Jacob Lopez, Founder & CEO at OPTIMA, spoke to SBC News about the company’s new influx of staff, year-on-year revenue increases and its new engagement tool for retail betting shops.
SBC: We understand that OPTIMA has hired 50 new employees in the last six months; what specific departments have you targeted with these appointments?
JL: Yes, but we are still hiring. The development team and the project office are the teams that have received most of the increase of resources.
SBC: Since being recognised for its retail betting innovation at the SBC Awards last December, OPTIMA has launched the MGS platform; how much has this product increased revenues in the first half of 2016?
JL: We continue at a steady growth with 110% increase of revenues year on year. MGS platform, with the online and mobile channels are the ones that are showing the highest growth whilst retail continues its steady growth trend.
SBC: You recently targeted increased market share in Spain; do you expect to significantly increase the amount of business in your home market?
JL: Not necessarily; we have solid partnerships in Spain and we are looking forward to continuing with our existing strategy of growing together with a small number of partners in each region or jurisdiction. Our growth is expected in South America and Africa in terms of new partnerships where we are engaged and engaging with the best partners for OPTIMA.
SBC: Figures released for Q1 2017 showed that 70% of sports betting turnover in Spain was spent on in-play wagers; does this explain your desire to promote iSHOP in this market?
JL: iSHOP is being promoted worldwide, with success cases in Europe, and on-going trials in the UK and soon in Africa – we see iSHOP as an additional service that all retailers and casinos want to offer as a unique innovation, especially when talking about in-play betting and bringing together all the channels in terms of odds and other important factors like user experience.
The iSHOP product, which saw its first version live back in 2015, is mature and meets all the regulatory requirements from the most exigent regulators, like in the United Kingdom.
It is very important to remember that iSHOP can be offered with a non-remote betting licence, unlike SSBTs and other similar solutions that are now appearing in the market; this is a massive differentiation and a great help for retailers who don’t need to obtain an additional licence to offer innovation.
It is also a fantastic way for bookmakers to attract new and younger customers. Not only does it enable access on your own device and not a terminal where you may have to wait in line for a chance to bet, but is also able to access the live feeds that we have integrated with.
iSHOP is a personal device in a retail environment. The trials being run now are proving that this really is a step forward in improving and enhancing the customer experience in the retail market.
The benefit to the operator in attracting and enabling new and younger customers is clear, but remember that the commercial model is even more compelling as there is no dependence on a third party for options, prices and trading as there is with SSBT’s. The bookmaker offers the same prices that are in the till and uses his already established trading arrangements.
In short, there is no large percentage to be paid to the third party and control is firmly back with the operator. Once again, OPTIMA has raised the game.