Exclusive Interview with Tassos Panagiotaros of Golden Race
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.