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Exclusive interview with Saverio Castellano, co-founder, research director and CTO at GameArt

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Our latest interviewee is well know in the online gambling industry, especially in the Omni-channel development. Saverio Castellano is the co-founder, research director and CTO at GameArt, a boutique Omni-channel development studio of customised casino applications and slot games to the online, social and land-based casino verticals, with offices in Malta, Slovenia, and Serbia.  Saverio holds a Ph.D. in Particle Physics and is an igaming industry veteran with 12 years of software and mathematics slots development.

I would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. You have rich experience in gaming and gambling industries as one can read in your biography, you are “an Igaming industry veteran with 12 years of software and mathematics slots development.” Why did you choose gaming, or may I ask: did the industry choose you? What do you think?

Saverio: From an early age, I was always inquisitive to how everything worked. This led me to study, one of my passions, science and in particular the field of Nuclear Physics. Within Physics, applied mathematics is essential for developing abstract concepts, problem-solving and the practical application of those models.

After completing my Ph.D., I started my career in computer science and software development, gaining extensive experience in design architecture, and an enterprise-level backend for mobile applications. I always had an interest in slots and the iGaming sector which was rapidly growing in Italy, and my first adventure into the world of gaming, was as Head Mathematician of Sogei, the Games and RNG regulator for the Italian state monopoly AAMS, and the rest, as they say, is history.

What role do you undertake in the company’s life? What are your tasks and responsibilities?

Saverio: My role within the GameArt business, which I co-founded, is I’m the research director and CTO. Overall I’m responsible for the company’s development studios, the management of our engineers, delivery and support teams in Malta, Slovenia and Serbia. This includes the product roadmap, from conception, to prototype to production of slots, for our clients that have Omni-channel businesses across online, social and land-based.

Since the start of GameArt, I have also been the one that invents the concepts of all our slots designs the mathematics, and I have built the foundation of the technologies that the company has been using so far: namely our game server and the game client technology that we rely on to develop our games.

As a business, we are continually striving to be adaptive to fast-changing technologies and part of my remit is to source, and research how the latest tech can be used within our business and more importantly by applied within the regulated iGaming ecosystem.

Will you please tell us about the difficulties and successes you have experienced during your career?

Saverio: In answering this question I will refer to my experience with GameArt only. Otherwise, there’d be too much to say here. What has enabled GameArt to start and become in such a short time a successful business is entirely the ideas, experience, and expertise of me and the other two partners who founded the company.

When we were still in a start-up phase, there were many potential venture capitalists that would be interested in investing in GameArt. Again, we decided to do everything with our own strength. This definitely made things harder and a lot more challenging especially in the initial phase. I have learned that becoming an essential player in the gambling market it is not only about having great games, but you also need to go through the whole process of acquiring licenses, getting the games certified, establishing your name, and deal with a lot of other things.

Despite the significant challenge, we succeeded and had made all of this without a consistent upfront investment, and this is what I consider our most significant success.

GameArt is a leading-provider of high-quality digital gaming. Please speak about this company, its activity and its goals.

Saverio: Since its inception, GameArt has been focusing on producing slot games only. Slot games are what we like, what our expertise is, what we do well.

Our mission derives from the consideration that there is a gap between the quality of the slot games in the online gaming world and one of the best performing slots that you find in the world’s best casinos and more generally in the class III world. In creating our portfolio of slot games, we have been aiming to fill this gap, producing high-quality slots with outstanding graphics and solid mathematics. Because of this, even focusing mainly on online gaming we have been able to expand our business to the landbased world as well.

Which are the most successful, most popular products you offer to your clients?

Saverio: The success of our product stems from the ability to release game titles that appeal to different markets and different player demographics. If we look at our range of slot games, there are games like Money Farm 2 and Dragon Lady that are among the best performers in Europe, and games like Dragon King and King Of Monkeys that are much appreciated by Chinese players and are doing very well in Asian markets.

Our product offering is completed with a cutting-edge gaming platform that offers our clients powerful features and marketing tools to promote games and maximize revenues, such as multi-level and multi-currency jackpots, free spins, tournaments, and campaigns.

Tell us please about the future plans, projects of GameArt.

Saverio: Our current goals are to maximize revenues and get a bigger slice of the markets in Asia and Italy where we are already doing quite well.

Having completed the certification process for some of the most stringent regulated markets, our next goal is to approach big operators and at the same time extend the certification to other countries where we are still not operating. Completing the process of acquiring the UK license is our most important short-term goal at the moment.

We are also looking at blockchain technologies, and we recently made a prototype which consists in having integrated our game server with the Ethereum blockchain so that people can play our slots directly on the blockchain and have all gameplay provably verifiable. This is an exciting topic which we will continue to explore and pioneer during this year.

