as traceability of vouchers and wallet transactions.”

“Not everyone likes the idea of them,” said McGeachin, “but in this industry, regulators play an integral part. At Neosurf, we welcome regulation as essential to providing a safe and secure environment for our customers to transact with confidence.”

The CEO, contentiously perhaps, believes that when it comes to the

issue of regulation, more is actually better. “As controversial as it may seem – we firmly believe that two regulators are better than one,” she noted.

“Our response to enhanced regulation has been the launch of our KYC handshake and improved payout processes.

“Gambling regulators now dictate many payment method rules, while anti-money laundering (AML) is at the heart of both. We are managed via the payments regulators. Most of the

Emphasising the more collaborative aspects of working alongside regulations in varying jurisdictions, she added: “These regulators work to protect us, the operator and of course players from fraud, theft and illegal activities.

“It is when there are different processes, procedures and limits per regulator in different countries that affect the equation and you’ve got an imbalance, which results in a roller coaster of a ride. This is our responsibility in delivering the best adherence, balanced with the smartest user experience.

“Strategically we didn't expect to have to meet the Gambling Commission’s needs but we have

Surf’s up… 88 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
AN INCREASE IN REGULATION for the betting and gaming industry is something we’re all becoming more familiar with. Andrea McGeachin, CEO of Neosurf, explains how the igaming payments service provider has met the challenge of ramping up its player protection quotas accordingly

discovered many regulators are smart, especially the newest ones (Ontario, Netherlands) and we are up for the challenge of delivering the requirements of both regulators.”

But when it comes to addressing a market that is becoming increasingly

PAYMENTS

heavy on the regulation front, what are the key considerations for companies like Neosurf? McGeachin stated: “As a payments service, striving to adhere to both sets of regulations means our customers have the best experience possible.

“It may be an extra effort to comply, but in doing so we create an environment of safety and trust. We take this responsibility seriously and we are proud that we deliver great results for our customers, operators and merchants.

“By taking significant steps to engage with the gambling regulators directly we are seeing great informative progress. This is challenging the myths created by some of our competitors and other experienced payments people – especially in countries like the Netherlands, where the gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit was responsive and provided us with quality supportive direction.”

The CEO then turned her attention to the part that cash can still play as a thoroughly viable payment method, albeit with the associated element of added risk that it brings. “Cash is not dead and it should enter the digital world safely and in a traceable manner,” she said. “We make that journey seamless, with the privacy of our customers and our operators’ players being maintained.

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WE ARE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE OF DELIVERING THE REQUIREMENTS OF BOTH REGULATORS

“As providers of cash and wallet payments into the online gambling sector we are considered as a double high risk, so it’s important we make it clear that we embrace the management of these high risk arenas with responsibility, using a sensible approach to user experience and covering relevant transactions quickly and smartly.

“We are committed to delivering exceptional service and support in providing a secure payments platform with our vouchers and wallet. Our operators and merchants can trust us to remain compliant with both regulators and provide a safe experience.”

Talking about the processes involved with meeting growing regulatory requirements, the CEO said: “The area

PAYMENTS

we initially focus on in adhering to the rules is the user journey. Not everyone is a criminal and social responsibility has a spectrum to watch over. We drive a unique smooth user experience and using our ‘KYC Handshake’ we use accessible background KYC (know your customer data) to limit interruptions in transactions.”

The KYC Handshake, she added, is a product that uses Neosurf’s API

to interact at different points and for different needs to swap, share, collate and validate information in the background. She said: “Both us and the operators may save or use the data in our decisioning of onboarding or transaction completion.

“The product becomes even stronger as a tool for optimisation with payouts. Whilst respecting the regulators’ rules, we are able to use the tool to ensure that payouts are optimised for all our operators.”

McGeachin also believes that with regulations being subject to ongoing changes, there is an absolute need to work in lockstep with policy makers. “The regulatory landscape is constantly shifting and evolving,” she said. ”But at Neosurf, we’re committed to staying ahead of the changes by maintaining close relationships with both regulators.

“Our particular product carries the stigma that it's declining, isn't secure and isn’t liked by regulators. By engaging with the gambling regulators we are able to position the services for the players that want and need our services whilst ensuring the regulators’ aspirations to maintain overall safety.”

