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Jogo Global interview: Offering alternative content to UK operators

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Jogo Global interview: Offering alternative content to UK operators
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Jogo Global, having recently been granted its licence by the UK Gambling Commission, now has its eyes set firmly on achieving growth in one of the world’s most recognised gambling markets. The fast-growing platform provider and casino content developer is already intensifying its activity in the region, negotiating with big-name operators to demonstrate its approach to delivering new and exciting gaming experiences.

European Gaming caught up with group CEO David Marcus to discuss how the ambitious company’s differentiated product portfolio will be highly appealing to UK-licensed operators, including the importance of gamification tools to elevate the user experience.

 

European Gaming: What are your immediate plans in the UK market, now that you are licensed in the region?

David Marcus (DM): Securing such a licence is a detailed and comprehensive process with many boxes that needed to be ticked. Attaining a Remote Gambling Software and Games Host (Casino) licence shows that we have the necessary infrastructure to deliver to the highest of standards. The process was managed by our General Manager/Compliance Officer Ellen Sezerino, along with the outstanding Jessica Wilson from law firm Harris Hagan. I cannot commend both Ellen and Jessica enough on their hard work, guidance and knowledge from start to finish.

With the UKGC licence, the bar is set incredibly high – we welcome this high threshold, as it maintains a high standard industry-wide. We have already begun to capitalise on the opportunities the licence has given us, creating positive relationships with a number of leading operators to distribute our content and build high-quality platforms.

European Gaming: Which of your products do you think will especially resonate with UK operators and why?

DM: Slots always resonate with UK operators and their players, but I think the market is shifting towards experiences that offer something unique. The slots market is saturated and, as such, there is demand from online casinos for games with a difference. Our focus is on building niche products, such as crash games, video bingo and keno – bingo especially is a game that is underrepresented in this market. Regarding innovation in slots, we are also creating mini games for sportsbooks, which are small versions of games that play in a window while the main screen is still fixed on the latest odds and markets. It allows people to continuously bet in a variety of ways and focusing on incorporating additional playability like this, is one of Jogo Global’s core aims.

With new UKGC legislation enforced recently, auto-play is now no longer allowed. There have to be other ways to make games more attractive and empowering to play, so expect to see new types of games enter the marketplace, including hybrids of existing game types.

European Gaming: Player behaviours differ depending on the territory – how will you tailor your offering to meet the specific needs of the UK player?

DM: Player bases in certain international markets exhibit particular habits that we have to adapt to – players in Latin America are wanting to play quick, for example, so repeat play is something that demographic is comfortable with. A large segment of British players are more cautious, so play tends to be at a slower pace in the UK. The dynamic is different. As such, we place a lot of importance on bonus games and jackpots – the key is to create added incentives for players to give them a reason to keep playing and inject the experience with another level of value.

European Gaming: What will be the key to sustaining long-term success in the UK for Jogo Global?

DM: Gamification is the next stage for the industry, and Jogo is set to pioneer its use to the next level. In conversations with tier one operators, we have demonstrated that a great game, both in terms of gameplay and aesthetics, can still struggle to make waves in the market if it does not have great gamification behind it. It’s very easy to produce attractive, high-quality content but it is all about keeping players engaged. Tournaments, for example, are one of the game-changers of the market, they provide a USP for a game amidst the thousands of competing products. There is also the social aspect: playing with friends and sharing wins. Top-class games with cutting-edge images and robust maths form the basis of our operation, but what sets Jogo Global apart from the crowd is our commitment to games with engaging and unique gamification. Player engagement is key.

European Gaming: What markets does Jogo plan on entering next? What is informing your decision process?

DM: The US regulated market is on our radar. We have already picked up a few projects within the region and there is a demand for content of which our credentials show we are in the ideal position to provide – we have the platforms and content to support a robust omni-channel experience. At Jogo, all of the right mechanics are in place to solidify a good presence in the US and deliver cross platform content for the land-based casinos that are looking to get online, whether that be social slots or real money play. Watch this space!

Interviews

SportCast interview: The success of BetBuilder with Fortuna Entertainment Group (FEG) and across Europe

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SportCast interview: The success of BetBuilder with Fortuna Entertainment Group (FEG) and across Europe
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

OpenBet’s SportCast business continues to grow from strength to strength. In the US, many of the region’s leading US operators utilise its same-game parlay product as demand increases exponentially for this exciting form of betting.

However, the pioneers of the original and leading BetBuilder product remain fully focused on penetrating new markets across the globe, including Europe where it already holds a commanding position.

Recently, SportCast partnered with Fortuna Entertainment Group (FEG) in a move which significantly strengthens its presence in Central and Eastern Europe. We caught up with SportCast Managing Director Ryan Coombs to find out more about the innovative company’s products in Europe and its plans for the future.

