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Exclusive Interview with Tassos Panagiotaros of Golden Race

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Our colleague, Szaló Réka managed to interview Tassos Panagiotaros, Sales Director at Golden Race.

 

Tassos Panagiotaros currently holds the position of Sales Director at Golden Race, the leading Pre-recorded and Virtual Games provider.

Tassos started his career as a Software Engineer in the Telecoms industry. He soon switched to the Operations and Sales, having held, in the last 20 years, Senior and C-level positions in Public Listed companies, in Gaming, IT and Telecoms sectors, in different countries worldwide. His academic background includes a BSc in Physics from the University of Patras, Greece, and an MBA with Distinction from the University of Strathclyde, UK.

We are very grateful for your generosity to answer our questions. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself and tell us when and why you started working in this industry.

Panagiotaros: I thank you for the opportunity for this discussion. I was born in Athens and studied Physics, at the University of Patras, Greece, followed, some years after, by an MBA degree from the University of Strathclyde, UK. My career started, almost 20 years ago, in Athens, as SW Engineer in the Telecoms industry, but I soon switched to Sales and Business Development. Since then I have travelled and lived in different exotic and not so exotic countries around the world, having held senior positions in multinational, public listed companies in Telecom and IT. During these endeavours, I worked with Gaming companies as technology provider, so I was familiar with the sector. At some point, 5 years ago, an opportunity arose from within the industry, and I gladly jumped in. 

You currently hold the position of Sales Director at GoldenRace, the leader in pre-recorded video betting for shops and cross-platform provider for online, mobile and tablet gaming. Will you please tell us more about the services that GoldenRace offers?

Panagiotaros: Golden Race is one of the biggest solution providers in the virtual games industry, licensed for many regulatory authorities around the world. We create complete solutions tailored to customer needs, delivering the most unique, flexible, and cost-effective virtual betting in the market. Our ever-growing portfolio includes a suite of proven, engaging games, with innovative animation techniques and complete control of all odds and limits, and scheduling, along with the most powerful management and reporting system around.
The main differentiation of ours is that we provide all the betting markets available in the sportsbook, coupled with real odds, crafted by in-house professional bookmakers for each and every game, authentic voice-overs, and proven player retention devices including individual and connected jackpot.
As a result, our platform is live in more than 30,000 retail locations and 100+ websites worldwide, while we process around 10,000,000 bets daily.

Will you please tell our readers what role do you undertake in the company’s life? What are your main activities and responsibilities?

Panagiotaros: I joined Golden Race almost 18 months ago, as Sales Director, with main task the promotion of our new -and unique, if I may say- online offering. Along the way I was also entrusted with the Lotteries market, which has been through an impressive transformation phase towards new gaming content adoption, thus offering exciting opportunities for our solutions.

Which has been the most successful experience since you started working at GoldenRace?

Panagiotaros: Although I knew Golden Race well, before I joined them, only when I started did I realize how exceptional the offering was. And truth is a good product takes a lot of concern out of a sales person´s head. So, I have had so far, quite a few good, sales related, moments. However, the most outstanding experience is Golden Race’s corporate mentality itself; the supportive and empowering environment, the visibility and the lack of complacency makes it an enjoyable place to work.

What do you think about the future development of the virtual games sector?

Panagiotaros: Virtual Games offer sports content, while being number driven, so they perfectly fit into lottery, numerical and sports betting worlds. Thus, their importance on the product mix is rapidly growing, as they have stopped being considered a filler product, but rather a market on its own merit. Our Tier-1 clients generate the same revenue on our games as on their sportsbook, so it is an opportunity no operator can afford to disregard.
The main reason for our success has been the realism in the markets and odds, that permits the punter to pass agnostically from the real events to the virtual ones, having, at the same time, the flexibility of a ubiquitous service.
So, despite the different twists that virtual games sector may present, I believe, the gaming algorithms and the meta-game will remain the core; because what in the end matters to the player is the betting experience.

From October 30 to November 1 one of Europe’s largest events will take place in Germany. GoldenRace will be present at this important event as well. Please tell us more about this event. How is GoldenRace preparing for this event?

Panagiotaros: EiG is one of the must attend shows for us, due to the participants’ high profile. This year we had the chance to display at our stand the latest developments in our online offering, as well as the new games to be launched in the coming months, and the results exceeded our expectations. We look forward to next year´s announced merge of EiG and iGaming Super Show that will further boost the networking opportunities.  

