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Exclusive Interview with Matt Howard (Director of Sportsbook Solutions), speaker at Vienna International Gaming Expo 2018

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I am delighted to share with you my latest interview which focuses on sports betting solutions in the online gambling industry with emphasis on Risk Management and Fraud detection.

Matt Howard is the Director of Sportsbook Solutions, a premium sports betting advisory and management firm located in the UK and serving businesses worldwide. Matt has worked for and with some of the largest operators and suppliers in the sports betting and gaming industry, amongst them William Hill, Betfred, Totesport, BetConstruct, Aspire Global, BetRadar, BetGenius and Digital Sports Tech.

Matt will be a speaker at iGaming Knowledge Seminar and at the Millennial Gaming Forum, which are part of Vienna International Gaming Expo 2018. (more details here…)

I would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. First I would kindly ask you to shortly introduce yourself and also speak about the company you represent, Sportsbook Solutions.

Matt: Thanks very much! I am Matt Howard and I am a consultant and director of the company Sportsbook Solutions. Sportsbook Solutions comes from noticing the lack of skilled people currently working in sports betting, in terms of operational Trade and Risk Management mainly. As the industry expands into new regions there are obviously also issues in terms of local skill if there is no background in sports betting in that region. Sportsbook Solutions provide outsourced Sportsbook Management Services to clients worldwide to solve both these issues for them. We work depending on each client’s requirements and budgets; so we may compile extensive reports for some clients, whereas with others we provide entirely outsourced, dedicated sportsbook management teams. We only staff with Tier 1 trained employees and believe this makes us completely unique and premium.

You have rich experience in gaming and gambling industries since you have been giving advice to clients for a long a time on different aspect of this industry. Why did you choose this industry and which are the areas you are most interested in and give you the most success?

Matt: In the UK we grow up around betting and it has extremely close ties to sports. I was a huge football fan and also very good at Mathematics so being able to combine these two interests and skills with sports betting was a great fit! I was fortunate enough to start my career with one of the world’s largest firms, William Hill, and have always been keen to take on new and interesting challenges in the 14 years since I started my career back in Leeds!

What can you tell us about the projects you have worked on so far, and the difficulties and successes you have experienced?   

Matt: I have been lucky enough to work in both B2B and B2C and with companies of all sizes and stages of their lifecycle. I have also worked in every department within sportsbooks and in the most senior roles operationally, too. I think this gives me a unique perspective on how to manage sportsbooks effectively and with an in-depth understanding of how the suppliers also work to be able to both identify weaknesses and also to work to eliminate these areas.

There are always some difficulties and these can come down to a lack of processes, budget constraints and sometimes a lack of skill and expertise also. I am a huge fan or process and organization and I always start from here. Some of the major successes I have had have been project managing the first integration between the Margin Maker console and BetRadar, rebranding the UK’s oldest sports betting company and, most recently, in leading the BetConstruct sportsbook to be the largest B2B sportsbook currently available. This included increasing their clients by over 100%, increasing turnover by over 300% and increasing profit margins on sports betting by over 50%.

Risk management and fraud detection are major goals of Sportsbook Solutions. How can you help other companies who operate in this domain to be more efficient considering these two major aspects of the industry?

Matt: One of the areas Sportsbook Solutions consider to be suffering in the industry is Risk Management. The rise of pooled resources and automation have been good in many ways, but we don’t feel this is true of Risk Management. A goal of our company is to provide personal management to our clients businesses and Risk Management is a hugely personal process for every company. As a very simple example a start-up sportsbook would benefit from much tighter control of Risk Management than an established brand who has found their place in the market. Our clients typically increase their profitability by over 25% by working alongside us because of this personal level of management. This is not only Fraud of Player Management either. What is rarely discussed is Risk Management of the Limits and Margins of a sportsbook. One of the most regular issues we see is that the pooled nature of these areas on Turnkey Solutions means that areas are both losing too much and others are restricting profitability. The combination is very damaging to profit margin. The good thing is this can be changed and the solutions allow you to do so.

What is your personal opinion about the European gambling industry and could you make a comparison with the market that you know better and the European situation in terms of gaming and gambling?