I would like to ask you a more personal question. In what ways does work influence your personal life, your personal growth and what does success mean to you?

Saverio: Work and personal life in my case are entirely entwined. I like it to be this way since I chose to be part of this industry because I understood that it enables you to have a very dynamic life and keep yourself busy doing exciting things.

The influence that my work has had on my personal life is enormous, and it is not limited to the economic side as it allowed me to travel the world, to meet great people and to do fantastic, challenging experiences.

The meaning of success is comprehensive, in my case; it has to do with the amount of freedom and control of my own time.

 

ABOUT GAMEART

GameArt is a premium developer of slot games to the online and land-based gaming industry, including leading online operators, video-lottery suppliers, and casino game machine manufacturers.

New licensees include established operators looking to expand or diversify their games offering, fast-growing challenger-brands looking to increase market-share, and start-up operators, including those targeting newly-regulated markets.

GameArt’s core technology provides a true multiplatform capability and its game management system provides licensees extensive integration options, high-level bonus, and CRM capabilities, plus predictive business intelligence tools to help maximize game-player retention and improve ROI.

For more details, visit www.gameart.net

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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EveryMatrix is showcasing ‘Unlimited Creativity’ in London this February

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

EveryMatrix showcases their portfolio of iGaming B2B products at ICE London (5-7 February, ExCeL London, UK). The products were rebuilt from the ground up in the last couple of years. The common theme is modularity, giving unprecedented flexibility for clients and catering for some of the largest companies in the industry. Ebbe Groes, CEO, EveryMatrix, discusses the company’s approach to achieving success and profitability for EveryMatrix clients.

How do you feel ICE London helps develop iGaming and your company?

ICE starts the iGaming year with all the major names in the industry joining together. This event is a great opportunity to consolidate existing partnerships and secure new business contacts. Obviously, our focus is on securing new clients, but we also come to interact with other B2B providers. Our main products, across Casino, Sports, Payments, are all based on the common principle of aggregation of the best products and services within each vertical, so keeping up to date with these is vital.

How are you standing out from the crowd in an increasingly crowded market?

We today stand out thanks to our vision to shift progressively from “boxed” platform ecosystems to specialised, modular and platform independent products. In the past few years, we’ve rebuilt all our products from scratch with a strong focus on using state of the art technology, and we’re excited to showcase this at ICE.
By splitting up our core applications into many smaller applications we have been able to cater for a much wider set of clients than before – and I believe, wider than our competitors. We today span the entire range from completely servicing smaller companies, including start-ups, to the largest operators in the industry. This is because almost everything we do can be isolated and delivered independently yet also delivered jointly in a full turn-key solution.
Our products today allow deep integrations with any platforms and can be adapted to different clients’ needs, depending on the size of their business, goals, technical and legal requirements in the jurisdictions they work in. This flexibility has in only a single year increased our set of clients by fifty percent, including some of the largest companies in the industry.

The EveryMatrix platform offers operators individualised front ends. What that EveryMatrix does are key elements to increase variation, personalisation and gamification across different operators and markets?

The design and functionality of both casino and sportsbook front-ends is key to success and profitability. This is not only about usability but also about retention, personalization, localization, and promoting the most profitable games and bets. Even further, it’s about conversion of visitors to sign-ups or conversion of players from casino to sports or the other way around. Having a template front-end, like tens of others, will not cut it in the long run.

EveryMatrix realized this early and today have many casino operators on our platform who fully control their front-end. Now the time has come to bring this revolution to sports. Our Casino, Sports, and Payments WebAPIs offer the easiest way in the entire industry for you to build and control your own front-end and have complete freedom without the restrictions normally imposed by a platform provider.

To support even more customization and to help operators increase conversions, we have launched a second generation of bonus system, another industry first. This is a stand-alone system to create, manage and report on bonusing for both casino and sports products and helps operators to combine bonus programs and promotional packages that are activated by various triggers. It can even be delivered to clients on their own platform, it is neither tied to the system of the game provider nor to the EveryMatrix platform and wallet service as all other bonus systems are.

Overall, between bespoke front-end, real-time delivery of data to bespoke CRM systems of clients, API driven applications, an extremely flexible bonus system, we achieve the overall goal of Unlimited Creativity for gaming operators in terms of player experience. The key for us as B2B provider is not to limit or even guide the clients but to help them implement their own ideas and unleash their own creativity!

What genius solutions will you be showing at ICE London?

We’ll exhibit our full product suite which covers Casino, Payments, Sports, Platform, and Affiliate systems.
Our flagship product CasinoEngine is the largest casino content aggregator in the world with 8,000+ across more than 140 vendors and sub-vendors. CasinoEngine is a true next generation solution thanks to its unified back office and services integrated into many specialized APIs. We have followed our long-term vision to solve key operational and product offering issues affecting operators and we’re pleased to present at ICE 2019 a robust solution that is already used by market leading operators such as Norsk Tipping, Tipico, Wunderino, Adjarabet, the Genesis group, and many others. Activity for CasinoEngine clients more than doubled in 2018, with record volumes month after month. We look forward to showing at ICE the key reasons why CasinoEngine clients grow faster than the market as a whole.