What other important upcoming events can you talk us about that GoldenRace intends to take part at?

Panagiotaros: We have been quite active in this respect, during the last years, building our corporate presence worldwide. Our next stop is SAGSE, in Buenos Aires, and, of course, SiGMA, in Malta. We are considering though, for 2018, to also include in our calendar more focused “boutique” events and roadshows, to address a more specialized audience and obtain a better understanding of specific market segments.

What are you future plans, and what goals would you like to reach in the near future considering your career?

Panagiotaros: I have the privilege to work in a rapidly growing company, where I have spent until now 18 exhilarating and rewarding months. We have exciting plans ahead and my full focus is on contributing in the most efficient way possible to achieving and exceeding our targets.

What is your personal opinion about gambling industry in general in Europe or in the countries you know better?

Panagiotaros: Undoubtedly it is a lucrative industry that gives the impression of an unstoppable growth; new operators and providers spring up even in markets perceived as saturated. Although there are no signs of fatigue in this respect, the consolidation is inevitable -in fact, it has already started, on both sides of the Atlantic. Let us hope this process leads to the formation of stronger players, that will boost innovation, rather than a few conglomerates that will dominate the market -it remains to be seen.

If you could change anything in the world of gambling what would that be?

Panagiotaros: I have a long history in Telecom and IT, two sectors characterized by standardization and well-defined processes. I wish the same approach would apply in the gambling sector as well; and the starting point could be the regulatory framework. Should it be standardized, this would eventually permit seamless licensing across jurisdictions, simplifying the process for all the stakeholders. And this might be a significant step towards minimizing the unlicensed operations, thus increasing the players’ protection and the contributions to the social benefit.

Who is your favorite actor or actress?

Panagiotaros: Meryl Streep, rightfully called an actress of many souls; she is so versatile, that, in a way, she reinvents herself in every role she plays. But in parallel to her brilliant acting, she is my favorite for daring to be vocal on social protection and human rights.

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

Panagiotaros: I have travelled a lot around the world, Central Europe included, mainly on business. In my leisure travelling list, I have included a long road trip along the Eastern part of the region, hopefully to come true in 2018.

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

EEGMediaInterviews

Exclusive Interview with Christian Maglia, Head of Sales at BetGames.TV

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Our colleague, Szaló Réka interviewed Christian Maglia who is the Head of Sales at BetGames.TV.  Mr. Maglia is a really dynamic, proactive and open-minded person with great experience within business development (B2B Sales), marketing and management in the Payments, New Media and Internet Gaming industries. 

 

Through the years Mr. Maglia has been working as Sales Manager and Business Developer, Sales and Marketing Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing in Sweden, Italy, UK, Germany, Spain, Israel, Gibraltar and Malta with customers in UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Czech Rep., Bulgaria, Romania, Russia & CIS countries, Australia, Macedonia, Sweden, Turkey, Austria and India which naturally have given him a large network of contacts. From January 2017 he moved to BetGames.TV, a developer and distributor of an innovative own video-streamed fixed odds betting on LIVE presented GAMES.

 

I would like to thank you for spending time to answer our questions. First I would kindly ask you to shortly introduce yourself.

CM: It’s a pleasure for me to spend sometime with you. To quickly present myself, I can tell you that I started to work in the industry almost 17 years ago…..

After a few years spent between Italy, Malta, Gibraltar and UK working for a number of gaming companies (Globet, CBM, Mediabet.com) as well as platform providers (Wirex, Portomaso) and payment solution providers (the Swedish Trustly) I worked from middle 2014 to the end of 2016 as Director sales at Sportradar AG, the world’s leading supplier of sports related data and streamed content where I had the privilege to work with some of the top gaming companies like IGT, Snai, Sisal, Eurobet, Intralot, Novomatic, Admiral, Microgame, Pokerstars and many others. From January 2017 I moved to BetGames.TV where as Head of Sales, I developed the whole new Sales organization managing different territories and regions included Africa, Asia, South America and Europe.
If I look back at what I did in the last 17 years, I’d really have a lot to talk about. I can remember between the most important facts, being the one who brought the eSports into the Italian highly regulated betting market in 2016 or being the one who brought the first betting company on a Champions’ League match as main jersey sponsor of Real Betis Balompiè (Globet.com). During my years at Sportradar, I also was able to sell the NBA, Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A live stream of the matches to the main betting operator in the Italian Market…. Here at BetGames.

