Connect with us
SIS

Interviews

When responsible gaming fails, problem gambling takes over, then there’s Gamban!

George Miller

Published

on

When responsible gaming fails, problem gambling takes over, then there’s Gamban!
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

2018 was the year in which gambling operators and regulators moved up a gear in how they ensure responsible gaming is fully supported. 2019 is the year that software lends a helping hand. While many players enjoy betting on slot games, sports events and online casinos, problem gambling is a very real condition that can affect millions of people around the world.

In this iGaming Q & A session, Slotsquad looks at how software and technology can play its part in assisting problem gamblers online. Speaking with Gamban, we learn about the smartest and most effective software in the world for blocking online gambling sites and apps. Designed to block gambling and nothing else, it is the least intrusive, most intelligent and simple to install blocking software of its kind.

As we continue our journey to understand the iGaming industry, everything from how games are built to how casinos are regulated, we talk with the software experts fighting in the corner when responsible gaming fails. In a much anticipated Q & A with founder and CEO of Gamban, Jack Symons, we talk about the product, the future and how casino sites can do more to support players.

10 Questions with Gamban Founder and CEO, Jack Symons

Q1. Firstly, thanks for talking with Slotsquad. While most players know about online casinos, slot games and welcome bonuses, they don’t necessarily know about this side of the industry. Can you tell us about Gamban and how the software is making a difference?

Absolutely! Gamban blocks access to online gambling. You install the software on any and all of your devices and it stops your from accessing all gambling sites and applications – everything from bingo and poker to slots, skins gambling and casual trading. It’s designed to be as lightweight and effective as possible. Thousands of people are using the software and we are pleased that overall the software is helping so many people.

Q2. It’s very clever how Gamban is able to block thousands of online gambling sites, how does this part of the software work?

There are two approaches to this – and we have spent considerable time researching and developing different technologies. I should start by saying that each platform is considerably different as we work within the confines of what is and isn’t possible on each operating system.

However, underpinning each application is a powerful DNS system that automatically identifies gambling URLs, in addition to manual checking. We are always prepared to radically change the approach depending on what will make a better, simpler and more efficient product.

Q3. Do you ever come across websites that are wrongly designated as gambling domains? I guess this could be frustrating.

It’s not common. This was a bugbear of previous alternatives when I was setting up Gamban. What annoyed me most was finding I was blocked from [for example] restaurant websites, presumably because they, like casinos, use ‘chips’ – maybe that’s why? But sometimes the most innocuous sites were blocked and this was unacceptable.

On the rare occasion someone finds an inaccurately blocked site with Gamban, we can change this very quickly. We spend considerable time debating sites that fall between gambling and investing and regularly review the blacklist and whitelist.

Q4. Given the rise of internet gambling and mobile casinos now providing all-access around the clock, responsible gaming is being tested more than ever. Does Gamban provide one account that blocks access to gambling sites on multiple devices, including mobile phones?

Gamban can be installed on multiple devices – iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. We are exploring other emerging platforms, including Oculus (virtual reality), Playstation and Xbox. We aren’t intent on replacing willpower altogether but applying friction from the on-demand, omnipresent online gambling, where willpower alone isn’t enough for many.

Q5. Self-exclusion software can help problem gamblers and potential problem gamblers avoid contact with gambling websites, but it requires self-exclusion. Is Gamban a type of self-exclusion software and how does it differ from other types of this technology? Is it the best?

Gamban is self-exclusion software. It was designed knowing that individual operator self-exclusion is meaningless when there are thousands of other sites you can sign up and play on. However, the general consensus is that layering multiple self-exclusion tools (specifically financial spend blocking, the self exclusion register and gambling-blocking software) protection is more effective.

Gamban, Gamstop, Monzo. It works for me – I use all three and I cannot gamble online.

Q6. Gamban is independently evaluated with very good results. Can you please translate this for players, what does it mean and who evaluates Gamban?

Towards the end of last year, GambleAware commissioned an evaluation into the effectiveness of gambling-blocking software. The evaluation was undertaken by an agency in Birmingham and investigated Gamban, Betfilter, Gamblock and a number of similar but tangential tools in the access control space (parental control software). Gamban scored well in blocking functionality, yet cost was considered a barrier for some.