Closing off the discussion, McGeachin underlined Neosurf’s technology credentials and the company’s willingness to stick to the regulatory path as key to a great player experience, while safeguarding customer safety.

She said: “By leveraging our advanced technology, we remain at the forefront of compliance standards, enabling us to provide a reliable platform for anyone who wants to make payments online. Our commitment to regulatory compliance ensures that all transactions will be secure, efficient and compliant with the rules set forth by each regulator.

“We take great pride in providing innovative solutions for payment processing while ensuring the safety of our customers’ data and money – and to do this we need both regulators to be engaged.” •

90 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 Surf’s up…
WE MAKE THAT JOURNEY SEAMLESS, WITH THE PRIVACY OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND OUR OPERATORS’ PLAYERS BEING MAINTAINED
CASH IS NOT DEAD AND IT SHOULD ENTER THE DIGITAL WORLD SAFELY AND IN A TRACEABLE MANNER
KYC Less diversions more conversions Neosurf KYC Handshake SO SIMPLE TO PAY & PLAY ONLINE Contact jackie@neosurf.com www.business.neosurf.com ZERO tech time ZERO impact on conversions FULL traceability and sharing of data for every countries regulatory need

THE PAYMENTS PROCESS IS PROVING PIVOTAL FOR STATES TO EMBRACE TO ONLINE SPORTS BETTING

AS

Paysafe’s Zak Cutler discusses

You could be forgiven for thinking that the repeal of PASPA was more than five years ago because since then, over 70% of US states have legalised sports betting, with a handful more either mulling over new legislation or preparing for launch.

But the US has had to play catch up to the rest of the online betting world, most notably when compared to the UK and Europe, where gambling has been able to innovate and improve thanks to the introduction of mobile betting apps, defined regulatory guidelines and, most crucially, the speed of gambling transactions.

America is not only catching up in terms of online gambling, but also the ability to integrate faster payments into wider society. The UK, for example, introduced faster payment

rails in 2008 and since then has made almost-instant payments not just a want, but an expectation, bolstered by the proliferation of open banking. Whilst the US is progressing with its real-time payments rail - which is expected to be updated with the FedNow payment rail to enhance the quickness of transactions - it took up until 2017 to establish its own faster payments rail. And whilst sports bettors love nothing more than winning big, winning big and receiving those wins in an instant is almost just as good.

This was highlighted by Zak CutlerPresident of Global iGaming at Paysafe - as he reveals that 36% of players prioritise a quick and easy payout when deciding an online sportsbook brand to choose. Cutler spoke indepth about how alternative payment methods are also moulding the players user experience to be as frictionless as possible.

He said: “To maximise the acquisition potential that payments provide, it’s important that online and mobile sportsbooks deliver the payments

Paying it safe 92 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
US STATES CONTINUE TO EYE the potential of online sports betting, the process has not proved to be a simple one. With regulations varying from state to state and the demand from the player for quicker transactions mounting, there is increasing pressure to find the right balance between speed, compliance and user experience.

journey that players are seeking. This goes beyond just the speed of payouts to include the availability of alternative payment methods and providing confidence to consumers that transaction security is at the highest level.

“Alongside player acquisition, which is obviously important for operators looking to expand in newly regulated markets, keeping players engaged is also a critical factor. Operators need to deliver an enhanced payment experience that’s fast and seamless, where players encounter the least amount of friction possible.

“In fact, enhancing the payments experience has already proven to be particularly crucial for customer retention in newer markets like New York, where 85% of players in the year-old igaming market cited the experience of frictionless payouts as a key factor when choosing to stay with

a particular sportsbook brand.”

Finding the right payment guidelines for players to abide by is now a pivotal consideration for regulators when it comes to building legislation surrounding online sports betting. However, the states are in control, and any form of one-size-fitsall gets thrown out of the window.

Alternative payment methods are continuing to take shape too, whether it be the introduction of digital wallets or the rise of prepaid debit cards, there has never been more options for lawmakers to choose from to meet the diverse range of payment requirements.

“Consider Iowa’s online sports betting market, which launched in 2019 and where regulators have placed a ban on the use of credit card payments for any form of betting,” Cutler continued.

