Since the start of this year, Soft2Bet has set out on a journey to expand its global footprint, with its most recent market entry being Romania.
One month on, and the provider is confident that the Romanian market has been a ‘natural fit’, and one that presents a whole host of opportunities for further expansion.
In a chat with SBC News at the recent iGB Live, Soft2Bet General Counsel David Yatom shared the company’s journey into the Romanian market before turning his attention further afield to changing regulatory developments and the importance of gamification, flexibility and localisation.
Yatom began: “Soft2Bet is always on the lookout for emerging opportunities in regulated markets. The Romanian market, with its established licence regime and reputation in the European landscape, was a natural choice for us.
“We see great potential here and are excited to bring our top-notch services, technology and games to Romanian users. We also see opportunities to collaborate with other operators in this market.”
According to Yatom, the Romanian market offers a very flexible environment for operators – something that is not only important for operators when looking to enter a new market but is also a key consideration for Soft2Bet.
He said: “Romania is a distinguished regulated market in Europe that offers a good and flexible environment for operators.
“Gaining experience in such a market is crucial for Soft2Bet. Additionally, we anticipate that more operators will be drawn to the potential of the Romanian market, and we look forward to exploring partnerships with them to offer our top-of-the-line technology and services.”
With its new ONJN licence, Soft2Bet will have the opportunity to roll out its casino and sportsbook offering to operators across Romania.
Yatom explained that upon entering the market, the company has already identified several new partnership opportunities that it is considering exploring, many of which the General Counsel believes will enable Soft2Bet to develop new and innovative propositions.
Yatom continued: “The flexibility of the Romanian market, compared to other regulated European markets, makes it attractive to many operators. Unfortunately, expanding regulatory limitations in other parts of Europe can deter operators and impact the user experience. We believe Romania offers a more balanced environment, which will ultimately benefit the end user.
“Furthermore, we work closely with local partners to carefully observe and stay updated on the needs of the market. This enables us to create essential products that cater specifically to the Romanian market, thus strengthening our localisation and customisation efforts.
“Additionally, we continuously strive to develop innovative products which we can offer in Romanian and will provide us with a competitive edge and our end users with a much better gaming experience.”
You may be thinking, how do you actually provide players with an elevated gaming experience? This question becomes increasingly more difficult to answer when you consider how competitive the Romanian market has become in recent years. Yatom drew our attention to three words in particular: localisation, gamification and flexibility.
When entering a new market, he told SBC News, having products that suit the local partners is of the utmost importance as it shows you understand the end player. Without this, you may struggle to compete with other software suppliers within the market.
“Soft2Bet offers a unique player experience. Our gamification features provide an immersive experience that sets us apart from other operators,” he said.
“We offer a wide range of exclusive games and integrations with top-tier casino providers and sportsbooks. If I had to highlight one element that truly distinguishes us, it would be the unique design and gamification experience we offer our users.
“The different levels of gamification that we offer range from soft to very complex ones and are tailored-made to meet the needs of our customers. This, coupled with our ability to provide customised high-end localisation to our offering, presents a material and significant advantage.”
Flexibility, the third word on Yatom’s list, has been key from both Soft2Bet’s perspective and also when staying ahead of the curve when it comes to operator and regulatory demands.
Having somewhat of a modular offering that can be adapted to individual requirements makes Soft2Bet the ‘ideal partner’ for both medium and tier-one operators, according to Yatom.
And as the company continues to expand its footprint across Romania, Soft2Bet hopes to showcase itself as a ‘one-stop shop’ for partners.
“I think having something of a one-stop-shop solution is a very important thing for us. It very much appeals to those tier-one operators, which we’re now heavily pursuing. But it also appeals to those operators that would like to have more of a footprint in regulated markets. We can offer the necessary support to do this.”
Yatom added: “As we’re pushing that strategy more and more, we think that with our Romanian licence, one of the biggest advantages is the fact that it’s appealing to both medium tier and even tier one operators. We’re hoping to bring more operators on board and showcase our offerings to those operators that can use this as leverage to enter other European markets.