Q7. I see that Gamban software was selected by GambleAware to provide blocking software to its gambling support network. This is quite an achievement and a great endorsement that shows the capability of Gamban, you must have been pleased? And it’s free for players in the UK!

I’m very pleased with the results but our challenge is constantly evolving and we need to ensure our product is optimised for all platforms and updates to operating systems. The product has never been in better shape than it is today – and we have several major updates coming soon. Gamban is indeed free for players in the UK – people just need to contact one of the network of Gamcare treatment providers, including Gamcare and the National Gambling Helpline.

Q8. According to the UK Gambling Commission, tougher ID checks will be brought in to make sure self-excluded gamblers cannot cheat the system to place bets. Is it difficult to manoeuvre around the software in cases like this and if so, how do you see future updates improving Gamban?

This is essential for Gamstop to operate effectively and we fully support tougher ID checks to prevent gambling harm. If this fails, as it may do, Gamban provides a good level of protection. It’s been designed to be difficult to circumvent but we cannot stop someone buying a new phone or factory resetting.

As far as self-exclusion goes, our challenge is to create enough friction to stop people acting on impulse. But this is where financial spend blocking comes in useful too. If I ever want to gamble with three self-exclusion tools applied, I would have to apply a lot of creativity to act on impulse. Device, bank and ID – these are three difficult things to bypass.

Q9. Every year, the iGaming industry holds numerous events to promote marketing strategies, games development and online casino networking. Does Gamban get invited to these events? After all, casino operators and regulators support responsible gaming, don’t they?

Yes, we are always happy to be part of the discussion but we are keen to see change. What we want is more consistency in the way self-exclusion is delivered. We are pushing for a standardisation in the way self-exclusion is distributed and managed. Gamban has a role to play in this but we fully respect that fact that other systems add a lot of value to the individual trying to stop gambling. A lot of the events we go to seem to pay lip-service to the problem but I’ve seen quite a change over the past three years in the industry’s attitude towards responsible gambling.

One of the more interesting conversations I’ve been involved in is with the banking industry as a whole. Internet Service Providers, banks and other verticals have an opportunity to help individuals struggling with gambling addiction, as well as operators and regulators.

Q10. Lastly, how do you feel the future of online casinos and gaming sites looks from your perspective? Do you see Gamban and other self-exclusion technologies moving more towards operators and perhaps integrating with casino sites? For instance, name recognition etc to prevent players from signing up once they have chosen to bypass self-exclusion rules?

I’m surprised by how little innovation there has been in iGaming over the past five years, to be honest. Where I see a lot of industry focus on predictive behaviour, player insight and security, I feel the iGaming industry is in a position to be so far ahead of this – and yet, there is little that distinguishes one site from another. So little consistency. So much proprietary development is derailing effective cross-platform solution development and results in fragmented and disjointed support mechanisms for individuals going through one of the hardest processes imaginable.

What I would like to see is more engagement with the current self-exclusion ‘eco-system’ – more sharing, more collaboration and more integration of existing solutions. Until the bare minimum is achieved (an individual spelling out ‘I HAVE A PROBLEM’ to an operator and being offered anything close to a helpful, practical and effective strategy), I find it hard to take operator-funded ‘innovation hubs’ and ‘incubators’ little more than a ‘innovation’ branding exercise.

Once the bare minimum is being achieved, there’s potentially light at the end of the tunnel for the industry. Thousands of children who are playing games with gambling elements combined – I often wonder what will happen in a decade – are these children going to be playing on slot machines or will they continue playing games? Will gambling be able to compete with gaming or are the two products sufficiently different.

The point here is that a lot of innovation is going into responsible gambling technology – would it not be better to concentrate on making the products more engaging, interesting and powerful? The market will provide RG solutions to problem gamblers – operators just need to support and get behind these tools.

