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Q&A: Betting Jobs And Huddle Future Of Recruitment



Q&A: Betting Jobs And Huddle Future Of Recruitment
Reading Time: 5 minutes


As we move into a post-pandemic world, European Gaming spoke to Chris Miller Managing Director at Betting Jobs and Mario Zdelican, Co-founder/EVP of Operations at Huddle about the future of recruitment in iGaming and the lessons to be learnt from the last two years.


In-person industry shows like ICE are returning after a hiatus. How important are these for both candidates and recruiters?

CM: Prior to the pandemic I would have said that in-person shows like ICE were essential. They serve as a great time to make introductions to clients who are hiring and candidates who are attending with a goal of employment. We can often be the matchmaker there and then and produce a successful outcome.

Over these last two years both we and our clients have had to adapt without them, of course. In a post-pandemic world, they may not seem as essential as we once felt they were. However, we will be making the most of having everyone in one place at the same time at ICE and other industry shows as it represents an opportunity for Betting Jobs to make things happen instantly.

MZ: Building relationships with talent across other industries, as well as the IT community, locally and globally is of essential importance when recruiting and this was incredibly challenging during pandemic-related lockdowns. There were attempts made in the form of online conferences, but the networking part could never be replicated and struggled to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Going back to in-person shows will help us in further building relationships with candidates. Great talent wants to build relationships with prospective employers and the people who work there, and this is much easier to achieve now that we are able to travel again. It is much easier to explain and demonstrate the Huddle vision and culture, as well as our projects, by actually showcasing it in-person to potential new employees.


Will the hybrid model of working persist in a post-pandemic world and what challenges does it raise?

MZ: We are sure hybrid work is here to stay. Over the course of the pandemic, we have witnessed enormous change within the working world – organisations that were once resistant to employees working from home have undergone a dramatic shift towards being open to work from home and hybrid models.

Since there was no playbook for those scenarios, organisations all over the globe had to try out various ways of dealing with distributed work. We are already seeing new organisational designs around hybrid workplaces, with a multitude of adjustments being made by companies looking to create a model that works for them. In the coming years, we are surely going to experience more and more challenges, but improvements as well. A long time ago we said goodbye to traditional working models, with employee well-being and work-life balance now the focus of the change. We are excited to see what the future brings. Based on what we have learned so far, we will have no problems in adapting to whatever comes our way.

CM: For me there is no doubt that the hybrid model of working will persist. I do expect some pushback from companies who traditionally require candidates to relocate to jurisdictions like Malta, Gibraltar, and Bulgaria to carry out their work. However, candidates are currently more attracted to companies that offer either fully remote working or a hybrid model of employment. There is never enough available iGaming talent to satisfy the entire marketplace at once. Therefore, the companies that are winning on the recruitment front are those who are agile in their approach to hiring and who are willing to embrace current market trends.

In terms of challenges, the building and maintaining a company culture is one of the most topical. Some iGaming businesses have taken to these changes well by being receptive to remote working from the earliest days of the pandemic, or having remote working already established within their business model. Working from home and nurturing their company’s culture simultaneously has become natural to them and their business practices.

Those who have struggled to adapt to this are eager to return to traditional employment. These businesses will find it may take longer to fill positions at large, as candidates have more choice and flexibility available to them currently. The way the working world has changed in the last two years will prove to be an ongoing challenge for those who are eager to return to the Monday to Friday 9-5 model.


What opportunities have been created for businesses being able to hire prospective employees who can work anywhere in the world?

CM: Accessing skillsets and talented employees who would have been out of reach to businesses previously for geographical reasons has created many opportunities. When it is determined that an employee must be based in a set location, the decision for who to hire is based on who is available within a reasonable radius, or who will be willing to relocate. This means that a company may hire the best person they have interviewed, as opposed to hiring who is the best person for the job.

This issue is eliminated for those open to global talent, however, there are sensible factors to consider such as the differences in time zone between employee and employer. However, the world is your oyster, as they say, and this rings true in the present day when it comes to recruitment.

MZ: Remote work helps us to reach the top talents around the globe, and it greatly facilitates the growth and development of both the business and the product. The iGaming industry has so much to offer, as do the start-ups that operate within it. Start-ups like Huddle are becoming more and more of an attractive prospect on the recruitment scene, and now we have the ability to work with talents from anywhere in the world. It feels as if we are just starting to show the potential of opportunities for the top candidate profiles.


Does this allow for the hiring of experienced staff in burgeoning markets such as the US and Latin America?

MZ: The iGaming industry has never been as much in demand for talent as it is now – it is suffering from a lack of industry expertise. This is mostly due to the US and LatAm markets opening up, as well as other, smaller, markets. Demand for talent, new products and services is at its peak. Therefore, we are trying to think outside of the box. As easy as it is to hire people within the industry, there are candidates in many tech companies across various industries that are a perfect fit that have already solved some of the problems we as an industry are facing. Bringing that knowledge under our roof as an industry is a huge plus.

