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Exclusive Q&A with Sandra McWilliams of SIS

George Miller

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Exclusive Q&A with Sandra McWilliams of SIS
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Always on: any day, any time
Sandra McWilliams, Sales Director at SIS, talks to European Gaming about the development of their 24/7 Live Betting Channels as SIS looks to drive further progress in 2019

European Gaming: What was the motivation behind your recently released 24/7 Live Betting Channels?

Sandra McWilliams (SM): Consumers are so used to having everything on demand due to recent technological advances – such as streaming a box set on demand, and accessing millions of songs at the click of a button.

An unmistakable market trend is that consumers value being able to access their preferred form of content on their own terms. More specifically, within the betting & gaming market, bettors shouldn’t have to wait for their next engagement opportunity, and now, bettors can access betting on racing opportunities every three minutes, with the launch of our new 24/7 Live Betting Channels.

These 24/7 Live Betting Channels provide bettors with regular betting opportunities throughout the day, across all time zones, at times that suit them. It is important that there is quality content in all time slots to engage bettors around the world.

European Gaming: To what do you attribute this scaling demand?

SM: I think the demand has always been there, it’s just been a question of knowing how to service it effectively. Especially when it comes to serving a global network of partners, which goes to the heart of SIS’s status as a truly worldwide supplier of betting content. Trite as it may sound, content remains king. You’ve just got to understand how best to package it, so that every operator gets something that’s really relevant for them, wherever they are on the map.

European Gaming: Do you think the needs of the bettor have changed?

SM: I expect they haven’t. I think our innate tastes and desires largely stay the same. The difference is the ability to deliver what the customer wants– and that’s a combination of technology, allied to the distribution model. Up until the mid-2000’s it was commonplace for consumers to have to wait each week to watch an episode of their favourite programmes but now with the proliferation of streaming services we can binge watch an entire series on demand. Consumers have wanted the ability to watch their desired programmes at times that suited them but both technology and the distribution models prevented them from doing so, until now. The same is true in the betting industry, bettors have always wanted to see the content they are betting on but it hasn’t always been possible until now.

European Gaming: How are you able to fill the channels with content that cover all hours of the day?

SM: We’ve made a concerted effort to boost our racing portfolio, adding quality live racing from racecourses across the globe. Last month we announced a partnership with Tote Media to distribute live pictures from the Latin American Racing Channel’s (LARC) meetings. The agreement expanded SIS’s Latin American horse racing suite to over 4,500 races per year, with racing from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. It also showcases some of the elite racecourses in the region, such as Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo, Hipódromo Chile, Club Hipico Santiago, San Isidro, Monterrico and Gavea. These rights acquisitions follow similar distribution deals with Kranji Racecourse in Singapore, and the Melbourne Racing Club and Thoroughbred Racing South in Australia (in association with RMG) to further bolster a truly international portfolio of premium horse racing.

European Gaming: Explain the format on offer across these live channels?

SM: We can provide these channels as an end-to-end solution to both online and retail operators, featuring live streamed pictures, data, on-screen graphics with betting prompts and an extensive range of markets and prices. These new channels are delivered in a ‘Watch and Bet’ format and provide attractive and profitable short-form content throughout the day, with a betting event every 3 minutes.

To maintain quality events at all hours of the day, it features exclusive, world-class live UK & Irish horse racing, with international horse racing from Dubai, Latin America, Mauritius and South Korea, as well as UK & Irish greyhound racing. In addition, these events are interwoven with market-leading virtual horse and greyhound races to maintain engagement levels.

European Gaming: Do these channels allow for customisation at all?

SM: Absolutely, there’s an option for operators to customise the channels in order to brand them to their specific requirements. This ensures that operators can adjust the product to meet their own individual needs. We can accommodate bespoke partner logos, time zones and languages for commentaries, plus on-screen graphics and betting triggers.

European Gaming: Are there any major operator deals in the works as we start the build up to ICE 2019?

SM: I’m happy to report that we have a number of tier-one operators already lined up to take our 24/7 Live Betting Channels before the end of the year. Naturally, we plan to add to that pipeline between now and ICE in February. As the leading supplier of 24/7 racing, we hope that our stand at ICE will prove the first port of call for operators looking to provide their customers with frequent betting opportunities.

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Interviews

Evoplay Entertainment: “ICE is one of the year’s hottest fixtures – you’d be hard-pressed to find another event with so many operators and suppliers under one roof!”

George Miller

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Evoplay Entertainment: “ICE is one of the year’s hottest fixtures – you’d be hard-pressed to find another event with so many operators and suppliers under one roof!”
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

We caught up with some of our favourite Eastern European suppliers to get the low down on what they’ll be bringing to the show this year.