 

Source: Slotsquad 

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Interviews

Mario Ovcharov, CEO at UltraPlay: UltraPlay delivers betting entertainment over the top

George Miller

Published

on

Mario Ovcharov, CEO at UltraPlay: UltraPlay delivers betting entertainment over the top
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

First, we would like to read a few words about yourself. Our readers love to hear top-class professionals describing themselves.

Mario Ovcharov: I have been involved in the online gambling industry for over 5 years delivering innovative betting products and contributing to UltraPlay’s firm positioning on the global gaming market as the leading eSports betting data and platform provider.

It has been just over a year since you took over as CEO of UltraPlay. What would be your biggest achievement during this period?

Mario Ovcharov: I wouldn’t say I have personally achieved anything. It is a team effort that achieves success, and leads to solid partnerships, big customers, and a number of awards.

Tell us more about eGold.gg. How is it different from the other cryptocurrencies in the market? What’s its USP?

Mario Ovcharov: The eGold project started with a mission to unify gamers worldwide and offer them a next level of entertainment through specially designed betting cryptocurrency. By its nature, eGold is a pure utility token where players can get cash back on every bet. It basically uses the numerous advantages of the Blockchain technology to speed up and make betting faster and more attractive than before.

The project was received extraordinary by the crypto and betting community. Foundations were laid for what can be called crypto betting revolution. Now, we see many betting brands offering altcoins to their players. We are working to offer the best for our customers and users, and great things are ahead of the project.

We would also like to hear more about UltraPlay’s award-winning product – ODDS.GG? How is it going to revolutionize the betting scenario?

Mario Ovcharov: It was a fantastic year for our eSports betting suite and ODDS.GG in particular, which was reflected in several international accolades from both betting and IT perspective. We started offering betting on eSports 5 years ago and we were the first to provide such product on the online gambling market. Actually, UltraPlay was the first company to offer live betting on CS:GO. Since then, ODDS.GG doubled the number of competitive game titles reaching almost 30 games at that moment, including the eSports sensations PUBG, Fortnite, NBA 2k League and many more. The popularity and usage of ODDS.GG increases exponentially. Moreover, if we look at the landscape now, eSports has a much higher growth pattern than any other gambling vertical in the last few years.

You have introduced some innovative features in the eSports front-end. How do they fare with the customers? And what are your new plans on the eSports segment?

Mario Ovcharov: We believe that User Experience and User Interface play a significant role in today’s product development. Having been on the cutting-edge of technology for over 9 years now, we strive for highest quality and best entertainment for the end-users. Thus, our product is constantly upgraded so that our partners can positively experience the change with a strong boost in terms of players’ satisfaction. In UltraPlay, we love new technologies, and throughout the years, we have established ourselves as pioneers in emerging sectors, where new audiences are brought together. UltraPlay’s eSports dedicated front-end solution is specifically built to answer the wide variety of requirements those new audiences have, such as Millennials, favoring easy-to-use layout, intuitive tools and functionalities. BUFF.bet is a perfect example that our efforts are going in the right direction with the recorded boost in terms of betting brand recognition and players’ acquisition, conversion and retention. To offer eSports now is not enough. You need to go over the top. Impressive eSports betting entertainment is what we aim and successfully deliver for over 5 years now.

The multi-game module of UltraPlay’s casino software has been in the news. Are the customers loving it? Tell us more about the feature.

Mario Ovcharov: It’s been decision backed by solid research and analysis of player’s casino behaviour accumulated from leading online gambling brands. Our advanced multi-view module enables up to four games to be played simultaneously – something that many players turned out to request and use on a daily basis.

UltraPlay’s affiliate platform is known to be pretty comprehensive? What makes it unique? We will surely have some wannabe affiliate marketers reading this. What is your advice to them?

Mario Ovcharov: We use a top-notch affiliate software that manages our clients’ affiliates, connecting all aspects of the affiliate marketing cycle for the betting brand. It’s intriguing how affiliate marketers can benefit from eSports and penetrate in this challenging sector professionally. They have to understand and manage this new gambling vertical that has specific audience and mechanisms.

UltraPlay is one of the early adopters of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, having started using them since 2011. Do you think the company managed to leverage the early bird advantage? Finally, do you foresee any disruptive new technologies in the near future?

