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Exclusive Interview with Dennis Tsalikis (CEO at Fantasy Sport Interactive)

Niji Ng

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Photo credits: European Gaming Media
Reading Time: 6 minutes

It is always nice to catch up with successful people and get a glimpse into their extensive knowledge. This week I had the pleasure to interview a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in setting up and managing businesses in diverse sectors. Dennis Tsalikis is co-founder and CEO of Fantasy Sports Interactive, an entrepreneur who decided to combine his passion for Fantasy Sports with his skill in establishing successful businesses.

Dennis has an engineering background and prior to starting his own business ventures, he was employed at Vertu.

After establishing his Higher Technical Education with a University degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and gaining hands-on working experience as a CNC operator at N. Bazigos S.A, Dennis proceeded to acquire a Master’s Degree (MS) in Composite Materials, from London’s Imperial College. Below is our exclusive interview with Dennis, hope you enjoy it!

Let’s begin with a few words about yourself. Our readers love to know how top-class entrepreneurs describing themselves.

Dennis: Fervent. Down to earth,with a positive outlook. Demanding, but fair. Always striving for the best, first and foremost for my people and then in terms of personal accomplishment.

You have studied engineering and science in some of the foremost institutions in Europe, and have had a stellar industrial career. What made you switch to something seemingly different like betting and fantasy sports?

Dennis: For me, engineering and science are the foundations of constructive thinking and a solid professional background. Our Co-Founder, Bill Mexias, and I, got to know fantasy football while working in the UK at Barclays and Vertu respectively, as a team-bonding activity in the workplace. We immediately realized that fantasy football would become the next big thing in gaming and we could see that fantasy sports were the perfect option, combining innovation with great business potential.

You have made your debut in the gaming sector when you co-founded Bet4theBest.com? Did the launch and subsequent performance of the company go according to the plans? Would like to hear your experiences?

Dennis: Bet4theBest was my debut in the gaming industry, an amazing and most positive experience. We managed to establish a tight-knit and effective core team, sharing a common passion in fantasy sports and skill gaming. Internally speaking, we learned a lot in this difficult and demanding journey, while on a collective, industry level, we were part of a generation of operators that managed to bring Fantasy Sports in Europe and to the spotlight. We are most proud about being the first licensed fantasy sports operators in Europe to launch under a wide and impactful marketing strategy, including mass media such as the newspapers and the radio alongside digital marketing. Furthermore, Bet4theBest was a successful Proof of Concept and a product that caught the attention of the UK fantasy football audience, one of the most mature and demanding audiences in the industry.

It has been close to a year since you launched Fantasy Sports Interactive Ltd.  How is it going now? Would like to hear some stats and details about major deals.

Dennis: Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI) is the next level of our Fantasy Sports business venture and the main, B2B act after our B2C opening. During our original business planning, we had foreseen the future need of the market for reliable white label fantasy sports solutions. Our platform has been designed to increase customer attraction, enrich Marketing strategy, provide competitive content and an exciting gaming experience. Our tailored offering led us to a very satisfying first year, featuring a partnership with Gauselmann’s subsidiaries, Cashpoint and Xtip, in progress, a successful World Cup launch and ongoing collaboration in Africa with Africabet.com and a couple of more projects, including our future launch in India with Indus Games.A very important piece of information I can share with you now, is the development of an exclusive, breakthrough Fantasy product, which we plan to announce at ICE 2019.

It is already a crowded market of gaming software developers. What makes Fantasy Sports Interactive stand apart in the crowd?

Dennis: The winning combination of Fantasy Sports Interactive is that variety, versatility and innovation. Our goal is to offer original products going beyond standard market formats and this is what makes us stand apart. Our We make customized fantasy products for fantasy sports betting, social gaming, skill gaming, in mobile-first, online and retail formats. We offer back-end support services, flexible marketing solutions and consulting, making results and meaningful customer relationships a top priority. However, the most important part of FSI is our team, which is high-skilled and most experienced in the fantasy betting industry.

In the USA sports betting is likely to grow significantly in the coming years, following a recent US Supreme Court order that allows states to decide on legalizing sports betting. What are your thoughts on the development? How it is going to affect the gaming industry, and gaming software developing companies in particular?

