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European Gaming Congress 2024

Interviews

Exclusive Q&A with Marcus Honney, AvatarUX MD

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As a rising star of the iGaming industry, could you give us some background on the company?

M.H.: AvatarUX officially launched during SiGMA 2019 and we’ve enjoyed a swift rise in the casino supplier market. As one of the original partner studios of Yggdrasil’s YGS Masters programme, we released our first game, Lilith’s Inferno, and received great reviews from both players and operators, setting us on a steady course to hit the ground running in 2020.

From the very beginning we’ve been incredibly fortunate that the investor interest in our project has afforded us the opportunity to choose partners with whom we can truly collaborate with. We took the approach that we wanted investors that were going to be part of the journey with us.

The partners we have are all from the industry and are passionate about games. With experience in both the operator and design elements, and a proven track record in European and Asian gaming – AvatarUX is a truly global unit.

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AvatarUX is one of the original partner studios of Yggdrasil’s YGS Masters programme, how important a step was it to join forces with such a well-established company?

M.H.: Being an independent studio, it was paramount to align ourselves with partners who had experience in the European markets. Yggdrasil’s connections were a major factor in why we applied for its YGS Masters Programme, and since being accepted our relationship has gone from strength to strength.

As a new casino supplier, there is a lot to focus on promoting our games effectively. Rather than attempt to do that alone we felt it prudent to join forces with an experienced publisher who can get games to operators swiftly. Currently we use Yggdrasil in our Go To Market strategy in Europe, to promote our portfolio of games and help formulate our road map.

The slot designing sector is highly competitive – what makes AvatarUX’s offering stand out from the crowd?

M.H.: At AvatarUX, we are always looking for that balance between art and captivating game play. Today you need an identifiable expression as a studio to get awareness and affection from customers whether they are operating brands or players. As a studio, we’re not afraid of doing something new but we’re also very conscious of the feedback we receive from operators and adjusting to that. Being a smaller team we have the benefit of agility – it’s easier to turn around a speedboat than a yacht, and it’s our ability to react quickly to customer feedback, while utilising the global experience of our partners that helps us stand out in a very competitive market.

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We are also very focused on the game development process and finding the optimal maths model to deliver the perfect gaming experience. As a result, we always invest a lot in R&D prior to starting production. Essentially, we finalise the game as a basic playable math prototype and then add the best-looking art and animations. The result delivers a significantly higher level of quality for the real-money player experience.

You released your first title, Lilith’s Inferno, earlier in the year to very positive feedback. Can you tell us more about the game development process?

M.H.: With the company still relatively small, the development process is all about collaboration. The initial concept is looked at collectively by the team. An early playable maths prototype is then produced and from that point on, everyone gets the opportunity to contribute to how the game is developed. We then discuss the features we want to use, but the prototypes are the key starting point for us.

Our next four releases are going to be based on an exciting new mechanic named Popwins™, but each release will have additional features. The first game with the new mechanic, PopRocks™ will be released in April. With these next titles we are in an ideal position to use the vast experience of our team to add new features to a game mechanic we know will be a hit.

The game’s Asian-influenced art and game mechanics seemed to be a real hit with players – do you plan to continue releasing games in this style going forward?

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M.H.: We were delighted with the feedback we got about our first game, it was also very well received by critics on YouTube and Twitch. The game’s mechanics were especially popular, and we will be introducing more new game mechanics with our next four releases. Going forward, you will see a road map with Asian-influenced art style games based on known classic mechanics with incremental innovations. And while the games may be based on local classic casino art style, our designers in Hong Kong never shy away from adding an exciting new twist.

What are AvatarUX’s aims for 2020?

M.H.: As an independent studio with high ambitions we see the need for very agile publishers that can help us establish ourselves among operators, studios and affiliates. We are launching four more games this year to complete the series and establish our games library. It’s important for us to carry on the momentum we built up after the release of Lilith’s Inferno as we evolve and develop the studio. With ICE just around the corner we will be able to showcase our innovative game mechanics and start 2020 as we mean to go on. We understand fully that there is a lot of competition and that we need to be mindful about our decisions going forward, but we are excited about the future and we will focus on continuing to grow.

