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Women at Reflex | Surj Stott Interview

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Women at Reflex | Surj Stott Interview
Women at Reflex | Surj Stott InterviewReading Time: 5 minutes

 

Each year, the 8th March marks International Women’s day (IWD). In 2021, let’s pay attention to this year’s bold theme which is, ‘Choose to challenge’.  The time is now to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes with the aim to forge an inclusive world.
It will come as no surprise that the gambling sector is both very white and very male. The lack of women working in senior positions is astounding.  Of the women who do work in the sector, they are more likely to work in retail, HR or administrative functions. The Gambling Commission’s recent annual report has confirmed that women are gambling in similar numbers to men. If we want games to be representative of the players, it’s important that teams creating them offer a diverse and varied perspective. In which case, encouraging more women to work in the sector can only be positive.
We chat to Surj Stott – Head of Sales at Reflex Gaming to discuss her incredible journey from a run-away, wayward teenager to helping build one of the UK’s leading machine producers.  We get her views on what she would choose to challenge on IWD.


1. Hi Surj, tell us about your role at Reflex Gaming

I head up the sales and marketing function, so customer account management is a big part of the job.   Along with Steve Clark, I help manage our customer relationships.  At Reflex, we pride ourselves on great partnerships with pub retailers, operators and our AGC customer base.

Day-to-day, I also manage our production schedule and liaise closely with our production and logistics teams to ensure that our games are delivered to customers on time.

I’m also responsible for planning our events, including major expos, such as ICE, EAG and ACOS. I really enjoy this side of things, due to my love of people and socialising. The cancellations of both EAG and ICE this year have been a blow for Reflex, as both events are important marketing platforms for us to showcase our new product lines.  They also provide a great opportunity to speak to our customers and learn their requirements and find out what is performing well on their estates.

2. How has the global pandemic impacted on Reflex Gaming?
At the start of 2020, the outlook was positive for Reflex, we were acquired by the Dransfield Group in 2019 and we had established ourselves as one of the country’s leading machine suppliers to the pub and club sectors.

The first lockdown resulted in our entire customer base being closed which wiped out our forward-looking orders.  We consequently made strategic decisions to fast track our drive to the online space. We have formed strategic alliances with two major distributors, Yggdrasil and Stakelogic. These give us the opportunity to penetrate the online slot market quickly and get our games in front of more players via their vast distribution networks. This is typical of the Reflex psyche in that, being faced with the biggest negative impact imaginable to our existing business, we have leveraged opportunities that have been unaffected by the pandemic.

However, it is very disappointing that the Government have given very little support to manufacturers and suppliers to the leisure and hospitality industry. Supply chain companies like Reflex have simply slipped through the Government’s support net. Other than the furlough scheme, we’ve had no additional support and it has been a real struggle to operate for 14 months with, effectively, no income.  We have tried to lobby for a business support grant and a rates relief, but with no success to date.

I am a strong character and I’ve managed to remain positive throughout the pandemic.  We need to focus on the future and there is now some light at the end of this long tunnel, through the impressive vaccine rollout which has resulted in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.  Right now, it seems that the leisure and hospitality industry will reopen in April/May as planned, and if people opt for “staycations”, these will be positive steps to ease the recovery of the sector.

3. How did you get into this sector?
I grew up in Leicester in a first-generation Indian family.  At the age of 15, my parents had arranged for my marriage to a goat farmer, based in India.   My instincts told me that it did not feel right, and it certainly wasn’t a life I wanted. I took the drastic step to do a runner, and I haven’t looked back since!

As you can imagine, leaving home at 15 was tough, but I was fortunate to have a good network of friends who helped me through the situation.  I’m thankful that I didn’t end up in the wrong crowd.

I was running a successful Nottingham city centre pub in my early twenties, following which I established my own bar in Newark. This meant working very long and unsociable hours, and with a young child, often proved to be difficult. I decided that more of a 9-5 job would better suit my home / work life balance and I mentioned this in conversation with one of the customers in my bar, who happened to work at a local gaming machine business called BWB.  An opportunity came up there, so I applied. I was interviewed, got the job, and began my career in gaming at BWB. After a while, I moved into a sales role and it was whilst I was working here that I met my husband, Quentin, (these days the MD of Reflex Gaming).