Matt: I have worked extensively in Europe (even at William Hill I focused on their Spanish operation) so I consider this to be one of my main markets. What is happening now is a huge growth period in terms of new businesses because of the much lower entry cost. The issue we see mostly is a lack of professional advice or management. We feel that no business should enter into a market without knowing what they are getting involved in, this is where Sportsbook Solutions comes in!

What upcoming events is the company focusing on nowadays and how prepared is the company for these events?

Matt: We are still quite a young company and we plan to attend as many events with a sports betting focus as we can. However, we are also very careful not to do this at the expense of our existing client’s management. So, we pick carefully the most interesting events in terms of content, attendees and business opportunities. VIGE appealed to us because it ticks all the boxes, but the focus on millennials really caught our eye!

Please, tell us more about the future plans of Sportsbook Solutions.

Matt: Our plans are to keep trying to educate the sports betting industry that things can be improved with personal management. We hope this leads to us being able to work with more clients, but we also feel just by making people think more about how their business is being managed will see improvements, which will be good for everyone and drive the industry forwards.

 If you could change anything in the world of gambling what would that be?

Matt: I would hope to change the idea that Trade and Risk Management are ‘old school’ concepts. We are a forward thinking company and we understand that the days of doing all the odds in-house are over. But, the basic principles of these two areas are what define the profit margin in sports betting more than any other area.

What are your future plans regarding you career and where would you like to travel the most?

Matt: I hope my career sees Sportsbook Solutions become a successful and respected service provider within the industry. I have no intention at all of leaving sports betting as I truly find every day interesting and exciting, even after 14 years!

In terms of travel I have been very fortunate to travel extensively in my professional and personal life. I would love to see more of South America and consider it a huge business opportunity also, so hopefully I will be able to combine the two!

If you want to meet Matt in person or networking with the biggest names of the Sports betting, Casino, VR/AR, Marketing, eSports, DFS, Virtual Sports and Crypto industry, make sure you attend the Vienna International Gaming Expo.

With this occasion, I would also like to thank you for following my interview series and for sharing these information with your colleagues and partners. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please send me an e-mail to reka.szalo@europeangaming.eu and I will happily get back to you!

 

 

 

Reka is an Experienced English second language teacher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Microsoft Excel, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Translation, Foreign Languages, and Lecturing. Strong education professional with a Bachelor’s Degree majored in English Language and Literature/Letters. Reka is in charge of conducting the exclusive interviews on European Gaming and our printed magazine

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Baltics

Special keynote on Outsourcing with Stav Zilbershtein at MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit 2019

Zoltan Tundik

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Investopedia says that outsourcing is the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company’s own employees and staff. Outsourcing is a practice usually undertaken by companies as a cost-cutting measure. As such, it can affect a wide range of jobs, ranging from customer support to manufacturing to the back office.

Outsourcing can help businesses reduce labor costs significantly. When a company uses outsourcing, it enlists the help of outside organizations not affiliated with the company to complete certain tasks. The outside organizations typically set up different compensation structures with their employees than the outsourcing company, enabling them to complete the work for less money. This ultimately enables the outsourcing money to lower its labor costs. Businesses can also avoid expenses associated with overhead, equipment, and technology.

During the second edition of MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, also known as the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Summit and Awards, Stav Zilbershtein, Co-Founder and CEO of Hyperion Tech, will present a special keynote about the current state of outsourcing in the Baltics and Nordics with an emphasis on practical lessons, risks, and solutions.

MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit will take place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel and is gathering the gambling industry from the Baltic and Scandinavian regions for a full day of quality learning and networking with like-minded peers, regulators and representatives of the industry media.

Register here or View the Agenda!

About Stav Zilbershtein

Stav Zilbershtein is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hyperion Tech, an industry leader in development outsourcing for the blockchain and financial services sectors. A serial entrepreneur in the online industry for 11 years, Stav has founded several successful companies and brought his knowledge and expertise into the IT sourcing sector. Stav is a sought-after speaker and educator in the field with more than 500 hours of public speaking and deep experience in the online world.

 

Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the Baltic and Scandinavian region via the MARE BALTICUM Gaming platform which has been launched in 2018 and is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the Baltic and Scandinavian region on a yearly base.