MoneyMatrix team joins ICE 2019 as well. MoneyMatrix can provide automated payment routing, risk management and KYC solutions globally. MoneyMatrix is not just an EveryMatrix software service, but a Malta licensed regulated financial institution within its own right with the ability to provide payment processing to any merchant operating within the e-commerce space. In our first full year of operation, we signed more than 20 new clients and today process hundreds of millions of euros monthly. We’ve won Best Payments Aggregator Award (Malta Gaming Awards) and Best in Business Payment Processing and Risk Management Company Award (Malta’s Best in Business Award).

Not forgetting about our sport products, OddsMatrix is gearing up to join ICE to showcase our latest OddsMatrix Sports Data Feeds products, including the recently launched OddsMatrix Aggregator – a powerful and unique tool which allows bookmakers to combine odds, settlement, and score feeds from multiple providers into a single aggregated feed, all processed in real-time! The Aggregator is itself a key component of the refactored fully managed sportsbook, the OddsMatrix Sportsbook.

Last but not least, our PartnerMatrix team will join ICE 2019 as well and will showcase a complex Affiliate Software Solution and Agent Management System, including the newly launched features such as the Reactivation Rewards for affiliates, Server to Server (S2S) tracking that improves accuracy of the conversion, and Player Segmentation for better optimization of the affiliate rewards. PartnerMatrix also delivers feeds and APIs for affiliates to obtain reports and data automatically. Catena Media is just one of several companies using this new service.

What is it about ICE London which sets it apart for EveryMatrix?

ICE represents innovation and new business so it’s easy to understand why it’s attracting established companies from all over the world. That’s why ICE London is the perfect meeting spot for all major players in the industry and has gained the reputation of being THE place to network within the international gaming community.

This event is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with clients and suppliers and that’s why our delegation includes representatives from all our offices, from sales, marketing, product management to development and top management. London is a major mark on the iGaming map and ICE is testament to that.

Join EveryMatrix at ICE London 2019 at Stand N6-310, where the company will exhibit its next generation of B2B iGaming solutions and herald exclusive news for the coming year.

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Interviews

Exclusive interview with Yiannis Gangas, Chief Product Officer at Vermantia

George Miller

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Exclusive interview with Yiannis Gangas, Chief Product Officer at Vermantia
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Vermantia’s round the clock live racing service has been turning heads in the industry for some time now. European Gaming caught up with Chief Product Officer Yiannis Gangas to get the low down.

 

Tell us more about the live racing channels and what they offer.

In short, it’s the most comprehensive source of live horse and greyhound racing that any retail or online operator could require. We deliver more than 70,000 premium live events a year from the best tracks in the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and USA. These feature highly-competitive racing that are proven to attract high-levels of customer engagement and ensure good margins as well as profitability. Crucially, they are available 24/7, so that wherever operators are in the world they can rest assured that they have a high-quality live product on tap for their customers. It is an end-to-end solution too, with a complete odds service, adaptable data feed, automated channel production platform and the latest in broadcasting and streaming technologies.

What makes the Vermantia service different to what else is currently available?

Our live racing content is round the clock, suitable for any time zone, and the most extensive available. Its presentation is also bespoke to each operator. We appreciate that there are local requirements in every territory, so we localise the service by customising the design and content, as well as offering an adaptive data feed for faster deployment. We’re very careful to make sure we don’t bundle content together which operators don’t want. It’s very much about listening to what they require and adapting accordingly. We can provide professional live commentary and race cards in any language required and can provide sales and marketing support too. We appreciate not every market has the horse and greyhound racing in its DNA, so there is an educatory requirement on occasion. But we have found that operators who take the plunge even in these markets are not disappointed.

What role does virtual sports have to play in all this?

Virtuals is a really important product and very popular with players. Our service is among the best out there with 20 virtual channels delivered to customers internationally. I’m also delighted our unique baseball game was also recognised at the SBC Awards in London earlier this month. Virtuals has an army of fans around the globe who enjoy it in its own right, as well as those who are happy to get involved in between live sports coverage. But for the latter group, who I think are the majority of customers, it is all about live. I am very pleased to say that Vermantia broadcasts 40 per cent more live racing action than any other provider in the industry. That is particularly important in some countries who do not allow virtuals, of course. But for the others, any operator will tell you that the real sweet spot for customer engagement, whether that’s in retail or online, is good quality data, readily available betting markets, and live pictures. That is the holy trinity.

