Ahead of the Betting on Sports Europe conference (7-9 June, Twickenham Stadium, London ) Christos Tzalavras Director of Sportsbook Products for Kaizen Gaming provides a tier-1 operator perspective in optimising multi-market sportsbook portfolio to meet the unique demands of a Winter World Cup…
Question: What makes Betting on Sports Europe stand out as an event?
Christos Tzalavras: As with all SBC events, Betting on Sports Europe presents a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with partners and industry leaders; explore ideas, and reflect on established and innovative concepts. What’s more important is that this year, we can finally enjoy the physical event and engaging interactions we had taken for granted and which we dearly missed during the covid restrictions.
It is particularly exciting to explore new angles that such interactions and gatherings provide, discuss new ideas or build on already established concepts, all in the scope of continuous improvement, which is what defines us at Kaizen Gaming. As per our motto, we never stop challenging ourselves, always looking for new ways to improve our work, our product and our services, with our ultimate goal being to offer an impeccable customer experience. These stimuli have also been deriving from panels, discussions, and interactions during the previous Betting on Sports events and this is why we are always excited to participate; that is also what we expect from this year’s event.
Question: How are you preparing for the upcoming World Cup?
CT: One of the hottest industry questions this time of the year! The exciting Qatar World Cup is around the corner, with a peculiarity for the industry and all sports fans around the globe, it taking place -for the first time- in November and December. The new environment that will accommodate this important event plays a key role in the internal, preparatory discussions here at Kaizen Gaming. Without giving away any spoilers about what our customers in 10 different countries are about to experience, we are definitely focusing on the correlation between the time of year the 2022 World Cup is taking place and the actual environment and habits of people during that same timeframe.
Adding a local touch is always key in our strategy, despite our challenging expansion plans. Moreover, you can expect product-led enhancements and innovations that will cater for a competitive customer experience for both recreational and more savvy/experienced audiences. Last but not least, I expect the cross-selling angle to most probably be more evident than in previous tournaments for obvious reasons. We are confident that this will turn out to be another big event where our customers, under the two brands we operate, Stoiximan and Betano, will enjoy a superior online sports betting experience as they have always done throughout the years.
Our focus has always been and will continue to be on customer experience, rather than the commercial targets; the latter ones we are sure are going to subsequently follow -as they always do- if we live up to our expectations and promise for a smooth, exciting and high-quality customer experience across touchpoints. I can reassure you we are very passionate about it and we are working tirelessly to achieve it.
Question: What industry innovation will capture the most attention in the next 12 months?
CT: This is a very interesting question, one that I am afraid I do not have an equally interesting answer to. Innovation is difficult to predict, but that’s what makes the disruption, convenience and excitement (among others) it can cause so unique.
Now, having said that, I believe that our industry has been struggling to add innovative elements on the product side of things, for some time now; most of the ones that have found their way to customers are usually in the form of the enhancement of a proven concept (of course with some shiny exceptions to the rule, such as the bet builder).
Personalization, the solutions ML&AI technologies can provide have been part of the discussion for a long time in a GameTech company such as Kaizen Gaming, the same applies to blockchain and its applications and I expect all of them to be here for some time Additionally, the metaverse and its potential involvement in enhancing the experience of betting on live sports will most probably become -if it is not already- part of the industry discussion on the subject. In the medium term, we also expect exciting things coming out of the US market, that could easily become the centre of attention. I think this more or less explains why events such as Betting on Sports are important for the industry so that we can create sparks, which we then take within our product development teams and/or innovation hubs adding to the equation angles that had not been explored before and could lead to innovation.
Question: What core challenges do you help solve for your customers/partners?
CT: Our passion at Kaizen Gaming has always been to offer top-quality customer experience across touchpoints; an overall exciting proposition that covers the demanding needs of today’s punter. We focus on softening out even the slightest bump in what we envision as a smooth, frictionless customer experience. This is our obsession and what our exceptional, enthusiastic and highly capable team is working on a daily basis so that we can provide products and services that enhance the entertainment experience of our customers. In a nutshell, we are very good at identifying pain points in experience, passionately working to solve them and then moving on to the next challenge.
Question: What are you hoping to learn from the conference at Betting on Sports Europe?
CT: As mentioned before, I think Betting on Sports is a great opportunity for deep-diving into existing issues and ongoing industry discussions while also exploring new angles that could potentially solve long-lasting customer experience and industry issues.
I have already singled out panels & discussions that are focused on the nature of sports betting in 2022 and beyond, while as I am sure you can assume, there is a special interest in regards to building value into the product experience, which I am sure will provide us with interesting points of view and different approaches. Last but not least, since Kaizen Gaming is expanding rapidly , we will be looking for valuable insights in the panels focusing on new emerging markets and the challenges these entail.