Alistair Boston-Smith, Bede Gaming: the universal importance of customer management

LIke many businesses, lotteries had to adapt during the pandemic to the drastic change in conditions, and this has left an enduring legacy.

This was the viewpoint of Alistair Boston-Smith, Bede Gaming’s Chief Strategy Officer, who spoke to SBC Media about the B2B supplier’s activities in both the lottery and gaming spaces.

Part of the Gauselmann Group, an international conglomerate encompassing several key lottery and gaming companies, Bede Gaming is active in four different continents: Africa, Europe and North and South America.

“We’ve seen in the Gauselmann Group that retail has bounced back very strongly in a number of core markets,” Boston-Smith explained when quizzed about current key challenges for lotteries.

“I think the reality is that all of us changed our habits entirely. Everyday, we’re doing things using digital or mobile, whilst even a few years ago we would be doing a greater proportion of these things in a retail context.

“Lotteries are having to adapt. There were a good significant number of lotteries who perhaps had a mobile app that was simply a result service, or they might’ve had two apps, one that was transactional, and one that was a results service, and you were cutting out your audience and you weren’t tracking them and so forth.

“COVID has shone a very strong light on these things. It ensured that a significant amount of focus was put into digital capabilities, digital teams, digital expertise, choosing the right partners, etc.”

Based on this, Bede’s focus is on performing as a partner for lotteries and igaming companies. In doing so, the company offers an open platform which grants operators ‘‘a lot of control and a lot of ability” to work with the firm’s products and platform as well as with players.

By doing this, Bede aims to minimise risk and spend to its operator clients, Boston-Smith explained, crucially enabling control of the front end and customer engagement.

That is not to say, however, that firms should not have some kind of in-house development team, pointing to stateside developments.

“You’re seeing a lot of classic decision making in the US,” he said. “They might have signed a partner and then they have considered ‘do I buy, do I build’ etc.

“From our viewpoint, we encourage that dialogue because, quite frankly, the right answer is probably a mixture of things.

“You should always have some of your own internal capability, of course. But ultimately, operators’ core strength, both lottery and gaming, is in managing and understanding their customer, managing the responsibility of that customer engagement.”

An additional topic of discussion was the Ontario sector, on which Boston-Smith shared his views on regulatory and growth developments – this is a topic covered in more detail in part one of this interview, which can be found HERE.

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