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Exclusive Q&A with Boris Chaikin, CEO at Soft2Bet


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Exclusive Q&A with Boris Chaikin, CEO at Soft2Bet
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

As Soft2Bet enters its fourth year, the company’s rapid-fire growth shows no sign of stopping. With 2019 spent releasing innovative brands and expanding into new markets the company has gone from strength to strength. European Gaming spoke to CEO Boris Chaikin about Soft2Bet’s beginnings, its swift progression, and its plans for 2020.

Soft2Bet has experienced a very exciting four years, how did it all begin and what has led to the company’s success?

The company was founded in late 2016 by a team of just five people and its rise has been meteoric. We now have more than 250 hugely talented employees which help design and launch numerous successful products, with thousands of games now available on our sites. Soft2Bet’s creation was centered around the ethic that the company would bring a unique approach to markets and brands. In less than four years, we’ve grown in a truly global company with offices in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Malta, and Cyprus with some of the brightest, open-minded individuals in the industry growing with us.

We build top quality online entertainment websites from scratch, and having honed our innovative designs and sound solutions, we’ve attracted customers from all over the world. Our casino and live sport offering are evolving month by month, keeping our brands fresh and exciting for all our customers. While some companies in the industry may have been around longer, our individuality and consistent development of new products has led us to the forefront of the sector.

The company’s focus was formally on B2C but last year you entered the B2B market – can you tell us why you chose to enter the sector?

We’ve not changed our focus as such, it’s more about diversification. Having acquired a wealth of experience in the B2C sector, it placed us in the exciting position of being able to develop projects and adapt to issues with solutions with which companies who have only B2B experience may not possess. The transition was a logical move with the development of our in-house platform and brands such as Wazamba.com, Nomini.com and Rabona.com becoming something operators wanted to use. Transitioning to any new market comes with its own opportunities and challenges, but with such an experienced team and with my decade-long background in B2B, it has been a rather exciting period for the company.

You mentioned Rabona, could you tell us more about your latest brand?

Rabona is named after the revolutionary football kick and the sportsbook and casino was developed to be just as innovative as the move itself. Its unique inbuilt gamification makes it a game changer for sports fans. By placing bets, players earn points allowing them to collect cards with football players and teams which they can exchange to unlock exciting bonuses. The merging of sports betting and gamification is rarely seen in the market and our analysis shows it’s very popular with players – increasing both their engagement and brand loyalty. Built around and powered by proprietary technology, with its innovative graphics and enhanced gamification, Rabona is designed with sports fans in mind.

What does Soft2Bet plan to showcase at ICE London this year?

Both Soft2Bet and its affiliate partnership, 7StarPartners, are gearing up to take ICE London by storm. We will be on Stand N9-524 showcasing our multi-brand portfolio featuring recent launches such as the aforementioned Rabona and the record-breaking casino Nomini, along with other leading brands including Wazamba, Campobet and YoYoCasino. We’re also exhibiting our state-of-the-art B2B product range, which includes a highly advanced casino and sportsbook platform, multi-currency payment systems, and multi-lingual titles from the world’s top gambling providers alongside expert affiliate marketing and design teams.

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Interviews

How level five AI can help operators superscale efficiency and profitability in 2023

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How level five AI can help operators superscale efficiency and profitability in 2023
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

With Markor Technology recently partnering with Ibex.ai to strengthen the range of solutions it can supply to  partners, we sat down with Thomas Aigner and Melissa Summerfield to discuss the benefits the tool offers CRM teams and the impacts of AI and machine learning in the wider iGaming industry

 

Before we get into how Markor will utilise Ibex.ai to strengthen its client offering, can you tell us a bit more about the company’s core concept and how it differs from other rule-based AI systems?

TA: When Ibex was started, our core focus was to really look at each player individually and come up with ways to maximise their lifetime value. We weren’t happy with the level of personalisation and automation that existing technology could deliver, so we set about re-thinking the process of a CRM campaign from the bottom up. With the machine learning models that Ibex utilises, it’s able to create a full profit/loss calculation for individual players that takes into account everything from the payment method they use to the costs of sending a bonus via SMS or email. From these calculations, the system is able to implement the action that has the highest impact for each player while also learning and optimising its models based on the previous outcomes. In this respect, Ibex differs from some of the more traditional, rule-based systems – where CRM teams usually still have to build a customer journey to trigger their desired action – as it provides a true level of automation by constantly A/B testing its approaches and evaluating their performance without the need for manual prompting from the user.

 

Last year, Ibex.ai was involved in a ground-breaking trial where it was pitted against a human CRM team and delivered some pretty convincing results – what factors helped contribute to its success?