“Despite this nuance, there are ways for operators to meet players’ diverse payment preferences by offering a mix of traditional payment methods, such as debit cards, alongside alternative solutions.

“These nuances, which vary from state to state, suggest that offering a wide range of payment options not only improves the user experience for players, but can also lead to market differentiation when working within each state’s regulatory framework.”

And one state that has taken all of this into account is Massachusetts, with the home of the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots recently launching its sports betting operations, lawmakers have been keen to get off to a good start considering how passionate of a sports state

Massachusetts is.

When asked about whether there are any use cases from another sports town like New York with their player payment preferences and if that can be translated over to Massachusetts, Cutler explained that it isn't exactly a one-size-fits all approach.

He commented: “Our most recent igaming research found that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by operators on marketing and ad campaigns, payments are still the key differentiator that many players consider

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OPERATORS NEED TO DELIVER AN ENHANCED PAYMENT EXPERIENCE THAT’S FAST AND SEAMLESS

when choosing where to wager online.

“This finding reinforces the importance of offering players the option to select their preferred payment method for operators looking to acquire new customers.

“Our research also revealed that when it comes to selecting a sportsbook to wager with, online sports bettors are prioritising quick and easy payouts above brand trust, betting odds and promotions. Alternative solutions, such as digital wallets, overall offer a premium user experience for players, enabling them to make instant, safe and secure payouts, without the requirement to share financial information with the operator.”

But as digital wallets and other payment methods begin to explode in usage and the user experience becomes increasingly more frictionless, this isn’t to say that there hasn't been growing pains since the repeal of PASPA back in 2018.

Card issues arose as soon as states started to open their arms to sports betting, with many cards being declined and the process of placing a bet became a lot more strenuous. Add

on top of that real-time payments were just getting off the ground in the US and were running into problems of their own.

Cutler shared that this was resolved by the work of payment providers and banks coming together to create a coding and classifications system designed to make the transaction process smoother but also, and more importantly, fully functional.

So as sports betting in America now appears ripe for further expansion and growth, Cutler turned his attention to what more can be done from payment providers like Paysafe to eliminate occurring pain points to create a seamless betting experience.

“There’s always opportunity for improvement, whether that’s enhancing the payments landscape overall or developing new solutions,” he concluded.

“To better serve the payments journey, operators and payments providers need to address the most basic pain points and create an experience that’s intuitive, fast and secure.

“As operators look to take a larger slice of the US regulated market, another key industry focus for this year will be responding to player demand for faster payments. This demand speaks to the improvements we’ve made to our own product suite, particularly our Skrill digital wallet, where we’ve made it possible to support instant funding of the wallet through the player’s bank account.

“The immediate effect of this enhancement is that we’ve effectively reduced the time it takes to make a deposit and limited the number of clicks that players must go through to simply fund their deposit.” •

94 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
Paying it safe
PAYMENTS
TO BETTER SERVE THE PAYMENTS JOURNEY, OPERATORS AND PAYMENTS PROVIDERS NEED TO ADDRESS THE MOST BASIC PAIN POINTS AND CREATE AN EXPERIENCE THAT’S INTUITIVE, FAST AND SECURE
ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS, SUCH AS DIGITAL WALLETS, OFFER A PREMIUM USER EXPERIENCE FOR PLAYERS
payment method built for betting. Trusted by Operators, preferred by players trustly.com
The

UNDERSTANDING CANADA: MEET AIDAN BRAIN, THE CONFERENCE PRODUCER BEHIND SBC’S CANADIAN GAMING SUMMIT

INTRODUCING AIDAN BRAIN, the VP of Conference

Production for the Americas who joined the SBC team in late October. With Canadian Gaming Summit on the horizon, Aidan shares his insights into the unique challenges of creating an exceptional agenda for SBC’s newest event

SBC’s conference content has been praised as "topnotch," "thought-provoking," "innovative," and "authoritative."

As we grow, so does the number of attendees who eagerly flock to our events. But despite the rapid expansion, we remain firmly committed to providing high-quality educational content to our audiences.

