Insight: Five ways to attract tech grads into the gambling sector

Insight: Five ways to attract tech grads into the gambling sector

Monday, June 20, 2016 Totally Gaming
Rick Brownlow believes the industry should appeal to aspirational young people

Tech experts can discover a whole world of opportunity within the gambling industry, but more needs to be done to let them know about the opportunities on offer.

That is the view of Rick Brownlow, co-founder and chief executive at Geektastic, the community based tech screening platform, who will be one of the panellists at the GamCrowd event taking place tomorrow (Tuesday), during London Tech Week.

Having spent much of his career in senior positions within the gaming industry, with companies such as Sportingbet, Brownlow now leads Geektastic, an agency that specialises in the hiring of software engineers. With expertise accrued from both within and outside the gambling industry, Brownlow’s panel session at the GamCrowd event, ‘How do I attract Tech Talent to come and join my team?’, should be of great interest to attendees.

Here, Brownlow gives his list of five things every tech graduate should know about the gambling industry…

1. It couldn’t be further away from the traditional betting shop

People from outside the industry might just think a gaming operator’s website and its digital team are merely an extension of the old school LBOs we see on the high street. However, they are fundamentally different. I think initially there was a move to replicate the shop experience online, but that is certainly not the case now. The industry is dynamic, and the people who work on its websites, apps and other back office developments reflect that.

2. It’s a cash rich industry

The more money an industry brings in, the more it can invest in technology and innovation. The good news is that there are opportunities across the sector because of this. Of course, the big companies look to invest in technology as a way of getting that edge over their rivals in terms of speed or marketing. While many of the market leaders’ websites might look almost identical other than branding and colours, there is fierce competition in the technology they use. At the other end of the scale, there are companies looking to find a niche. If you can find a start-up company just on the verge of that hockey stick curve then you can be involved in something that grows exponentially.

3. It is a mature industry

Online gambling has been around pretty much since the start of the world wide web, beginning to develop in around 1997. It was one of the first sectors to fully embrace the internet, and an entire supply industry has spun off from it over the last 20 years. It is established and there are lots of companies out there offering great products and making money. There are all types of opportunities out there – with marketing or analytics companies, for example – and you do not have to work directly for an operator to be involved in the gambling industry. 

4. Regulation is a positive

The industry is now responsible, does more to protect customers from getting into financial trouble and has strong anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Thanks to strong regulation, games are also fair and honest, while many leading operators are Listed companies. Each of these things are brilliant from a customer point of view, but they also help to shift the stigma away from the industry, which is good for companies looking to recruit. 

Of course, the negative to this is the hoops – and costs - that operators and their employees have to jump through to make sure their new games or developments are licensed and legal.  I would say you need enough funding to cover circa £150-200,000 per month to cover salaries, marketing, revenue shares with decent games suppliers, accountants and lawyers, payments and AML, and annual licenses, to allow you to build up a player base to cover this. This is a real problem for innovation in the industry.

5. Broad spectrum of roles

From web designer to data scientist, there is a role for all kinds of tech graduates within gambling and its wider industry. Employers can offer great opportunities to work in and develop exciting new fields, for example Google’s 'Go' programming language. We also see companies such as Unibet investing in innovation teams, thinking up new ideas and working on projects. This is a great way to attract ambitious young people into already-successful companies.

London Tech Week: ‘Our sector’s technology standards compare with those of Amazon – it’s time we let the world know’ - says GamCrowd's Chris North

* The GamCrowd conference takes place on Tuesday, June 21, from 8.45am-4.30pm. The conference is one of over 200 events taking place throughout the capital between 20-26 June. As part of GamCrowd's partnership with Clarion Events for Pitch ICE and EiG/GiGse LaunchPad, ten FREE passes are available for start-ups - email to see if you qualify. For more information click here.

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