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

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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: [email protected]

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Daily Fantasy Sports

DFS expert DraftKings launches new Aussie Rules games with huge prize pool across 31-week season

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DFS expert DraftKings launches new Aussie Rules games with huge prize pool across 31-week season
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Ahead of the launch of the new season DFS expert DraftKings has launched the industry’s most comprehensive Australian Football Rules (AFL) Daily Fantasy Sports product to appeal to an untapped global audience of hundreds of millions of fans in one of the world’s most exciting and toughest sports.

Daily fantasy sports players will be able to get involved in a multitude of new and exciting games with huge cash prize pools across a 31-week long season that includes four weeks of finals. It will be the biggest first prize in DFS history in Australia with $85,000 available on the opening night and $200,000 across the opening round.

The introduction of Aussie Rules (AFL) DFS broadens DraftKings’ already leading portfolio of daily fantasy content to more than 15 global sports and enables an even wider international fan base to get involved.

As the world’s fourth most attended sport and with more than 111.4 million people tuning in to AFL broadcasts in 2020 alone there is a huge internal fanbase as well as major cross-sell opportunities for DraftKings with AFL to attract dedicated fans as well as traditional NFL, NBA and golf customers among others. I have attached an information sheet about the sport for more information.

Jeffrey Haas, SVP International Strategy DraftKings said: “The Australian Football League boasts huge appeal both in Australia and internationally with the fourth-highest domestic audience attendance globally. This compelling sport caters to Australian players domestically along with their vast expatriate population around the world as fans in Canada, the US and the UK can all watch via the AFL’s international broadcast partners.

“With DraftKings’ rich daily fantasy heritage, we are thrilled to add these AFL contests to our industry-leading variety of DFS categories as an ‘Approved AFL Fantasy Sports and Betting Provider.’ Fans all over can discover and incorporate AFL action into their second-screen gaming experience as the 31-week-long season plus four weeks of finals gets underway where some of the toughest athletes on the planet square up for intense end-to-end action.”

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Daily Fantasy Sports

Scout Gaming signs agreement with ATG

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Scout Gaming signs agreement with ATG
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Scout Gaming has entered into an agreement with AB Trav & Galopp, ATG (the Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator Board), Sweden’s largest gaming operator measured by turnover.

The companies have agreed to jointly launch Scout Gaming’s award-winning DFS product on ATG.se with a soft launch aimed at the second quarter 2021, followed by a wider marketing push in the third quarter, in time for the start of English Premier League and other major European sport leagues.

ATG is owned by the Swedish trotting and thoroughbred associations and was the exclusive provider of horse betting on the Swedish market from 1974 until the end of December 2018. When the Swedish market re-regulated in 2019 the company was able for the first time to expand into other product verticals such as sports betting and casino.  ATG has since quickly proven to be successful in what is a highly competitive online gaming market – having held the largest market share of the total gaming market in 2019 and engaged over 1.3 million customers in the Swedish gaming market. This is the first time a major leading operator launches Scout Gaming’s DFS product on the Swedish market.

“I’m very excited to have the privilege of launching our fantasy sports product on ATG.se, thus reaching a wider potential player base than ever before. ATG has in a short time proven to be very agile in its expansion into new products, therefore not a surprise when they now are first to seize the opportunity of being early mover in a fast-expanding trend within fantasy sports “, comments Scout Gaming’s CCO, Joakim Renman.

“We try to constantly offer our customers exciting new experiences and are keen to add fantasy sports as, what we hope will be, a key vertical offering for ATG moving forward. We have watched this game format grow in popularity around the world and believe that Swedish customers will also appreciate this exciting product. With our almost 50-year legacy of offering pool games and recent expansion into sports betting we believe that we have primed for a successful rollout of daily fantasy sports to the Swedish sports audience”, comments ATG’s Head of Sports Betting, Christian Erlandsson.

The agreement is expected to have a moderate to high impact on Scout Gaming’s revenues from the second half of 2021 onwards.

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Daily Fantasy Sports

DraftKings kicks off first-of-its-kind DFS World Cup

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DraftKings kicks off first-of-its-kind DFS World Cup
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

10 global teams will battle it out over two weeks to find the ultimate Daily Fantasy Sports nation

What: The DraftKings World Cup sets national teams of the best DraftKings DFS players from around the world against each other to determine the elite DFS playing nation, and to crown the first DraftKings World Cup Champion.

Ten teams from each country where DraftKings operates DFS are represented in this special two-week series that aims to both fuel the competitive spirits and sporting rivalry between nations.

Who: 10 teams of 10 players will be participating.

The teams include USA East, USA West, Canada, England, Scotland, The Republic of Ireland, Wales, Germany, Australia and the Rest of Europe, with each country having 10 players representing the nations. The individuals selected are some of the best DraftKings DFS players from across each of the countries as well as several ‘wildcards’ filled through qualifier contests.

When: The DraftKings World Cup will be run over two weeks, from 22nd October to 1st November.

The top four teams with the highest combined points in week one will progress to the final, with the remaining six teams eliminated.

Scoring: The teams will collect points by betting on six different events in the first week including the English Premier League (EPL), PGA golf, Major League Baseball (MLB), Australian Football League (AFL), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and the NFL. Only the top four teams will qualify for the final week where the events will be PGA, UFC, EPL, NFL and Nascar.

Week one has a total of six events. All 100 players enter each contest. If you get first place, you get 100 points for your country and if you get last, you only get 1 point. Second place gets 99 points, third place 98 points, and so on.

 

Yellow events highlighted above are the five Premiere Events, where points count as double (first place gets 200, last place gets 2).

Payout Structure: As this is a team competition, all overall prizes are split between team members. However, there will be individual prizes for the winner of each contest ($500 or $1000 for premiere events). The top prize is $10,000.

1st – $10,000 2nd – $7,500 3rd – $5,000 4th – $2,500

Engagement: To further build interest and engagement, DraftKings has created a shadow contest that will run alongside the main event where any DFS players can win a share of a prize pool if they beat the top score of those participating in the DK World Cup. All shadow events will offer $1,000 with the final contest NFL (11/1) being $3,000

A landing page will be live later this week which will be the one-stop-shop for those wanting to follow and it will include teams, live leaderboard, contests and shadow links etc.

Clinton Gray, VIP Manager at DraftKings, said: “Fan engagement is paramount at DraftKings and, ahead of a packed lives sports schedule next year, we are fueling the competitive spirits of our player base by launching a World Cup featuring teams from every country we are active in across an array of daily fantasy sports categories. It will be a thrilling two weeks of fierce competition and we look forward to crowning the first DFS World Cup team winners.”

A landing page will hopefully be live later this week which will be the one stop shop for those wanting to follow and it will include teams, live leaderboard, contest and shadow links etc.

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