We often ask ourselves, what's the secret sauce behind our outstanding conferences? And to our surprise, the entire team echoes the same sentiment over and over: the real stars behind the show are our very own conference producers.

These masterminds work behind the scenes, pouring their hearts and souls into curating informative and engaging content. Their tireless efforts ensure that attendees walk away feeling inspired, enlightened, and equipped with the tools to succeed.

That's why we sat down with Aidan Brain, the VP of Conference Production for SBC's Americas events — SBC Summit North America, Canadian Gaming Summit and SBC Summit Latinoamérica — to get a deeper insight into his work and find out

more about one of the agendas he's currently working on.

We're excited to spotlight the Canadian Gaming Summit in this feature. This year's summit is the 26th edition of the conference and exhibition, set to take place on June 13-15 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. After acquiring the summit last year, SBC is thrilled to produce it for the first time ever.

SBC: Let's begin on a light note - can you tell us a little about yourself and your interests outside of work?

AB: I grew up in West Yorkshire in England, went to university in London, and lived in Spain for a little while before moving to New York City where I’ve been for a few years now.

Outside of work, I have pretty varied interests - the basics like travelling (I’ve visited all populated continents except one) watching films, exploring different cuisines, appreciating art and

architecture, and learning languages. I love living in New York as it has all those things to offer in abundance.

SBC: Crafting a comprehensive agenda for an entire event can be an intimidating endeavour, especially given SBC’s acquisition of the CGS, which means you had to do it from scratch. How did you tackle the agenda production phase, and what were the most significant hurdles you had to overcome?

AB: I’m very new to the gaming industry, but I have been producing conference agendas for over a decade now. I have put together programs for various industry conferences on pharmaceuticals, aviation, accounting, supply chain and more.

After you have worked on a few different verticals, you pick up a few tricks. It’s all about understanding what’s keeping people up at night and what makes them tick at work — once you figure out how to get that information out of the people you’re speaking to, you can figure out what’s deemed important in any industry.

Canada presented a challenge because there’s a patchwork of different rules at the provincial level. However, after a few calls with the relevant players, I started to get a good grasp of it. Obviously, I still have a way to go, but putting together a conference agenda delivered by the industry’s brightest minds is an excellent way for me to expand my knowledge and fill in any gaps.

SBC: You mentioned it yourself — you have access to some of the best industry minds. What are some of the

The Brain behind it all 96 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023
IT'S ALL ABOUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S KEEPING PEOPLE UP AT NIGHT AND WHAT MAKES THEM TICK AT WORK

most important insights you've gained about the Canadian gaming industry, and how have you incorporated them into the agenda?

AB: The gaming industry in Canada is a complex landscape. While there is currently a lot of discussion around Ontario's recent regulation of sports betting and iGaming, it is important to engage with experts from across the country. Different provinces, such as British Columbia and Quebec, have developed successful models for gaming, each with their own unique strengths.

I’ve done my best to incorporate these diverse perspectives into the conference program.

The CGS agenda comprises several panels that aim to explore the lessons that can be learned from Ontario

AIDAN (OVER)SHARES

What’s your pet peeve at work?

I’ll work any hours throughout the week, but there’s a special place in hell for anyone who schedules a meeting on Friday after 5pm.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

When I was a kid in the UK, there was a show called Bernard’s Watch where the title character could stop time whenever he felt like it. I still think about it to this day.

What’s the funniest joke or pun you know? Did you hear about the two TV aerials that got married? They had a great connection

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

My dog. She sleeps 21 hours out of 24, gets endless treats and pays no bills, yet she still has the cheek to sigh loudly once an hour at least.

Do you have any hidden talents or skills that not many people know about?

In high school, I actually moonlighted as a fishmonger in a supermarket, so if I got marooned on a desert island, I could prepare all of the fish for dinner, so long as I was marooned with someone who could catch them.

and applied to other provinces and territories. The discussions will also delve into the challenges and intricacies of each province, providing a comprehensive understanding of the gaming industry across Canada. This includes examining topics such as advertising and marketing standards that may differ from one province to another, to ensure that the industry operates in a consistent and equitable manner. Additionally, province-specific roundtable discussions will offer operators and suppliers the

opportunity to discuss the regulatory and market developments unique to each province.

