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Parimatch: Consumers want stories, not spreadsheets

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Parimatch: Consumers want stories, not spreadsheets
Sergey Berezhnoy, Parimatch¹s Chief Product Officer.
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Parimatch’s Chief Product Officer Sergey Berezhnoy spoke at ICE London 2020 about how the operator plans to evolve the traditional sports betting experience with a focus not just on technology, but on storytelling. With a history in the video gaming industry, Sergey can see many narrative-building concepts that would translate nicely to the betting sector, although he believes the main overlap – esports – still has a few mountains to climb.

Following a strong 12 months in its home markets, Parimatch attended ICE London 2020 with a clear vision in mind for the future of its sports betting offer.

The international operator has grown its market share with bold marketing campaigns and a strong product backed by great tech, but the main focus for Parimatch’s Chief Product Officer Sergey Berezhnoy over the next year is to research, develop and evolve sports betting’s current customer journey. Many of the innovations at ICE provide the backbone of that journey, providing several payment methods, hundreds of ways to bet, and thousands of events and markets to bet on, with other exciting developments such as VR and AI further bolstering to the industry’s toolbox in recent years. For players, the customer journey is smoother than ever before, but for Sergey, that’s not enough. His background is in the video gaming industry, and he believes that to tap into the widest possible market, the sports betting sector has to develop a story around the act of betting that is as engaging and rewarding as current popular mobile games.

“I use one word, and it’s narrative,” said Sergey. “I joined this sector from the video gaming industry, and there the focus is not on waiting for the end result, but providing as much entertainment as possible on the way to it.

Unfortunately, sports betting is currently the opposite; you come, you bet, you leave. There is no story, no great focus on the clubs involved, and often there are very few relevant events to bet on. Players who are engaged with the betting culture might bet on anything, but new and casual players need a story to bring them in. Look at Snapchat, Instagram and Tik Tok, they only show short stories, but it’s enough to get consumers engaged.”

In fact, the immediacy of sports betting is something else Sergey wants to move forward. While the rise of in-play betting has helped, many results can take between a few hours or a few days to come through depending when bets are placed, so Berezhnoy intends to make sports betting on Parimatch something players can jump into and be rewarded whenever they choose.

“In betting, the distance between betting and reward can be very high, whereas in video games the award is more achievable. We are trying to shorten that distance, but not as short as casino games,” he said. “In our research, we have taken a lot from casual gaming. If you are riding the subway or tube, everybody plays casual games or goes on social media. The big question is, why don’t they bet? It’s about a customer journey, but many sports betting sites still look like excel spreadsheets. Instagram has changed the way we consume photos, it’s our ambition to change the way people bet on sports.”

Berezhnoy added that this will involve asking players human-centric questions on pre-selected content, providing a personal touch to short, targeted stories for players to bet through. Like in video games, they won’t be faced with a thousand choices, but with a few highly engaging ones based around content they already enjoy, whether that be through live, fantasy or virtual sports – or even esports. This is another aspect of gaming that Berezhnoy has a lot of experience in, however he still believes there’s a few challenges ahead before the rapidly rising pastime becomes a key vertical for the sports betting sectors.

“Games publishers are in control of esports and they are not interested in the regulations that are needed to elevate the level of trust required for bookmakers,” he explained. “Publishers want more players, and tighter regulations can put up barriers to that. With a few exceptions, they also don’t give access to their data feed, which makes it very difficult to trade. Sports betting operators are interested in the most popular games with the biggest events, but those publishers don’t need to include sports betting into their model to be successful, and these are major roadblocks for its expansion in the industry.”

Sergey hopes that this will change over the next decade, but in the meantime, he is looking forward to weaving the storytelling ability of video games into all of Parimatch’s sports betting offers.

“At the end of the day, most of us prefer to be told stories than to scour over spreadsheets, and that’s what I want to offer to our players,” he concluded.

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GGPoker Launches Exclusive WSOP Circuit UK Satellites Press Release

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GGPoker, the World’s Biggest Poker Room, is proud to launch exclusive online satellite tournaments to the upcoming WSOP Circuit UK £1,100 Main Event, which will be hosted at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club from March 15 through March 24.

The winner of the WSOP Circuit UK Main Event, which boasts a £500,000 guarantee, will claim a prestigious WSOP-C Gold Ring and the lion’s share of the massive prize pool.