4. What would you tell your younger self?
It would be to trust your instincts.  At 15, my decision to leave home was very much a “Sliding doors” moment.  Although it was the risky choice, I went with my instincts. Fortunately, I have no regrets.
Also understand that sometimes you may have to work harder and apply more attention to detail than some male colleagues.  Enjoy the journey and don’t be afraid to be yourself!

5. What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
When I first started my career in this sector, sadly, I did experience both racial and sexual discrimination.   I don’t get easily intimidated and the discrimination ultimately made me a stronger person. I have proved myself with great determination irrespective of other people’s prejudices.

However, I have witnessed much progression in the industry since I started. I am seeing an increasing number of women in senior positions who have progressed from junior roles and long may this continue.

6. The International Women’s day theme is, “Choose to Challenge”, what would you choose to challenge?
I passionately believe that there is no place in the world for bullies. Whether this happens in school, at work or your community. We need to take a collective stand against it. I cannot bare people who belittle others to make themselves look superior! Call them out for what they are. I’ve met a few bullies during my career and behaviour like that should be confined to the Skip of history.

7. What message do you want to send out to young women who are considering a career in this industry?
The i-Gaming sector has opened a huge host of career possibilities.  There are jobs ranging from game design, graphic design, software development, marketing, etc. You will be able to unleash your creativity and let’s face it, the end-product is fun. There is never a dull moment in gaming.

It’s changed a lot since I started in 1996.  It’s more politically correct without being woke.  This is an exciting vibrant industry with a lot of great people in it.  Although the gambling sector might not be everyone’s first choice of industry as a career, for me, it’s been a blast and I’ve made a lot of friends from it. I met my husband, and I’ve had opportunities to meet some very interesting and successful people along the way.

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.

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Alpine Esports transitions to Alpine Sim Racing, announcing partnership with G2 Esports

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  • Alpine Esports re-brands to Alpine Sim Racing in a commitment to the sport.
  • A brand-new partnership with G2 Esports formed, sharing similar goals and values to compete in an expansive range of competitions in sim racing.

A New Beginning:

With the 2023/2024 F1 Sim Racing World Championship concluded. Alpine Esports re-brands to Alpine Sim Racing to further showcase a commitment to the sport. This change will elevate the competition as the team looks to compete in an expansive list of other Sim Racing titles alongside F1.

Alpine Sim Racing x G2 Esports

This revolutionary partnership with G2 Esports will further support the commitment to Sim Racing, allowing the team to drive results at the top of the grid across multiple sim racing programs.

“It’s a very exciting time for the newly branded Alpine Sim Racing Team, this new collaboration with G2 symbolizes a new era and new hope where combined our focus will be on constant progress, a shift in priorities and vision of the past, our aim is to project Alpine Sim Racing into championship contention in the coming years” said Daniel Ritchie, Global Director Sponsorship Acquisition, at Alpine.

“This partnership promises to elevate Alpine Sim Racing’s performance and competitiveness, fuelled by G2’s expertise and Alpine’s commitment to excellence” – said David Gendry, Global Marketing & Communications Director at Alpine

“At G2 Esports, we strive for competitive excellence and we see those values mirrored in Alpine, which is why we’re excited to announce our partnership together as we work towards the future of Sim Racing. Sim Racing is an incredible opportunity for not only gaming and esports fans, but also general fans of F1 and it has the unique ability to bring multiple communities together for the love of the race and motorsports. This partnership is a turning point for G2, we believe in the future of Sim Racing and Alpine will enable us to keep bringing trophies home, with an incredibly passionate, data-driven, and technologically advanced partner by our side.” – said Alban Dechelotte, CEO, G2 Esports

“We are absolutely delighted to announce our partnership with Alpine F1. As two like-minded, forward-thinking and ambitious brands within our respective sports, It was evident from the very beginning of our conversations that the synergies between Alpine and G2 are numerous. Sim Racing is the perfect vehicle to connect fans of wider esports with the worlds of motorsport, car culture and cutting-edge technology, all of which Alpine excel within.

