Goodbye 2013**hello 2014!

Anli Kotzé: Chief Operating Officer, BetTech Gaming

What was the biggest occurrence/event/ launch for your company in 2013?
This year has been a transformative one for BetTech. The company has grown massively, with so many highlights that it is difficult to pick just one. We had our international launch in London at ICE 2013, our sports betting platform was nominated at an international industry awards, we received a South African National Manufacturers Licence, have made important personnel appointments and formed a number of high profile partnerships with operators around the world.

What do you think was/were the most exciting occurrence(s) for the overall sector in 2013?
One of the most exciting occurrences has been to see the number of brick and mortar operators inside and outside of the traditional gambling space looking to enter the web and mobile sports betting and casino industry. There is massive potential and opportunity for growth in the emerging markets for a sports betting and casino operating business.   
The development of mobile is major. Being able to engage on the go has changed the betting and gaming experience immeasurably and the rise of smartphones and tablets has brought a whole new world of possibilities. But it is vital not to overlook feature phones. They might be considered old fashioned by many but they are still the handset of choice in most developing countries, which are hugely exciting and rich with opportunity. We have our eye firmly on emerging markets like Africa and South America.

What about 2013 perhaps disappointed/irritated you the most?
It’s not really something that’s tied to 2013 specifically as it’s always been a force to deal with – regulations. The regulators are making an effort to speed up and improve on their end but there are still times when operators and software manufacturers are slowed down by outdated regulations.  The root cause of this seems to be sitting with the old regulations that need updating to be relevant for the fast paced technology environment the gaming industry operates in. It is an ongoing challenge for regulators to keep up with the pace of technology.

What is going to be big for your company in 2014?
Continued focus on our Enterprise Managed Solution service where we handle the entire operational side of a betting and gaming business, leaving our operating partner to focus on acquisition marketing and brand building. In 2013 we saw the value in mobilising our internal team to grow our partners’ businesses. Taking a partnership and revenue share approach has proved to be a winning formula for BetTech and our partners alike. We will continue to carefully select these partnerships in 2014.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
From Africa to Australia and Asia to the Americas – and many places in between – emerging markets will be key for us and we look forward to playing an active and integral role in their development.

We are also excited about going back to ExCeL for ICE 2014 with a bigger BetTech team and a wider service offering. That will ensure the year begins with a bang and should set the tone for the following 12 months. We had a fantastic response to exhibiting last year and developed numerous new business opportunities and supplier partnerships.

Andy Harris: Commercial Director, Realistic Games

What was the biggest event for Realistic in 2013?
Clinching deals with two market-leading operators in the shape of Paddy Power and William Hill has been a game-changer for the business. Having them put their faith in the quality of the content has confirmed that we’re on the right track. Ladbrokes has shown a similar confidence in us with the launch of our much-awaited stand-alone Roulette and Blackjack iPhone apps in the Apple App store – and their performance has not disappointed.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
The growth of and migration to phone and tablet across product verticals has been striking. It was the thing on everyone’s lips this time last year so it is no great surprise. But seeing it in practice has been a real eye-opener as to the speed things move at in this industry and how both operators and suppliers can be left standing at the roadside if they don’t adapt.

What about 2013 irritated you the most?
Certain instances of a slightly haphazard approach to exploiting this mobile opportunity by some operators hasn’t so much been irritating as baffling. The user experience is not enhanced by having dozens and dozens of games which clog up the real estate on their phone. What does enhance it is having a select number of really good games. Not only that, the effective use of user agent detection software will make sure the game is presented at its best on the device they are using. Operators need to put themselves in the shoes of the end user.

What’s going to be big for you in 2014?
We have some unique and proprietary content coming down the pipe in 2014 that we’re very excited about. We’re confident our customers and their players are going to love it too. We’re also hoping to expand our range of games by distributing them into some key new channels. As a result, it looks increasingly likely that we’ll have some interesting commercial deals to announce in the near future.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
As obvious as it may sound, 2014 – like 2013 – will be about mobile, mobile, mobile again. We fully expect further mobile penetration, improved devices and operating systems, and – just as importantly – greater adoption to deliver even more eye-watering growth and opportunity. Keeping on top of the constant developments is going to be the real challenge for everyone in our sector. If the last ones to get it could switch off their PCs we’d be very grateful!