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

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Baltics

Safe Gambling, AML and KYC with Bogdan Coman(Rombet), Jack Symons(gamban®) and Taivo Põrk(Ministry of Finance, Estonia) at MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit 2019

Zoltan Tundik

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Bogdan Coman (Executive Director at Rombet), Jack Symons (Founder and CEO of gamban®) and Taivo Põrk (Ministry of Finance, Estonia) will join the “Safe Gambling, AML and KYC” panel discussion under the moderation of Pieter Remmers (CEO at Assissa) at the second edition of MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, also known as the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Summit and Awards.

MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit will take place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel and is gathering the gambling industry from the Baltic and Scandinavian regions for a full day of quality learning and networking with like-minded peers, regulators and representatives of the industry media.

Register here or View the Agenda!

”Safe Gambling” is a new term used in the industry and is a possible replacer for the notion ”responsible gambling”. While the responsible gambling focuses on studying and fighting the negative effects of excessive gambling practice, the broader concept of ”safe gambling”, also contains the prevention area.

It’s been a wild ride for the financial industry in the last years. Companies and executives are on a rollercoaster all year, with constant changes in regulations and sanctions, the introduction of new laws and the removal of old ones.

Financial scandals have also hit new heights and the time has come for banks and regulators alike have to admit a hard truth: not even today’s complex AML and compliance programs are enough to stop criminals exploiting financial platforms and every weak link they can find.

Online gambling is governed by special regulations, such as the Know Your Customer (KYC) standards set out in the EU’s Third Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive. This means that handling online transaction processes in the gambling sector is considerably more challenging than it is in other sectors.

On June 19th, 2018, the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) was published in the official journal of the European Union.

The AMLD 5 entered into force on July 9th, 2018. Member states are obliged to transpose the modified regulations into national law by latest January 20th, 2020.

In particular, the AMLD5

  • extends the scope to virtual currency platforms and wallet providers, tax related services and traders of art
  • grants access to the general public to beneficial ownership information of EU based companies
  • makes it an obligation to consult the beneficial ownership register when performing AML due diligence
  • obliges member states to create a list of national public offices and functions that qualify as politically exposed (PEP)
  • introduces strict enhanced due diligence measures for financial flows from high-risk third countries
  • ends the anonymity of bank and savings accounts, as well as safe deposit boxes and creates central access mechanisms to bank account and safe deposit boxes holder information throughout the EU
  • makes information on real estate holders centrally available to public authorities
  • lowers thresholds for identifying purchasers of prepaid cards and for the use of e-money
  • further enhances the powers of the FIUs and facilitates cooperation and information exchange among authorities

The experts of the panel discussion will share their knowledge on how these directives have shaped the industry and what is yet to come with AMLD6 on the horizon.

About Bogdan Coman

Bogdan Coman is the Executive Director of ROMBET and has a rich activity in the gambling industry, which he joined once graduation from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Bogdan Coman contributes to the good work of the Rombet Association through the experience of planning and organizing activities in the field of gambling. He built national projects, led complex teams, and was responsible for meeting performance indicators in the companies he worked for or collaborated with.

 

 

About Jack Symons

Jack Symons is the founder and CEO of gamban®. Formed as a result of his own experience with problem gambling and his dissatisfaction with existing self-exclusion options, Jack brought the most affordable, effective and lightweight gambling-blocking software to the market. The aim is help individuals stop gambling and organisations (businesses, operators and education institutions) improve sustainability.

 

 

About Taivo Põrk

Taivo Põrk has been responsible for designing and executing national gambling policy in Estonia through legislation since 2011, as part of his duties in Ministry of Finance. He has also been a member in Expert Group on Gambling Services since its inception by the European Commission in 2012.

 

 

 

About Pieter Remmers

Pieter Remmers is a veteran in the area of responsible gaming, consultancy and training of gambling industry professionals. He has been involved in projects with the gambling industry already since 1989. Pieter started his career as the director of an outpatient clinic for addiction problems of Jellinek in the early ’80s.

His company Assissa Consultancy Europe works/worked on responsible gaming policies and programmes in a number of countries i.e. Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Malta, Sweden, and others. Besides Pieter is a consultant worldwide for as well as the gambling and betting industry land-based and online, casinos, slot machine halls, and lotteries and for regulators or other governmental bodies.

