The start of the New Year came in with a pleasant surprise as we sat down with iGaming expert & online casino specialist Dermot Heathcote from IrishLuck, and managed to get some tea from the industry. As a leading online casino portal in Ireland, IrishLuck is a great place to get some vital gambling information, not only for the locals but for the people abroad as well. You can read the interview below.
So, Dermot, knowing the potential iGaming is offering nowadays, can you tell us something more about how you found yourself in the industry?
That, most certainly, is an interesting story. I studied marketing with business management at Leeds Trinity and All Saints University in Yorkshire, and that was the first time when I got a glimpse into iGaming. Once I finished my paper in 2014 and successfully graduated, I was primarily working in the iGaming industry, specialising in online casinos – a subject I love the most!
Ever since I slipped into the industry, I have been really dedicated. Now, the years have passed, and that passion is still alive and burning. I am focused on providing valuable information to the readers. Ones that they cannot find elsewhere. And I am relying a lot upon the knowledge I gained during my University years, making sure my team does the same.
Wow, that sounds passionate and motivating! How come you got so interested in the iGaming business in the first place? What ignited your fire?
Throughout Uni, I was infatuated by the fast pace of the iGaming industry, and with recent spikes in technology, this seems to have catapulted the interactivity and player experience tenfold. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching how the iGaming industry has adapted and continued to innovate its platforms, games, and services to make online gaming as enjoyable as possible, not just in terms of design and player experience either, with operators now putting a lot of emphasis on player satisfaction, care, and social responsibility.
I kind of foresaw the rising of the industry as I was impressed by how adaptable iGaming and online casinos are – you can stick with your laptop or desktop, and now you can even use your mobile device, smartwatch or tablet to lose yourself in games and options. I just felt I want to be a part of the greatness that is brewing in the industry.
One thing led to another and I found myself at IrishLuck and I can say I am more than satisfied. My career has been progressing rapidly ever since.
Thank you, Dermot. That sounds amazing. What are your main duties in the team?
Well, haha… I do a lot of things really. But, to put it simply – I update UK players on every aspect of online casinos. That’s my main call.
Players often find it difficult to choose which game can help them make big winnings. Consequently, they play games with fewer deals making them lose a lot of money. That’s why I love to keep my readers well-informed on all the latest online casino information or industry-related sports news.
My specialization in the team is writing detailed updates and recommendations that will speak to both visitors and regular players, beginners and proven experts and keep them up to date with the latest industry trends and the best online casino options on the market.
And how do you do it?
I use my marketing experience and business marketing education to fish out casino platforms with the best deals for the locals. Not only that, I will tell you the curve in the online space. Meaning, you will know when betting times are good and when they’re not.
Also, you will know how to go about your bets without incurring huge losses, as I keep my readers up to date with the best strategies, online casino bonuses, and information at any time.
Wow. Your passion towards iGaming is very radiant! It won’t be odd if you convince me to set off on the same route by the end of the interview. You must have played games yourself, haven’t you?
Oh, of course, I have. I still play them now. If you ask me, first-hand experience is the best knowledge you can get, whatever industry you find yourself in. Whenever I see a new game title I make sure to test it out and play it thoroughly. After that, and only after that, I sit and make a review.
I must say that I cringe when someone makes blind commentary and does game reviews with no real knowledge of it. My expertise in the matter made me so sensitive to misleading information that my ‘fakeness’ radars turn on whenever I see articles without real practical experience in the matter. It’s not only the marketing skills you need here, but the love for the game and the knowledge.
As a game tester, when I put out a game review, I will make sure I have gone through everything any player will go through. So, when I write, I write not only as an iGaming representative but as a true online casino gaming fan and passionate player. That’s what you will get by reading my articles – trueness, realness, vital details, and objectivity. That’s my mantra.
Cool. It’s really good to have someone to rely on in an iGaming world that is constantly moving forward at incredible speed. We’ve also heard you worked as a live dealer for some time. How was that?
Oh, yes. Actually, I volunteered with some partner sites of ours. I had a lot of fun. But, not only that. I really saw it as an opportunity to acquire vital first-hand experience in the business, not as a player, but as a person from the other side of the desk, someone who leads the game. I was a live dealer at all standard live dealer games – Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat.