 

How important is this deal with Fortuna in expanding both OpenBet’s and SportCast’s presence in Central Europe? How many operators in total do you supply your content to in this region?

Teaming up with an operator of the stature of Fortuna Entertainment Group (FEG) is a huge milestone for the business. The launch greatly increases our presence in Central and Eastern Europe where our products are firmly establishing themselves as cornerstones in the sportsbook offering.

It was clear from day one that we share an aligned vision in bringing premium engaging experiences to the market. We’re super excited to see the undoubted popularity of our product suite continue to grow with Fortuna’s customers.

 

How common are BetBuilder products in this region of Europe, and how can they elevate the betting experience across both retail and online?

SportCast’s vision is to remove the boundaries that exist when placing any bet a customer chooses. Our BetBuilder products facilitate this for sports fans within a single event. The popularity of BetBuilder in the region is growing daily, where our sports coverage and player market depth are particularly appealing to the next generation of consumers who demand a fully personalised experience.

We are constantly looking at ways to add more sports and markets to our offering as demand grows. Our products are designed to integrate seamlessly both online and in retail and have achieved huge success in both avenues around the world.

 

The deal with Fortuna includes a pre-built, quick-pick solution of BetBuilder –  how does this version compare to the original and why is it appealing to certain operators?

The pre-built/quick pick BetBuilder solution is the perfect companion to the full BetBuilder solution – where a selection of the most popular BetBuilder bets are presented to the end user. Whilst browsing the selections, the product provides instant engagement that truly gets the creative juices flowing. This often results in the customer building their own story in the full BetBuilder solution.

Its engaging nature has led to pre-built bets being given prime real estate on the homepages of sportsbooks has been very successful for our partners.

 

Can you give us an insight into SportCast’s initial success with Fortuna? Have bettors appreciated this new type of betting experience?

We initially launched the pre-built BetBuilder bets product with Fortuna, which has been a great success so far. Adding the full BetBuilder solution completes the experience and we are greatly looking forward to seeing the results of both products interacting in tandem with each other.

 

Do you have any plans to further expand your product offering for the European market?

Absolutely, SportCast prides itself on staying ahead of the industry curve with its global coverage of sports and competitions. The demand and success of our products in the European market has seen us quickly move to shortly release further European competitions in the likes of Ice Hockey and Basketball, which we know will be hugely popular with our partners in the region. Finally, In-Play is the main focus for our team in the coming year, so watch this space!

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Interviews

Exclusive Q&A with GAMING1 COO Interactive David Carrion

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Exclusive Q&A with GAMING1 COO Interactive David Carrion
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Having made the leap from CMO to COO Interactive, GAMING1’s David Carrion has set his sights on the company’s expansion in the Netherlands, the US and other regulated markets as it develops at pace.

European Gaming caught up with him on the leading gaming and sports betting partner’s exciting plans for these markets as well as his philosophy towards work.  

 

Since joining GAMING1 as a CMO over year ago, before being promoted to COO Interactive, how would you say your time at the company has gone?

So far, my time at GAMING1 has been better than I ever could have imagined. It’s been a fantastic journey that has allowed me the opportunity to meet some incredible people who have shown me exactly why it’s such as exciting company to work for.

Together, we’ve been able to lay the groundwork and infrastructure around scalable, data-driven products that will help the company grow in regulated markets considerably in line with our clear five-year strategic plan.

 

How has the change from CMO to COO Interactive been, was there anything that stood out as you’ve began to upgrade what you’ve delivered for Belgium’s favourite supplier?

Naturally, I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility with regards to our product offering. This has proved to be a very exciting challenge, especially with regards to expanding into new markets. Next on my list of objectives is to focus on aligning our business and technology objectives, which will ensure that we can dictate our own pace and set us on the right path to international success.

 

Your data-driven skills and experience have been a valuable asset to the company so far, how will you expand on these in your new role as COO Interactive?

We have a very strong vision of what we want to build, however, our customers often have other ideas on how to use our products. Because of this we’ve been able to utilise data and customer behaviour analytics as a great tool to drive us forward, while also helping us find a competitive advantage in the market. Naturally, customers expect the scalability and flexibility to grow their offering and we continue to optimise our products to facilitate that.

 

As GAMING1’s new COO, what are your main goals and aspirations?

Ultimately, my long-term aspiration is to see GAMING1’s growth and development explode way beyond our expectations by building an operational model based on scalability and speed. I would also like to see us consolidate our strong position as a market leader, while mounting a real challenge in new and emerging markets, such as the United States and the Netherlands.

