After an extensive experience in the industry, you recently joined Soft2Bet. What surprised you the most about the company?
I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now, and I think that the opportunity to work for a company like Soft2Bet has always been an aspiration. Some of the companies that I’ve worked with haven’t had the breadth of solutions available at Soft2Bet. When I joined Soft2Bet, I quickly realized there are lots of aspects here to consider because of the different products and solutions we provide. The opportunity for growth is vast and exists across various channels and markets. The most pertinent example is the gamification layer. The industry as a whole has always been much focused on the acquisition channels and driving new customers to their offering, with CRM and loyalty not as important factors. However, now that I’ve seen the gamification layer in action driving customer engagement and loyalty, particularly in the U.S., I view it as real game changer, creating a longer term, more sustainable model for any operator.
Which are the main qualities and values of this firm, from your perspective?
I’ve immediately become very close already with the other C-Levels within the company. I can see it’s a very family oriented organization. Of course, there are challenges every single day from a technical or a compliance perspective. We have to come together and figure out how we’re going to deal with these issues, as well as involving the wider teams. I really love the collaborative approach. Sure, there are additional things that we have to do in order to get where we want to go, but we have a very solid base to positively build.
How important is the USA market for Soft2Bet, and which solutions did present at G2E Las Vegas?
I believe the interesting thing about the U.S. is that if you look at the market as it stands, people might call it a duopoly (DraftKings and FanDuel) or maybe a ‘triopoly’, depending on whether you include MGM or not. But that’s very short sighted and people don’t understand that there are actually a lot of opportunities beyond those three conglomerates that seem to be dominating the market. I’ve often said that I think there’ll be a second wave within the U.S. as well, with other brands entering the market. Fanatics might be one of them. Bet365 could be another. There’s an attractive opportunity for businesses like Soft2Bet and for the solutions that we provide.
How about specifically those solutions regarding this market? In the U.S., there are more states which regulated sports betting than iGaming. You have an online casino as well as a product. So what are your expectations in terms of the advancement of gaming regulation in the country?
That’s an interesting question. Ultimately, everybody thought that online casino would be regulated much faster. This year alone in Maryland and Indiana, it was fully expected that this vertical would be regulated, but it hasn’t happened. Sometimes, we believe as an industry that we can go into any market or state and we can drive new revenue streams. Yet, what we’re forgetting about is that might take revenue from other elements within these states, for example, the state lottery. I think that, as an industry, we need to change our approach to how we’re expanding online casino within each of the individual states, understanding that we need to create partnerships with the other stakeholders. Armed with this approach, I believe online casino will grow. It’s really a competitive marketplace. But again, we go back to that original problem that everything is based on promotions and bonusing. There’s no loyalty being built within these organizations. All of the customers have 4 or 5 different accounts now. With the capability of our platform, whether its sports or casino, we can drive engagement and loyalty. Indeed, with the solutions our software provides, operators will increase their ROI. That’s the opportunity at the moment. We can talk about California, Florida, New York or Texas, but there is a great deal of unknown factors around these states. While there are factors like regulation in play that we can’t really control, what we can control are our solutions, and how we can engage with the customers on behalf of these brands.
Personalization, gamification and responsible gaming are three key elements in the current iGaming scene. What these three words mean to Soft2Bet and its partners, and how does the company put them into practice in the daily work?
If you go to Netflix, Amazon, or to any online platform outside of gaming, you have an element of personalization, which means that when you engage with that brand, you don’t feel like part of a group; you feel like an individual. You feel that, on the basis of how you are interacting with that brand and that online solution, your journey and your experience have been honed towards you. That’s exactly what we have done with regards to our gamification scenarios and the personalization elements we talk about. We comment the way that we build things in order to engage with customers. Ultimately, we are creating unique experiences for each individual. As a complement, if you look at the gamification solutions that we have, like the City Builder, they are bringing another audience to the table on behalf of these brands. So, for example, we’re looking at casual gamers and we’re saying that these guys gamble for sure, but they don’t have any loyalty. Our tools create loyalty with that audience. It’s a younger audience, so there’s more longevity with it. Besides, if you actually look at their archetypes, once they get engaged with a brand, they stick with it. At least, this is what we have found in Europe when we were engaging with these specific customers. It’s all about engagement and retention. Your CPA on a customer could be somewhere between USD 500 and USD 750. If you’re losing that customer immediately, then you’re not making any money and your average lifetime value is reducing drastically. With the proper engagement solutions, like the ones from Soft2Bet, you will have them coming back time and time again. It creates a much more sustainable business for you as a brand.
How much do you think the online gaming and sports betting market will grow in the USA in 2024, with the Superbowl, a Formula 1 race and other major future sporting events taking place in Las Vegas? What will be the strategy of Soft2Bet to leverage this opportunity?
The first thing that I would say is that I think events are obviously really important. Month long events like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics certainly shift the dial because you’re engaging with your customers on a day to day basis for 30 to 45 days. Do you want to be successful during these events? It all comes down to personalization. As long as you have a wider access to what customers are expecting from a particular event, as long as you’re covering the appropriate markets, then you can deliver a personalized experience in line with the type of engagement the customer has already built with the brand. You can leverage these events to your advantage. The front end from our perspective can be fully customized and adjusted depending upon the individual that is interacting with the brand. The personalized experience is the planning, because you can try and create something broad, but it isn’t as impactful as if you’re dealing with the individual themselves. That’s the key element here to deliver the personalized experience, drive up engagement, and get a better ROI from your marketing spend.