1on1 - Robin Reed pushing Gaming Innovation Group forward

1on1 - Robin Reed pushing Gaming Innovation Group forward

Monday, August 22, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Nordic-facing gaming group pushes ahead on all fronts

The Nordic region has long been known as a hotbed of online gambling activity. Despite the ‘grey’ nature of its three-quarter of its regulatory landscape, some of the biggest names in the sector on both the operator and supply side have emerged from that part of the world.

The latest company to catch the eye is Gaming Innovation Group (GIG), which like many Nordic-facing operators is Malta-based (though with an Oslo listing). The company is something of an amalgam – it has its own B2C casino operations (including Guts.com and the recently acquired Betit brands Superlenny.com and Thrills.com), owns large-scale affiliate interests including Innovation Labs and the recently acquired Magenti Media and is also a backend supplier with iGaming Cloud. Its recent second-quarter results show revenues up 23% to €9.7m with EBITDA approaching the €1m mark.

It has enjoyed a busy quarter; alongside the Betit acquisition, the company also saw three new clients sign up to iGaming Cloud and it said its affiliate business had seen its first-time depositor numbers more than double over the period.

Following the results, TotallyGaming.com spoke to chief executive Robin Reed about how GIG hopes to press home its advantage across all fronts in the Nordics and further afield in the coming months.

Totally Gaming: The combination of seed investment and operator seems to be quite unique - do you think the business model gives you more flexibility?

Robin Reed: In addition to flexibility it provides a range of synergies. The businesses are interconnected in the iGaming value chain and throughout the end-user journey. Apart from revenue and cost-saving synergies, there is the UX and in-house competence elements.

TG: Do you think others will follow the path of putting together a big affiliate operation/network alongside being an operator?

RR: We went from being players, to also being affiliates, to also being an operator, and to being a b2b supplier. We have a 360-degree view. Without the genuine understanding and passion of each area, you cannot succeed. Other operators have attempted to but none have made it in so far and I believe it is because they have the mindset of operators, and are first and foremost interested in making the operator succeed, and are seeing the affiliate business as a way to make it happen. We are passionate about building a leading performance marketing business for iGaming irrespective of our goals in other internal businesses.

TG: Why do you think the Nordic market has been such a hit for growth gaming companies in recent years?

RR: The growth companies are thinking tech first, then iGaming operations. In an online business where technology is emerging rapidly, that is a key driver for success. The older generation iGaming companies are mostly working the opposite way which is why they are losing market share. There were a few moving parts that came together early in the Nordics that created a wide technology community. Things like mobile penetration and 3G coverage, online payments, consumer orientation. All essential pieces in a successful online consumer-oriented philosophy. The companies whom can compete in the Nordic environment are in pole position with regards to competition in most other European markets.

TG: What is your geographic focus going forward?

RR: We will continue to grow the Nordic markets while increasingly focusing on re-regulated markets such as the UK, Denmark, and Holland. 

TG: How does iGaming Cloud fit in to the GIG strategy?

RR: Our industry is young and are has many unsolved problems. That is due to the rapidly emerging technology, and regulatory framework which has been parallel to the growth of our industry. It has left us fragmented and it is hard to keep up across all needed areas. GIG has a vision of making iGaming open and a connected eco-system for the benefit of all. We are doing so by providing a technological layer which solves issues such as supplier integrations, BI, CRM and compliance. It allows the operators to focus on their customer experience, marketing and products and it decreases the pressure on suppliers’ operational expenses as we are cutting costs, lead times, in essence making the industry lean. 

TG: Sports seems to be a focus going forward - how are you looking to enter that market?

RR: Sports has two big problems. First, everyone copies each other. Very few are actually creating their own prices ground up these days. It leaves them with the second problem which is the limiting of customers. A practice where one has to be conservative as one cannot actually rely on the odds one are copying from others. We are looking to create a lot of our odds ground up and be in close touch with the betting markets, so we can provide end-users and b2b partners with a unique odds product and attractive betting limits.

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