SBC: What do you see as being the biggest challenges facing the Canadian gaming market in the next 12 months?

AB: Again, Canada’s gaming market differs from province to province. In some jurisdictions it’s a question of whether or not to open up to operators from outside of the crown corporations; in others, it's all about responsible gaming.

The regulators in Canada seem to be very cognizant of the dangers of irresponsible gambling, so installing safeguards is important and I think we’ll see a lot more back-and-forth between now and next year about

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I THINK WE'LL SEE A LOT MORE BACK-AND-FORTH ON HOW STRONG THESE SAFEGUARDS NEED TO BE

AIDAN’S TOP 5 CGS PANELS

1 Canada as an international innovation hub for gaming

2 Engaging 15m new players: creating user experience to boost retention and brand loyalty

3 Omnichannel experiences - the convergence of land-based, lottery and igaming

4 Partner and play - collaboration between Canadian teams, leagues and sportsbooks

5 Talent on the ground: sourcing diverse talent in Canada as companies grow their operations

exactly how strong these safeguards now need to be.

SBC: Balancing the needs and desires of attendees can be challenging. How do you manage this, especially when you have to appeal to different audiences and ensure that the agenda is relevant for every single person attending the Canadian Gaming Summit?

AB: It’s about figuring out what is crucial for the day-to-day and longterm business goals of our attendees and the companies they represent or, what’s going to be useful for their career advancement.

SBC’s events are attracting a diverse pool of attendees, including senior decision-makers, marketing specialists, product-focused professionals, casino managers, sportsbook directors, and SEO wizards — you cannot cater your content to everyone and make it relevant and applicable to each and every person (which is why we have breakout rooms).

But here's the thing — we want to make sure our attendees get the

most out of our events. So, we always keep in mind who our audience is and what they might be interested in. By evaluating common aspects, trends, and challenges, we try our best to provide relevant and applicable content to the majority of our attendees.

SBC: With SBC now managing the Canadian Gaming Summit, what do you see as the future of the event? How do you plan to keep it relevant and valuable in the coming years, and what changes can the attendees expect from a conference perspective?

AB: For us, it’s really important that this Summit is a platform for everyone in Canadian gaming. Some events focus very much on Ontario as the most populous province and the one that has opened up the most to

operators from outside the nation; but we see all the other provinces, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces as well as the territories as being equally important, so we’re giving them a seat on stage too.

We also want to involve the First Nations, who are so paramount to the gaming industry in Canada; outside of sportsbooks and igaming operators, the land-based element is also extremely important.

There are also fun elements in Canada like charitable gaming that we want to see in the program. All in all, we see the event as growing year by year, bringing in more of the industry at large.

I should also mention that SBC is known for its all-inclusive networking. Nobody knows how to throw a party in this industry like SBC and I can’t wait to see what our events team puts together in Toronto!

In future years, I’d also like to see the show move around - Vancouver, Montreal, etc - not least because I haven’t had the chance to visit those cities yet! •

98 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023 The Brain behind it all
WE SEE THE EVENT GROWING YEAR BY YEAR, BRINGING IN MORE OF THE INDUSTRY AT LARGE

RASMUS SOJMARK: GATHERING THE GREAT AND GOOD AT SBC SUMMIT NORTH AMERICA

WITH SBC SUMMIT NORTH AMERICA entering into its fourth iteration this year, SBC CEO Rasmus Sojmark shares his thoughts on how the event has grown in both size and stature since its not-so-humble beginnings back in 2019

SBC: The fourth iteration of SBC Summit North America beckons. What are your expectations for the event this time around?

RS The expectations this year are probably the highest ever. Firstly, we are back to normal having had to move the event round for a couple of years because of Covid. Now we’re back to May which is the ideal time of year. The build-up and expectations around the event are much better now that date has been stabilised.

It’s the fourth iteration and we’ve all been looking forward to this event which will gather around 3,500 senior executives from across the industry. Lots of key operators are there and we have very high expectations from what is an incredibly strong speaker roster this year including the President of FanDuel, the CEO of Rush Street, CEO of PointsBet USA, CEO of BetFanatics, Chairman of Entain Group, and the President of 888. They’re joined by Caesars, BetMGM, Betfred, and Ballys and will be contributing on the panels as keynotes.