Phased WSOP-C UK satellite tournaments are currently running at GGPoker, with buy-in to Centroll satellite tournaments set at £0.01, Phase 1 at £1,10, Phase 2 at £11 and the Final Phase at £110. At least five WSOP-C UK £1,100 Main Event tickets will be won in each Final Phase satellite.

Players that win £1,100 Main Event tickets will be registered into the exclusive OnLive Day 1 hosted by GGPoker on March 19, with all Day 1 survivors making it through to the live Day 2 on March 24.

“We’re delighted to partner once more with World Series of Poker and Dusk Till Dawn, with UK and Irish players promised a super event in Nottingham next month,” said Angela Martin, UK & Ireland Head of Marketing at GGPoker. “Players can win their way to the WSOP-C £1,100 Main Event for just a single penny and take aim at a guaranteed £500,000 and WSOP Gold Ring!”

New GGPoker players can also claim the poker room’s Welcome Bonus, earn even more rewards with the Honeymoon for Newcomers promotion and automatically join GGPoker’s Fish Buffet loyalty program, with regular cash prizes on offer.

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PAGCOR SEEKS GCG APPROVAL TO IMPLEMENT SALARY STEP INCREMENT

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation said it has asked the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for approval of salary step increments based on employees’ length of service to correct distortions caused by its new Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS).

In a letter to GCG Chairperson Atty. Marius Corpus dated February 22, 2024, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said the PAGCOR Board of Directors has approved the implementation of step increments but it needs GCG approval.

“Parallel to the thrust of the PAGCOR Board of Directors to prioritize the welfare of the employees, the PAGCOR Board approved the Implementation of Step Increment based on Length of Service, subject to GCG’s review and approval,” he said in the letter.

The PAGCOR chief said the step increment is only the first of many appeals that the agency plans to lodge with the GCG so that PAGCOR employees may enjoy competitive salaries and benefits comparable to other revenue-generating GOCCs.

PAGCOR received its Authority to Implement the CPCS on January 31 this year. However, majority of the employees were dismayed to see that their take-home pay decreased when they received their salaries on the first payday under CPCS on February 15, 2024.

The CPCS also caused distortions in pay scale since all employees were reverted to Pay Step 1 regardless of their years of service. This means that a new employee in a certain position gets the same salary as someone who has been in the same position for 15 years or more.

Chairman Tengco said the Step Increment appeal is only the first of many which the agency plans to lodge with the GCG to remedy the overall decrease in employees’ take home pay, especially for those who occupy the lowest rungs in the organization.

“We hope that the GCG will positively respond to our appeal so that all tenured PAGCOR employees will not feel shortchanged, and instead receive the compensation that they deserve under the bounds of the law,” he added.

A provision under the CPCS implementing guidelines states that “one step increment shall be granted to qualified personnel for every three years of continuous satisfactory service in the present position.”

Records show that as of December 31, 2023, a total of 7,057 PAGCOR personnel or 72.60% of the agency’s workforce have been in service for more than three years in their respective positions.

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ClearStake secures seven-figure funding round to drive further growth

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ClearStake, a leading solution for smart financial data requests, has completed a seven-figure funding round that will allow the company to scale its business and further its mission to reduce the number of players lost by operators when asked to share financial information, a huge problem for the gambling industry.

The technology solution, built on Open Banking and designed specifically for the gambling sector, helps operators lower the costs of compliance by doing in minutes what can take hours and increases the number of players who opt-in to share their data to become eligible for approval. Early adopters have already reported up to a 6x increase in player retention when data is required.

ClearStake is already backed by industry stalwarts and its latest round has attracted more investors, including former and current senior executives from major brands such as Flutter, Paddy Power, PointsBet, Stats Perform and EML Payments.

Affordability and AML checks are a focus in numerous jurisdictions and the ClearStake platform is a simple, easy-to-implement solution that makes these checks fast and easy for players. Demand for a tool like ClearStake has never been greater, as both mid-sized and larger operators look to make checks as frictionless as possible.

The technology has proven to deliver results and the company is now preparing for a significant period of growth, with further product development in the pipeline. ClearStake also now has its sights on international opportunities, as it continues to establish itself as the go-to provider for financial data requests for the gambling industry.

Martin Burt, CEO at ClearStake, said: “We are delighted to have secured additional funding for our journey, which will enable us to deliver our solution to a greater number of operators.

“We are lucky to have an investor group consisting of prominent industry experts who understand the potential of our technology globally and are on board with our vision of solving the challenge of requesting financial data from players.”

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