TA: Over the course of that study, Ibex delivered a 20% increase in NGR and a 17% decrease in bonus spend when tested against what a human CRM team was doing. One of the keys to this success was the fact that our technology doesn’t need to create and target customer segments in the way that a traditional CRM team does. Instead, we looked to fundamentally overhaul the approach taken by CRM teams and place a greater emphasis on targeting each individual player, meaning that the bonuses Ibex offers are 100% personalised. Additionally, Ibex can look at how each player reacts to its offers and use this data to automatically decide and trigger the next best action specifically for them. This is known as level five automation and means it can build optimal models by itself, with CRM teams then being able to look at its choices, understand the actions and use them to come up with new campaigns.

Another perk of Ibex’s approach is that the system is able to quickly identify bonus abusers, who obviously have a big impact on a CRM team’s overall profit/loss figures during each campaign. Whereas manually rooting out bonus abusers and segmenting them accordingly is a costly and time-consuming process, Ibex’s personalised, player-by-player approach means the technology can easily spot signs of bonus abuse and decide that the best action in these cases is often not to issue any offer.

 

The increased use of AI in traditionally human operations is something of a hot topic at the moment – is Ibex.ai intended to replace CRM teams entirely or merely supplement what they currently do?

TA: This is a really important question and one we get asked a lot because of the high level of automation Ibex can deliver. Our AI is not at all intended to replace CRM teams or take away human jobs, but rather to enhance their current capabilities by removing some of the day-to-day legwork. This gives them more time to focus on building creative campaigns and optimising their overall strategy, which can in turn help them increase profits without taking on further costs. With this in mind, CRM teams shouldn’t be fearful about AI replacing them, but should instead be experimenting with it and learning its capabilities so they can better understand how to work alongside it in future.

 

How will automated technology such as Ibex.ai enable online operators to better structure their CRM teams going forward and will it allow for a more efficient distribution of resources in future?

TA: We’re already starting to see this with our current partners. By using an AI like Ibex, it’s possible to take some of the manual legwork out of the CRM process – i.e. defining a target group and then scheduling/executing a campaign – which in turn gives executives more time to focus on the creative side of things and how they refine their top-level strategy. One of the important things to remember about Ibex is that it’s not a content generating AI, but rather one takes all of the templates and bonuses that are already in place and combines them to get the most optimal results. As such, removing a lot of the manual admin can give CRM more freedom to focus on creating better content.

 

From Markor Technology’s point of view, how does partnering with highly-specialised companies such as Ibex.ai enable you to enhance the service that you’re currently able to offer your partners?

MS: Markor has always been focused on providing innovative solutions for our clients – and one of the value propositions that we pride ourselves on is that our iGaming technology is powered by AI and machine learning. The role of this technology is to make people’s lives easier, so by onboarding specialised partners such as Ibex, we can automate more, decrease human error and track data so it can drive informed, real-time business decisions. By streamlining operations in this way, we save our clients’ time so they can focus more on high level topics such as branding and business development.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about some of the advantages that Ibex.ai gives to your online casino partners and how the technology has been incorporated into your current PAM platform offering?

MS: One of the main benefits that Ibex has delivered for us is that it intelligently targets customers and increases their lifetime value – two things that have already been backed up by the company’s reports. By constantly A/B testing its actions and learning from the results, Ibex is able to consistently choose the optimal offer or reward based on the projected value of each player, meaning once a network of campaigns has been set up, CRM teams will be free to focus on their overall user strategy.

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Interviews

ALTENAR: OUTSTANDING 2022 PROVIDES SPRINGBOARD TO 2023

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ALTENAR: OUTSTANDING 2022 PROVIDES SPRINGBOARD TO 2023
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Last year proved to be a breakthrough one for Altenar. Growth in all parts of the business has epitomised the incredible work that continues at the world-leading sportsbook provider.

With the keys to success being attributed to a number of different factors, we sat down with Altenar’s Sales Manager, Alejandro Cazorla, to discuss why 2022 was such a landmark year for the business and what 2023 could hold. Read on to find out more…

 

To kick things off – Altenar had an outstanding 2022, can you talk us through last year’s highlights?

2022 was an amazing year. Our achievements came through hard work, staying dynamic, employing a growing team, overcoming challenges, and keeping the quality in everything we do.

An example of this is experiencing company-wide certification, new office spaces and global regions. With new clients and new hires, Altenar grew the company (employees) by 38% throughout the year, increasing sales by 70% at the same time, and a 75% increase in new users on our platforms. This was all achieved alongside launching new features and products.

What do you believe has been key to 2022’s success?

Our people! It’s undeniable that the results we’ve experienced have been the direct measure of their dedication, not only to Altenar but to their progression and interests in new projects, builds and new territories to delve into.

A great success example of this has been the full migration of our clients to our SB2 platform, which has doubled the number of bets placed. Thanks to this, we created a new department that monitors and builds the Altenar Data Feed where we can consume official scouting data and price betting markets accordingly.