“We’re able to offer our operator partners everything from design to technology support to development. In that regard, I think we’re incredibly unique. What’s more is that we can offer these operators a very, very distinguished and unique experience.
“We have our gamification features and turnkey solutions, which means that operators can come to us and get everything they need all in one place. All they need to focus on then is driving traffic to their websites.
“The team at Soft2Bet places such a large emphasis on the look and feel of the website to not only give the operators what they want but also to provide players with an exciting environment to bet.
“Our team is creating a whole experience where you can build your own profile and play games that feature a unique gamification experience. I think that’s very unique for both operators and players.”
From local to global
Expanding its global footprint has been a major part of Sof2Bet’s strategy for 2023, with the company having already secured a Greek and Swedish licence in the last few months.
He continued: “What we’ve strived to do at Soft2Bet since I joined a few months back is try to enhance our portfolio of licences. I think we have made fantastic progress in achieving that goal, as seen by the long string of licences that we have recently obtained.
“The Romanian licence is the latest licence that we have added to our portfolio. Prior to that, we received the green light to enter Greece, so we’re in the final stages of going live in that market now.”
If Greece, Romania and Sweden weren’t enough, Yatom told SBC that since joining Soft2Bet, he has seen “excellent progress” in entering new markets, with more expected later this year.: “We also received a licence to launch in Sweden too. On top of that, we have our B2C licences with plenty more in the pipeline for the coming months, including Ontario, Portugal and Germany.
“I can’t share too many details just yet, but we’re also in the process of finalising an acquisition of a company that holds a very distinguished European licence. We’re very excited about that announcement because it will open up the door to so many more opportunities for Soft2Bet. So keep your eye out for that news!”
The rapidly growing number of new licences added to Soft2Bet’s portfolio has become somewhat of a running joke within the internal team, Yatom shared, with managers often joking that each Monday morning marks another new market entry.
However, as you can expect, there is a very solid strategy in place when it comes to identifying new expansion opportunities.
“We could have easily focused on high-end, regulated markets. But I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to do at the moment – we want to make sure that the operators within the markets we’re looking at have the flexibility when operating those markets.
“Now, for example, we’re applying to work within the Netherlands markets. It is a very interesting market, but I think much of the regulations are focused on the operators rather than the software suppliers.
“Operators may find it slightly more flexible to work in the Romanian market or even apply for an MGA licence – so, as you might have guessed, this was a big driving force behind our decision to enter Romania.”
Creating new experiences
Yatom’s hope for entering new markets is that Soft2Bet can support its operator partners to create entirely new gaming experiences for players – whether that’s through gamification features, tournaments, social betting or innovative technologies.
But with new experiences come regulatory considerations that need to be made. Yatom said: “Obviously, when we enter new markets, there also needs to be considerations made when it comes to regulations that might pose some challenges.
“Some markets may have restrictions around bonuses, and others might not allow you to offer particular types of promotions. So we need to be well in tune with changing regulatory requirements.
“But from the technology side of things, we’re ahead of the game. We might have developed a wider offering than everybody needs, but we can then finetune that depending on differing market requirements. All in all, the biggest challenge we face is understanding what we need to cut back on.”
Liaising with local consultants and having boots on the ground is key to understanding ongoing regulatory changes in new markets, Yatom noted, concluding that the Soft2Bet compliance and legal teams have done an “amazing job” of monitoring ongoing developments.
Yatom concluded: “In my role at Soft2Bet, we place such a huge emphasis on both legal and compliance. That is what I help oversee. We have a great team filled with very capable compliance managers – they’re doing an amazing job of keeping a close eye on changing regulatory requirements.
“We have consultants all around the world that we engage with. I’m a very strong believer in putting boots on the ground – so if you go to a certain market, we make sure we engage with the right people who will keep us engaged with what’s going on on the ground. In some cases, we actually keep the consultants informed because we’re heavily investigating changing regulations.
“Our legal team works closely with the compliance team, so we assist them with the licence application process. We investigate the market before applying for a licence – there is a very, very good synergy between the two teams.
“Luckily, regulators will tend to make smaller changes rather than wholesale changes, so that makes it easier to keep up to date.”