We should also mention that there will be a vibrant trade show floor with about 70 exhibitors this year. It’s

big, not too big, but large enough to deliver a fantastic opportunity for our attendees to check out all the latest products and services, experience new innovations, and meet the suppliers who can help scale your business.

Couple that with the opportunity to listen to the operators talk about their business and operations, access

to different states, how the industry is pushing forward and the outlook for the future and you have a highly-compelling proposition.

The evening, of course, brings lots of networking opportunities at some great venues in Manhattan where you can meet and talk to people you may have missed during the day. You just

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EVENTS

show up. We’ll bring the people and the experiences to you.

SBC: What has it been like to see the event mature into what it has become today?

RS We saw the repeal of PASPA in 2018, which led to us establishing the debut event in 2019. We had a couple of rough years with Covid, but now we have the fourth edition and it has grown year-on-year. It’s next in size only to G2E which is the only other event in the market in terms of the combination of products, education and networking in a joined up format.

Having matured to this stature, SBC Summit North America finds itself in a very strong position considering how big the US market is and how many states have legalised sports betting and igaming. It’s a very interesting position to be in with a mature event.

We are going to grow it from here, although there’s no immediate need for scaling up significantly. As I’ve said, we’re in a very good position already and we’re comfortable with the current level. 2024 will tell if we go bigger, so let’s just get 2023 underway.

I’m proud of how the company and my colleagues have managed to look at a completely new market very early on. We didn’t wait - we were the first to launch a new event and went all-in.

What we’ve gained from that is access to new partners, new networking, new businesses and new friends; almost a new family in the US.

As a result we now have a whole new part of SBC that just didn’t exist in the same way before. And I think that being very externally-focused as we are as an event organiser, it's amazing to have extended what we do in Europe into the US and gradually all of the Americas.

SBC: More broadly, can you describe how the journey unfolded from that first event?

RS We worked incredibly hard to connect with stakeholders, whether they be operators, suppliers, affiliates and regulators, as well as associations, the lotteries and tribes. That was a lot of work to make sure we were connected with the right people to help them

understand what we were trying to create - an event where the focus was on quality not quantity. Yes, the aim was to grow the number of delegates, but with the right mix of products, networking and conference content.

We put in a lot of investment to make sure that everyone had the best experience - when people are happy they are more likely to want to engage with the event and the audiences there. We created a place where everyone wants to be and that went down really well.

It has taken a lot of hard work, endeavour and a detailed understanding of the market. Our understanding stemmed from many calls, connections and a lot of outreach to the right stakeholders in the US. And it was a new market, so it wasn’t easy.

We aligned ourselves with some key people like Sue Schneider who has been instrumental in the success of the event via her network in the US. Andrew McCarron, my business partner and MD of SBC, did an amazing job in building the conference side of the event. And we had Event Director Paul Mills who identified Meadowlands as the main venue which turned out to be a great connection between New Jersey and New York.

Basically we took the SBC concept of quality and focus - the right products

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I’M PROUD OF HOW THE COMPANY AND MY COLLEAGUES HAVE MANAGED TO LOOK AT A COMPLETELY NEW MARKET VERY EARLY ON. WE DIDN’T WAIT - WE WERE THE FIRST TO LAUNCH A NEW EVENT AND WENT ALL-IN

and conference content - and delivered it for the US market. We’ve created something that people appreciate. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re in the US, LatAm, Canada or Europe, you have to treat people with the respect they deserve.

When they take the time to come and visit one of your events, I think that if you adhere to this you’ll go far in terms of what the event can deliver. Making sure that we had all the right elements in place helped guarantee success from day one.

SBC: What would you like to say to the people and organisations that have shared that journey and supported the growth of the event?

RS Firstly I would say thank you and express appreciation for their support. From an internal perspective, we’re a bigger organisation now with well over 100 people. We have established local teams in the Americas and Europe and I’d like to say a big thank you to all the team members who work so hard to make it all possible and continue to strive for better, more scaled-up events. North America has grown year-on-year, so internally it’s key to have the right people behind it. We have that - and that’s amazing.