Mario Ovcharov: UltraPlay’s early adoption of Bitcoin positioned the company among the crypto leaders in the iGaming market and expanded the business partnership network even further. Not only our direct business results are positively affected by our visionary decision back in the days, but also our thought-leadership is further strengthen and shared during the large-scale international gambling exhibitions we usually attend.

Continue Reading

Industry News

Parimatch’s people first approach is recipe for sustainable success

Zoltan Tundik

Published

on

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Employment in the 21st century is no longer about simply finding a job for life and as the desire for work to engage, educate and enhance employee’s lives increases, companies who can foster talent are akin to bottling lightning. With more than 1,600 employees operating in multiple territories across the globe, Parimatch’s decision to seek out and develop tomorrow’s industry leaders has proven a winning tactic as the company’s expansion strategy continues apace.

The universal language of business has opened the door for more and more forward-thinking companies to embrace and grow their teams internationally as the industry continues to expand into new markets. However, to ensure employee engagement remains a core focus, it’s key to invest in both your employees through a blend of stability and adventure according to Parimatch Head of Corporate Development Katerina Belorusskaya. “Despite the turbulence of the markets in which we operate we are a stable, reliable and honest company with constant growth over the past 25 years. On the other hand, we are ambitious and risk-taking which attracts genius people who are looking for an unusual approach and bold decisions. Parimatch is a big international family where our staff has the opportunity for constant development.”

She continued: “As with every company nowadays we understand that the key to success is talent. Our people are at the heart of the organization. Their ambitions, knowledge, and skills helped us to become who we are today. Our employees are our future.”

With their employee numbers have grown by about 15 – 20% annually since 2016 amid larger recruitment bursts as the company develops in new markets, the need for motivation has naturally grown too. “Engaged employees see their importance, which is the biggest motivation,” continued Belorusskaya. “Here, in Parimatch we realized this fact a long time ago, and now we’re trying to do our best to grow our unique corporate culture where employees are engaged, devoted and feel that they drive the business. Employee engagement can become one of the most significant workplace problems, indeed. Also, vice versa: an engaged employee can form a positive attitude towards the organization and its values which makes them go above and beyond to contribute a lot more.”

Following up on its goal to invest in its people, throughout 2018 the Cyprus-based company delivered 1,300 hours of education across 53 unique pieces of training through its Corporate University of Parimatch initiative, including specialized courses on bookmaking, sports, software and language classes. Discussing its inception, Katerina explained: “Our in-house university has been established to develop employees not only professionally but also mentally helping them to find a balance between work and life. Also, our CSR activities are significant. Philanthropy is a powerful HR tool that strengthens the team, inspires employees, forms parallel connections and shared values among them. So, all the time we try to make social projects truly beneficial for employees for them to want to be a part of this.”

For Parimatch, new markets are key to the recruitment strategy with the company significantly strengthening the local and partner teams in Kazakhstan and Russia recently preparing both territories for some ambitious goals in the coming years. “We are open to new horizons and opportunities,” stated CHRO Tatyana Davydova, who recently joined the company after more than five years at Playtech, where she has taken the role of Head of Global HR. “So there is much more to be done to achieve the ambitious goals of the company for example adopting cultures across our brand is the primary challenge for the HR team in relation to global mobility. In one hand organizations across industries are embracing the benefits of a diverse workforce. However, with benefits come the challenges of working across borders, cultures, and languages.”

To achieve its seamless overcoming of cultural barriers across multiple offices whilst maintaining happy and productive teams, Parimatch has instilled English as its official corporate language for the back office and circulates a holistic environment of common values and corporate unity through consistent, integrated sharing of information. Davydova explained: “It is crucial, and at the same time not easy to create a comfortable environment for everyone regardless of cultural background and location. We have been working on this a lot over the past five years and only today we can say that we feel the ground under our feet for all our employees.

“At some stage, we realized it can be complicated to unite people from different cultural mindsets and places in one, productive team without principles and values that would join them all. Therefore, we have created an integrated information space or flow. We believe it is essential that each employee is aware of what is happening in the life of a group in another country so the flow was developed across multiple information channels to create a monthly digest, video or blog to keep everyone in touch.”