CM: In some cases, yes, although we are finding that many of our US clients maintain office working policies. If that’s the case, this is of course what we work towards, although we do make the realities of the present-day candidate-led recruitment market clear. To a large degree it depends on the role that is available. For example, if it is for a commercial person who is required to meet clients, it is less important for them to be office-based than, say, the person who manages or has oversight of the office.

For the burgeoning market of Latin America, country managers and their teams are a good example, as many will naturally be based remotely. Businesses don’t want to establish many companies across the continent and pay for office rental. It’s commonplace for people in such positions to work remotely and hire teams within their country. However, this is not a new thing as it has been the case since the early days of the sector and remains that way now.


Making a lasting mark in a new territory



Making a lasting mark in a new territory
Reading Time: 4 minutes


We talk to Michael Bauer, CFO/CGO at Greentube, to discover the key elements to a successful entry into a new market.

What has to be taken into consideration before entering a new market?

Michael Bauer: The first aspect to consider is whether or not our games already have traction in a particular region, this can be in either social casino, or the land-based environment. If we see that this is indeed the case, then the decision-making process is a much easier one as clearly, this is a positive sign as to our potential within that jurisdiction.

Secondly, we have to take into consideration the market itself. How big is it, what is the overall population, how does that break down into demographic groups and what is the average income? All of these questions are pertinent. We also have to look at how the market is shaped by regulation, for example is it reasonable from a taxation perspective and in terms of products and content, or are there any major restrictions in place? All of these factors are in play when we are deciding whether or not a market is attractive to us.

By way of examples, looking at the Czech Republic and German markets, they have heavy restrictions in place on the product. Germany has a €1 limit on stakes and five seconds between spins, while in the Czech Republic, you also have maximum win limits. This can make products less attractive for players and from a supplier perspective an amended product, which is less scalable and attractive.

How important is it to utilise local expertise within a market?

It is usually very important, because markets are all different to one another in certain respects and this means a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be successfully rolled out across multiple jurisdictions. This is true for both suppliers and operators, and arguably even more crucial for the latter. Operators must have a detailed knowledge of local marketing networks, compliance aspects of regulation and local player tastes and preferences. Local expertise is an integral part of the growth journey towards being an important player in a market, there is the potential for an operator to buy their way to success through marketing, but it is a costly approach.

Are the current conditions in Germany an illustration of potential difficulties of entering a new territory?

Germany is the best current example of potential difficulties when entering a new market due to regulation. It is the first regulated market I have seen that has created an environment that is particularly unattractive for players, causing channelisation rates which are only around 20%. In addition, the regulators have struggled to issue licences. As things stand at present, what the regulation is creating does not lead to the desired outcome – the channelisation of the player base into a safe, regulated environment.

Is there an expectation for both operators and suppliers to enter every regulated region?

To a certain extent, yes. Our bigger, global customers are asking us to join them when entering new markets. We experienced this in both Argentina and Ontario, as well as other smaller regions. The issue here is that a market may not necessarily be attractive enough for us as we have too many other opportunities to tackle at the same time. When we are dealing with a smaller jurisdiction, the cost of entry and resources may be better funnelled towards the bigger openings.

Certain operators may seek to launch games on as global a basis, but this is a trend that is becoming less prevalent, which is down to different regulations and operators utilising various platforms in certain regions.

How long does it take to know whether you have been successful in a market? How is that success measured?

When a new region opens up and the regulations in place are crafted carefully, such as in the Netherlands for example, operators who gain a licence are able to ramp up quickly. We have also seen in Switzerland that markets can become very interesting, very quickly. Our measure of success is market share, where we receive feedback from operators on the success of our games. The other aspect is the GGR we are generating in a region and the number of players we are reaching. It may be that a certain jurisdiction has a weak currency, or low local purchasing power, but where there are many people playing our games. Colombia is an example of this, where the currency is not as strong as the European markets we operate in for example but we have a large player base, and can also be regarded as a success. Germany is a less than ideal example, because players are leaving the regulated market, and we cannot supply the black market.

Do you have any particular examples of successful or non-successful market entries?

The starting point of a successful entry for us is usually predicated on being first to market. We achieved that in Switzerland and the Netherlands, where on day one of regulation our games were available to play. In itself, this is a success because it’s normally very tricky to be that fast. Secondly, after a certain time you look at how big your market share is. Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland and also Norway are good examples here, as we quickly gained market share through the latter with state-owned Monopoly holder Norsk Tipping. You also have high hopes of certain jurisdictions that don’t come to fruition, which despite best intentions and plenty of hard work can be out of our hands due to regulations requiring amendments of games and stakes.

