Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce that it has agreed to extend its partnership with the Coingaming Group as Main Club Partner for a further three years in a deal that will see their brand, Sportsbet.io continue as the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor.
The deal is the biggest sponsorship agreement in the club’s history and also includes the option for the club to be paid certain performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the end of each season, allowing the club the opportunity to take advantage of the new, high-growth currency if it feels it will bring significant future benefits.
This partnership will allow Sportsbet.io to continue to build on the strong relationship it has built with the club and its supporters in the last year. Since becoming Main Club Partner in August 2020, when they stepped in at short notice to take over the front-of-shirt sponsorship, they have worked tirelessly with the club to create a positive impact in the local community and highlight the importance of safe betting – a duty they take extremely seriously. This work has included their ‘Listen To The Saint In You’ campaign that was launched during Safer Gambling Week, linking up with a number of Saints players to encourage fans to consider the risks before placing a bet.
They have also played a key role in the club’s launch of the Positive Impact Pledge, which enabled start-ups and entrepreneurs to apply for grants to help launch their businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most recently Sportsbet.io also donated their shirt sponsorship to the Saints Foundation for the Premier League match against Burnley to help drive awareness of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts as they aim to raise vital funds lost due to the pandemic. This gesture alone helped the Foundation raise thousands of pounds on the day, a figure that was topped up by Sportsbet.io, who very generously donated an additional £10k.
Southampton Football Club’s Chief Commercial Officer, David Thomas commented: “The team at Sportsbet.io have built a successful business by challenging convention and disrupting the market, but in a responsible way, and their approach to our partnership with them has been no different.
“In a short timeframe they’ve proven to be innovative, forward thinking and extremely supportive of the club, our fans and the wider community, and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to develop and promote safe gambling messages together. As such they have become valued partners and we look forward to the next chapter together”
CEO of the Coingaming Group Maarja Pärt, added: “Our first season as Southampton FC’s Main Club Partner has already exceeded all expectations. We’ve been inspired by the passion of the club and its fans, and it was an easy decision for us to extend our partnership with the Saints for another three years.
“From the beginning, Southampton have been a perfect match for the fun, fast and fair way we do things at Sportsbet.io. We can’t wait to continue this journey with the Saints, and we’ll be doing everything we can to support the team and its community into the future.
New Player Survey Reveals Huge Potential of Crypto Casino Banking
Slots Play Casinos is enhancing its cryptocurrency support to online casino partners after a new survey showed that around nine in ten players are interested in using digital currencies.
The survey, commissioned by the peer-led gaming comparison site, found that respondents were split almost equally between those who consider crypto depositing and exchange a smooth experience and those who deem it to be somewhat scary or baffling. Those participants from the latter camp said they would be grateful for more help, assistance and guidance in utilising crypto.
Only a small number – around 10% – of the hundreds of survey respondents said they were simply not interested in trying out crypto.
The survey found that tutorials on how to create a crypto wallet are frequently requested and simple walkthroughs on how to deposit would be a positive step in upping the number of players using virtual currencies.
Slots Play Casinos, in response, has created a series of templates for crypto how-to guides to be used by its partner casinos. It will also lead its partners in marketing crypto to ensure that correct, relevant and helpful tutorials are available for the benefit of players and the casinos themselves.
Slots Play Casinos writer and researcher Laurie Renfield said: “We believe that cryptocurrency is an exciting and valuable asset that should be highly considered in the industry and have felt for some time that there is a gap in the market and the marketing of crypto casino cashier alternatives.
“Only one in 10 players is not interested in crypto, but we actually believe we can reduce this number considerably with good info and helpful ‘we’ll-get-you-through-it’ messaging.
“Renowned as the market’s most customer-focused gaming comparison website, Slots Play Casinos will continue to find relevant topics in which to involve our subscribers and our partners in order to make online gaming a vibrant, modern and forward-thinking industry.”
Gambling payment fintech continues hiring drive with senior appointment
Meryem Habibi joins as Chief Revenue Officer
Global cryptocurrency-based fintech services group, SG Veteris, has appointed Meryem Habibi as Chief Revenue Officer. In this newly created role, Meryem will oversee the group’s global revenue generating functions and is responsible for the growth strategy, performance and alignment of its revenue-generation operations.