Dennis: I think that everyone in the iGaming industry was expecting the US market  to open at some point. The PASPA court ruling made this possible and it is groundbreaking, since it opened the doors to a wide market of consumers who have been seeking to enjoy legal and regulated gaming services for some time now. The US audience is one of key importance; It has a strong affinity for Fantasy Sports, but at the same time it needs further education in betting and igaming. The skill gaming element is very important and this will require software companies to become more versatile and flexible. This is why we feel that FSI is ready for the US market, with a mature, tested product, combining fantasy sports with betting options.

Fantasy sports have been evolving all the time. How do you see it developing further in the near future, amidst the rise of new disruptive technologies?

Dennis: Indeed, Fantasy Sports have evolved greatly, from the classic season-long model, to the various daily fantasy options available today. I think that contemporary technologies and the lasting internet boom will lead to further progress and gamification, with more clear and mature fantasy products developed around instant and social gaming. Gaming technology will evolve under a customer-centric model, with bet types where the user has full control and a wide range of options to choose from.


Here are a few more details about Dennis and FSI:

Dennis chose to exploit his industrial background and expand the valuable experience he gained in business, by shaping Genesis World Trans, an international cargo services company, which already counts 12 years of successful activity.

While being the Managing Director of Genesis World Trans since 2008, Dennis continued to explore all aspects of business activity and decided to pursue his entrepreneurial vision, by founding one of the first Fantasy Sports Companies in Europe.

In 2014, together with Bill Mexias, he Co-founded “Bet4theBest” – a B2C fantasy football company based in Malta and Athens and the first step of an innovative and ambitious business plan targeting the contemporary iGaming industry.

Bet4theBest operated under a soft launch since 2014 and its official launch within the UK in 2015, was marked by organized and intense marketing activity. Traditional wide-range marketing channels such as the newspapers and the radio (The Racing Post, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, talkSport), were combined with digital marketing activity and a well-known brand ambassador in retired footballer and BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas.

Bet4theBest is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, servicing all locations covered by both Authorities. The company kept operating, offering a variety of fresh and competitive fantasy football games to consumers, until 2017 and served as a Proof of Concept for the white label products of the upcoming Fantasy Sports Software Company, Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI).

Dennis Co-founded FSI in 2016, keeping the business core and philosophy of Bet4theBest, while further growing its dedicated team and the company’s caliber.

FSI is based in London and has an active branch in Athens, as well.

Under Dennis’s leadership and with an experienced team, the Business and IT divisions have been constantly developing the company and its Fantasy Sports products, aiming at continuous evolution and successful partnerships.

FSI already boasts two important iGaming partnerships, one already launched for the World Cup with Africabet.com and one being a work in progress with Gauselmann’s sportsbook subsidiary companies, Cashpoint and Xtip. In the meanwhile, the team has been working on projects yet to be announced, as well.

About FSI:

Fantasy Sports Interactive offers the most complete range of fantasy sports gaming options. It has been the first company to launch fantasy betting services in Europe through its own fantasy sport product, Bet4theBest, and gain hands-on B2C and marketing management experience.

Powered by our innovative platform and deep insight in fantasy sports betting and skill gaming, we provide tailored white-label solutions to iGaming operators, lotteries and business companies seeking a modern and effective customer acquisition tool.

We offer companies the opportunity to create an engaging, competitive and fully licensed iGaming product that fits each operational model like a glove.

FSI has developed the optimal Fantasy Sports Solution for every operator:

A complete software offering for the iGaming industry, designed to increase customer attraction, enrich Marketing strategy, provide competitive content and an exciting gaming experience.

Our offering includes:

  • Fantasy Sports gaming products
  • social gaming concepts
  • fantasy sportsbook and betting formats
  • online, mobile-first and retail options
  • backend support services
  • full adaptability in terms of Regulatory frameworks

For more details contact: maria.arnidou@fantasysportsinteractive.co.uk

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Daily Fantasy Sports

RotoGrinders launches sports betting and online poker

Niji Ng

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RotoGrinders launches sports betting and online poker
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RotoGrinders, the central community for Daily Fantasy Sports, has launched RG Network, which provides a host of gaming features such as PocketFives, Fantasy Insiders and RotoGrinders’ brand new platform, SharpSide.

The launch of RG Network will feature the combination of four sites (RotoGrinders, SharpSide, Fantasy Insiders and PocketFives) into one platform. This will allow RotoGrinders will leverage its existing fan base to rapidly expand into the sports betting, season-long fantasy, and online poker markets.