How is this live content distributed?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to distribution and it is important to be flexible. A retail operator in Africa is going to have different requirements and infrastructure to an online brand servicing the Nordics. As a result, we can use either satellite broadcast or streaming to deliver our live race channels. The former covers the globe and offers 24/7 playout monitoring, SLA, and high efficiency video coding for maximum quality at minimum bandwidth. Our streaming solution is ultra-low latency. It’s less than a second, in fact, which is as fast as anything in the industry, and much faster than some of the options available to operators.

Which markets do you service at the moment and which operators currently take live racing from Vermantia?

Our live racing channels are deployed in Europe, CIS, and Africa with operators as large as OPAP and Intralot Group who are among our long-standing partners. We are also rolling out as we speak to new clients from Central and Southern Europe to the Caribbean, proving that this type of content delivered in such a user-friendly fashion has universal appeal wherever operators and their customers find themselves in the world.

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Exclusive Q&A with Global Gaming

George Miller

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Exclusive Q&A with Global Gaming
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Global Gaming’s Chief Growth Officer Alessandro Focardi and Estonian Country Manager Indrek Tappo sit down with European Gaming to talk about Ninja Casino’s recent launch in Estonia

 

European Gaming: Why did you decide to expand Ninja Casino into the Estonian market?

Indrek Tappo: Estonia plays a big role in our organisation, and we have one of our service centres in Tallinn so we’ve grown to appreciate the country. Also, Estonia is a licensed and fully regulated, forward-thinking market as well as a hi-tech country, at the forefront of digital development and with a very advanced banking sector. This makes it an ideal country for us to operate in as all our innovations will work very well in the market.

Additionally, the Estonian regulator was appreciative of our innovative technical solutions, which ensure business transparency and compliance, so it was relatively straightforward for us to be granted a licence, which we obtained in July of this year.

European Gaming: What is the current state of the Estonia iGaming market?

Indrek Tappo: We believe there is a good mix of operators and offerings, yet we feel that we can bring so much more to the Estonian players with Ninja Casino. The same way we’ve dramatically enhanced the player experience for Swedish and Finnish players.

There is potential for exponential growth for online gaming on a global scale and we believe Estonia is no exception. The room for growth in Estonia is supported by positive macro-economic factors such as above European average GDP growth, an all-time low unemployment rate of about 6% and rising income levels.

European Gaming: What are your ambitions for the Estonian market? What can Ninja Casino offer players which isn’t already available in the territory?

Alessandro Focardi: Our level of service and our award-winning product provides a much more convenient and easy way to enjoy the playing experience. We can offer players a tailored environment with incredibly fast cashouts, plus we bring our experience from other similar markets where we’ve managed to delight users.

In terms of ambitions, we aim to become one of the market leaders in Estonia, much like we have managed to do in Sweden.

European Gaming: What kind of marketing initiatives will you put in place to promote the Ninja Casino brand in Estonia?

Indrek Tappo: We always take a holistic approach when looking into what we can offer a new market and the ideal marketing mix. Our goal is of course to make Ninja a household brand among online players. Currently, we’re keeping our cards close to our chest but watch this space as we have some great initiatives coming up.

European Gaming: Global Gaming already has an office in Tallinn, will you be looking to add more staff to your operations in Estonia?


Indrek Tappo:
We’re very happy with the growth we’ve enjoyed in Tallinn, bringing top talent on board and building a great hub for highly qualified people. For those reasons, we certainly want to grow our Tallinn operations and, as a testament to this, we have just recently refurbished and expanded our office, making room for further growth in terms of headcount.

We currently have a number of vacancies in Tallinn and will likely see that number grow in the near future.

European Gaming: With Sweden a key market for Global Gaming, how is the company preparing for the newly-regulated market which opens in 2019?

Alessandro Focardi: We were among the first operators to submit an application for a Swedish licence back in August and are very much looking forward to it.

We believe in taking a focused approach, analysing where the biggest opportunities are for us to enhance our connection to our users and what the market opening could mean to us in terms of increasing our capacity to give more to our players.

We’re very excited about some of the developments we have in store for Sweden in 2019!

European Gaming: With bonus limitations set to be enforced, how do you think this will impact the market? Do Global Gaming have any concerns about the restrictions on bonus offers?

Alessandro Focardi: Regarding bonus limitations, we’ve been very lucky to have always been on the side of providing users with a better experience instead of trying to compete through bonuses.

Since the beginning, we’ve looked for ways to enhance the players’ experience and increase brand loyalty instead of offering generic discounts and bonuses, so we welcome these changes that will create a healthier, more responsible environment for both players and operators.

European Gaming: Lastly, how are preparations for your new sportsbook coming along?

Alessandro Focardi: We’re all very excited about launching sports but are presently not at liberty to comment further.

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