The current trials and tribulations facing new sports betting operators will be discussed at BOS Conference’s ‘New Faces’ session. In a mature digital market, can new incumbents not only challenge legacy operators but further create fresh thinking and new industry values?
Johan Styren CEO of igaming operator LeoVegas details to SBC readers the preparation and launch of LeoVegas Sports, as his company aims to shake-up the European sports betting market.
SBC: Hi Johan, Great to interview you. LeoVegas has launched a new sportsbook in 2016, how has this new product tested your company and its operations?
Johan Styren: Great to be interviewed by SBC. You’re right, in May we launched our sportsbook so that we’d be right on time for the Euro 2016 tournament. We felt this was the next logical thing for us – LeoVegas.com is already confirmed as king of mobile casino and now we want to take over the sports betting mobile kingdom too. To appreciate how the launch of LeoVegas Sport tested our company’s operations, you need to put it into the context of what happened during that period too – i.e. our roll out on Stockholm’s stock exchange following our IPO and the launch of LeoVegas Live Casino soon after the sportsbook.
I really feel honoured to work with such dedicated people who in a matter of a few months managed to attain what other companies would not even dream of. Team collaboration was critical in ensuring that everyone is in sync and that our infrastructure is able to withstand the new product verticals and the added traffic it would bring.
SBC: As an industry veteran how much tougher is it launching a sports betting product in 2016 in terms of regulations, marketing conditions and outside impacts?
JS: Launching in 2016 was always going to be tougher than before due to the increased rules and regulations we had to take into consideration. This required tech development and numerous internal procedures to make sure we offer a sportsbook product that is in line with the conditions set by various regulators.
You also have to consider that over time, such regulations, are only bound to increase and thus we need to constantly update our systems and procedures to reflect such changes. I am confident that our people together with those of our sportsbook’s supplier, Kambi, will be able to continuously meet and even exceed our players’ preferences whilst also remain in line with the numerous regulations in place.
The competition in the sports betting arena is cutthroat. To really establish LeoVegas Sport as a leader in sports betting we need to offer a unique selling point to our customers, besides having great customer support. The marketing climate is also very competitive and our marketing and CRM teams are really proving themselves. The markets are also changing and we’re constantly on the look-out for new opportunities and growth.
SBC: LeoVegas has made its mark in the European iGaming scene as a mobile casino specialist, how do you see your company transitioning its gained skills for the sports betting market?
JS: As stated, we have built a mobile casino that is worth shouting about and in doing so we have garnered a lot of experience and learned a great deal. Now we are using those gained skills to offer a great mobile sportsbook. We have made sure to keep in mind what really worked for our mobile casino and integrated that whilst designing LeoVegas Sport.
Amongst others, we have launched a seamlessly integrated sportsbook so that users are able to navigate between our product offerings without ever leaving the app. We have built a robust mobile-first platform for our casino and we’re now using the same platform for our sportsbook. It offers great loading speeds that is so vital in the sports betting realm. We also augmented our customer service to be able to keep up the high-level of service that we’re known for.
SBC: Assessing current industry competitors and overall betting services, where do you feel that sports betting consumers are being underserved?
JS :There are a few pain points where sports betting consumers are being underserved, but in my opinion, the main one is the lack of personalisation. Online and mobile sportsbooks have looked the same for a number of years now and the industry needs to step up its game by looking at what other industries are doing to address this.
Consumers have grown accustomed of having services personalized to their needs and their habits and I think the industry should recognize this and start providing some level of personalization by offering customers highlights based on their location, interests and previous plays.
SBC: As leader of LeoVegas you have chosen the enter the ultra-competitive markets of the UK and Scandinavia, why did you choose to enter these high risk and cost markets?
JS: This answer is quite easy – we decided to launch LeoVegas in the Nordic market due to the high degree of mobile usage and acceptance for product innovations in the region. After a couple of years of success in the region we really built a strong belief in our product, our organisation and our practices. This meant that we were ready to launch our offering in the UK and other countries too.
SBC: Finally, as industry player, LeoVegas has placed a high-emphasis on leading industry innovation and development in terms of usability and customer journey. How will your company’s two gained proficiencies adjust as customer digital habits and trends evolve?
JS: We launched LeoVegas in 2012, just when mobile devices started transitioning from being a communication device to an entertainment one. We started developing the product before this trend really kicked-off. So whilst others were looking at mobile gaming on par with online gaming but on a smaller screen, we saw a completely new world. The breakthrough of the iPhone and other smartphones changed everything and the experience, user enjoyment and playfulness in mobile usage paved the way.
What is important is that our idea is as relevant today as it was when first formulated – i.e. to create the ultimate gaming experience. With this in mind we obviously keep abreast with all things mobile and continuously develop and innovate our product to be always ready to address new customer digital habits or trends.
Johan Styren – CEO – LeoVegas
Johan Styren CEO of LeoVegas, will be speaking at The Betting on Sports Conference (15-16 September) on industry challenges faced by new operators. For more information on this event click on the banner below