Next up is Ivan Kravchuk, CEO of Evoplay Entertainment

Another year, another ICE! What’s Evoplay Entertainment excited about this year?

ICE is one of the year’s hottest fixtures – you’d be hard-pressed to find another event with so many operators and suppliers under one roof. No doubt, this year as ever will prove to be crammed with fantastic business opportunities, highlight announcements, a million new trends, and of course my personal favourite … the latest tech!

Anything in particular we can look forward to at the Evoplay Entertainment stand?

Our founding goal has been to revolutionise gaming development with some of the best tech innovation that’s out there, and when it comes to our stand, I can promise you this year will be no different.

We’ll be kicking off with our 2020 portfolio, which has some fantastically engaging games that I’m excited to be showcasing. However, our main fixture that will grab the limelight will no doubt be Dungeon: Immortal Evil. As the industry’s first RPG (think first-person adventure) slot, we’ve had to start from scratch when it comes to building it from the ground up. Everything from design to the game’s mechanics – it has literally been a labour of love for our stellar development team, and I’m absolutely blown away with the result.

We’ve designed this game to give our operators a serious leading edge when it comes to capturing the attention of the millennial generation. The latest generation of customer is looking content not only for them – but also action-packed gaming that can be shared across their online communities; from streaming on Twitch to sharing on TikTok. Smartphones lie at the core of this gaming community ecosystem, and the next 10 years are going to be all about mobile-adaptive content.

We’re seeing an ever-growing list of CEE companies getting in on the action at ICE – what’s your take?

I’m not exaggerating when I say that CEE is now moving as fast as Silicon Valley. From Estonia to Ukraine, the region is crammed with fast-growing start-ups, groundbreaking new tech – and of course, some truly bright minds. The level of technical education at the majority of CEE universities is outstanding, and our talent pool is arguably one of the world’s best. We’re proud to be part of such an exciting, fast growing region.

And for the show – any predictions for hottest topics?

When it comes to slots, I expect it to be all about merging the lines between gaming and entertainment. In such a competitive market, it’s imperative to capture the user’s attention as quickly as possible. We can see the same outside of our industry with the current showdown between Netflix and HBO as they battle it out to offer the best content; and the same will no doubt happen in our industry. The US slots market, which is in many ways still untapped, is also going to be hot this year – and I’m very much looking forward to talking to our partners about their business roadmaps and vision for the market.

Any advice for first-timers?

Everyone will tell you about the importance of networking – but I think ICE offers far more than this. The speaking tracks are always fantastically educational, and I’d advise first-timers to look at taking advantage of the wealth of information on offer; especially when it comes to exploring trends outside of your gaming vertical.

With 10 sectors available I would advise my industry friends to think outside the box and learn something new and evaluate how it can benefit from your product or solution. Knowledge after all, is power!

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Interviews

Digitain: “Innovation, personalisation and gamification are definitely going to be the most exciting for us this year”.

George Miller

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Digitain: “Innovation, personalisation and gamification are definitely going to be the most exciting for us this year”.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

With ICE only a day away, we caught up with some of our favourite Eastern European suppliers to get the low down on what they’ll be bringing to the show this year.

First up is Simon Westbury, Head of International Development at Digitain.

Another year, another ICE! What’s Digitain excited about this year?

As a tech company at heart, innovation, personalisation and gamification are definitely going to be the most exciting for us this year.

Innovation for Digitain is all about keeping our partners ahead of their rivals, as well as attracting and engaging the end-user. I’m thrilled to be showcasing our latest predictive AI modelling tools; able to personalise offerings and ensure that when players log on, they are able to immediately interact with the content they are looking for.

AI and predictive modelling can also go the other way too – our latest automatic match allocation program uses algorithms to automatically identify which traders are most optimal for each betting market – ensuring the most efficient pricing model is delivered to each of our partners.

Elsewhere, gamification, when integrated into a segmentation and customer retention strategy, is going to work wonders in the year ahead, and I’m excited to be taking our friends and partners through our latest strategies. A gamified experience – when merged with the right segmented customer, can drive players towards desired content at key times like never before. Combined with bonus rewards, competition against other players and other social elements, and you have an incredibly powerful tool on your hands for the year ahead.

Anything in particular we can look forward to at the Digitain stand?

Front and centre will be our comprehensive gaming and sportsbook platform. Providing operators with a one-stop-shop for success, it offers our proprietary, action-packed bonusing systems that will keep any player coming back for more.

At last count, we service over 100 partners around the globe with a user-friendly multi-lingual, multi-currency, customisable interface that can be easily integrated on any platform for both online and land-based operators, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty more to add to that list by the time ICE has passed by.

