In my view: Lewis Holland, CEO of DiscountIF, on 'innovation'

In my view: Lewis Holland, CEO of DiscountIF, on 'innovation'

Monday, November 10, 2014

I stumbled upon an interesting question on Quora today – “What is the most innovative gambling company and why?” Amongst the expected brands and suggestions, what was notable was that the handful of answers pointed to increasingly obscure features as “innovations” for the industry to celebrate.

Betting has an innovation problem. The reality is that digital technology affected betting early (from which the mainstream operators have never fully recovered) and, as a heavily regulated industry with behemoth operators, newcomers have little or no chance unless they can create an entirely new category. Everything else has been feature-driven.

Even the fiercest industry advocate must concede that few gambling operations have little in the way of protectable competitive advantage in their product sets. Like being the one person who didn’t back the favourite at Cheltenham, “the Fear of Missing Out” is as strong in betting companies as it is with their punters, and they cannot afford to miss fresh betting angles as they become available, be they markets, social media, or channels.

But how many of these genuinely qualify as “innovative”? Those that do are hungrily consumed by the whole sector, rendering any competitive advantage redundant. Colossus Bets, one product that has brought innovation to the marketplace, is a case in point and is now being integrated into many operators’ offerings.

Our innovation with DiscountIF is to create an entirely new and unique category - delivering the fun and thrill of betting into a retail experience – “B-commerce”, as we call it. Every product is matched with an event that offers cashback – a Playstation 4 for £349, and your money back IF Rooney scores first this weekend, for example. We are bringing the value and rewards of a Groupon-style discount site into the betting arena.

We believe we can be viewed as a test case for the betting industry – we are important because the sector has struggled to engage the man and, just as importantly, woman on the street into simple betting formats (more than once a year at least). We believe DiscountIF creates an opportunity to attract a new type of player – buying a product she wants, at a good price, with a bonus upside she can cheer for - a #NoBrainer as many of our Twitter followers have put it.

Our product philosophy from day one has been “Why would you not?” We are seeking to create an experience where ordinary people find an engaging way of buying quality goods with a fun upside. And we are relaxed as to what those goods might be – our current challenge is how to find a stocker of quality turkeys to link to Boxing Day’s football schedule…

DiscountIF qualified to present at EiG Berlin last week, as one of the top 5 most innovative companies in the Start Up Launchpad (eventually coming 2nd); this has come on the back of being recognized with the top award from the Maltese government in their Takeoff Accelerator programme.

The business – still in its Beta phase – is going from strength to strength as we grow our users and find out what engages and excites them. Our product roadmap stretches out into the distance and we have many innovations still to come – our challenge, like so many other start-ups, is finding quality partners to grow alongside.

DiscountIF does not intend to seek partnerships with every betting company: our home is retail, though we are open to partnerships with an operator who can strategically alter our growth trajectory. Ultimately we see ourselves as a value add proposition for e-commerce partners rather than a pure gaming proposition. But we hope at least to inspire the betting world to think different.

For more information, visit www.discountif.com.

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