Identifying and celebrating the best gamers has always been at the heart of both RotoGrinders (DFS Tournament Player Rankings) and PocketFives (Online Poker Tournament Player Rankings) and will remain a focus with SharpSide, which will feature a variety of leaderboards for sports bettors.

 “With legalized sports betting and online gaming set to rapidly expand across the U.S., RotoGrinders is thrilled to announce this strategic investment in our future,” said RotoGrinders CEO Cal Spears. “RG Network will offer sports bettors more of the high-quality media and tools that the RotoGrinders’ community has come to expect, but most importantly we will focus on ranking and identifying the best sports bettors. We’re also thrilled to bring PocketFives, which our group founded during the online poker boom 12 years ago, into the RG Network fold. Online poker is positioned to make a comeback as regulated states pool liquidity and tournament prize pools become more attractive.”

 

Source: 5StarMedia

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Daily Fantasy Sports

Premier Punt Group announces major rebranding

George Miller

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Edinburgh based fantasy sports operator Premier Punt Group (PPG) has completed a fully comprehensive brand review and today unveiled its new identity, logo, website and market position; completing its evolution into Business-to-Business (B2B) games provider, Incentive Games.

The new brand identity reflects the shift away from developing various applications solely for the gambling industry into a widely reaching B2B games provider. Building on the foundation of success created at PPG through developing innovative sportsbook applications, this extensive rebranding elevates the focus on customised gaming solutions applicable to many different types of businesses across a range of industries. As a team of specialists in the field of customer engagement, Incentive Games will be creating accessible and immersive apps which will allow a business to not only acquire customers at a fraction of the industry cost but also retain and monetise their existing customer base more effectively.

The new brand logo is made up of three symbols that represent the new brand offering:

Premier Punt announces major rebranding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The value offering to a business in being able to completely revitalise its existing customer base while also enticing new customers is without a doubt an alluring one, and investors have taken note; Premier Punt Group smashed its six-figure crowdfunding campaign target in its first day and the team found themselves approaching their investment hard-limit shortly after. This investment has enabled the company to begin to dramatically scale up its operations in line with their ambitions to be leading the field in B2B gamification.

“We took this opportunity to rebrand based on the success and market penetration we achieved as Premier Punt Group,” said John Gordon, CEO at Incentive Games. “We realised that our solutions are much more widely applicable than we first thought. Our mission is simple – we want to change the way that businesses do business by revealing the hidden potential of their existing and future customer base. Our rebranding package represents a sharp new visual identity which encapsulates this goal and we are very excited to be scaling up our operations in a big way over the next year to align with our ambitions. All businesses want to acuire new customers and retain them. Many businesses want to monetise their user base, and they are coming to us to do so. We are specialists in Acquisition, Retention and Monetisation or as we say; Play, Stay and Pay.”

Commenting on the rebranding initiative, investor and key advisor to Incentive Games and true heavyweight of the bookmaker industry, Victor Chandler said “This is an incredibly exciting time for Incentive Games and this rebrand marks a significant milestone in the company’s evolution, redefining who they are while capturing their core values and future strategy. Incentive Games are looking forward to expanding their team throughout this year so that they can use this new brand identity as a foundation to enter a diverse range of markets and further capitalise on what they already know is a winning formula.”

For more information about Incentive Games, please see www.incentivegames.com, or contact Dan Ghatoray, Operations Analyst at Incentive Games on dan@incentivegames.com.
Incentive Games latest investment round closes at the end of October, if you would like to explore investment opportunities or for general enquiries please contact Dan on the email above.

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Daily Fantasy Sports

DraftKings appoints new sports betting director

Niji Ng

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DraftKings appoints new sports betting director
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DraftKings Sportsbook has appointed Johnny Avello as the director of its sports betting team. He was acting as the executive director post at Wynn Resorts for the last 13 years.

Avello, an industry veteran with close to half a century of experience in the betting industry, will oversee the retail sportsbook trading and risk management.

Matt Kalish, co-founder of DraftKings and the company’s chief revenue officer, said: “Johnny is considered a legend in Las Vegas. He is very respected in the gaming industry and brings well over 30 years of experience, insights and ideas to DraftKings. We’re committed to building a world-class sports betting operation by putting together amazing talent with diverse experiences and backgrounds, and Johnny’s arrival brings us one step closer to that goal.”

Avello, who started his new role on Monday, is expected to help the company boost its land-based sports betting operations in a industry that has been recently legalised on a federal level and is awaiting for new guidelines.

 

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