As the industry’s most flexible, scalable and modular sports betting platform, our sportsbook is serviced by more than 700 of Armenia’s brightest trading minds, covering more than 35,000 monthly live events, 7000 leagues and 3000 betting markets. Stretching across every touchpoint imaginable, we cater for website, mobile, apps, terminals and the betting shops. Our gaming offering is also one of the industry’s best, providing operators with a comprehensive package that totals more than 3000 slots, bingo and table games complete with live dealers.

As a global platform supplier, what would you advise operators to focus on at ICE this year?

If you want to stay ahead in 2020, focus on AI and deep data analytics. Having a toolkit that elevates the customer experience should be at the top of every operators’ ICE shopping list, and those who don’t take advantage of the latest tech are going to miss out on a lot of market share come ICE 2021.

In an increasingly crowded brand landscape, personalised Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) powered by AI and data analytics is key to this. As competition increases, and customer bases and markets grow larger, it is becoming increasingly important for gaming operators to get more information about their customers in order to maintain, not to mention grow, their market share and build customer lifetime value.

While the gaming industry has championed the practice of customer relationship management already – CRM coupled with Digitain’s data insights will ensure 2020 will see a whole new level of delivery thanks to our market leading tech – and that’s before we even get into the cross-sell potential between sportsbook and casino.

And finally – are there any changes you’d like to see at ICE this year?

I’d like to do more to throw a light on markets outside of Western Europe and the US. I feel that sometimes as an industry we risk being too insular, and would argue that if you’re not awake to fast-developing markets such as LatAm (and, by all means, throw in the likes of India, Japan and Africa), then any you’re going to fall behind. The volumes in these jurisdictions are too consequential to be ignored.

Eastern Europe is a great example of this; with markets coming online at an exponential pace. In line with that, we’re seeing some fantastic gaming conferences and summits being set up to cater to this fast-developing region; with the Prague Gaming Summit and Central Eastern European Gaming Conference being real standouts. Operators would do well to keep an eye an eye on this dynamic part of the world.

Moving further abroad, Latin America is another excellent market to consider; as well as its steady growth, not to mention its largely untapped status, operators can easily make big returns if they target the region with localised solutions. Furthermore, it is vital to acknowledge that this new wave rides on the crest of mobile – just witness the 19% year-on-year growth for mobile platforms in the region. These predictions project that there will be some 235m-plus smartphone users by 2021, and anybody looking to capitalise on the region’s exponential growth would do well to get in on the ground floor.

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Interviews

Q&A WITH ELLEVENS ESPORTS OWNER GARETH BALE

George Miller

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 
Q&A WITH ELLEVENS ESPORTS OWNER GARETH BALE
What is Ellevens Esports about?
Gareth Bale said: “On the pitch, my goal is always to win. With Ellevens Esports, that winning attitude is just as important. There are similarities between football and esports in that it takes real dedication and sacrifice to reach the top of your game. I am really excited to now have my own team and I am looking forward to Ellevens competing in major esports events all over the world.”
What inspired you to launch your own esports team?
Gareth Bale said: “My interest in esports started about two years ago watching Ninja stream Fortnite and as a result I naturally progressed to watching FIFA and the FIFA Global Series. The competitive side was fascinating, so I decided I wanted to provide an opportunity for gamers that take esports seriously and to play for a professional organisation at the highest level.
“I am fortunate enough to have been a professional footballer from a young age playing at some of the world’s best clubs and I feel there were lots of similarities between real life sport and esports. Therefore, I want to provide the best professional environment for gamers around the world and build an esports legacy.”
Do you play esports?
Gareth Bale said: “When I’m not training or playing football, I love to play in online FIFA tournaments, but I’m definitely not an elite competitor.
Ellevens will hold a tournament to find gamers to join the team. What’s your advice to players?
Gareth Bale said: “Enjoy it! Whatever you do in life you have to enjoy it so do your best, practice as much as you can and the rest will follow. One of the aspects that I love about esports is that it brings people together – it allows anyone in the world to try out for Ellevens Esports., it’s a fantastic chance to become a professional gamer and I wish everyone good luck! I will be watching!”
 
ELLEVENS ESPORTS GAMERS
Tyler Phillips
Home country: Wales (Newport)
“Representing Ellevens is the proudest moment of my life. Gareth Bale is known all over the world, he is an idol for me, being from Wales. Playing for his team is a life-changing opportunity and is giving me that extra push to take my career to the next level!”
Ethan Higgins
Home country: England (Birmingham)
“Fans can expect to see Ellevens be one of the best teams in the world. Having Gareth Bale as co-owner is amazing as it’s a completely new experience for all of us players.”
Pedro “Resende” Henrique Soares
Home country: Brazil
“It is an honour to be part of Ellevens. Even though we are new in the scene, we already have a very strong team. Having Gareth Bale involved brings a lot of attention which is really exciting. Hopefully we will deliver our fans a number of championship titles!”

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