1on1 Richard Thorp - International expansion for FSB Technology

1on1 Richard Thorp - International expansion for FSB Technology

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Huge potential in African markets for betting

Rich Thorp is the Business Development Director at FSB Technology. Following a strong 2016 we spoke about its highlights and what the year ahead holds for FSB and the wider industry.

Thorp spoke to Totally Gaming about horseracing as a market, Africa, and the vast potential of the company’s deal with Squawka.

Totally Gaming: In a year of consolidation for sports betting operators, how was business for FSB in 2016? Walk us through the highlights.

Richard Thorp: From our point of view it was a fantastic year. FSB Tech started 2016 with four betting and gaming companies on the platform and now that’s up to 14 companies with six more being rolled out.

We also moved into brand new offices on Old Street to accommodate our expanding team and we have signed up for our first stand at ICE. We have expanded internationally, establishing a presence in Africa with Mkekabet, and continue to provide the flexibility to offer bespoke services, such as the Bookee app. 2016 has all been about growth for FSB!

TG: The deal with Squawka gained a lot of attention, how significant is this one and how major a player can Squawka be? They already have six million monthly viewers after all...

Thorp: When you take into account the footfall across the brand, it is extremely exciting (and slightly daunting!) to consider the full potential of Squawka.

Having launched only 8 weeks ago we are extremely encouraged with the numbers so far, and that is considering Squawka have yet to actively promote it. I particularly like the tie-in to the statistics and fantasy audience, offering a unique free to play game in MatchBoss that provides an alternative to traditional sportsbook content.

TG: Racing specialist Black Type launched with FSB… so have you any thoughts on Richard Flint’s comments that racing faces ‘an unprecedented demographic challenge’? What can operators do to tackle the issue, or will increasingly we see smaller operators dropping racing?

Thorp: I think firstly it is important to clarify that whilst Black Type have significant racing experience and have used that position to gain notoriety in the industry, they have made great use of the hybrid  platform we have built for them to offer punters a great betting experience across all sports.

Black Type’s launch did however demonstrate that the huge public appetite for racing remains as strong as ever. Whilst I certainly agree that increased competition, data costs and compressed margins make racing a very hard product to achieve the revenues it once did, I think it would be an oversight for any operator to drop racing entirely.

TG: You entered Africa in the summer via a deal with Mkekabet, will you be continuing this push further into the continent and how much market volume potential is there in the short term?

Thorp: Whilst Africa has long been spoken of as an untapped, exciting market, I think now we are operating in the continent, we are beginning to see firm evidence of astronomical betting volumes. With Mkekabet operational in Tanzania, we have seen a huge uptake that has eclipsed all previous estimations of potential, with tens of thousands of bets being placed daily.

We shall shortly be launching in Kenya and are expecting even bigger betting volumes. So much so we have made significant platform enhancements to ensure that it can handle far greater trade numbers than we’ve ever experienced before.

You can expect the Kenyan launch to be the next in a series of African territories throughout 2017 as we seek to entrench our position as the continents leading sportsbook provider.

TG: What is on the agenda for this year? Some are predicting a tough year for companies in the UK in the igaming sector...

Thorp: We have established our position as a top quality supplier in the UK and Irish markets, and in 2017 we are launching our retail solutions into Asia and at the same time rolling out more mobile solutions across Africa. Onwards and upwards.

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