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Interviews

Altenar’s global expansion: Sam Hill outlines plans for growth in LatAm, Europe, and Beyond

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Can you elaborate on Altenar’s specific goals for global expansion? What regions are Altenar focusing on for growth?

We’re not interested in limiting ourselves, so we are actively exploring several global expansion opportunities. Our highly customisable product can be tailored to any region, and we have the content library to support a global audience. Leveraging our existing customer base and success in Latin America, a market where we are already well-established, makes perfect sense. Specifically, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru are regions where we have seen strong results and hold further growth potential.

There’s no reason why we can’t expand further across Europe too, where we already have a foothold, and Asia, a largely untapped market for us. Can we do more to establish a stronger presence in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region? Absolutely! Growing the business globally is a key focus.

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You have nearly 15 years of experience in the industry, including roles at Betgenius, BetVictor, and IMG. How will your experience be leveraged to help Altenar achieve its global ambitions?

My sales experience and track record in the content and data space were likely factors in my hiring. My network is fairly extensive and a useful asset that can be leveraged to Altenar’s advantage. In my previous roles at IMG ARENA and Genius, I managed a significant portion of the global sales team, including overseeing territories that are key target areas for Altenar.

Altenar stands out as a leader in this area, excelling in both proprietary content delivery and seamless third-party data integration. Our partnerships with over 20 third-party sportsbook suppliers allow us to deliver the broadest and highest-quality content portfolio – a critical advantage for any operator in a competitive market.

 

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Can you provide some examples of how Altenar might tailor its approach to different regions?

The foundation of success in different markets is always providing the right products. While UI/UX and front-end features offer customisation options, bespoke solutions are also available. Operators can request or configure custom settings in the backend, including margins, bet limits, customer profiling and across our extensive proprietary bonus engine.

UI and UX are key elements. For multi-territory operators, we offer flexibility in content presentation. They can choose the sports, competitions, markets, banners, bonuses, and bet boosts they want to display. Our deep bonus tool capabilities allow for territory-specific customisation, and operators can enable or disable frontend features based on their needs.

However, differentiation goes beyond just the user experience. Our experienced and dedicated account management team provides exceptional support. We strive to execute any individual operator’s trading strategy, whether they prefer a hands-off approach or a more involved one. We provide the operational support needed for either scenario.

Finally, we can cater to specific market demands. In Brazil, for example, we offer a deeper selection of domestic sports content. This allows operators to differentiate themselves and provide what customers want, ultimately leading to better customer acquisition and retention.

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Growing Altenar’s revenue and securing high-profile global partnerships is a key aspect of your role. Can you elaborate on the types of partnerships Altenar is looking to establish, and what qualities define a ‘high-value customer’ for Altenar?

I have great confidence in Altenar’s product offerings. We have a well-established reputation for excellence, but we need to continue raising brand awareness and communicating the value we deliver. My goal is to increase awareness of Altenar’s capabilities among high-profile brands.

We are targeting different partnerships. Casino operators are leaving revenue on the table when it comes to sportsbook, that we are perfectly placed to help them recognise. Another major focus is speaking to established operators in various territories. Can Altenar take their brand to new markets, where they can leverage their potential for growth? Even North American operators today will naturally be looking south at LatAm. We can then leverage their brand recognition in new markets. It is a broad remit but ultimately we will leverage the quality of the Altenar product and the strength of the relationships we have to capitalise on our growth potential.

The post Altenar’s global expansion: Sam Hill outlines plans for growth in LatAm, Europe, and Beyond appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Interviews

“Our Product is Young, Flexible, and Dynamic” – Anhelina Stasiuk on the Future of the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator

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European Gaming met with Anhelina Stasiuk after her appointment as Head of Business Line at the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator to learn about her plans for the product. In this interview, Anhelina shares her vision for expanding the client base, enhancing player engagement, and maintaining top-notch service and technological innovation.

 

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Head of Business Line at SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator! Can you share your immediate priorities with us in this new role?

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Thank you for your congratulations.

I am pleased to have this opportunity because the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, being one of the newest products in the SOFTSWISS ecosystem, presents vast opportunities for development. Its technological advancements and timeless appeal make it a top-notch engagement tool in high demand among our clients.