This experience definitely added to my career as an online casino writer. Being able to gain experience from both sides really helped me improve my understanding of what my readers truly need. I now understand how it’s not enough only to provide reviews, no matter how detailed they are. Players want hacks. They want something they can make use of when making their tactics. They want ‘insider’ information. Something that will help them gain an advantage.
That’s why I dedicated myself to providing value to my followers. And that’s something I choose to do every day.
Sounds like you had a good time. What was the game you would stick to as a live dealer if you would embrace such a career?
Oh, yes, it was! It was…
Well, it’s hard to pick, but if I had to choose, I would say I would stick to Texas Hold’em. It’s good, it’s intense, it’s fun, and you get to see the moves from the experts. It truly is a unique experience. Although being a Baccarat or a Blackjack live dealer has its charms.
Great. Thank you, Dermot. Being such a passionate person, do you have any other side projects, hobbies, or things you are interested in?
Thanks for asking! Sure I do.
There is one side project of mine I am very proud of, I call it the ‘old barn makeovers’. Some time ago I started renovating our family’s old barn. That’s cool, right? The thing is I renovate it single-handedly whenever I have some free time. That’s my recreation. I love spending time redoing the oldy, it boosts my creativity and lets me lose myself in work.
Other stuff I do is mountain climbing, running and endurance races, and I also have my two boys, border collies Flash and Thunder I love spending time with. They are my best friends. We enjoy many mornings, days, and evenings together.
Wow, Dermot. You have such a lively personality! Glad we have a talk.
Thank you! I had a great time as well.
To finish this interview off, would you like to share any other thoughts about the iGaming industry, its future and trends with our readers?
Sure thing. What I think is that iGaming is here to stay. Its future is very bright. We could specifically see it during the 2019 coronavirus outbreak. The world has never been more grateful for online gaming and gambling platforms.
Just look at the fact that in just one year, online casinos received a huge boost in their activities. New games appeared, and the demand for quality providers and good games became high, as well as the number of operators on the market. Happy to see these positive changes in the industry, I have never been more dedicated to guiding players in choosing the right games and making smarter gaming moves than now.
And with all the new emerging technology such as VR, AR, AI, smart contact lenses, Blockchain, better internet connection, Internet of Things, Face recognition, quantum computing, and many many more, we are at the new dawn of the iGaming business.
Exclusive Pre-ICE interview with Nadiya Attard, CCO at Relax Gaming
Having been promoted to Chief Commercial Officer this time last year, European Gaming took the time to sit down with Nadiya Attard to take a look back at the record-breaking year enjoyed by Relax Gaming.
We also discussed her own philosophy as CCO of a major iGaming powerhouse and looked ahead to what Relax has in store for ICE 2023 and the rest of the year!
Relax has had a record-breaking 2022, before we get started, can you talk us through the secrets behind such fantastic success and some highlights, namely Relax Rush, Dream Drop and Money Train 3?
Relax Gaming has been fortunate to enjoy a phenomenal year in 2022 and exceed expectations on all fronts. If I had to boil it down to a few key qualities that lead to this success they would be – solid technical foundations that help us provide a stable platform, meeting key deadlines and bringing our unique ideas to life, integrity in our service, incredible quality standards, and the fantastic team behind it all. Each one of these forms a foundation block for our business.
Onto Relax and the team – I’m sure plenty of our European Gaming readers know you already, but for those who don’t, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you lead as CCO?
I’d describe myself as very energetic and ambitious, throughout my 20 years of experience in the industry I’ve built up an extensive portfolio of deal closures and professional achievements. On a more personal level, I tend to do things differently and swim against the current in all aspects of my life, but especially in my management style.
I like to lead as a manager and operate as a teammate, ensuring that my colleagues are motivated, growing in their field and being rewarded effectively. In our sales team, you’ll notice some re-shuffling from time to time as I believe in letting people adjust their roles to their passions and investing in our current superstars before hiring externally.
Looking to ICE, which we’re sure Relax is very excited about, what’s in store for the show and what can visitors look forward to seeing at the Relax stand?
