With G2E back in Vegas for the first time in two years, it’s time to talk big innovations, fan engagement and the latest in tech to see what’s on the agenda for some of the world’s biggest betting brands.
So, on the lookout for someone to talk serious tech transformation, we thought who better than Alex Kornilov, CEO of leading data visualisation and content specialists Betegy to guide us through what’s in store for the biggest US event in the calendar!
Another year, and G2E is ready to return. What’s Betegy excited about this year and how are you looking to wow your partners and prospective customers?
Plenty! Since this is the first G2E event after COVID – and taking place after so much time – I see the chance for so many people in the industry to finally get together and talk business, and it’s certainly going to be crowded and full of big-name businesses making deals. Everyone we want to meet from Canada and North America will be there from major brands to some of the leading land-based outfits – and I’m sure it will both productive and a lot of fun to showcase the very latest in tech.
This is especially the case for team Betegy, where we’re really excited to meet certain partners face to face for the first time in more than two years! Some of whom we’ve never met face to face before, despite achieving some fantastic success together remotely since lockdowns began. It will be good times ahead I’m sure, and we’re all very happy to be there, no matter how long the various stopovers en route!
Looking back at the past 2 years given the recent hiatus, can you give us a snapshot as to what’s changed across the gaming scene and indeed, in your product development?
Since COVID started, our focus certainly switched to far faster development plans than we anticipated into other verticals. What I mean here, is that we always planned to diversify away from our original sportsbook-based offering, however we changed our company in line with developments – shifting to esports and casino – which became an immediate priority when sport was not available as there was no sports data. This meant that we could shift even faster into the verticals we were already planning to enter, but with far more laser-focus, as well as an immediate urgency to immediately providing our partners exactly what they needed to engage and retain players.
How do you see the US right now? What’s your take on the betting landscape, especially given all the recent high-profile M&A action?
With all these M&As, IPOs and SPACs, it’s made the US a super exciting place to be right now, especially with so many states opening up – we’re seeing big-name players establish themselves and carve out their territory, just like the Wild West – and at this point there is so much virtual ‘land’ out there for the taking for those who move fastest.
The industry is evolving at breakneck speed too, and we’re already seeing the first media giants doing major deals with sportsbook. I like the US particularly, because they understand that to succeed in this market, they need to build content and engage customers. This, I believe, is really exciting stuff – and we’re going from old-school style delivery to some seriously mainstream high-tech content that can build a real story around betting events and excite customers. This means the US has both the will and the way to bring in the next generation of betting, and indeed player engagement, and it’s going to be a fascinating place to do business over the next few years.
Looking across the US’s rollout of online sportsbook – how fast is the tech catching up with Europe, and what challenges do you currently see?
This is a very interesting question – because I would say that from the multiple clients I talk to, many had to build the product from the ground up – which means they had a blank slate to start building, which in many ways, has been supremely beneficial. From the 5-6 key operators I know well, each has built with blank foundations and been able to truly customise their products. In my view, this is the right thing to be doing, as US betting habits and player behaviour, especially with the likes of moneylines, which are completely different to betting activity when you look at other parts of the world.
As a consequence, I would say that in many ways, you cannot compare with Europe – which is built upon multiple legacy systems since the early 2010s (at best) – so we’re dealing with a completely different world, and indeed, proposition, which again allows a wealth of innovation for high-tech suppliers like us.
Looking to the next year ahead, and indeed the show – what do you predict the hottest topics will be on the table to discuss?
For me – I believe retail will be absolutely key. One of the main ways to re-imagine the retail location with public places and arenas – and look at ways you can engage customers as part of that wider entertainment mix, and most importantly, providing that all crucial incentive to bet.
This is especially the case when it comes to combining the multi-channel, with big casinos, cruise ship casinos, brick and mortar and horse racing tracks – we need to look at engaging people in a new way – and on of the most pervasive questions I hear, is where is the next innovation in retail?
Looking at the next five years, I believe there’s going to be plenty of attention around VR and AR – and a lot of work right now by tech companies is going into the mass adoption of those products as part of entertainment. There are always new ways of adopting such things, such as AR glasses, when it comes to outdoor racetracks or basketball courts, enabling customers to immediately study stats and form – although of course we’re looking at an adoption stretch of far more than one year! Let’s say five to be on the safe side.
Last but not least – what can we expect when it comes to upcoming Betegy news? How much expansion are you and the team currently focusing on stateside?
We have one super exciting announcement with a fantastic new product that is coming very, very soon. We have also shifted our focus to work with top innovators as well as top betting companies – and we’re working on a much more engaged co-operation with them to bring something truly ground-breaking to market.
These are both media companies and top tier operators – who are introducing next-gen content and are far more interested in getting into the full entertainment sector, rather than just betting – and this is exactly where our philosophy lies, the merging of betting, casino and online content to make the world’s most futuristic entertainment and wagering experiencing possible – just look at the likes of Formula 1’s interactive experience that’s already available, and you’ll get an idea of what’s possible!