Norwegian state gaming operator Norsk Tipping has confirmed that sports betting omni-channel platform supplier Optima has won the tender to supply the firm with a new sportsbook integral solution for potentially the next 12 years.
The successful offer also included integrated sports data feed and trading services from Sportradar, the major sports betting services supplier which last week agreed a deal to acquire the Optima business.
The new partnership between Norsk Tipping and Optima consists of a six-year contract with the option of three additional two-year extensions, bringing the potential contract length to 12 years.
Hans Erland Ringsvold, Head of Gaming Operations at Norsk Tipping, explained that the new partnership will allow his firm to be more competitive with the offshore brands who still target the Norwegian market.
“It’s been a long process for us,” he said. “For the last two years we’ve had a lot of focus on channelling sportsbook players through the regulated offering in Norway, which has been a strategic focus area for us. One of the things on that roadmap has been replacing our current solution with a new best practice and sportsbook technology, and also to make sure we can use a proper feed and streaming solutions.
“After a very healthy and competitive procurement process, we’re delighted to be able to secure a deal with Optima. The integrated response to the RFP was very impressive. Based on 160 requirements in five different areas, Optima scored very high in every section.”
Optima CEO Jacob Lopez was understandably pleased to be able to secure the partnership. “For Optima we are very proud to have been awarded this contract,” he said. “From the start we were very committed to the project and we are particularly pleased to work with Norsk Tipping as they have a vision of the market and customer interaction which is unique in our view and that we fully agree with and support.
“Optima has always been working in regulated markets and supporting regulated operators and we made it clear from the start that this is how we will continue to do business in the future. The partnership with Sportradar was key as well in the proposal. However this deal is not about what we have done so far, but what we will do together from now.”
Ringsvold was very complimentary about Optima’s approach to the industry and the dedication the firm put into the tender process. He explained: “Optima’s dedication has come through in the tender application. Right at the start what grabbed our attention was Optima stating the companies they like to work with, what their focus is and how much they wanted to work with us because Norsk Tipping fit that image.
“In an industry challenged with cross border operators, and different moral and ethical approaches, that is hugely important for a company like Norsk Tipping. For us responsible gaming comes first, attractive gaming comes second and return to the beneficiaries comes third. That’s the ‘podium’ and having partners that have that same view on the marketplace showed that we would be a very good fit from the earliest stages of the process.”
Sportradar’s Managing Director MTS (Managed Trading Services) Paolo Personeni explained that his team had worked with Optima supplying the options for feed and trading services, and it was a good sign of how the firms work well together now that Sportradar is acquiring its technology partner.
“We were fully combined,” he said. “We could have put our efforts into just the sports feed part of the tender, but we decided to agree the inclusion of the feeds and trading services as part of the integrated offer with Optima, a successful strategy looking at the results. We took it as a way of demonstrating how successful we could be as close parties and how effective we can be as part of a bigger team. It’s a great indication of what we can do together.”
The deal will see the Optima team working near to Norsk Tipping HQ, Lopez commented: “We know we have to perform at the level we have committed to and definitely for Optima/Sportradar we will be fully engaged and supporting Norsk Tipping with the delivery of a fantastic product but also with the challenges they may have in launching the operation. We are a true partner.”
Ringsvold added: “Now we have to live up to the promises of the tender and we are aware that Norsk Tipping needs to be a ‘good dancing partner’ as well. We have constraints on resources as well, we have a lot of other internal priorities, so need to ramp up teams and as soon as possible to do a detailed plan together. We have a benchmark in the current documentation which needs to be revised and we can do that with open discussion now that the tender has been completed.
“We are very intrigued on the opportunities not only in the short term but also that we will have a partner that will drive the market together with us in efficiencies, continuous improvement and innovations.”
Eduard Blonk, Managing Director Global Sales at Sportradar, believes the deal with Norsk Tipping is the perfect example of how his firm and Optima are a good fit. He explained: “For Sportradar the relationship with Optima has been a fairly long and fruitful one already. Sportradar is a key supplier to many books in the sports betting industry across our services portfolio, but the missing part of the puzzle was the platform solution. Us now joining together with Optima is a key step forward and puts us in a driving position for the opportunities that are in the market.”
Photo Caption: Eduard Blonk, Hans Erland Ringsvold, Jacob Lopez & Paulo Personeni on the Sportradar stand at G2E 2019