A few years ago BetGames.TV presented an innovation in the betting industry; a different approach and style of betting. Will you please tell more about this for our readers?

CM: BetGames.TV is a developer and distributor of its own video-streamed LIVE GAMES. They were created based on inspiration of quote by Leonardo da Vinci „Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication“. We combine traditional betting with popular lotteries and table games. They are simple enough for players to easily catch on to the idea. We provide solutions for retail betting shops and online platforms. We offer well known games to bet on their outcomes. Three different lotteries every 5 minutes, two dice games and Wheel of Fortune every 3 minutes and three non-stop action cards games.

What does BetGames.TV offer to the players that traditional roulette does not? Will you please tell more about the services BetGames.TV provides?

CM: First of all – we offer fixed odds betting. Yes, we have tables with beautiful presenters and sometimes our service is mixed with a live dealer solution. But we started this concept with the very own idea. And didn’t want to offer what others already do. We have very different risk levels – you don’t have such variety at the traditional roulette table. We have something for everybody. Low odds (high probability) for conservative players and sky-rocketing high odds (low probability) for the jackpot hunters. In the industry there are not many products what could offer multipliers in such wide range 1.01-2000.

I suppose that the advanced and fast developing technology influences the products your company offers. What impact does consumer technology have on your choices?

CM: I think it’s a great spot to mention that UAB “TV Zaidimai” (company behind BetGames.TV brand) claimed the 13th place in the “Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe”. Our achievement was greatly influenced by an imposing growth rate of 981% in the last four years. It takes passion, dedication, and innovation to join this elite group of the fastest-growing technology companies, and being recognized as a Fast 50 Laureate helps propel our company even further. BetGames.TV was growing up steadily from the very start. Thanks for a combined total of 100+ years betting and lottery experience of shareholders. New markets are reached and conquered every quarter by our superb sales team. New countries and new partners require innovative solutions – technical wise as well. And we’re accepting these challenges with a pride. For example, we have a solution for countries with limited internet connection. A dedicated satellite channel covers the whole of sub-Saharan Africa region.

What upcoming events is the company focusing on nowadays and how prepared is the company for these events?

CM: ICE and Enada Primavera. Everybody waits for exhibition in London. The biggest, the most important and the most visited event during the year. We are looking to meet many of our existing partners and greet a lot of possible ones. As a tradition we will distribute calendars with our beautiful presenters once again. And this year the calendar is very special. Trust me – it’s a collection of masterpieces. Come to our stand-gallery S1-102 and see yourself.
Then we will go to Rimini in March. It will be a first time with the stand in Italy. I’m very excited about that!

Tell us please about the future plans, projects of BetGames.TV.

CM: We will be working on development and improvements of games and service from different perspectives. Very interesting and challenging year is upcoming. As we’re going to enter the next level by offering bespoke studios for our partners. I can’t give you more details now but it’s going to be big in the future!

What do you think about the future of the European gambling industry, especially focusing on the markets you have more experience in?

CM: Although Europe is very much considered a “single state” in terms of economic significance, and is to some extent governed by legislation passed by the European Union, the individual countries are still ultimately responsible for passing their own laws. I hope that soon the legislation or regulation will standardize the gambling throughout Europe. Because now particularly online gambling, throughout the continent is quite a challenge. Personally, I would like to see no grey or black markets in the map. But that process will take some time.
From the Gambelli case of a few years ago to the latest development in different EU members states, I think that a pan-European gaming license is more than needed.

Talking of markets size, England and Italy are always the most important but today everyone is looking at countries and regulations like Spain, Portugal, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Greece… We are not an exception and we are very active in getting new licenses or certifications to be able to offer our games in more and more countries. We already have a UK GC license and the games were recently also certified for Italy (went live in September 2017 on Microgame network) and Bulgaria where we recently signed a very important deal with EFBet. Other certifications and licenses are expected for the next months but not only in Europe.

If you could make major changes in the legislation of these markets what would they be?

CM: I would make and effort in general to have the same rules for licensing or certification in different gaming legislations. You will find legislations in which we can offer our games because we have the lottery games and other where you can’t because of that. Legislations in which our games are categorized as fixed odds betting and other in which are considered casino games. I think an harmonization of rules and taxation is very important for the future development of the industry.

Which has been the most successful experience since you have worked at BetGames.TV?