This will be the first ICE expo where Relax is physically present with a pop-up hub (N4-300) rather than meeting rooms, and we’re so excited to welcome new and existing customers throughout the 3 days. Our schedules are already almost full, and we can’t wait to give clients an exclusive sneak peek at what’s coming up in 2023.
On 2023 – we’re sure you’ve got plenty of exciting games lined up to delight players, without giving too much away, can you give us any hints or tips as to what we can expect to see this year?
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023 including our star of the quarter Book of Power, which was produced in collaboration with CasinoGrounds and is piquing the interest of many operators at the moment.
We also have big plans to strengthen our foothold in regulated markets such as Ontario, Spain, Italy and Greece. Elsewhere Dream Drop Jackpots will be leveraging its strengths this year with a huge release over the Summer – We won’t give anything away here but pop by our stand for some juicy details!
Last but not least, Dream Drop has been absolutely revolutionary for players, how much of a difference do you see the Relax style of Jackpots making when it comes to inspiring future creations?
Our Dream Drop Jackpots product has been a great success since its debut in May 2022. Operators who integrated the promo tools and the famous Dream Drop Ticker (in-lobby jackpot status) have had recorded particularly positive results, and we’ll be boosting this further throughout the year with new promo tools that will be available across the Relax portfolio and P2P partners.
We’ve had jackpots dropping continuously and the numbers climb higher up the ranks each month. Emulating this level of success will prove tricky, as any supplier would require a vast distribution network combined with a secure and robust system of operation that extends well beyond the pure game mechanic and flow, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to a mechanic of this kind!
Exclusive Q&A w/ Chris Nikolopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at BETBY
Chris Nikolopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at BETBY, sits down with European Gaming to discuss the year in review, what to expect from the sportsbook provider at ICE, and what is next for the thrilling Betby.Games vertical.
What were your key takeaways from 2022?
2022 showcased the resilience of BETBY and the audiences that we supply.
We continued on a rapid growth trend, almost doubling our team, and releasing several new tools across our fully managed sportsbook solution and our Betby.Games vertical.
The opening of an amazing new office just off the Adriatic coast in Budva was a massive highlight and a testament to our success as we grew our business. We entered new markets and forged new partnerships while all our existing partners continued to trust our platforms and this gives us confidence to continue along the same path.
With all of these positives happening when the world faces such an uncertain time given the war in Ukraine and various financial issues across the globe, we have regrouped and doubled our efforts to ensure that we have a big focus on supporting the well-being of our people and society as a whole.
How successful has the Betby.Games range been, and what are your plans for it next?
Betby.Games has proven over the last year that it can be used as an addition to any existing sportsbook software or as a stand-alone iGaming content module by all B2C operators and B2B providers.
We have decided to continue empowering the Betby.Games vertical, which is now an independent business unit within BETBY’s ecosystem, with further game releases as well as extra development with the data feed management options which we provide.
To show the solutions’ growth, there will be over five new sports and leagues coming in 2023, including FIFA Volta, NBA Streetball and others. Together with our existing platform, Betby.Games is the most complete and powerful virtual esports offering in the industry and we cannot wait to see the product develop even further.
What will you be showcasing at ICE?
We are always happy to attend ICE London because it is an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends, colleagues and partners.
We will be showcasing our fully managed sportsbook as well as our Betby.Games portfolio. Attendees will learn all about our new developments including new, automated and more powerful risk management segmentation tools and our new and already successful Tournament Widget.
Not only that, but we will be highlighting our capabilities with data feed integration setup, which is already one of the most powerful in the industry, as it caters for eight full data feed solutions already.
Finally, what are your goals for 2023?
Our goal is to provide our people with the right environment, the right tools, and the right environment to be happy, productive, and safe.
BETBY will continue listening and catering for operator needs, just like we have been for all these years. It is safe to say that we will continue paying close attention to emerging markets all around the world, such as LATAM and Africa where we want to establish our business even further and enjoy the opportunities that these markets will provide.
Andrzej Hyla: Let’s break the ICE at booth N7-420!
Andrzej Hyla, Chief Commercial Officer at Wazdan, sat down with European Gaming to discuss its plans for the biggest trade show of the year.
Wazdan will be returning to ICE London 2023, what can we look forward to seeing at your stand this year?