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Exclusive Interview: Vivo Gaming’s New CCO Neil Howells



Exclusive Interview: Vivo Gaming’s New CCO Neil Howells
Reading Time: < 1 minute


Neil Howells, the new CCO of the live dealer platform provider Vivo Gaming, speaks about what he hopes to achieve in the role and the latest innovations the company has to offer in the live space.


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European Gaming meets Gökçe Nur Oguz, CEO and Co-Founder of Playable Factory



European Gaming meets Gökçe Nur Oguz, CEO and Co-Founder of Playable Factory
Reading Time: 4 minutes


Q: Tell us about how & why you came to found Playable Factory?

Over four years ago – when we founded the company – gaming was booming and it still is today. All our friends were working in the sector and we wanted to, too. We were new to it all. Monetization, LTV, CPI… sounded like another language to us but gradually we learnt from our friends and tapped into the scene. As we grew our understanding, we realised playable ads played an important role. If done well, they can add to the experience of gaming. But good ones were frustratingly hard to find. So, along with my co-founders, Berat and Omer, we started making them ourselves and the rest is history.

Q: What were you doing before that/what led to it?

After university, I completed a PhD in Fluid Dynamics, a subdiscipline within physics and engineering. There were a few gamification projects, like building games for people to play that would simultaneously have a background programme running to solve an operational problem. This part had me captivated. Outside of academia, I was always gaming and would gamify everything I did. Not just computer games, but card games, board games etc… So it felt natural to me to do something I enjoyed.

Q: Describe Playable Factory & Gearbox in a nutshell?

Playable Factory is a company that focuses on the creative needs of digital advertisers. The focus is mostly on playable ads and recently on video ads for gaming clients specifically. Our secret (or not so secret) weapon is Gearbox, an online editing and iterating platform for creatives. This is split into two: Gearbox Playable, create your own tailor made playable ads (create, iterate, download and repeat) and Gearbox Video, a tool that allows users to record gameplays easily and create/edit/tweak to their heart’s desire. You can generate hundreds of videos in an automated process with one click.

Q: What kind of support can a gaming developer (or brand marketer) expect from your

Gearbox is made for people who want to monetize their games. It’s a one-stop shop for advertising and promotional videos. No prior coding knowledge is needed so anyone can use it, which hasn’t really been done to this extent before – with full, fast-response, technical support. It’s like having the full agency experience on one platform. For developers, we provide them with market insights around playable ads, guiding them to the right concept in
a speedy manner. They can get creative with graphic filters, text to speech options, banners… and any feature that improves the performance of the playables or video ads.

Q: Who are your clients?

We work with top mobile game publishers: Zynga, Playtika, Dream, Voodoo, Lion Studios, Gram Games and lots more. Apps publishers like Funimate, Trendyol and Gopuff. And brands include Hasbro, LEGO, Unilever and L’Oréal.

Q: What is unique about the Turkish mobile market/why has it become known as the Silicon
valley of the mobile gaming market?

Turkey’s become a global mobile gaming hub. It’s amazing to watch it take off. Some of the best publishers and developers in the world are based here. I think it’s got a lot to do with the ability for rapid development. You’ll find teams of 4-5 young people making a steady stream of mobile games that they send out into the market. Thanks to home-grown success stories, the eyes of investors have turned towards us. But it’s also down to the culture here. Gaming is hugely popular in Turkey and you can feel the passion and drive among people in the
scene here. Local and global economic forces make international expansion lucrative and it feeds back into making the industry making it even bigger and better – and long may it continue.

Q: Have you always been passionate about gaming? When did you first get into it?

I’ve always liked games: console, board games, mobile games… For me, it’s cracking the puzzle that gets me hooked on a game. In my childhood, my younger sister and I were always inventing our own games. Now, business-wise, my co-founder Berat and I, enjoy gaming together and playing board games in our downtime. We actually got the licence for the hugely popular party game Codenames from Czech Games. Since then, we’ve published two more board games together. This was before we entered mobile gaming.

Q: What’s your favourite mobile game?

It has to be 2048. I like puzzles and numbers 🙂

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career to date? And greatest

Without a doubt: building a company from scratch on a technology that we learned all by ourselves, with no training. I didn’t know how to build playable ads, I didn’t know anything about HTML5 gaming and coding so finding a good developer and establishing a business was the biggest challenge.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to start-ups in the gaming industry?

I never truly understood the importance of a team before I started working in gaming. PhDs involve mostly working solo and it misses the team spirit. The pressure is high because the success of your work is always dependent on you, and you alone. The gaming industry is totally different. Success reflects on the team who built the game. I wish I’d known that before joining the industry. So, my advice would be to evaluate your team, and believe in them because that’s the only way to reach success. If you don’t like the people you work with, it’s often much harder for you to fulfil your full potential. When your motivations align with your team’s, you can combine forces and focus to get the success you deserve.

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