 

With GAMING1 set to launch in the US and Netherlands towards the end of 2021, can you speak more about the company’s growth plans? 

We already hold a strong market share in some of the biggest existing regulated iGaming markets such as Belgium and Portugal, and we now have a real opportunity to grow in betting, which is incredibly exciting.

Our flexible business model and the way we operate our brands, joint ventures and turnkey solutions allows us to take on exciting opportunities in the United States and Netherlands. Our plan is to double our revenue by 2025, outperform market trends and become a truly international operator.

 

Last but not least, plenty of the people in the industry know about your extensive track record – how are you looking to bring that expertise to the table in the coming years as we enter a new era of gaming?

Firstly, it’s important to realise that people are the company, not just one individual. But in terms of how I’m going to bring my own expertise to the table, one day at a time! My approach has always been very straightforward: Be humble, have fun, and realise that difficult is not the same as impossible, as long as you’re well prepared.

As a result of hard work, common sense and a strong desire to succeed, I’ve gotten to where I am today. With those principles in hand, I believe I can elevate the performance of our talented teams to deliver on this new era of gaming, whatever direction that may take.

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Interviews

Q&A with Ohad Narkis, CO-founder of PlayOJO

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Q&A with Ohad Narkis, CO-founder of PlayOJO
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Why did you choose Mexico for the latest LatAm market in which to launch PlayUZU?

We believe that Mexico has the potential to become one of the largest and most vibrant online casino markets in Latin America and a place where our PlayUZU brand and the unique player experience that we offer is a great fit. The market ticks a lot of boxes in terms of viability – it has a large population of 130+ million people, a diverse media landscape and sensible marketing regulations – which will allow us to hit the ground running and start to drive awareness and generate market share from day one. We are already live in other LatAm countries and will use the lessons we have learned in these markets to really make a splash in Mexico.

 

What opportunities do you see in Mexico and how does the market compare to others in Latin America? 

The biggest opportunity for us is that there is a strong appetite for online casino and video bingo among Mexico’s large population but to date, the majority of online gambling brands live in the market have mostly catered to sports betting. PlayUZU is 100% focused on casino and bingo which makes us confident that we will be able to deliver a superior experience to players looking for a place to enjoy slots – we stock more than 3,000 in our lobby – table games, live dealer and, of course, video bingo. The focus on a more casual games offering also will allow us to target a different audience and seek advertising opportunities in less crowded media places.

 

How have you localised PlayUZU for the Mexican market? What can players expect when playing at the casino? 

So PlayUZU is the Spanish-language version of our flagship PlayOJO brand. This means the entire casino has been fully translated into Spanish and we also have a dedicated Spanish-speaking customer support team. In addition to this, we have localised the game lobby with slot content from providers that have proved to be popular in other Latin American markets.

It goes without saying that our live casino lobby is loaded with titles that have Spanish-speaking dealers and we have also added a wide range of video bingo titles from providers such as Zitro Gaming and Ortiz Gaming to meet the high demand we expect for these games. This will allow us to differentiate, as to date not many operators have added video bingo titles to their lobbies so this is an area where we can stand out from the get-go. We are also operating a fully localised peer to peer bingo product which we’re confident will do very well in MX. We are leveraging our experience from operating as a successful UK bingo site to Mexico, which is a much less crowded bingo market and we are confident that together with our casino proposition PlayUZU will become the default destination site for casual players in MX.

While PlayUZU has been fully localised for Mexico, players can expect the same fun, fair and transparent experience that has made PlayOJO and PlayUZU household names in markets around the world. This includes no wagering requirements whatsoever.

 

How are you driving awareness of the PlayUZU brand in Mexico? Will you be using the same marketing tactics as in European markets? 

We plan to be aggressive with our marketing activity, as we have been in the other markets where we are active. In Mexico, this will include above the line campaigns, and we have already joined forces with two TV media companies so that we can really go big from the moment we launch. This includes plans for a bespoke PlayUZU TV show! We will also be running social media and paid media campaigns, as well as other marketing activities. Initially, campaigns will focus on educating players but with the same fun and entertaining approach that we have used in other markets.

 

What are your plans for the wider LatAm market?

We believe that Latin America will become one of the largest online gambling markets in the world, so it is a region that we are monitoring very closely to identify opportunities for PlayUZU. We are already in the advanced stages of securing a licence in Buenos Aires city, Argentina, through a joint venture with a local partner. The market has only just opened up, so we are really keen to enter and leverage the first-mover advantage.

We are also keeping a close eye on Brazil but to date, the focus has been on sports betting and it remains unclear whether online casino will be included in enabling legislation. If we see strong indications that it will be, then we will certainly make a play in the market.

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