From the supplier side and our sponsors, it’s incredible how when we ask for more support to grow our offer, we get that support. To all our key sponsors exhibitors, thank you for that and helping us scale into the US market and take them on a journey to grow their businesses there. We are creating the foundation they expect when they invest in us and we’re grateful they’ve allowed us to do that.

From the operators’ perspective, we’re delighted to have created a platform for them to seek out new products and services, as well as talk about different issues and state-by-state opportunities.

We give them the means to access a wealth of content across different areas of the industry and talk about the issues they need to address such as player protection, igaming, sports betting, media, sports, affiliates and marketing and payments. The operators have used that platform very well to promote the discussion about creating a better industry. I think that works really well and the operators have embraced it as a key vehicle to drive that agenda forward.

SBC: And what would you say to those newcomers that are joining SBC on the next leg of SBC Summit North America’s development?

RS It’s the place to be. It’s the right foundation for your business, whether you are a supplier, operator, affiliate, regulator, sporting organisation, club, or league. You may already have a position within the industry, or you may be from outside looking to get into the business, but no other event can come close to

is precious. When you are allocating that time to our event we will make sure you have an amazing experience.

SBC: Finally, once North America is done and dusted, we turn our attention to CasinoBeats Malta. What would you like to say to our industry colleagues who are likely to be joining us there?

RS I think CasinoBeats Malta is a unique event, based on the fact that it’s focused on the online casino industry. Delegates can look forward to a deep dive into studios; how they work, game operation, and the marketing and positioning of new games within an operation. They will also learn about game development - how studios strive to create new game mechanics, new ways of delivering fresh game experiences to the consumer.

giving you the experience we can.

It’s without doubt the most senior executive focused event in North America next to G2E Vegas, and It’s a sizeable event at around 3,500 people, so you’ll meet enough different types of industry stakeholders. It’s a senior audience in terms of experience which means you’ll meet the right decision makers. You certainly will get a chance to listen to the type of content you want across four stages.

You don’t have to think too much about scheduling your day. Just turn up, we will be there to bring you what you’re looking for in a way that suited to the type of delegate you are. We are here to make sure your time is used in a smart way - we understand your time

How do you keep innovating in an industry that has approximately 500 game studios? How do you make your games relevant to consumers? Our event is key to answering those questions - helping you to find the hook and talk to the right community.

CasinoBeats Malta is a deep dive into what matters most for casinos. It’s a high-level event where you get to see the products, feel the innovation, touch the development, listen to the experts and learn about game mechanics and the marketing operations around the industry. In keeping with all of SBC events, there will be plenty of ways of connecting during the day and, more informally, during the evening when you can wind down and reflect on your experiences.

sbcleaders.com 101
• EVENTS
IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHETHER YOU’RE IN THE US, LATAM, CANADA OR EUROPE, YOU HAVE TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE

BRANDS OUR

The heritage news portal of the SBC Media portfolio, providing daily insights and opinion on all segments of the European sports betting industry.

The premier destination for betting industry news in the USA, Covering the sports betting, and online and offline casino industries across the 50 states.

The leading Spanish-language portal covering news from the betting and gaming industry, across Latin America, North America and Spain.

The newest site in the portfolio, providing industry-leading coverage of the Brazilian and global betting industries in Portuguese.

A news portal covering the latest developments from Eastern Europe and the CIS region, in both English and Russian.

Dedicated to the online and landbased casino and igaming industries, offering daily feature articles and interviews alongside all the latest news.

The number one industry resource for all the latest game releases and developments in the rapidly growing slots and slot games side of the casino and gaming industry.

A news portal focusing on the payments, fintech and crypto industries, with news, opinion and expert analysis.

The leading source of betting and gaming industry news, covering Canada and global stories with Canadian interest.

The home of news, insight and analysis on the global lottery industry. From retail to digital, regulation to marketing and technology to CSR.

The business of sport. Covering sponsorship deals, partnerships, media rights, integrity and more, across every sport, and every corner of the globe.

The hub of video content in the industry. From podcasts to webinars, and interviews to commercials, GamblingTV has a rich and growing archive of knowledge and content.

