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Exclusive Q&A with Joakim Renman, CCO at Scout Gaming

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Is DFS the perfect alternative for sports fans who reside in jurisdictions where sports betting is still unregulated? How much of a crossover is there between sports betting and DFS fans?

Fantasy sports is an integral part of the modern sports fan and the crossover is near perfect. Our data shows that sportsbooks that offer DFS can see a significant increase in the time customers spend on site, the money they spend and the trust they have with the brand. Of course, this works both ways so for operators limited to DFS at present they have the potential to unlock powerful cross-selling opportunities once they are permitted to offer sports betting.

For us it does not matter whether the market is regulated or not. The Scout Gaming platform is modular so can be adapted to any market and in particular any regulatory requirements that have to be met. We want as many operators as possible to leverage the potential of daily fantasy sports so we have built our products and services to be customizable in a short space of time and with very little effort.

DFS has been growing in popularity around the world continually over the past few years. What aspects of this vertical cause it to be so appealing to the new generation of players entering the market?

I think it has a lot to do with the complexity of daily fantasy sports when compared with sports betting. Players are far more invested when creating their teams than they are when simply betting on the outcome of a football match. DFS offers additional layers of engagement, it is a more sophisticated product and poses a greater challenge.

It also helps players to connect with the sport on a deeper level. It creates an emotional attachment that carries over to the DFS products they are playing and the brand they are playing with. Ultimately, DFS players see the game differently to a sports bettor and this in turn enhances their joy of betting and gambling.

The social aspect of DFS is also a big draw for players. Sports betting can be solitary but with DFS there is a huge community of like-minded players. There is a lot of content created around DFS and people like to talk tactics and strategies and share performance stats on social media. Of course, DFS is a community-driven game at heart as it requires high levels of liquidity to offer the best player experience.

Some industry commentators believe that being able to continually offer the customer something new and different is a core aspect of player engagement. How important is innovation to Scout Gaming and what are some of the most exciting innovations available in the market? What does the next level of DFS look like?

Innovation is key and that is why sportsbook operators are looking to add daily fantasy sports to their offerings. Sports betting has remained fairly stagnant for a number of years now; players are offered the same odds, markets and bet types. To take their propositions to the next level, operators need to add more variety and DFS provides this.

Here at Scout Gaming we are incredibly focussed on developing new features. Our international real money network liquidity solution for paid DFS has put us miles ahead of any competitor trying to break into the market.

Add to this our bet recommendation engine, Betflex, unique playing features like Pursuit, Late Swap, Safety Net, Bet-on-my-Team, Player Performance Odds, Player Sportsbook, Player Matchups and you can see why we are at the cutting edge of the fantasy vertical.

That we’ve done all of this on Web Components, a new technology from Google that looks set to become the standard in the gaming space, means we can maintain a fast pace of development to remain ahead of our rivals.

This really is a new universe where the sky is not even the limit.

New innovations such as the Scout Gaming Fantasy Player Odds Markets are a great way to further integrate two different audiences. Is DFS the perfect complement to sportsbook products and how big Is the cross-selling opportunity?

According to our internal data and analysis from one year of numbers from a client success story, typical sportsbook players who are exposed to Scout Gaming’s fantasy products have 22% more active days, 14% more turnover and 7% higher GGR on the partner’s sportsbook.

The effect on sportsbook performance from heavy fantasy sports users is even more drastic. This leads to 35% more active days, 45% more turnover and a 20% increase in GGR on the sportsbook.

In addition, iGaming partners see an extra 3.9 active days per user per month. Finally, 54% of users in full seasonal games are retained for 9+ months, greatly reducing customer churn.

This proves that DFS is a perfect complement to sports betting since it offers sportsbooks vital product differentiation while substantially increasing GGR and improving user active days and turnover.

The esports sector has experienced unprecedented growth recently and offers great growth opportunities for potential market entrants. How can verticals like DFS help operators successfully tap into these online communities and keep them engaged?

Regular sports do not have communities in the same way that esports and DFS do. Esports in particular is consumed online and via channels such as Twitch and Youtube where community engagement is encouraged and celebrated. Because esports is consumed in an online world, players are far more connected to the game being played and to related products.

The same applies to DFS; it is community driven and players have a much deeper engagement with the sports, teams and players they are “betting” on. By offering DFS, traditional sportsbook operators can tap into these communities and, given the cross-sell potential mentioned above, unlock tremendous growth as a result.

DFS products have seen great success in key regions such as North America, Australia and is still yet to fulfil its full potential across Europe. What regions do you see offering the best growth opportunities in this sector and what can we do as an industry to push DFS to the next level?

DFS is forecasted to represent somewhere in the range of 2.2%-3.2% of the entire European real money wagering market. With a total market size of €24.7bn, this represents a total addressable DFS market of €550m-€700m, much of which is still largely untapped. With the US market having already surpassed the $500m mark and growing at a steady pace, we definitely see Europe as a significant market and one that will grow at a much faster pace and with less competition.

How did the lack of live sports affect the DFS market last year? What can DFS operators do to better protect themselves from these instances in the future?

