Published with the permission of Casino Beats.
As many organisations within the wider gaming and gambling environment have aimed to adapt, or enhance, online outputs in recent weeks and months, many igaming supplier’s have continue to enact 2020 expansion strategies.
One such example is Relax Gaming, whose global footprint continues to grow as the firm’s roster of proprietary and third-party content gains further strength on a weekly basis.
Here, Casino Beats catches up with Daniel Eskola, CCO of Relax Gaming, who talks through markets that are currently on the radar, country specific requirements and compliance shortcuts.
CasinoBeats: Which markets are Relax focusing on currently? Where do you see the most potential for growth?
Daniel Eskola: Our main focus is Europe, but our distribution spans far and wide across the world. Servicing regulated markets has been central to our expansion strategy since the company’s inception and has made a significant contribution to our rapid growth over the years.
With the pace of legislative developments in the igaming sector, new opportunities come and go on an annual basis. Our ambition is to be live in all viable regulated jurisdictions over time, and we’re well on our way to getting there.
CB: What research is conducted before entering and gaining market share in regulated jurisdictions, and how do you prepare for entering more mature markets where existing suppliers have a stronghold?
DE: First and foremost, we gauge the total size of the market, the annual growth rates and also the make-up of the competitive landscape. This preparation is key to establishing our strategy to make a strong entrance, but also in calculating the profitability. We want to ensure that we can support our key partners in the markets that are important to them.
Regulation obviously plays a major role in that too, as well as considering the cost points for taxes and fixed fees. We have utter confidence in the Relax value proposition, which has allowed us to quickly gain ground in markets that are highly competitive.
Our partnership programmes offer a range of integrations and commercial models, with light support for larger suppliers through to a full-service offering for smaller studios that can significantly gain from the additional support, especially in terms of compliance and sheltering opportunities. These benefits come with competitive pricing too, as well as the ability for partners to easily move into markets once we’re live there.
This is fundamental value add that sets our business apart and has been key to breaking through in established territories. The addition of our own high-quality content, which is increasing month-on-month in popularity with both players and operators, has also helped to raise awareness of the Relax brand and land major partnerships within the top-tier bracket.
CB: Do you tailor portfolios to suit country-specific player preferences? How big a role does localisation of content play when growing a business in a recently entered market?
DE: Differentiation is still key for our customers and often localised content is part of that strategy. Bigger suppliers can offer quality and sometimes volume but that doesn’t give them the variety in their portfolio to fulfil this need.
Thanks to the technical ability of our aggregation platform and the 50 plus game studios connected, we offer excellent coverage of high-quality global content but also localised games from multiple studios which excel in developing country-specific titles. This local touch matters, especially in markets where players show a strong preference for specific game types, themes and even mechanics.
Ever-shifting demands are making the nuances of individual markets ever more pronounced and offering a platform that can be tailored to cater for these differences is becoming an absolute necessity. Global game releases will always carry weight in a portfolio’s appeal, providing they are executed to high standards.
CB: How closely does Relax work with its partners to deliver a bespoke range of content?
DE: It’s all about collaboration and open dialogue. Our account management and partner teams work hand in hand with supplying the operators with bespoke content that aligns with their business goals, be it exclusive content, big network titles, games that differentiate from up-and-coming studios or content of more local nature for specific casino brands.
Our strength comes from integrating with many high-quality studios who can support the needs of our operators on a market-by-market basis. From a studio’s perspective, we can assist our partners with wide-ranging support that covers commercial outreach, as well as providing appropriate performance data and insight, to help them make the best games possible for the target audience.
CB: What are the benefits of offering compliance services to your partners?
DE: We feel that the gaming industry as a whole has a lot to gain from content derived from younger studios, due to the innovation that drives them. Very often, unfortunately, though operated by experienced and well-connected industry professionals, they’re faced with an uphill battle to secure initial integrations and develop connections to broaden the scope of distribution and drive return on investment.
Looking at the bigger picture, we place tremendous value on supporting the studios that can continue to raise the bar on content development and drive progression in the industry. Most of our Silver Bullet partners have all the skills they need to produce fantastic games and their financial resources are better utilised on game development rather than heavy compliance services that we can offer them instead.
CB: What are the pitfalls that face companies that don’t have an aggregation partner or invest in compliance?
DE: Compliance shortcuts can truly make or break a release. If a game never makes it to market, all investment in the initial development was wasted. There’s also risk of reputational damage that might hinder a studio’s chances of acquiring clients. Financing a third-party or an in-house compliance team can be costly, so in many cases partnering with an aggregator could be a studio’s best option.
Aggregators provide operators with peace of mind, quality checking all content and allowing them to take a chance on a new format or studio should they wish. This allows small suppliers to focus on what they do best, which is building innovative content that deserves wide distribution.