Reporting to CEO, Anil Oncu, Meryem will lead sustainable business growth though sales, strategic partnerships and marketing, identifying suitable customer segments to target and new markets to enter. Founded over six years ago and headquartered in London, the company grew its staff numbers by 25% and opened new offices in Estonia and Lithuania in 2022, to expand the reach of its Bitpace (gambling and gaming industry online cryptocurrency payment platform) and Koinal (popular cryptocurrency trading platform) brands. It has five offices and provides services to 150+ countries.
Commenting on the appointment, Anil Oncu said:
“I am delighted to welcome Meryem to the team. SG Veteris is in a growth phase, and we are currently bucking the trend in the market by continuing to hire key roles to help with our global expansion plans in reputable jurisdictions over the course of 2023. We’re excited about launching in even more countries as we are seeing consumer behaviours shift and crypto payments becoming more popular and in demand. We are proud to continue to attract the best people in the industry to help us continue to scale.”
Meryem has over 15 years’ experience in finance and technology innovation and joins from international payments/FX trading fintech, AZA Finance, where she was responsible for a major expansion of operations across Middle East & Africa. She has previously served as Head of Channel Operations for EMEA and APAC regions at Diebold Nixdorf, the US-based ATM and software giant, and led marketing and communications at Samsung Electronics.
Meryem Habibi adds:
“SG Veteris is a well-established company with high quality, flexible products which address genuine needs and gaps in the market, and I’m excited about the opportunities ahead. I see real growth potential in the benefits we can bring to cross-border trade and helping businesses to conduct more efficient and cost-effective transactions.”
Roundtable: The future of cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency has really taken off over the past few years within the iGaming industry and has established an important foothold in the world of online casinos.
We spoke to Andrey Starovoitov – Co-CEO at SOFTSWISS, Daniel Heywood – Co-founder of NuxGame, and Matt Sahakian – CSO at Technamin, to talk about what the future holds for cryptocurrency and why it is now a hugely vital part of the industry.
How widespread is the use of cryptocurrency in online casino and sportsbook and does it have mass appeal?
Andrey Starovoitov (AS): The use of cryptocurrencies in gambling is a sustained trend that is only getting stronger from year to year. Today, we can see a certain segment of crypto casinos getting a strong foothold and taking over a considerable market share. Crypto casinos are certainly a flagship of our client portfolio along with major fiat casinos. In terms of figures, cryptocurrencies have grown 10% year-on-year to make around 35% of the SOFTSWISS turnover. This is an evident growth indicator on the back of the major coin price volatility, which shows a gradual progressive increase of player interest in this type of deposits.
Daniel Heywood (DH): There has been significant uptake in cryptocurrency adoption in various industries in recent times, including finance, IT, e-commerce and more. Additionally, outside of its use in the corporate world, it has been championed by thousands of private citizens who regularly use cryptocurrencies. This is a far cry from the image crypto had only a few years ago and serves as a testament to its growth.
Matt Sahakian (MS): I think that at this point, crypto is inseparable from our industry. Most reputable online casinos are now offering crypto payment methods and the ones that are not doing so, surely have it in their short-term roadmaps. Online sportsbooks jumped in on the trend a bit later than online casinos, but are certainly catching up as we see the rise of crypto sports betting in the industry.
What are the biggest advantages of using crypto for operators and players when placing wagers online?
AS: First of all, operators gain access to a whole new younger audience which generally does not overlap with the traditional fiat casino segment. The use of cryptocurrencies often gives a certain level of anonymity, which, in turn, attracts VIP players and high rollers.
On the level of operations, all crypto casino metrics such as acceptance rate, conversion rate and others are much higher compared to those of fiat casinos. For instance, the SOFTSWISS acceptance rate (successful to attempted deposits ratio) is 99% for cryptocurrencies.
All of the above is just a smidgen of the benefits from using crypto in iGaming. The main advantage is that crypto is an ever-growing trend we’ve been observing over the last five years.
