This week, VSoftCo announced one of its biggest Virtual Sports delivery projects for Italian betting giant Sisal Matchpoint. Working in partnership with competitor Kiron Interactive, VSoftCo will launch its new football leagues product for Sisal’s +4,000 betting points.
Simon Westbury, Chief Commercial Officer of VSoftCo, details the Sisal Matchpoint partnership, and what can be learnt and gained from working with competitors…
SBC: You have teamed up with Kiron Interactive to offer Sisal Matchpoint its new Virtual Betting Leagues channel. How was this strategic partnership developed?
Simon Westbury: Our successful strategic partnership with Kiron has been developed over many years, with the first agreement being signed way back in 2011. In short, the relationship works with VSoftCo providing our market leading Fantastic League product to Kiron to resell and Kiron providing their products for us to resell. The relationship was born out of the need to offer a full suite of products to the market and the two companies came together to achieve this.
SBC: How hard is it to develop effective products for Sisal Matchpoint, a bookmaker with a portfolio of 4,000 betting points?
SW: I think the question needs to be answered in a wider perspective; the product that we have developed and delivered to Sisal, was developed due to the change in regulations in Italy. Sisal have been the first to adopt the product but we have signed deals with other operators in the market and look forward to launching with them in the very near future.
Anyone who works in this space understands that developing a new product to meet new regulation is never easy and you have to overcome many bumps in the road. Once the product is developed the next challenge is getting the game through certification and approved to go live and again there are always curve balls that are thrown at us however well you plan. I think the biggest challenge we faced was meeting the point of regulation which outlined that every ‘betable’ event had to be displayed and when you are offering over 300,000 betting markets across a five minute window this is no small challenge.
The challenge was magnified by the fact we are the only supplier who truly uses real-time technology so we were not able to rely on a library of pre-rendered clips to show these betable events. At VSoftCo, we are very happy with the development of the product and we are delighted to be working in partnership Kiron to deliver Sisal Matchpoint a market leading product.
SBC: Why is Football Leagues such an important product for VSoftCo and Kiron; what does it bring to market?
SW: Football Leagues, is an important product as it takes virtual football past the traditional single game to add more realism to the punter, offering more matches and more bet types. It is quite funny as the development of the league product has taken VSoftCo back to our routes as we first developed a virtual football league product back in 2010, but the market demanded a single game version.
So we adapted our original product to meet client needs and we have now gone full circle. The Fantastic League product also marks an evolution, as I indicated recently when I spoke on the SBC track at the iGaming Super Show, that virtual suppliers have traditionally focused on retail but we are now all developing products that transcend the channel they are delivered and we have seen exponential growth in the online sectors, with one of our new clients taking 75% on their bets on mobile.
SBC: What do you feel you have learnt from your partnership with Kiron and how do your organisations work together to provide services?
SW: I think it is important to say up front that we enjoy a good working relationship with Kiron; we have been in partnership for a number of years now and hope this partnership continues to grow stronger in the future. I think we have learnt to adapt to different cultures, with influences coming from South Africa, Spain and the UK. In doing so, I believe we have come together to offer a robust and appealing full portfolio of virtual games which I think when combined is the largest offering of virtual sports in the marketplace.
SBC: In the casino sector we have seen a number of corporate partnerships focused on cross-licensing and games development. Do you think Virtual Sports suppliers will follow this model?
SW: Yes I do think this will happen and I believe that VSoftCo is at the forefront of this with our branded virtual Striker game which is developed in partnership with the writers of the Striker comic strip, which appears in The Sun newspaper and has opened up differing casino game potential for us. Additionally, our core strategy at VSoftCo is to become the home of sports gaming content and we have entered into agreements with suppliers such as Link2Win to provide their casino content through our RGS.
Moving forward, we have some exciting deals lined up to deliver sports based casino content to the marketplace which we believe will merge together nicely with virtual sports to allow cross-selling between sports and casino customers. The first example of this has been the development of the Spot the Ball casino game which combines pre-rendered virtual football clips with roulette that has resulted in a hybrid casino / virtual game.
So our move into the online space has not been solely based on the delivery of virtual sports, but a combination of sports-focused casino games and virtual games themselves.