It is a disruptive time to join any company, particularly as CEO, but Andreas Koeberl (pictured above) is bullish about the future for BetGames.TV as he passes one month in the hot seat.
A former Playtech executive who most recently served as CEO of Trinity Bet Group, Koeberl spoke to SBC News about what’s stood out for him so far, why a product “reposition” has brought about a perception change amongst its sportsbook partners and what 2021 has in store for the company.
Live dealer betting games from BetGames.TV, he said, are now actively sought out by players and seen as a “pandemic-proofed, cross-sell driver” for all types of operator.
SBC: You’ve had a few weeks in your new role as CEO at BetGames.TV now, what’s stood out for you so far having joined the company?
AK: It’s been an exciting, intense first few weeks at what’s certainly been a disruptive time to join a new company. Fortunately, the team and culture I’ve found here have been outstanding, but that was also one of the reasons I saw BetGames.TV as a fantastic team to join.
The mentality here is well-defined: stay unique. We do not want to copy. We want to lead and innovate, and I’m certain we’ll stay with this direction and build on it where possible. As soon as you copy from others, price battles ensue and your foundations as a company are lost. That simply isn’t a model we want to find ourselves in, despite the potential short-term benefits.
We also have to acknowledge Vygerdas Jonikas (see interview here), BetGames.TV’s founder, in setting the company up in this way and I’ve no doubt that he’ll continue to be a major strategic pillar for us in his role as CPO.
Partners have come to appreciate our content and company due to its authenticity and integrity – and its testament to what’s been built by BetGames.TV’s stellar team. The bigger you get, the more critics try to take you down, but we’ve stayed on course, true to our values, and this is how we’ve maintained long-term relationships which continue to go from strength to strength.
SBC: With the recent shock to the sports calendar, what opportunities did this offer yourselves in the live dealer vertical?
AK: We can’t ignore the fact that it’s been a truly challenging time for our sportsbook partners. Having operated one myself during the peak of lockdown, I appreciate the feeling of losing huge swathes of revenue overnight.
BetGames.TV has faced very different challenges though. We’ve had to adapt to play a more significant role in supporting our partners in this period and assist them in making up for this lost revenue through displaying our appeal as a quality alternative for the sports bettor.
We have also been able to reposition ourselves as a valuable partner who is proactive in supporting clients through this time and its various waves and changing circumstances.
With this, the perception of our product has changed to. No longer is it a space-filler, but it’s now a pandemic-proofed, cross-sell driver and key entertainment product for all types of operator – and a gaming experience that players actively seek out.
SBC: Has this comparative success continued since the return to the ‘new normal’ of sport? What trends are you seeing?
AK: Generally speaking, it has. Partners are now more open to discuss deeper engagements to find additional ways of leveraging this highly lucrative vertical in their operation. Everyone in the industry has learned some bitter lessons from the first wave of this pandemic, and this has led to a more open mindset among most. After all, who would have foreseen table tennis become the leading revenue driver for sportsbooks?
We, along with our partners, have realised the true value of our product line as a significant cross-selling tool from sports betting into the live dealer side of igaming. We were fortunate to be able to demonstrate the value of our live dealer betting games to a wider audience in recent months, and it’s the innate features of our fixed odds content that will appeal long after these challenging months pass.
SBC: Do you think operators who previously focused on sportsbook and slots as their core products are now taking other verticals more seriously?
AK: COVID-19, while devastating, has been a much-needed driver for innovation in the industry, and there’s no doubt that there’s been a faster shift towards certain verticals within it, as well as new entertainment channels outside. Further demographic changes, such as the rise of millennials and generation Z, who stand to make up two-thirds of the global workforce by 2020, serve as a key indicator as to why we must embrace this.
The more conservative parts of the industry that may have thought they were crisis-proof have had a realisation and so, in short, yes, they must give alternate content more thought to stay ahead of the curve. This has become absolutely essential, as the times we are currently in are unprecedented – and we cannot assume mainstream sport will continue uninterrupted.
SBC: Are there any particular markets or demographics that this cross-selling from sportsbook has been most prominent?
AK: Our products are entertainment-first, rather than pure gambling. This tends to attract a younger demographic who are looking for extra layers to their gaming experiences. We try to maximise this appeal across geographies by tailoring products to each market’s maturity.
There’s always more we’re looking to do in this regard and having onboarded plenty of lessons from both retail and digital-oriented jurisdictions in recent months, we’ll continue to make these improvements to target the right audiences most effectively.
SBC: What does 2021 look like for BetGames.TV in terms of expansion and new product rollouts?
AK: We’ve got high hopes for the next year. We’re currently running through a vast, all-encompassing strategy project that challenges each and every part of the organisation. This will best position BetGames.TV in the market so we can be aggressive in our growth and reach the right partners with the right products.
We’ve been profitable since day one and we’ve seen major gains in both scale and product development in recent years, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels. This isn’t the time to go into specific plans in detail but be sure there’s a lot to come from every arm of the BetGames.TV business – and I’m very excited by our future.