Ovcharov (UltraPlay). Passion for eSports and drive for innovation

In this interview with Mario Ovcharov, the CEO at UltraPlay explains why his company is a pioneer and one of the leading eSports betting providers of the industry. He also talks about the evolution of technologies, the increasing enthusiasm and popularity of this vertical at a global level, the relevant partnership with Mobius Interactive, and the exciting and growing possibilities for eSports in Latin America.

The company is not only working to create a stronger and more competitive eSports betting ecosystem, but also expanding crypto payments options for the sector.
The company is not only working to create a stronger and more competitive eSports betting ecosystem, but also expanding crypto payments options for the sector.

It has been over 6 years since your company launched an eSports betting solution. As pioneers in this segment, how were you visionaries on the potential of this vertical and how the pandemic has really helped to expand it and be considered by almost every online gaming operator?

Being gamers all of our lives and seeing the scene progress so much made us think that eSports deserves to be covered in a way that it is attractive and has all of the attributes of a real betting product. We caught this challenging gambling vertical back in 2014 when nobody thought of it and considered it profitable. It was rather risky back then. With our passion for eSports and our drive for innovation, UltraPlay’s team of eSports traders, IT professionals, Marketing and Business development experts, the company achieved to create, enhance and advance its eSports betting suite to levels that no other company is offering now worldwide. The pandemic accelerated the process of digitization in every possible way, including eSports, which was found as a working and profitable alternative to the other gambling verticals. It made it visible for people that would normally never try something like that and many of the users saw that it can be as entertaining as any normal sport. Betting options can be pretty similar as well.

What three words would you use to best define the business performance of UltraPlay in the last 12 months? What advantages does your own proprietary platform and eSports odds feed Odds.gg have that makes it unique and reliable?

Productive, Committed, Defining. Our experience and innovative thinking allow us to constantly improve and create a combined product that gives you all in one stop. The Odds.gg product is specifically designed and targeted for eSports audiences. We have an unmatched number of covered titles, betting options and in-play events. Over the years, we have positioned ourselves as a trusted partner to the online operators worldwide. With many of them, we have managed to develop the eSports betting scene as you see it now. Besides, our turn-key gaming platform gives flexible and customized solutions to a wide range of requirements that we get from our diverse types of clients, from eSports-focused to crypto brands.

As a multi-awarded betting provider, UltraPlay has been closing partnerships with lots of operators. In which way the extended relationship with Mobius Interactive, a company also heavily involved in the world of eSports, has been profitable and mutually beneficial for both parties?

We have received great interest towards our eSports product, especially over the last year. Our long-time experience and team of professionals made it possible to onboard many new clients in 2020 and keep the progress going. We are glad that one of them is Mobius Interactive, a company with several business operations, also particularly focused on eSports. Following our vision to become the leading eSports betting provider, we work with iGaming professionals with similar goals: creating and developing a strong and competitive eSports betting ecosystem.  

Being a true sportsman all your life and understanding the rising influence of eSports at a global level, what do you think about the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first ever Olympic-licensed event for virtual sports, that is taking place now until June 23rd?

It is something new, so we will see how it is going to be accepted. The format of the Olympics is slightly different than the usual eSports scene and we don’t know how that will turn out, as usually all teams are with international members. Let’s wait and see how it goes.

Besides focusing on eSports, sports betting, live betting and online casino, your company is involved in providing crypto processing and using blockchain technology. Can you please describe a bit more about your support for this digital currency?

In the past, back in 2011, we launched the first ever bitcoin casino. Since then, we have been very active in the crypto world. Part of UltraPlay’s success depends on our ability to innovate and be among the first to introduce advanced solutions to the online gaming industry. To that end, UltraPlay was the first in our market to embrace crypto payments and constantly strives to look for new ways to make the sportsbook experience better. Naturally, sportsbooks are subject to increased scrutiny, and KYC is a crucial part of this business, but the core of this sector is really the excitement players could get through both new technologies and betting options. We provide solutions for crypto-only websites or once they have crypto as a side option. However, you can fully operate a crypto betting site with our platform.

What is your analysis on the development and the increase in the use of mobile technology in Latin America? In which way is UltraPlay interested in this promising market, taking into account the huge passion for eSports in the region?

In terms of eSports, Latin America still has a lot to improve. The scene is not as mature as it is in Asia or Europe, for example. However, we are seeing a great interest towards particular games such as CS:GO, with its popularity exponentially increasing on the Brazilian market. As every emerging market, LatAm could definitely use its momentum and lay the foundation of a growing eSports ecosystem. It depends on many factors, but if we evaluate the market’s potential in terms of players’ base and the enthusiasm there is for eSports, we surely have to expect further growth in the region. As a company, we are open to the new opportunities out there and most importantly ready to answer all kinds of requirements from the online operators in the region.

Do you believe eSports will reign on the industry over the next 5 years? How is your company going to enhance players experience and raise future standards for the gaming sector?

We will keep on following any trends that can come along the way and using the newest technologies as we have done over the years. Raising standards can only come with better competition, so having eSports in almost every brand can make it more challenging for eSports focused operations. We will always be there to help. What’s for sure is that eSports’ popularity will continue to grow. It has been growing steadily for the past 5-6 years and the pandemic was the final push that eSports needed to become mainstream. I believe that the people who heard of eSports for the first time during the pandemic will be more and more involved in it. Having the chance to add new titles and grow the whole ecosystem of eSports will guarantee its success in the future.