Corporate unity also forms a major aspect of Parimatch’s people first approach exemplified by their bi-annual strategic sessions where the company or its partners hold operations and host employee representatives from all countries at large-scale gatherings. “These strategic sessions are an excellent platform for the exchange of experience, ideas, specific (local) cases between employees from different countries,” Belorusskaya added. “In such an atmosphere, cultural affiliation is replaced by association with the culture that is formed within the company. As for the relocation of employees and their adaptation in another country, in a team with other cultural values – this is a separate and fascinating topic. In short, our people are what drives our business and a unique corporate culture that is one for all, regardless of race, creed or language is key.”

Continue Reading

Interviews

Q&A with Steve Cutler, CEO & co-founder of Kalamba Games

George Miller

Published

on

Q&A with Steve Cutler, CEO & co-founder of Kalamba Games
Reading Time: 3 minutes

This week we had a quick chat with Steve Cutler, CEO & co-founder of Kalamba Games.

What makes you different to other providers/to what else is available?

Kalamba Games was founded in 2016 by myself and Alex Cohen, two industry experts with experience in both real money gambling and social casino. We identified a gap in the market for a supplier who brought the best of social casino to RMG along with a focus on introducing revenue drivers that help improve operators’ KPIs. Our game design strategy has always been driven by integrating engagement and retention features, as well as world-class promotional mechanics. Our games are proven to increase player engagement and retention by up to six times, as well as having a far slower game degradation and a much higher earning tail than the industry standard. We release one game a month and we now have a portfolio of over 16 high-performing titles.

How are you brining your social gaming experience into the business?

Alex and I between us have over six years’ experience in social gaming and casino and thus, we had a few tricks up our sleeves when we founded Kalamba. We knew what helps drive session length and long-term engagement. A lot of that involves offering features with saved progress and collection mechanics to encourage longer and multiple sessions. With ever-increasing competition, it is less about acquisition but more about retaining the player for a longer time. Our games help ensure this.

What exactly is Kalamba doing to increase player engagement and retention?

Our games have a number of unique and improved in-game features. Among other things these include progressive jackpots and our HyperBet and HyperBonus features, enabling players to adjust game volatility. We know they have different experiences of slots and by allowing the flexibility to set different game modes, you can attract different types of players and also ensure they stay for longer as their skills and comfortability levels increase. This way, the same game can appeal to beginners as well as VIPs. Newcomers with a lower taste for volatility won’t be put off while the game still remains interesting to those who desire higher volatility.

You recently hired a UX expert from the video games industry, could you tell us a bit about the reasoning behind this?

The first two years at Kalamba have been primarily focused on delivering games that get better and better with a highly competitive velocity of one game per month. Most importantly, we coupled this with a legacy-free framework that delivers for all markets and operator requirements. We are now, taking our games to the highest level by bringing on board a pair of highly experienced and talented game UX professionals. Graham McAllsiter joined us from Player Research, a company he founded to provide UX research and playtesting services to the video games industry worldwide, including major studios such as EA, Sony and NaturalMotion. He helped studios deliver successful games by applying scientific methods for objectively evaluating key assumptions about the way a game will be played and experienced. Working with the new Senior UX Product Lead, Andrzej Sekula, who joins at the same time from Huuuge and Vivid Games, he will now do the same for the games we develop at Kalamba and help shape the mindset of the company to create games that deliver the greatest user experience to the players. We are excited that we are now in a very good position to be a highly competitive company within the industry.

What can we expect from Kalamba in 2019?

We will expect to release more than 12 great games with our various engaging in-game features over the year. We received investment from venture capital funds Vereeni and RB Capital at the end of last year and this investment has given us the ability to speed up the time to some of our key business, games and platform goals. There are exciting times ahead

Continue Reading
Advertisement
NSoft

Global Gaming Industry Newsletter – Weekly Digest (sent every Wednesday)

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from European Gaming Media and Events:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here. Read more about European Gaming Media and Event's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest by author

Trending

Notice for AdBlock users

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.