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Exclusive Interview with Andy Jarrett, CEO of Twelve40

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

We have had an email interview with Andy Jarrett, CEO at Twelve40. He took time to provide some really insightful answers to our questions. He talks about his professional journey to the top of a major company, about the challenges and opportunities he faced during the impressive growth of Twelve40, and the company’s well-thought-out growth strategy.

He also introduces some of the latest offerings from Twelve40 and explains how the company is seamlessly incorporating new technologies into its existing development platform. Read his fascinating  answers below.

To begin with, tell us something about yourself and your career. It’s always nice to hear top-class professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Andy: I have spent a great deal of my career in the technology and iGaming sectors, having held senior board positions at both Digital Jersey and Foreshore. Across those positions I have held responsibility for overseeing both product portfolios and strategic growth objectives. I also co-founded a successful big data business that is now headquartered in Scotland, alongside co-founding a fintech business that I have since exited.

My experiences in building both robust and scalable technology and working on a cross-jurisdictional basis have transferred well into the iGaming sector, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow Twelve40 after a whirlwind first couple of years!

You became the CEO of Twelve40 after its merger with Code Collective about two years ago. Prior to that, Twelve40 became the first to get a remote gambling operator’s license from Jersey. What were your immediate challenges when taking charge of managing employees from two diverse work cultures at a moment of huge responsibility?

Andy: Having successfully undertaken the launch of Jersey’s iGaming proposition through Digital Jersey, the merger of Twelve40 and Code Collective was a crucial milestone in securing Jersey’s digital vision, bringing together an experienced and highly capable team with global export prospects and strong ambition.

There is of course always a challenge when it comes to bringing together two teams of people new to each other following any merger, but it is a hurdle that as a combined business we cleared with ease through our shared desire to deliver the highest quality lottery and iGaming experiences.

In two years’ time, Twelve40 has grown by making a string of integrations like Spiffx, VSoftCo and Wazdan. Can you shed more light on how the integrations have added value to Twelve40?

Andy: We are always looking to add value to the services that we offer to our clients through our platform, and being able to offer the best content across a wide range of verticals is core to that approach. Boosting our sporting profile through integrating Spiffx sports-betting games and VSoftCo virtuals has enhanced our multi-vertical approach, while we were proud to elevate our services by bringing on board Wazdan’s premium collection of top-performing slot titles.

The proposition here is a simple one – the more varied and high-quality content that we can offer to our clients, the more attractive our platform and technology is to potential partners. We have witnessed a great deal of interest in our services resulting from these integrations, and will continue to work with the iGaming’s top-tier providers to find the right products to complement our in-house offering.

One of the remarkable features of Twelve40’s growth has been its solid presence as an online lottery platform and game provider in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Was it a conscious decision to explore markets beyond Europe?

Andy: We provide our white label platform services to a range of clients in markets across the globe, including powering Africa’s largest jackpot through Afromillionslotto. While our robust, secure and scalable lottery infrastructure is more than capable of meeting the requirements of any global market, we do have a defined emerging market focus as part of our overall growth strategy. Lottery systems in such markets have tended to be built on outdated legacy technology, lacking in the flexibility required to meet the demands of the modern player. The ease and speed with which we are able to deploy our solutions empowers our partners to deliver true speed to market, while also providing them with the freedom they require to focus on their brand and market positioning.

At Twelve40, we offer a wide range of lottery solutions capable of satisfying a range of varied market demands. We offer both primary lottery services whereby we provide the RNG and related game systems, as well as secondary lottery services utilising another lottery’s numbers, such as the German national lottery. Our lottery messenger can provide tickets from global lotteries, allowing us to service the requirements of operators in markets all over the world, complemented by our thriving range of instant win games.

Twelve40 offers white label online lottery platforms, slot games and lotto solutions. How do you see blockchain technology and artificial intelligence changing the way online lottery being operated?

Andy: There is no doubting the influence that the current pace of change is having on all technological industries, and iGaming is certainly no different. AI can elevate a traditional gaming platform in a variety of ways, and innovative providers are already taking advantage. By way of example, smartly-deployed AI solutions assist in getting to know your customer-base, allowing for predictive analytics, leading to better corporate decision making and more efficient use of targeted marketing.

Furthermore, at Twelve40 we have moved quickly in recognising the potential of blockchain to shake-up the iGaming space, and we supply the all-new platform and certified back-end technology for the Wild Crypto gaming platform, launching in February 2018 following a successful token sale. The platform has been built from the ground up in order to best deliver an engaging crypto gaming experience, and as such is designed for 18 decimal places where traditional platforms only support two.

We place a great deal of emphasis on remaining ahead of the curve, and will continue to do so as we move forward to realise our strategic growth ambitions.

