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Exclusive Interview with Morten Ronde, CEO of the Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA)

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Our colleague, Szaló Réka interviewed a true veteran of the industry, Mr. Morten Ronde 

 

Morten has 18 years of experience from working in the gambling industry.

His background is in gambling regulation. He started his career in the Danish State Lottery and worked later 12 years as legal counsel for the Danish Gambling Authority. During his time as a regulator he drafted the Danish online gambling reform that allowed for open licensing of betting and online casino operators in Denmark. The Danish gambling model is still considered one of the best gambling regimes in the world and has inspired many countries to adopt similar regulation.

Morten received the ”European Regulator of the Year Award” in 2010 from the International Masters of Gaming Law.

Since 2012 Morten has been working in the private sector of the gambling industry and has been advising clients in all sectors of the industry on regulatory affairs issues.

Morten acts as CEO of the Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA), a trade association for online gambling operators in Denmark and as Director of Education and Association Development of the International Masters of Gaming (IMGL), the pre-eminent global gambling law network.

 

Mr. Rønde, thank you very much for being available for this interview and answering our questions.
You have 18 years of experience working in the gambling industry. My first question would be: what is your opinion about the European gambling industry in general? What differences or similarities, problems arte there, that worth talking about?

Ronde: In some ways, the gambling industry has not changed much since I started working in it. It is still the same overarching concerns that all countries have when they license gambling: Prevention of crime, player protection and raising revenue for the States. The type of products that the industry offers are also the same but obviously the technical evolution has impacted the way the products are offered and to whom they are offered. Regulatory compliance plays a much bigger role today than it did 18 years ago and looking forward, I believe ever increasing regulatory requirements is a great threat to the financial viability of the business.

There was a gambling reform in 2012 in Denmark. Which were the most useful and best changes this reform has brought for this industry?

Ronde: The Danish gambling reform was really a win-win solution. The players got more choice of exciting games and higher payout. The Danish State benefitted from a massive influx in tax revenues. In 2016 the betting and casino market was up to almost €600 mEUR in GGR and the Danish State collected approx. €150 m EUR in various taxes from this market. This makes the Danish market among the best performing markets in Europe.

How much did all these changes contribute to the fact that the Danish gambling model is still considered one of the best gambling regimes in the world, and many countries intend to adopt similar regulations?

Ronde: The numbers speak for themselves. When the numbers for the online gambling market in Denmark are shown to regulators in other European countries they attract a lot of attention. There is still interest in various European jurisdictions in adopting DK-style regulation.

What is your opinion about the legislation framework of the East European countries? Will you please make a short comparison with the situation in Denmark as far as the online gambling industry is concerned?

Ronde: It’s difficult to see the Eastern European market as one – as it would be to see Western Europe as one. The legislative frameworks in the Eastern European countries vary a lot from viable to completely unworkable. Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries have adopted far more liberal approaches and have opened their markets to operators wishing to play by their rules, without imposing exclusionary market entry barriers. Of course, all of the countries have their own issues which makes life a little harder on market entrants.

Czech Republic and Poland have on paper “opened the market” but the conditions set out for operators are so restrictive and cumbersome that it makes little sense for operators to enter these markets. As these countries have not yet been able to create viable markets for operators and local players which means that numbers are not growing the same way as they could.

What do you think about the future of this market particularly in your country and generally in Eastern Europe?

Ronde: Some markets in Eastern Europe are on a good path and seeing growth year on year. Examples of such markets are Romania and Latvia. Other markets need reregulation to succeed. The regulation in the Czech Republic was very disappointing for the industry and it is not likely that it will meet its potential. Hopefully, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland will introduce (re)regulation in the immediate future.

You are one of the main speakers invited to the Mare Balticum (Baltic Sea) Gaming Summit, 2018. What do you intend to speak about, of course without revealing the speech itself, will you please just give an outline of the topic you are going to present?

 

Mare-Balticum-banner Exclusive Interview with Morten Ronde, CEO of the Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA)

 

Ronde: In my speech, I will try to give update on the things that are going on in Denmark and in the Nordics in general and I would like to make a comparison with the latest regulatory trends in the Eastern European countries.

Since 2012 you have been working in the private sector of the gambling industry advising clients in all sectors of the industry on regulatory issues. What are the clients’ most frequent problems, question you can help in?

Ronde: As a former government regulator, my expertise lies in the regulatory field. What I can give my clients is an insight in how regulation works and in best practices for regulation throughout Europe. My clients are operators, suppliers and other service providers on business strategy who need assistance with regulatory compliance or lobbying projects to influence local regulation. Among my clients are also local governments who need training or assistance with understanding best practices in gambling regulation.

Tell us please about your future plans, projects regarding your professional life.

Ronde: I have recently opened Nordic Gambling which is a Nordics facing law firm with two other partners and together we have opened offices in Copenhagen and in Stockholm. We will be focusing a lot on the Swedish market in 2018 and 2019 as it is expected to open for licensing of betting and casino in the near future. With our experience in processing licence applications for operators in Denmark, we believe that we will have a strong platform for assisting gambling operators with being licensed in Sweden.

Who is your favourite actor or actress?

Ronde: I do not have favourite actors or actresses per se. These days I watch much more TV-shows on Netflix and HBO than I watch movies. The latest show I watched was the second season of Stranger Things where Winona Ryder makes a great performance and comeback as actress.

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

Ronde: My favorite place in Central Europe is by far Budapest. I really like this city, the climate, the relaxed life-style and the friendly people there.

What is your hobby? What do you like doing in your free-time?

Ronde: In my free time I like watching sports, drinking good wines and enjoying time with my kids, my girlfriend and my friends.

What does success mean to you and do you consider your career a successful one?

Ronde: In all modesty, I think I have done well so far but there are many things to achieve yet. Success is not a goal in itself, for me it is important to have a job that challenges me and allows me to be involved in projects that impact the industry. I think I am very lucky to have a job which enables to me to travel and to work with interesting projects and people from various countries.

What motivates you? What are your sources of energy?

Ronde: Having an interesting and challenging life at work and in private is what motivates me and gives me energy.

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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EEGMediaInterviews

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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