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A new series in Casino International Online – this month: Simon Murphy, Head of Gambling EMEA for FremantleMedia Enterprises
How/when did you first get involved with the gaming industry?
In the late 90’s I was working for an interactive development company in Manchester. This was in the middle of the .com boom and online gaming was really starting to take off. One of our major projects was to develop an online casino from scratch and I was very involved in the commercial structure of the deal as well as the product development and marketing.
What attracted you to this sector?
At the time I didn’t really think about it, but looking back I think there were two main things that fascinated me. Firstly the fact that physical forms of gaming had been around forever and the Internet created such a huge and exciting opportunity. Secondly, the psychology of people spending their hard-earned money on gaming as a means of entertainment. This still intrigues me now and has shaped my belief in creating products that appeal to players at various levels.
What were you doing prior to the gaming industry?
The great thing about working within a technology service provider in the 90’s was the breadth of sectors we got involved with. Personal highlights included working with Liverpool FC, Everton and Manchester United on various web development projects. Unfortunately I never got to work with my beloved Bolton Wanderers!
What are you responsible for at FremantleMedia Enterprises?
I’m responsible for all commercial brand extensions into the gambling space within our EMEA territory. As a result of the great TV programmes generated by our core business, I get to work with brands like The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Family Fortunes. We are also bringing third party brands into the space such as Space Invaders, Connect 4 and Trivial Pursuit.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in your time?
I think technology advancements and the way people adopt content via new devices has got to be up there. When you think that remote gaming has a history of less than 20 years, it’s staggering to see how far the industry has come in a relatively short period of time.
What are the biggest positive factors for the sector right now?
Convergence of technology and consumer take-up of new devices. Also, regulation of our industry across a wider range of individual territories.
And what are the negatives – the obstacles to growth?
Getting games through development to release is not necessarily an obstacle but certainly a challenge for many. At a time when content developers should be increasing output in order to meet growing demand from Operators and consumers, there do seem to be a number of bottlenecks.
Looking at your entire career, what do you think was your smartest move?
Joining a start-up web development company just before the Internet boom really kicked-in. This gave me lots of experience across multiple sectors and also taught me a lot about new ventures.
And the dumbest one?
Turning up in London for a really important meeting that I’d actually scheduled to be in Liverpool!
Where do you hope you’ll be, professionally, in ten years’ time?
In a regulated US market! Or working as a green-keeper having figured out the next big thing in online gaming!
If you’d never embarked on this career, what other line of work would you have liked to pursue?
Something more directly involved with sport.