CM: Last week we were in London at the SBC Awards with a nomination as Best Multi-Channel Supplier. But in the last two months we also were included in the Deloitte Fast50 technology companies in Eastern Europe and last week in Paris we entered the FAST500 in EMEA….
Also very exciting for me to actively work to bring our games to companies of the like of Stars Group, Betway, Game Account, BetCart, EFBet, Microgame, Snai, Sisal, Eurobet, Pinnacle, GVC, Betsson Group, iSOFTBet, NYX, SBTech, Hattrick.

Who is your favorite actor or actress?

CM: Hmmmm I’d say Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

CM: Sofia, Bucharest and Prague for sure but I also have to mention Sarajevo, Belgrade and Skopije. All those cities are growing so fast in our industry and I’m sure we will also visit them more and more often in the future.

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Exclusive Interview with Adrian Bailey, Managing Director, at Pariplay Ltd.

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Szaló Réka talked to Adrian Bailey, MD of Pariplay Ltd. Adrian is driven by thrill, excitement and passion and as long as something special is being created along the way he feels content.

 

We’d first like to ask you to introduce yourself. It’s always nice to hear industry professionals say a few words about themselves for our audience.

Adrian Bailey (AB): I have over 10 years’ experience in the gaming sector. I’ve previously held VP of Marketing and Managing Director positions at two of the world’s largest gaming companies, Caesars Interactive Entertainment and NeoGames. I’ve been instrumental in driving the strategy and growth at both firms, where I created, managed and led multiple marketing and operational teams.

My current role as MD of Pariplay focuses on driving the overall strategy for the development studio and our suite of platforms, as well as positioning the company as a major tech player in the global gaming industry.

Pariplay is a developer of online games and systems for the online casino and iLottery verticals. There are now many game developers out there, so what makes your company unique?

AB: We’re the largest supplier and aggregation platform of games to private lottery operators, and our speed of integration is very rapid due to our lightweight and modern code base integration. Another unique selling point is our innovation in game functionality.

We’re also the first iGaming company to launch an e-commerce solution for the private lottery industry, enabling bulk buying and checkout options on a game level.

 2017 has been pretty exciting for Pariplay. You’ve signed strategic partnerships with Playson, Twelve40 and iSoftBet, and partnered with Betsson, 777.be and many more. Would you say that you’ve reached all of your targets for this year?

AB: We’ve still got a lot of goals for 2017 and plenty more to come. We’ve achieved over £1.2 billion in bets and launched with 20 new operators so far, along with adding eight new vendors.

One of our biggest content partnerships this year was with GVC, which we signed back in May. We’ve only just integrated our first batch of games with the operator, spanning a range of GVC online casino brands.

In terms of content, we’ve launched eight new games this year. Looking ahead, we plan to bring to market even more content. Over the course of 2018, we’ve got plans to launch 20 original and branded titles.

We think Jack in the Box is an interesting game to bring to the online gambling industry. How well has it been received, and what was the main motivation behind this particular gamification project?

AB: The response has been impressive so far. It’s been our best launch to date, in terms of new and existing customers.

The main idea behind the game was to give the player a ‘greater sense of winning’, while increasing their sense of anticipation. For example, the ‘Big Wild’ is a very visual feature, which, if hit, has the potential to deliver a large win. We make sure that the player gets the opportunity to feel every feature.

As a closing question, we’d like to ask about your future projects. Could you fill us in on some upcoming launches and potential incoming partnerships?

We have another video slot title in our ongoing content partnership with Atari scheduled to launch early in the new year. The game will be a real nostalgia trip for those who remember the original Atari console games. It will also be packed with fantastic features and graphics for the younger players who don’t recall the arcade originals. Overall, we’re committed to launching one or two new games a month in 2018.

With regards to new partnerships, we pride ourselves on discretion. Basically, watch this space for some very exciting announcements in the not-too-distant future.

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Exclusive Interview with Michal Shinitzky, Managing Director at Pangea Localization Services

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Our colleague, Szaló Réka talked to Michal Shinitzky. With extensive marketing knowledge in her field, Michal brought her experience and professionalism to Pangea as managing director. Pangea, established in 2015, is a translation, localization and content service targeting online gaming, trading and cryptocurrency companies.With expertise in translation, localization and content, Michal has had over 15 years’ experience in various senior positions at some of the world’s largest online gaming companies.