Andrew Hughes: CEO & Co-Founder, AbZorba Games

What was the biggest occurrence for your company in 2013?
For a start-up in its 2nd full year there can be many occurrences which qualify, such as first moment of profitability in Jan (and grown all year) or the 2 millionth gamer install in Feb, or completing our entire game portfolio on Android and iOS in March… but perhaps the best though was reaching the coveted No.1 spot in Casino Games iTunes USA in August with our branded partner Tango.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
For us it must be the coming to tougher of two industry associations to form the globally recognised International Social Gaming Association powered by not only the likes of MGM, Caesars, Bally, Zynga but Abzorba having its place on the board to represent the whole social gaming sectors’s growth – a coherent voice for us all.
 
What about 2013 perhaps disappointed you the most?
2013 has been such a massive year for us it’s hard to see the bad stuff, but perhaps seeing the social gaming funding landscape change after the poor performance of the Zynga IPO. Focus has shifted away from social and more mobile centric now which is great for a mobile first studio such as AbZorba. Perhaps 2014 will see our fortunes change for the better – or perhaps we won’t need it at all!
 
What is going to be big for you in 2014?
As we grow exponentially the big event (and yes, challenge) will undoubtedly be how and when we enter real money gaming – but we intend to in 2014.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
The constant fast-paced evolution of social and igaming convergence; each may be not directly linked as a whole, but certainly each influences the other enormously. I enjoy watching us and our competitors just getting better and better at our game, pun intended!

Luci Apostolou:
    Sales Manager, iSoftBet  
 

What was the biggest occurrence for iSoftBet in 2013?
2013 has been a fantastic year for iSoftBet with a healthy selection of new game releases and exciting agreements with a range of big name online game operators. Our most exciting news however came in November when iSoftBet was awarded a Category 2 Alderney Licence, allowing us to offer both our online and mobile gaming content to a brand new selection of operators.  The licence was the cherry on the cake of a successful year for the company, and will really help to give us the edge over our competitors in 2014.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
Without doubt one of the most exciting occurrences this year was the opening of the US regulated market, which meant that we could take our games across the Atlantic and make our mark on brand new and exciting territories.
We were quick to secure exciting content distribution agreements with trusted eGaming platforms in the US which has allowed us to extend our reach to operators in lucrative US regulated markets.

What about 2013 perhaps disappointed you the most?
As with any company, each year comes with its fair share of ups and downs. As I’ve mentioned, this year our main focus involved securing contracts with some of the World’s biggest studios to create exclusive branded content for our customers. With such an intent focus on one area of growth, other objectives can fall by the wayside, and unfortunately we were unable to create quite as much mobile content in 2013 as we had anticipated, with 15 of the proposed 20 mobile games released by the end of the year. However, with the hard work and dedication of our developers, we’re confident that 2014 is going to be a huge year for iSoftBet mobile games.

What is going to be big for iSoftBet in 2014?
We’ve already got big plans for 2014, and we’re diving headfirst into the smartphone revolution by adapting our existing content for the mobile market as well as bringing all of our newest additions to the mobile gaming arena. Not only will this include our original content but also all of our latest and greatest branded games including Basic Instinct, Rambo, Kobushi and most recently Platoon and Beverly Hills 90210; thus enabling players to take our games with them wherever they roam.
We’ve been thrilled by the response we’ve received from our customers on the quality of our mobile and branded content and we’ve got some fantastic new titles in the pipeline for 2014.

What are yxou excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
The recent advances in mobile technology fuelled by increased sales of smartphones and tablet computers has led to an interest in feature-rich and user-friendly mobile gaming experience. Mobile gaming revenue shares have continued to rise and are expected to grow exponentially as sales of smartphones and tablets rise across all markets.  
We’ve been offering mobile games to players for as long as the technology has been available, but as the technology has improved, so have our games, and our experienced designers and developers continue to work hard to ensure that our mobile content is compatible across all mobile gaming platforms. It therefore goes without saying that iSoftBet will be putting a great emphasis on the quality and usability of our mobile content over the next 12 months, ensuring that players can get the most out of iSoftBet’s premier gaming content.