Our meticulous approach focuses on technology to ensure we deliver high-quality solutions. As the new Head of Business Line at SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, my priority is to expand our client base by tapping into the clients of the SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator. I believe this tool is a ‘must-have’ for them. They can seamlessly launch the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator and join the Network Jackpot, offering their players a thrilling experience and the chance for significant wins.

Expanding our Network Jackpots is another priority in our strategy. Our research shows that network jackpots increase player engagement and enhance performance metrics for participating casinos. The shared pool mechanic is particularly attractive to players, offering more substantial rewards than individual branded jackpots.

 

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Can you explain how the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator differentiates itself from other jackpot solutions in the market from your point of view?

We continuously study our competitors, and our Network Jackpot consistently delivers excellent results, giving us a significant market advantage.

A key strength is our collaboration with game providers. For example, we have launched network jackpots with providers like Evolution and currently have a campaign running with Apparat Gaming. These collaborative jackpots highlight their portfolios and open new initiatives for SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator’s clients. The Jackpot Aggregator’s unique mechanics and the Game Aggregator’s user-friendly settings make these launches seamless and fast.

Additionally, we allow other platforms to organise their own jackpot networks. We can integrate with third-party platforms, enabling them to launch and manage their networks effortlessly.

Our Jackpot Aggregator is versatile and compatible with sportsbooks, which is rare in the market. Betting jackpots are especially exciting during major sports events. For example, we launched jackpots for several SOFTSWISS Sportsbook’s clients during the European Football Championship. With flexible settings, brands can create different jackpots to meet the heightened interest in sports betting.

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Moreover, we can run joint campaigns for both casino and sports betting, which is another unique feature. This versatility allows our clients to maximise engagement across different types of gaming activities.

 

How do you envision the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator evolving, and what impact do you expect these changes to have on SOFTSWISS’s market position?

The SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator is a universal and modern tool that can be implemented not only in casino games but also across the entire iGaming system. All SOFTSWISS products integrate seamlessly, and the Jackpot Aggregator is no exception. It enables unified campaigns combining casino games and sportsbooks, enriching the user experience and allowing casinos to customise launches quickly and easily.

 

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Customer satisfaction is crucial for any product’s success. What strategies will you implement to ensure that the Jackpot Aggregator continues to meet and exceed your clients’ expectations?

A partner recently emphasised that while a product may be perfect, service is equally crucial. They emphasised that they would always choose the option with excellent service. At SOFTSWISS, we are committed to excelling in both areas – ensuring our product is stable and our service outstanding.

Our technical team is dedicated to maintaining top performance, ensuring the product can handle any load, regardless of the client’s size, supporting existing functionality, and developing new features. We pride ourselves on our technology.

Equally, we prioritise excellent communication and a solid client-oriented approach in our hiring process, supporting our managers’ qualifications through ongoing training.

Our account managers focus on providing quick responses. We have established minimum response time standards to ensure clients receive timely assistance, even on weekends. We understand that time is money, and our clients trust that their requests will always be processed promptly, with the necessary support and advice for effective operations.

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What are the main challenges for you in this new position?

The challenge is to demonstrate that I can achieve everything I have planned. I have a proven track record of success and am eager to lead us forward in this new role. With the team, we will explore new opportunities and continue to develop the product.

We are prepared to enter new markets and work with clients to consider new markets at their request. Our young, flexible, and dynamic product makes it well-suited for expansion and adaptation.

The post “Our Product is Young, Flexible, and Dynamic” – Anhelina Stasiuk on the Future of the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Interviews

Amplifying horse racing: An inside look at how Altenar is diversifying its platform in partnership with SIS

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Industry heavyweights SIS and Altenar are both well-respected suppliers in the industry, known for delivering memorable sports betting experiences. After penning a new deal to boost its horse racing offering, Antonis Karakousis, Director of Operations at Altenar, is joined by Andy Kelly, Head of Commercial Partnerships at SIS to discuss the huge benefits in play.

 

How did the partnership come about?