Thank you very much for being available for this interview. First I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself.

 Shinitzky: Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I’m Michal, the Managing Director of Pangea Localization Services. I’m based in Cyprus but I’m originally from Israel. After years of working in the online gaming industry in various senior positions, I took matters into my own hands by launching Pangea in 2015. It’s been a fun ride ever since.

Pangea Localization Services is a translation, localization and content service provider offering a complete package of translation services in a wide range of languages, but it is also specialized in gaming-related content. Will you please tell us more about your company and why did you choose gaming?

 Shinitzky: Well, I’ve had over 15 years’ experience working at some of the world’s largest gaming companies like 888 and PokerStars. Not only am I considerably knowledgeable about this industry but it’s where I’m most familiar and comfortable. It’s one of the industries we target because I know what works, and what businesses in that field need in terms of content.

The company has been recently awarded with the “Rising Star Award” and the “Great User Experience Award”. We congratulate you for this great appreciation and achievement! What do these awards mean to you and your colleagues and will they affect the future of the company?

 Shinitzky: Thank you! We were very proud to have received these rewards by FinancesOnline. It feels great to have our services recognized and honored like that. I think it has encouraged and motivated us to work even harder. We’re now aiming to win even more by different reviewers – it’s sort of becoming an addiction (laughs). As our first official awards, they will definitely go down in Pangea’s history books.

Let us turn back now to the presentation of the company. Please tell us more about the services you offer and which are the languages that you can provide services in?

 Shinitzky: Pangea offers translation and localization services in over 40 languages including French, Russian, Arabic and Chinese. We also provide copywriting services like article writing, blog posts, marketing material or web content. SEO services are also a major part of our business and blog management is, too. Other than content, we also provide localized graphic design.

What can you tell us about the projects you have worked on so far, and the difficulties and successes you have experienced?

 Shinitzky: One of our greatest and most unique qualities is being able to deliver projects quickly and in short notice – this is very rare in the translation industry and we’re one of the very few who do it. This may be a challenge for us at times but we always make the client happy in the end. One of our major strengths is our project managers who are extremely dedicated to their clients. We also have a strong team of translators who use the most modern and helpful technology. Our unique translation process works like a waterfall – we translate, proofread and deliver it all as fast as possible whilst maintaining quality.

Accuracy and professionalism are key values regarding translations and content writing. How can these be achieved? What are the most important factors and values that Pangea Localization Services considers important?

 Shinitzky: Quality and accuracy are the core essence of our brand. We ensure these values by hiring only qualified, professional and native linguists. Our translators and writers are also experts in their fields – they’ve got an extensive background in iGaming, trading or ICOs. This way, we provide an end-result that’s accurate, makes sense and uses the right terminology for the specific industry and market. Every translation performed at Pangea also gets proofread and reviewed by a second linguist. Products get QA treatment upon request to make sure that the content is of 100% quality with zero errors.

What is your opinion about the language gambling industry uses? Are there major problems, mistakes, which should not be used anymore?

 Shinitzky: Our linguists know the ins and outs of the gaming industry. They know how to communicate this field in any language. Our translators and writers make sure not to confuse certain words with other meanings. For example “push” in poker has a totally different meaning to its literal term. We know when to translate a word or phrase or when to keep the original term in English. There are many who would rush to translate a word when, really, the lingo or term should remain in its original language. At Pangea, we keep our translations authentic. We want the result to sound natural.

What upcoming events is the company focusing on nowadays and how prepared is the company for these events?

 Shinitzky: Our next venture is attending the ICE Totally Gaming expo in London. This is where our main target clients will be so we’re looking forward to being there and meeting many potentials. We’ll also be attending the London Affiliate Conference where more iGaming operators will be present. We’re always ready for these events. Our team always has a booth and company brochures and leaflets to give out.

Please, tell us more about the future plans of Pangea Localization Services.

 Shinitzky: Just like we help clients go global, I want Pangea to go global. Our ultimate goal is to continue growing as the leading translation and content service for the iGaming, online trading and ICO industry. We want to open more companies around the world and build a client-base globally.

Who is your favorite actor or actress?

 Shinitzky: Meryl Streep

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

 Shinitzky: Germany

What does success mean to you?

 Shinitzky: Success for me is when our reputation is known around the world. I’ll know that I’m truly successful when people start recommending Pangea for translation above all others. I want Pangea to be the first translation service that comes to mind.

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