The key is to not focus too much on a single sport or set of leagues and instead offer enjoyable experiences that span literally any sport, league and with multiple ways to play.

We were able to face the challenges of the pandemic by having all of our technology, IP and knowledge in-house; this allowed us to immediately cater for whichever sport or league was available at any given time. Whether eSports, Taiwanese Basketball or even minor local leagues, we were able to make sure that the music never stopped playing for our operator partners.

Scout Gaming reported a 54% revenue increase for Q1 of 2021. What do you think has been the key driver of this growth and how can these levels be maintained going forward?

There are several factors behind the growth we recorded in Q1. We are constantly improving our product which in turn allows us to gain even more traction with existing and new operator partners. As our liquidity network is shared between all of our partners, the more operators we add the more attractive our product becomes to new customers.

This is because we can offer bigger prizes and also invest in the development of new games, betting types, markets and so on.

In terms of continued growth, we are set to go live with several new partners including two tier 1 operators, both first of its scale and size. Our sportsbook has also seen a significant increase in traction of late and we’ll be “completing” the offering with the addition of key features such as Live Betting, Bet-Builder, Cash-Out and of course a few Easter Eggs spawned from the intersection of fantasy and sports betting. There is incredible momentum behind the business right now and I am excited for the rest of the year.

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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GDWC Launches Mascot Design Competition, Winner Rewarded with Cash Prize!

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The Game Development World Championship (GDWC) is looking for a fun and friendly mascot to represent the championship, the fun of playing games, and all the hard work game developers do to make the games happen. To find the right kind of mascot, GDWC has launched an open competition for mascot designs and will reward the winner with a cash prize of 1000 euros.

“What do you think the mascot should be like? We’d want it to be friendly and funny, and to be connected to gaming and game development. It can be 2D, 3D, 2.5D, or 4D if you want. Let your ideas flow free!” GDWC describes the competition.

Additional cash prizes may also be given out for exceptional work and fun ideas. Designs can be submitted to the competition until November 28th. Submissions can be made and more details found on the competition website at https://thegdwc.com/mascot-design-competition

The Game Development World Championship is a global online competition for game developers across the world and for all kinds of games on all digital platforms. The 2021 Championship enrollment is currently open and has recently broken all previous participation records with over 2000 development teams from over 100 countries joining in.

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PushFar and Limit Break team up to improve diversity in gaming industry

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PushFar, a mentoring and career progression platform, has partnered with Limit Break, a mentorship program in the games industry, to help improve diversity, inclusion and equality.

Limit Break is using PushFar’s platform to offer a mentorship program for underrepresented people working in the UK gaming industry. Recent figures show that 70% of people working in the gaming industry are male, compared to 28% female and 2% non-binary workers, and that 10% of people are Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME).

Founder Anisa Sanusi established Limit Break in 2019 when she found it challenging to find a mentor in the gaming industry. She recognised the value of guidance and role models for underrepresented genders, LGBQT+ and people of colour, with representation in the workforce significantly below the national average of those in work.

Limit Break turned to Pushfar for a solution because the popularity of the mentoring program meant it was time consuming and required scaling. PushFar set up an accessible and intuitive platform, making it easy to match members based on their specific profiles, and allowing the program to have international reach. The platform also enables people to connect with people from specific backgrounds through a self-matching feature. Limit Break now has up to 700 people on their mentoring program, and has seen an increase in member retention.

Ed Johnson, CEO and Founder of PushFar, said: “Having a mentoring relationship is often noted as being one of the most beneficial things you can do for career development. Employees feel motivated and supported when they see senior leaders with whom they can relate. Limit Break has recognised the advantages mentoring can bring to their industry, and taken an active role in addressing diversity and inclusion issues through it. We’re delighted to be part of this solution and hope that our platform will help more people from under-represented groups join the games industry”.

Anisa Sanusi, Founder of Limit Break, said: “Actively mentoring candidates enables us to facilitate connections for a young workforce to those with experience. We want to help to keep the games industry rich with diverse talent and passion, and hope that our program will enable more people from under-represented groups to join the industry. Creating a mentorship program can be a time consuming and complicated task, but by using PushFar we’ve been able to make it simple and easy for everyone involved.”

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MGA | Updates to the Gaming Authorisations and Compliance Directive & Key Function Eligibility Criteria Policy

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The Malta Gaming Authority is hereby publishing a series of amendments to the Gaming Authorisations and Compliance Directive (Directive 3 of 2018). The amendments mainly relate to the following:

  • The overall number of key function roles and their underlying responsibilities;
  • The deadlines by when certain key function requirements are to be observed;
  • The persons who shall shoulder responsibility in the absence of duly appointed key function holders;
  • The manner and form in which declarations and assurances are to be made by auditors on behalf of licensees during submission of audited financial statements; and
  • The applicability of suspicious betting reporting requirements.

These amendments are being published together with a Policy on the Eligibility and Ongoing Competency Criteria for Key Persons. This Policy is intended to revise and collate the existing eligibility criteria while also introducing authorisation renewal requirements related to continuous professional development for existing key persons. Moreover, the Policy clarifies the MGA’s position regarding the compatibility of key function roles with each other in light of the amendments to the Directive.

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