He works/worked with companies like IGT/GTech/Lottomatica, Holland Casino, Unibet, Sun International, Svenska Spel, Gauselmann/Merkur, Betsson, Krijco, Fair Play Casinos, Staatsloterij, Lotto NL, Casino 2000, Cogetech, Betfair, National Lottery and many more.

He is a member of the Executive Committee and serves as secretary general/conference organizer of the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG). He is also a shareholder/board member of HANDS (Human Assistance Network for Daily Support, telephone counseling services).

In 2003 he was the initiator of G4 (Global Gambling Guidance Group). G4 deals with an International Accreditation System on responsible gaming for the gambling, betting and lottery industry land-based and online. At present, he is the Chair of the Board of G4.

Since 2009 he is a member of the Responsible Gaming Committee of IMGL (International Masters of Gaming Law).

He is also a member of the Spielerschutzkommission (Responsible Gaming Commission) of the Gauselmann /Merkur Group, Germany, a member of the Advisory Council of the AWI in Germany and a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Ministry of Health in Singapore.

Pieter is a very regular speaker at many conferences all over the world.

He is also a freelance correspondent for the magazine European Casinos The Elite and the Casino Inside magazine (Romania).

At present, he is involved in the development and carries out of online education programmes (e-learning) on problem gambling and responsible gaming and responsible gaming solutions to support players’ gaming decisions and online treatment modules.

Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the Baltic and Scandinavian region via the MARE BALTICUM Gaming platform which has been launched in 2018 and is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the Baltic and Scandinavian region on a yearly base.

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

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Baltics

D-A-CH region oriented panel discussion to be moderated by Dr. Joerg Hofmann (Partner, MELCHERS LAW) in Vilnius

Zoltan Tundik

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There is plenty of news surrounding the German-speaking region when it comes to online gambling, however, it is mostly shut down when things get interesting.

On the gambling industry’s media outlets, the business is booming in Germany, with Scientific Games bringing next-generation Lottery Technology to Germany’s Lotto Brandenburg, Kambi Group powering the re-launch of Mybet sportsbook, or GeWeTe adding charm to Merkur Casino Halle.

However, when it comes to regulations, the recent news was both hot and cold.

On March 21, the Minister-Presidents of Germany’s 16 federal states have ratified the third amended State Treaty on Gambling, paving the way for operators to apply for sports betting licenses in the market, while Schleswig-Holstein will be allowed to run its own, liberal regulatory regime.

During the Minister-Presidents’ Conference, the lawmakers agreed to sign the Treaty, with licenses to come into force from January 1, 2020 and run until June 30, 2021. This will effectively act as a placeholder, with a view to a complete overhaul of Germany’s gambling regulations by 2021.

As mentioned earlier, the news was considered by some as a “breakthrough”, while others have been disappointed by the “missed opportunity”.

You can read more about the statements and quotes by industry experts from the region on the following link.

During the second edition of MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, also known as the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Summit and Awards, Dr. Joerg Hofmann (Partner at MELCHERS LAW) will take on the role of moderating the D-A-CH region oriented panel discussion and will add his opinion to the Germany market update along with Martin Arendts (Owner at ARENDTS ANWÄLTE – gaminglaw.de).

The “Gambling industry updates from the D-A-CH region” compliance panel discussion will focus on shedding light on the status of the gambling industry in the German-speaking markets such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and also an exclusive update on Liechtenstein.

MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit will take place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel and is gathering the gambling industry from the Baltic and Scandinavian regions for a full day of quality learning and networking with like-minded peers, regulators and representatives of the industry media.

Register here or View the Agenda!

About Dr. Joerg Hofmann

Dr. Joerg Hofmann is a Past President of the International Masters of Gaming Law (“IMGL”) and group leader of the Gaming & Betting Law Practice Group of Melchers Law Firm.  He has been practicing gaming law since the mid-90s and Melchers’ legal advice is highly valued by global market leaders in all sectors of the gaming industry.  A highly recognized expert in the field, Joerg has been consistently ranked as a leading individual and expert in gaming law by prestigious legal directories including Chambers Global and Best Lawyers for many years.

Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the Baltic and Scandinavian region via the MARE BALTICUM Gaming platform which has been launched in 2018 and is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the Baltic and Scandinavian region on a yearly base.

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

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