Our native mobile app is also a project that was a proof of concept at the beginning of 2022, and the creation of the Altenar Intelligence Platform (AIP) will deliver high-impact analytics and insights. Altenar also released its new front end which is designed/built from widget technology and this is merely the tip of the iceberg for us this year.

Looking to 2023 – where have you got your eye on and which markets do you believe will be key to sports betting’s continued expansion?

We will be looking to expand our footprint across the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Romania, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Canada.

So, Europe is a key focus for us over the next 12 months, but we believe giant strides will be made across Canada, so we are excited about the prospect of accessing that region.

On the subject of the Balkans – the market has plenty of factors that can make it a success, what are the main drivers for this?

There’s a lot of appeal for iGaming, especially as many countries throughout the Balkans allow reputable companies to enter the space with the correct licensing that is often the same as other European countries. This regulation and call for gaming are two of the main drivers for success in this region.

Last but not least in the Netherlands, how do you see the latest regulatory measures shaping up and how will that affect operators’ approach?

Operators will need a very flexible approach for the Netherlands, but this changing regulatory scape is a positive as it enables greater attention to safer gaming and players. It also offers providers like us the opportunity to grow as we adapt to the market requirements, whether that’s through the technology in our solutions or what features/content we can offer.

 

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Exclusive Pre-ICE interview with Nadiya Attard, CCO at Relax Gaming

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Exclusive Pre-ICE interview with Nadiya Attard, CCO at Relax Gaming
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Having been promoted to Chief Commercial Officer this time last year, European Gaming took the time to sit down with Nadiya Attard to take a look back at the record-breaking year enjoyed by Relax Gaming.

We also discussed her own philosophy as CCO of a major iGaming powerhouse and looked ahead to what Relax has in store for ICE 2023 and the rest of the year!

 

Relax has had a record-breaking 2022, before we get started, can you talk us through the secrets behind such fantastic success and some highlights, namely Relax Rush, Dream Drop and Money Train 3?

Relax Gaming has been fortunate to enjoy a phenomenal year in 2022 and exceed expectations on all fronts. If I had to boil it down to a few key qualities that lead to this success they would be – solid technical foundations that help us provide a stable platform, meeting key deadlines and bringing our unique ideas to life, integrity in our service, incredible quality standards, and the fantastic team behind it all. Each one of these forms a foundation block for our business.

Onto Relax and the team – I’m sure plenty of our European Gaming readers know you already, but for those who don’t, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you lead as CCO?

I’d describe myself as very energetic and ambitious, throughout my 20 years of experience in the industry I’ve built up an extensive portfolio of deal closures and professional achievements. On a more personal level, I tend to do things differently and swim against the current in all aspects of my life, but especially in my management style.

I like to lead as a manager and operate as a teammate, ensuring that my colleagues are motivated, growing in their field and being rewarded effectively. In our sales team, you’ll notice some re-shuffling from time to time as I believe in letting people adjust their roles to their passions and investing in our current superstars before hiring externally.

Looking to ICE, which we’re sure Relax is very excited about, what’s in store for the show and what can visitors look forward to seeing at the Relax stand?

This will be the first ICE expo where Relax is physically present with a pop-up hub (N4-300) rather than meeting rooms, and we’re so excited to welcome new and existing customers throughout the 3 days. Our schedules are already almost full, and we can’t wait to give clients an exclusive sneak peek at what’s coming up in 2023.

On 2023 – we’re sure you’ve got plenty of exciting games lined up to delight players, without giving too much away, can you give us any hints or tips as to what we can expect to see this year?

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023 including our star of the quarter Book of Power, which was produced in collaboration with CasinoGrounds and is piquing the interest of many operators at the moment.

We also have big plans to strengthen our foothold in regulated markets such as Ontario, Spain, Italy and Greece. Elsewhere Dream Drop Jackpots will be leveraging its strengths this year with a huge release over the Summer – We won’t give anything away here but pop by our stand for some juicy details!

Last but not least, Dream Drop has been absolutely revolutionary for players, how much of a difference do you see the Relax style of Jackpots making when it comes to inspiring future creations?

Our Dream Drop Jackpots product has been a great success since its debut in May 2022. Operators who integrated the promo tools and the famous Dream Drop Ticker (in-lobby jackpot status) have had recorded particularly positive results, and we’ll be boosting this further throughout the year with new promo tools that will be available across the Relax portfolio and P2P partners.

We’ve had jackpots dropping continuously and the numbers climb higher up the ranks each month. Emulating this level of success will prove tricky, as any supplier would require a vast distribution network combined with a secure and robust system of operation that extends well beyond the pure game mechanic and flow, there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to a mechanic of this kind!

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