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Andy Kelly: One of the biggest goals for SIS this year is continued geographic expansion. Having signed a host of international deals, we are looking to enhance our reach, a key strategy to support this ambition is to partner with leading platform providers that have big networks worldwide. Altenar has an impressive client base and being able to collaborate will only serve to benefit both brands. Our extensive product range appeals to operators in search of added value, with 24/7 betting content to drive new operator revenue streams across racing, competitive gaming (esports), and live number draws.

We have hit the ground running with Altenar, with our teams demonstrating a willingness to cooperate and implement strategies in providing products to operators efficiently, with no disruption to existing offerings.

Antonis Karakousis: The collaboration with SIS is a significant milestone for us.. The decision to add a racing provider to our in-house sportsbook stemmed from our commitment to offering a diverse and engaging sports betting experience to the users. Recognising the popularity and global appeal of racing products, we sought a reputable partner who could deliver high-quality content and a seamless integration process.

 

What excites you the most about the partnership?

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Karakousis: The breadth of SIS’ offering, including its extensive portfolio of horse racing services, real-time data, and streaming solutions, aligns seamlessly with our commitment to providing diverse and engaging content to users. We look forward to the positive impact this partnership will have on our platform and the satisfaction it will bring to our operators.

Kelly: Our partnership with Altenar provides us with the opportunity to offer the full SIS product range to a host of new operators across the world through a single integration. The deal means we can get more eyes on our products. We are launching with over 74,000 racing events every year, with our range of live fixed odds numbers draws to follow, with Competitive Gaming events-based sports simulation product completing the product offering. It’s about providing Altenar with a range of premium, highly engaging content that creates fresh revenue opportunities around the clock, through exciting short-form events.

It has been great to see both sides sharing insights to ensure smooth and seamless processes in delivering content to a wide range of operators.

 

How has the integration worked so far?

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Kelly: The integration process has all been smooth so far, aided by the experienced and very capable technical teams on both sides. Together we will be able to offer bettors more round-the-clock opportunities across the product range, initially starting with our live racing content. Having worked with platform providers in the past, we are confident that we can continue to get our products to market through Altenar quickly and seamlessly.

Karakousis: Working closely with the SIS team, our technical experts have engaged in a concerted effort to ensure a smooth incorporation of their products into the Altenar sportsbook. We are pleased to share that the integration has exceeded our expectations on several fronts.

 

Are there any more products in the pipeline?

Karakousis: Our collaboration with SIS goes beyond the launch of the horse racing product. We have exciting plans in the pipeline, with both greyhound racing and lottery games set to be introduced in the near future. There is no doubt that SIS’ product base is one of the most respected  in the industry and has elevated our offering to a wider audience. Additionally, as 2024 progresses, we expect the horse racing product to expand further, bolstering odds on some of the world’s premier race meetings.

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Kelly: We are constantly looking at enhancing our existing product range to serve the evolving needs of operators. This has previously been demonstrated by our expanded range of live fixed odds numbers draws, with high-frequency Fast 15’s designed to keep bettors engaged with a new draw every three minutes.

We will also continue to grow our live racing content offering across the world. We have the rights to some of the biggest and most prestigious international races in the world including all contests at Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup, to name a couple. Having rolled out fixed-odds betting in Colorado with bet365 recently, we are hopeful that other US states will follow suit.

There is also the possibility of adding a wider array of sports simulations to our SIS Competitive Gaming offering to ensure localised appeal.

 

How do you foresee 2024 going in terms of this partnership?

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Kelly: We believe the rest of the year will bring mutual success and growth for both SIS and Altenar. We are already seeing the positive impact of our partnership, with collaborations across multiple departments, working together cohesively to meet the challenges of the market together by delivering a product range that engages bettors and provides additional revenues for operators globally. With our combined efforts this is certainly achievable.

Karakousis: As we look ahead to the rest of the year, we are highly optimistic about the trajectory of our partnership with SIS and the impact it will have on the Altenar sportsbook. The collaboration has already laid a strong foundation with the successful launch of the horse racing product, and we anticipate several key developments and milestones in the coming year.

The post Amplifying horse racing: An inside look at how Altenar is diversifying its platform in partnership with SIS appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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