It has been reported that Twelve40 is going to introduce an instant win game with the Football World Cup theme. Have you launched it? What are your other immediate launch plans?

Andy: We have indeed. We recently launched Lucky Shootout, an instant win game released with the World Cup in mind and an innovative feature set that we are confident will see it lay claim to enduring popularity long after the tournament draws to a close. Taking the form of a penalty shootout, Lucky Shootout gives players the opportunity to select their favourite teams and challenge a goalkeeper in the ultimate test of nerves. We put a lot of work into making sure players could engage with the experience through the emoting of the goalkeeper, a colourful character with both the agility to pull off a great save and the attitude to let the player know they were fortunate to score.

The game is scalable and customisable to the requirements of individual operators and jurisdictions, and its innovative feature set will see its popularity continue to endure.

We already offer a diverse range of expertly-constructed instant win games such as Pumpkin Master and Money Tree, and have also recently added Pirates Gone Wild, a swashbuckling adventure that sees players match a variety of nautical symbols to uncover buried treasure.

 

Interviews

Exclusive Q&A with Iustin Cojocaru owner of Eyenovation (Gunnar representative for Romania and Hungary)

George Miller

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Exclusive Q&A with Iustin Cojocaru owner of Eyenovation (Gunnar representative for Romania and Hungary)
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Tell us about the history and current status of Gunnars Glasses.

Iustin: The idea for the glasses was born out of one woman’s frustration with her husband’s digitally induced migraines and worry about the eyes of her child who was fascinated by technology. Jenny Michelsen’s husband, Matt, was suffering from headaches after hours sitting in front of six computer screens. The headaches were a symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome, a collection of minor ailments that build up over time.

As the Rancho Santa Fe woman urged her husband to see a doctor, she wondered whether her 3-year-old son, Gunnar, was getting a jump-start on similar problems.  If she and her husband believed the computers were getting to their eyes – and they didn’t start using electronics until they were in their 20s – what would happen to Gunnar’s generation?  Matt and Jenny Michelsen reached out to their close friend, Joe Croft, a former Oakley engineer, about the issues surrounding CVS.  They wanted to learn more about the effects of focusing on a digital image projected on a screen just inches from one’s face for hours at a time and years on end.  The Crofts and the Michelsens began their five-year road to launch by talking to medical experts.  One of those experts was Dr. Jeffrey Anschel, a Carlsbad, California, optometrist who has become an expert in Computer Vision Syndrome and Visual Ergonomics.  He noticed the problem about 17 years ago when employees of a nearby computer company began complaining about dry and tired eyes and difficulty focusing.

They were problems that people generally didn’t experience until they were in their 40s, but these patients were in their early 30s.  It didn’t take him long to make the connection between their work and the required time spent in front of a computer screen.  “You can work, shop, communicate and do just about everything from your computer now, and people just don’t realize how much time they’re spending looking at the screen.  The digital images that computers project are one factor contributing to Computer Vision Syndrome.  The eye focuses on the hard edge of an image, but digital images don’t have a clean edge.  As a result, the focus drifts forward and back, causing eye fatigue.” Anschel also noted, “that when people spend long periods focusing on something close to their face, eye muscles tend to lock into a singular position, which is tiring and can push the eye down the path to becoming farsighted.  Meanwhile, the eye has to deal with light from conflicting sources, such as sunlight, that are much brighter than the computer screen.  There’s also glare from the light shining into the eyes.  And the angle of view for the computer screen, which is straight ahead, isn’t desirable.  People tend to focus better at objects when looking down, such as reading a book.”

Croft and Michelsen set out to create a product that addresses the issues associated with digital eye-strain.  They completed their first prototype in 2006.  In early 2007, they founded the company and in October of 2008 they launched their first product.   Investors included Carl Zeiss Vision, 50 Cent, Peter Thiel and Monster, Inc. Retail customers include Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s, GameStop and Staples. Corporate customers include Facebook, Google, Microsoft.

Gunnar is present in Romania since 2015, when I began experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms after spending hours in front of two screens as a Poker player and began to look for a solution. This is how I’ve learned about Gunnar glasses being the no.1 brand among computer glasses brands and the next step was to become Gunnar representative in Romania and now also in Hungary.

 

Let us talk about the gaming glasses now. Do we really need customized special glasses for gaming?

Iustin: Yes, if we tend to be passionate gamers, we end up spending extended hours in front of our screens and we experience blurred vision, eye strain, and headaches – symptoms of Digital Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome. Some compensate for their blurred vision by leaning forward, or by tipping their head to look through the bottom portion of their glasses. Both actions can result in a sore neck, sore shoulders and a sore back. GUNNAR gaming eyewear can help because is engineered to reduce digital eye strain while increasing contrast, comfort, and focus. And what is different for the gaming styles, compared to the computer styles produced by Gunnar is the shape of the temples that comfortably accommodates headsets.