Alpine matches our desire to win, our desire to disrupt and improve every space we operate within, and our desire to elevate racing in all forms, whether in a digital or real-world arena. Our track record within F1 Esports is one of success and we are looking forward to returning to the grid alongside Alpine and delivering them a programme to be proud of.” – said Nathan Tague, Head of Sim Racing, G2 Esports

 

The post Alpine Esports transitions to Alpine Sim Racing, announcing partnership with G2 Esports appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Meridianbet (Golden Matrix Group, Inc) Launches AI-Powered Online Casino Game Recommender

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Meridianbet, sports betting and iGaming operator and part of the Golden Matrix Group (NASDAQ: GMGI), a developer and licensor of online gaming platforms, today announced the launch of an AI-powered casino game recommender.

This tool is designed to optimize user engagement and gaming experience and boost player loyalty.

Personalized iGaming Powered by AI

Meridianbet’s AI Casino Recommender uses advanced AI to offer personalized game recommendations based on player behavior, previous activities, demographic data, and individual preferences.

How It Works

The AI engine analyzes extensive data to identify unique player patterns and preferences, providing recommendations in two sections:

  • Games You’ve Tried: Highlights games that players have already played.
  • Games You Might Like: Introduces new games based on player behavior and preferences.

Ongoing Model Updates

The AI model is trained daily to stay current with player behaviors and preferences, ensuring accurate and engaging suggestions.

Success Metrics

Key metrics from the first month of use show:

  • 3% increase in user engagement with recommended games.
  • 9% increase in engagement with new recommended games.
  • 12% decrease in engagement with unrecommended games.

Upcoming Upgrades

Future improvements will include more detailed demographic details and playing patterns to enhance search functionality.

Unique Competitive Advantage

Meridianbet’s AI casino recommender focuses on enhancing user experience and platform ergonomics, making the gaming experience more enjoyable.

Strategic Fit and Market Potential

This feature aligns with Golden Matrix Group’s strategy to leverage advanced technology for user engagement and growth. The broader ecosystem includes:

  • Meridianbet’s sports betting and iGaming services across 18 markets.
  • RKings’ tournament business in the UK and Ireland.
  • Mexplay, an iGaming operator in Mexico.
  • GMAG, a B2B aggregator service for over 800 online casinos worldwide.

 

The post Meridianbet (Golden Matrix Group, Inc) Launches AI-Powered Online Casino Game Recommender appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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MERKUR Community support England Hockey’s Olympic Legacy vision

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The MERKUR UK Community project which is funded by the company and its high street customers is supporting an initiative aimed at identifying the nation’s Olympiads of the future following a £10,000 award to promote England Hockey’s ‘Pick up a Stick’ campaign whose motto is Play: Celebrate: Inspire.

With the opening ceremony of the 2024 summer Olympics taking place 26 July in Paris, England Hockey is aiming to harness the momentum and profile of the Games to drive awareness of the sport and in the process to create an Olympic legacy based on increased participation at all levels.

Tony Boulton, MERKUR UK’s Director of Public and Political Relations has overseen the launch and implementation of MERKUR Community. Confirming the latest award, which takes the total generated by MERKUR Community to over £60,000 since its launch in January 2024, he said: “As a global celebration featuring athletes from 196 nations participating in 329 events across 32 sports the Olympic Games provides an unrivalled opportunity to engage with current, lapsed and most importantly generations of new players.

“England Hockey oversees the sport’s management and development, spanning from grassroots initiatives to elite-level activities and the MERKUR Community funding will go towards facilitating coaching courses so clubs can train additional members to deliver hockey sessions in the local community providing equipment for the ‘Adopt a School’ campaign and developing a tool kit of interactive digital resources.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to help fund the work of England Hockey and encourage greater numbers to play the game regardless of their previous hockey experience.”

 

The post MERKUR Community support England Hockey’s Olympic Legacy vision appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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