Setting up a Malta-based industry ‘mobile-centric’ development, strategy and technology hub, Andreas Bardun, former Head of Sportsbook for LeoVegas, speaks to SBC on creating effective and enhanced mobile betting propositions for Russia 2018 and beyond…
A sixteen-year industry veteran, Bardun has worked and consulted for a number of major betting operators. Bardun breaks down new user mobile trends and why mobile should be the key interaction vertical for all stakeholder during Russia 2018…
SBC: Andreas – great to catch-up. Can you detail to SBC readers why you have launched a technology hub focused on industry mobile gaming development?
Andreas Bardun: I have been working and living in Malta for over 16 years with Sportsbooks and been blessed to work with some of the biggest success stories. Right now though I feel there is a big need for Mobile Gaming Innovations. During the years I built up a strong network of really industry leaders and we often talked about this subject.
The solution I found to best address the need of better mobile user experience and innovations for sportsbooks is to set up a Mobile Gaming Innovation Hub. The key is really to attract the key players when it comes to vision, product, design and development under the same roof and the way we managed to do that was through a nice equity sharing but also enable a lot of freedom innovative thinking.
I am extremely proud of the team me and my co-founder Richard Smith managed to put together so far.
SBC: During your tenure at LeoVegas you brought a new ‘mobile-focused’ betting proposition to market. What have you learnt from that experience, and how do you feel it has impacted your agency’s development?
AB: The LeoVegas experience has been amazing to me, I had the fortune to work very closely with one of the co-founders Robin Ramm in Malta and also got to know the other co-founder, Gustaf Hagman. I think what I learnt most from this experience is more on the entrepreneurship level, I saw how important it is to grab an opportunity when it is there at the right time and then have this incredible relentless self-belief in the vision that creates a momentum I haven’t seen in any other business I been involved in. It has been very inspiring to me and I want to take those leanings with me to our team.
SBC: In 2017, what wider mobile-focused trend has caught your eye and how do you feel this is impacting betting/gaming dynamics?
AB: The two things I am looking for is search and predictive elements. When it comes to search I am closely following both interactions with bots/assistants and how voice search can be utilized for mobile betting. I think we will see some big innovations coming our way the next year or so in this area. When it comes to predictive elements, AI and machine learning will be so important for the mobile user, this is an area where I think betting is far behind and will be for a bit but the one that can be first mover here will have a huge advantage.
SBC: We are seeing a stronger focus on customer betting engagement via visualization of markets, how is this sought after dynamic transitioning through to mobile verticals?
AB: I think this is a great example of a desktop product that’s been kind of jammed into mobile devices without keeping the mobile user in mind. There is definitely a big opportunity out there to make it a better experience for mobile users.
SBC: With regards to mobile development, is this industry too inward-looking in its output. From your perspective should sector stakeholders look outside for inspiration… what enterprises should be followed?
AB: I found that operators are putting an amazing amount of focus on retention and engagement of players, without really paying much attention to the specific needs of the mobile player, the challenges in the design of the product and more importantly the opportunities to lead the way in mobile to make players lives easier. If you look at companies where people interact on a daily basis with mobiles such as Uber, WhatsApp or Instagram then they have designed the experience all around mobile.
Our belief is that Sports is a mobile product and should be treated as such. Examples of this is that the customer wants you to communicate to you via their phones, they want a product that fulfills their needs in simple and faster ways of placing bets but too often companies miss out on this simple things because priorities are on scalable tech solutions, integrations or legacy technology that are looking towards what the company wants rather than what the mobile customer want.
Are the companies inward looking? I think the best example of this I know sportsbook still benchmark themselves on how many side markets and how many matches being offered, this drives me crazy because how do 200+ extra markets that have zero or very little turnover solve any mobile players goals? Simplicity and Speed rules mobile companies need to focus on these crucial dynamics.
SBC: The Russia 2018 World Cup will dominate next year’s industry context and agenda. From your perspective what should industry stakeholders be preparing for with regards to mobile dynamics, capabilities and factors?
AB: There are 3 key factors for my perspective to make 2018 World Cup a mobile success story.
- Acquisition – If you want the mobile players then its best to acquire them via mobile in the first place. Look to direct budgets to focus on the mobile players, and ensure your mobile acquisition funnel and user experience are optimized to meet the expectations of the mobile player.
- Mobile Content – Ensure your mobile content strategy is working and relevant to the mobile player. When they open their phone to bet, give them live action and promotions that are happening and that are relevant to them
- Operations – From the CEO to the customer service operator they should have complete competence in the mobile offering, promotions and product on Android/iPhone, Apps and mobile web. The companies who engage their staff in mobile will drive mobile to the forefront of their thinking and strategy by default and reap the benefits.
Betting market and product dynamics and impacts will be discussed and debated at the upcoming ‘Betting on Football 2018’ Conference (#bofcon2018). Click on the below banner for more information…