  

What about gaming developers and others who work in gaming companies. How will they benefit from the gaming glasses?

Iustin: They can benefit too, because Gunnar glasses are made for anyone who works and plays on a digital screen for extended periods of time.  Gunnar also makes glasses without the yellow tint – with CLEAR lenses, for those who work in “true colour”, such as gaming developers, graphic designers, digital artists.

 

What make gaming glasses special? What are the differences, for example, these glasses have with normal common-use glasses?

Iustin: Gaming glasses and computer glasses developed by Gunnar, with their amber-tinted lenses, make images appear clearer and sharper by adding contrast and, very important, filter out blue light. The lenses have an anti-glare filter that allows light from the computer in but keeps out distracting reflected light from other sources.  The lenses are also designed to be fitted close to the face, creating a “micro-climate” that keeps away the dry air currents and prevents dryness of the eyes. GUNNAR GAMING glasses, compared to GUNNAR COMPUTER glasses, have a more ergonomic shape and thin temples that are compatible with wearing headsets.

 

How do you ensure lower weighing frames for these glasses? Does the lower weight affect the durability of the glasses?

Iustin: GUNNAR has many styles to choose from. Some frames are lighter than others. GAMING frames are usually lighter and therefore more comfortable during long gaming sessions. These light frames are good quality ad durable frames – such as RAZER FPS, RAZER RPG, Torpedo, Trooper, Vayper, Heroes of the Storm.

                                                             

I have seen some articles about using wide-angled lenses for gaming glasses. Could you elaborate on this point?

Iustin: Yes, especially for gaming, a wide-angled lens provides a panoramic view, as the frame does not interfere with the viewing field of the gamer “caught in action”.

 

Now on to the business front. How has been the business going during this period of lock down. Some reports suggest that an increasing number of people playing games online. Does it reflect on your business?

Iustin: Yes, this has been a quite good period for our business and as our business is mainly online, we are running at full speed right now as work from home extended the hours we work in front of a digital screen and gamers play more while staying home. People became more conscious of spending long hours in front of digital screens and reached out to us to protect their eyes.

 

What are the best ways to buy the gaming glasses of Gunnars Glasses during the lock down?

Iustin: The best way to buy Gunnar glasses is definitely online. For Romania and Hungary our online shop is www.gunnars.ro. We are offering online advice on our chat and we implemented the “virtual try-on” feature on our site that enables anyone to try-on most of our styles.

 

Finally, what are the new innovations and offers that you have in store for post-COVID-19 situation? The gaming community is eager to hear any such announcements.

Iustin: Gunnar releases new frames each year and this year is no exception. At the beginning there was only the Amber lens that has a 65 BLUE LIGHT PROTECTION FACTOR – BLPF (filters out 65% of the blue light). Then Gunnar added the Clear lens with a 35 BLPF, the Sun lens that has a 90 BLPF and also Amber Max lens with a 98 BLPF, designed to be used before going to sleep or for extremely sensitive eyes. In July, Gunnar will be launching CRUZ for kids from 4 to 8 Year Olds and for kids from 8 to 12 Year Olds, as this was a concern from the beginning: children spend more and more time in front of screens and the parents want to protect their kids as much as they can. Right now, in May a new style was launched: Pendleton. Four new exciting gaming styles will be launched this summer – Lightning Bolt 360, Lightning Bolt 360 RAZER Edition, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and a new design in partnership with Razer: MOBA. For those who are more on the hip and “vintage look” side, there will be a new style called Berkely, in September.

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Interviews

Pre-conference interview, Vladimir Malakchi, CBDO at Evoplay Entertainment

George Miller

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Pre-conference interview, Vladimir Malakchi, CBDO at Evoplay Entertainment
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

How much of an impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your business plans?

As an agile young company, Evoplay Entertainment has been able to adjust its commercial plans quickly and react to the ongoing situation. While the pandemic may have blunted the industry’s schedule, we’re not letting that dampen our spirit.

With resources freed from a number of ongoing projects, we’re able to embrace the challenge by going all in on our R&D process and continuing to work on pioneering new technologies. Instant games are a particularly interesting area right now; with the current downturn meaning that players are looking for a far more engaging proposition than the usual offering.

 

How has it affected your potential partners? Has it helped focus their mind?