We’re very excited about our exhibition at ICE London this year, and we have many things in store for our partners. First and foremost, we look forward to welcoming visitors for a drink at our bar and showcasing our premium offering at our stand, N7-420. Delegates can expect to see both the latest and upcoming titles that are packed with innovative and engagement-boosting features , including: Power of Sun™: Svarog, Hot Slot™: 777 Stars, Hot Slot™: 777 Rubies, Hot Slot™: Great Book of Magic, Mystery Kingdom™: Mystery Bells, Hot Slot™: 777 Cash Out, Hot Slot™: 777 Coins, and 12 Coins™ to name a few.
Wazdan has also prepared a special surprise for our visitors, a Mystery Box Giveaway. Attendees can claim a Mystery Box here and get a special coupon that entitles them to receive some amazing prizes, such as exclusive merchandise, Apple AirPods, fine spirits including Glengoyne 30-Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and even a chance to go on a luxury trip!
We’re very much looking forward to showing off Wazdan to the world and meeting our dear partners.
How has Wazdan been preparing for the event?
As always, it’s been a busy time at Wazdan as we always do our best to put on an excellent exhibition for our visitors. We’ve been working hard to enhance the in-game features and to perfect the games’ design to ensure they’re ready for action on the big day.
Meanwhile, Wazdan team is preparing for the show by scheduling meetings with our partners, as well as getting the gifts ready for the Mystery Box giveaway.
We are also being kept busy with two awards ceremonies. Firstly, our top-performing 9 Coins™ slot has been recognised and shortlisted for the Global Gaming Awards, with the awards ceremony being held on the 6th of February. Additionally, the Online Sports Betting Operator category is being sponsored by Wazdan, and Michał Imiołek, our CEO will be a part of the judging panel for the entire event. Wazdan has been also nominated in two International Gaming Awards (IGA) categories, which results will be announced at a prestigious ceremony during the week of ICE London 2023.
Following a string of new games in January, can you tell us a bit more about the upcoming releases you have in store?
We started off this new year with amazing titles that are getting recognised already. The Power of Sun™: Svarog slot, which features the popular Hold the Jackpot bonus round, as well as our flagship engagement-boosting Cash Infinity™ and Sticky to Infinity™ tools, has been shortlisted for the One to Watch Award by SlotsWise. Last week we’ve also released a new retro title, Hot Slot™: 777 Stars, which attracts players with a thrilling 9 Stars Jackpot and sets the path for the new editions of the series.
Since the Hot Slot™ series proved to be a tremendous hit with players when it was released last year, we have prepared a number of new impressive classic slots. These include an easy-to-understand Hot Slot™: 777 Rubies with four Jackpots that are easier to hit thanks to the Magic Respin feature, as well as Hot Slot™: Great Book of Magic with entertaining Free Spins with Expanding Bonus symbols and engaging Collect to Infinity™ and Sticky to Infinity™ mechanics. Coming next will be Hot Slot™ 777 Cash Out and Hot Slot™: 777 Coins, both with a brand-new Cash Out feature.
We’ve also got a surprise in store for players with Mystery Kingdom™: Mystery Bells, which offers some ultra-engaging features like Cash Infinity™, Hold the Jackpot, and the innovative One Click to the Grand Jackpot mechanic. Rounding off our new releases we’ve got a return of Cash Infinity™ in 12 Coins™, as a new addition to our top-performing game series.
Wazdan has already outlined its exciting roadmap for the first quarter of this year, what else can we expect in 2023?
This year we really want to focus the operator’s attention on Wazdan’s Cash Drop and Mystery Drop promotional tools which have proven to deliver great results.
During ICE, we will also be inviting operators to join our network promotions which include an eye-catching prize pool of €1,000,000, fully covered by Wazdan, as well as full technical support, all marketing assets and graphic materials, and a free opt-in. The whole setup is in our back office so there’s no effort required on the operator’s end.
With our Mystery Drop promotions, players will be able to win instant cash rewards in our top-performing slots, including 9 Coins™, Burniing Sun™, Magic Spins™, Power of Sun™: Svarog, and Hot Slot™: 777 Crown. As a supplier of premium games, we feel it is important to captivate players with new engaging content and promotional tools and that will remain a priority for us as we tackle 2023.
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