For more information, or to find out what SBC Media can do for your brand, contact John Cook on john.cook@sbcgaming.com

SBC Media 102 SBC LEADERS • APRIL 2023

SERVICES OUR Branding

Editorial

SBC Media offers numerous options to utilise our expert editorial team to create high quality content to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking to establish your brand or CEO, present data, conduct research, become thought-leaders or build up for an appearance at a forthcoming event, we’ve got you covered.

and Advertising

NEWSLETTERS

Newsletter advertising is the way to ensure your news is seen by industry decision makers, no matter the vertical. SBC Media offers a number of branding and advertising opportunities across our 10+ newsletters. Get your message in the right inboxes, every single day.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Catch the eyes of industry professionals across our entire network. SBC Media offers a multitude of banner placements, section sponsorships and pop-ups to place your brand prominently in front of our audience.

PRINT ADVERTISING

Get in touch about print advertising to place your brand in one of our magazines, and have your message placed directly into the hands of thousands of industry professionals.

Video and Audio

SBC Media offers high-end video and audio options, perfect for whatever you need. From physical interviews at events with a multi-camera set-up, to edited online video interviews, podcast appearances, or sponsoring an SBC Webinar. SBC Media can deliver leads, exposure and everything in between.

sbcleaders.com 103 EVENTS

Articles inside

SERVICES OUR Branding

1min
page 103

BRANDS OUR

1min
page 102

RASMUS SOJMARK: GATHERING THE GREAT AND GOOD AT SBC SUMMIT NORTH AMERICA

7min
pages 99-101

UNDERSTANDING CANADA: MEET AIDAN BRAIN, THE CONFERENCE PRODUCER BEHIND SBC’S CANADIAN GAMING SUMMIT

6min
pages 96-98

THE PAYMENTS PROCESS IS PROVING PIVOTAL FOR STATES TO EMBRACE TO ONLINE SPORTS BETTING

4min
pages 92-94

NEOSURF’S ANDREA MCGEACHIN: WHY TWO REGULATORS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

3min
pages 88-90

MORE LICENCES, MORE PROBLEMS? A DEEP DIVE INTO THE PGCB

5min
pages 84-87

PLAYSTAR CEO PER HELLBERG: THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG RETENTION STRATEGY

4min
pages 80-83

JAMIE HUMMINGBIRD: TRIBAL REGULATIONS ARE BROADER THAN MOST REALISE

5min
pages 76-79

AGA’S BILL MILLER ON ERADICATING ‘A MAJOR THREAT TO OUR INDUSTRY’

6min
pages 72-75

METROBETS: REVOLUTIONISING THE PUERTO RICAN MARKET THROUGH RELIABILITY

4min
pages 68-71

AMERICA’S MOST COMPREHENSIVE PLATFORM

4min
pages 64-67

CARLOS SILVA, DREAMS: A REVIEW OF THE IGAMING REGULATORY LANDSCAPE IN CHILE

4min
pages 61-63

JACKPOCKET: LEADING THE DIGITAL LOTTERY TICKET RACE ACROSS THE US

4min
pages 58-60

STEVEN SALZ: ENGAGEMENT IS A ‘JOB NEVER DONE’

5min
pages 54-57

PARIS SMITH: ONTARIO IS THE PINNACLE OF OUR GLOBAL EXPANSION

5min
pages 50-52

TODD SIMS: MAKING SPORTS BETTING IMMERSIVE

5min
pages 46-49

GREG KIRKORSKY LAUDS A WINNING TEAM AND CULTURE

5min
pages 41-45

CAPITOL CATCHUP: WHERE WILL SPORTS BETTING BE IN 2023?

6min
pages 36-40

JUSTIN COSNETT: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF CONTINENT 8 TECHNOLOGIES

4min
pages 32-34

A safer gambling superhero

2min
pages 30-31

SETTING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS FOR PLAYER PROTECTION

2min
pages 28-29

ADAM GREENBLATT: WE’RE PUTTING OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS

10min
pages 21-26

SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP: CONSISTENTLY UNLOCKING VALUE ON A GLOBAL LEVEL

7min
pages 16-20

AMY HOWE Bringing the leadership factor

16min
pages 6-15

INTRO

2min
page 4

CONTENTS

1min
page 3
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