It certainly should. The unwanted change in circumstances gives companies a chance to widen their appeal by reaching a new generation of players looking for entertainment. With a plethora of new products flooding the market, operators are reporting a marked change in player preferences. As gamblers become increasingly tech-savvy and hungry for innovation, traditional ‘spin and win’ slot games no longer have the draw they once did.

However, in order to pioneer the gateway from sportsbook to slots in light of the recent cancellations, it’s essential to develop a tailored cross-channel portfolio that truly stands out for those who want something different. A new generation of player demands an immersive, detailed and aesthetically stunning entertainment experience which can be enjoyed on any device.

Here at Evoplay Entertainment, we’re proud to provide exactly that.  From VR to 3D and every piece of immersive tech in between, now is the time for gaming suppliers to go bold and get creative. The market share is there for the taking for operators who offer a fresh approach.

 

What strategies have you put in place for business development following the cancellation of industry conferences?

Naturally, we’re disappointed to see the cancellation of in-person conferences, such as the MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, which no doubt would have been a key regional event. Health and safety, however, have to take priority and we fully support the decision taken by organisers.

We certainly haven’t let the cancellation put a dent in our plans. We’re a tech first company and it’s all about adapting and innovating. As well as making use of our global network for business development – we’re ready to embrace the latest methods available for networking and insight, with virtual conferences such as these likely to prove invaluable during the current downturn. We’re very much looking forward to sharing our experiences as well as hearing from expert voices through the industry.

 

How important do you believe virtual conferences to be? Do you believe online events such as these will become the new normal?

Virtual conferences are a great way to keep abreast of the latest industry trends and exciting new developments in technology. Events such as these also allow us to continue networking with colleagues and sharing our insights amid unprecedented global circumstances.

I think we’re definitely at a point where new technology (i.e. virtual conferencing tools) are certainly coming into the mainstream – however the ‘use case’ for such an approach will remain to be seen once we return to normality.

As an industry innovator looking to bring new technology into the gaming space – whether it be 3D or VR – we welcome the addition of virtual conferencing as a new, fresh approach. However, despite its advantages, especially when it comes to reduced costs and convenience, there’s also no substitution for the face-to-face meeting element. I personally predict that over the longer-term, rather than these events becoming the new normal, I would envision that we’ll see them emerge as a mainstay niche to complement on-the-ground events throughout the calendar year.

 

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Interviews

Maxima Compliance’s Antonio Zanghi on the impact of COVID-19 on compliance

George Miller

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Maxima Compliance’s Antonio Zanghi on the impact of COVID-19 on compliance
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Maxima Compliance managing director Antonio Zanghi spoke with European Gaming to discuss how the ongoing global crisis is creating new challenges across the field of compliance, and what both operators and suppliers must do to adapt.

What does the gaming industry need to consider from a compliance perspective during the global lockdown?

We need to remember that the additional scrutiny that our sector has been under over the past couple of years has not disappeared because of this crisis. If anything, we are being watched even more closely than before.

In the UK, Labour MP Carolyn Harris has already been vocal about the additional dangers isolation will place upon those at risk of problem gambling in the UK.

And in France, regulator ARJEL has warned its licensees not to aggressively target new players with bonuses during the lockdown.

Concerns about player safety are top of the agenda right now, and a single slip up could prove costly.

The temptation for operators concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 will be to loosen player, AML and responsible gambling checks.

In fact, the opposite is required. We are being watched closely, and a slip up by one operator will impact us all. Do not expect regulators to be forgiving of anyone seen to be exploiting the current situation.

 

What new compliance challenges is the COVID-19 crisis creating?

One interesting area has been the impact on the way suppliers approach technical compliance.These suppliers are under pressure to quickly deliver new content that can thrive in the current environment.

We’ve seen operators looking to immediately roll out new virtual sports and esports products, or change the way existing products and platforms operate.

But of course, all these products must meet the same strict technical compliance requirements as ever.

The companies that are rising best to this challenge are those which have already optimised their technical compliance processes.

It means they can be more flexible from a product perspective right now, and that has never been more important.

 

What longer term impacts will this crisis have on the future of compliance within the online gaming industry?

I think it will accelerate the trends we have observed over the past few years. The lockdown provides an opportunity for both operators and suppliers to evaluate and rethink approaches to compliance.

We have been advocates for a new approach to compliance for a long time now. Even before this pandemic, the move towards a dot country model of regulation has made both regulatory and technical compliance more important than ever.

Speed and a comprehensive understanding of requirements are critical. The operators and suppliers who have grown quickest have been those who best execute on this.

This crisis lays bare why we talk about how speed, flexibility and agility within compliance are so important. You need to be able to adapt to sudden shifts in the market.

The operators and suppliers who had not yet taken this lesson on board are now finally facing up to this reality.

 

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