DH: There are lots of benefits for both players and operators, with the speed of transaction being the most obvious. Because there is no intermediary involved in the transaction process things can be completed far quicker and with fewer steps involved, in comparison to traditional payment methods. The added – and significant – spin-off from the removal of that intermediary is the subsequent lowering of fees, making the process more streamlined and cost-effective.
MS: The foremost advantage is the added layer of security that these currencies bring, thanks to the blockchain technology they are based on. Security is always of paramount concern to both operators and players, and crypto puts both minds at ease. The decentralised nature of these currencies also amounts to higher degrees of anonymity which players prefer when it comes to their information and transaction history.
In which markets are a cryptocurrency solution particularly relevant?
AS: In fact, when asked which is the most popular market for cryptocurrencies in gambling, at SOFTSWISS we highlight that crypto falls into a separate new market. And it makes sense, as the differences between the crypto and fiat audiences are quite significant – the demand for transaction processing speed, availability of provably fair technology games, high game limits and even top game lists are totally different in these two segments. In general, the geography of crypto gamblers is pretty vast – Canada, Germany, LatAm (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina), and Asia.
DH: Cryptocurrencies are relevant across the world. There is no market in which they’re not playing an increasingly important role. However, they are aiding in the expansion of the iGaming industry in developing countries in particular. This is mostly due to the strict banking rules and restrictions within these jurisdictions that cryptocurrencies remedy.
MS: We’re seeing the Asian market as well as certain areas of the LatAm market embracing crypto, along with Africa and the USA. Mexico is also big on blockchain, being included in the top 50 countries where crypto is most popular. Countries like Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, and the UK are also joining in on the trend.
Is it all about Bitcoin, or are other cryptocurrencies commercially viable?
AS: Indeed, we are observing new coins ascending against a gradual Bitcoin decline in the crypto basket, but this does not mean that it is the Bitcoin that is losing its appeal but rather that other cryptocurrencies are gaining momentum as a gambling deposit method. According to our partners’ research, customer interests are shifting towards “stable coins”. Facing the crypto winter, most crypto traders have already sold the most volatile cryptocurrency as we are living in the “cash is king” times. USDT is the leader amongst stable coins, followed by BUSD. As a result, in 2022 we saw that Bitcoin was not the ultimate GO-TO choice for payments. But don’t get me wrong, it is still huge as only Bitcoin offers indisputable decentralisation and freedom of payment. It fell from 65% to 49% in transaction count on average, but marks much lower levels for new casinos with a younger player base.
DH: Bitcoin is of course the obvious leader within cryptocurrency, but there are an increasing number of options for both players and operators. Clients are using an increasingly diverse range, featuring projects such as Ethereum, Solana and Tether and others in order to offer the widest range of payment choices available.
MS: There was a time when Bitcoin was stealing the thunder in the world of crypto. However, that’s not the case today. There are nearly 10,000 active cryptocurrencies out there. Granted that not all of them are as popular or even used, many of them like Ethereum, Binance USD, Dogecoin, Tether and XRP are just as popular with bettors as Bitcoin. That’s the thing with these currencies. You never know which one is going to take the lead.
What does the future hold for using сrypto in online gaming? Is it a passing trend or here to stay?
AS: Overall, despite the volatility we are observing, the crypto gambling segment and its audience will continue to grow, as it is the speed, simplicity, and a certain level of anonymity that players value most in cryptocurrencies. We can clearly see an increasing interest in this niche, and a growing number of operators, including top tier ones, are adding crypto to their payment methods.
DH: Cryptocurrencies are categorically here to stay; by now I’m certain most can agree on that. As the crypto industry evolves, new and more innovative solutions are emerging and are competing for their “15 minutes of fame.” This in turn drives more innovation. A few of these are no doubt just a passing trend, yet some will stay with us long-term and become part of the furniture in the industry.
MS: When Bitcoin was released as the first open-source software and blockchain currency back in 2009, many people thought it would be a passing trend. It has been more than a decade now, and look where we are with these currencies today. Much like any other phenomenon, it is impossible to tell where crypto is going, but a decade-long popularity and expansion are clear indicators that this is a journey which we must follow closely.
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