Nicky Senyard: Co-founder and chief executive, Income Access

What was the biggest occurrence for Income Access in 2013?
Given the diverse array of products and projects Income Access launched in 2013, it’s difficult to pick just one. We had our biggest technology launch in five years, offering ad-serving capabilities, channel attribution reporting, greater strategic control over ad campaigns and more sophisticated geo-targeting capacities.
Operating in the US market has also changed the way in which we’re working with the industry: while we continue to focus on iGaming, our mandate now also spans land-based properties and social gaming operators. We’re providing B2B and acquisition marketing strategy and implementation support in ways that are evolving to meet the needs of new segments of partners. Also with a US focus, we have launched a Social Gaming Network, the first network of its kind, which enables social gaming brands to leverage US gambling affiliates and traffic within the Income Access Network.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
No review of 2013 would be complete without focusing on the re-emergence of the regulated US iGaming market. The launch of Ultimate Poker, the country’s first legal site, in Nevada in the spring, and, more recently, New Jersey’s iGaming market going live on November 26th are landmark events as they pave the way for the rest of the country.   
While some pundits have been disappointed at the speed with which the US market has opened up, we’ve been thrilled by the opportunities and partnerships we’ve seen developing. It’s been fascinating to watch European iGaming suppliers partnering with land-based casinos in Nevada and, more recently, New Jersey. In addition to US market developments, though connected to them, the rise of social gaming has also been significant, creating numerous opportunities for established operators.

What about 2013 perhaps disappointed you the most?
We’ve watched over the past several years as US market regulation has evolved – albeit slower than anticipated – and we reached a major milestone when Nevada became the first state to launch online real money gambling. There is speculation that the opportunity in New Jersey, though, will far exceed that of Nevada. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the November 26th launch, when we’ve finally had the ability to start leveraging data analytics to identify metrics and a benchmark to support market potential speculation. We’re seeing encouraging signs that European and US operators, software providers and suppliers alike, are working together to build iGaming’s American tomorrow.

What is going to be big for you in 2014?
Since 2002, the company’s growth has been fuelled by our constant innovation, diversification and ability to anticipate market needs. We’ve grown into one of the world’s leading providers of affiliate software and management services for the iGaming industry. More recently, we’ve also diversified to include a full-service digital marketing agency in support of a cross-channel acquisition technology platform. 2014 will mark a significant shift towards providing business intelligence through data-driven insight. We have a number of technology developments in the pipeline to achieve this.
In addition to business intelligence, we’ll also be unveiling new developments for our award-winning software, including an enhanced version of Traffic & Campaign Optimisation. Phase two will include upgrades and numerous new features, such as banner and marketing material creation, re-targeting capabilities and sports-book feeds. In short, 2014 will focus on providing enhanced solutions that allow our partners to make strategic business decisions.  

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What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
As we touched on previously, in 2013 we’ve seen a convergence between European iGaming operators and suppliers and US land-based casinos. Global partnerships and knowledge sharing by industry veterans like Income Access will equip operators in emerging markets with the tools and insight they need for success. This year we saw the fledgling US iGaming industry gradually leaving the nest. In 2014 we’ll have regulated online real money gambling in the US market for the first time since 2006. It’s going to be an incredibly exciting year for everyone, as we continue to see a global iGaming community emerging.

Neill Whyte: Head of Product Channels, Microgaming

What was the biggest occurrence for Microgaming in 2013?
We’ve had a number of highlights in 2013; it really is difficult to pinpoint just one. We kicked off 2013 with the launch of Playboy Live Dealer which was an industry first; never before has a Live Dealer studio been associated with a brand that has 97% global awareness! The dealers are all dressed in the signature Playboy bunny costumes and the studio is as glamorous and opulent as the brand. In July we extended our relationship with Playboy to release our Playboy online slot and in September we launched the sequel to the highly acclaimed The Dark Knight online slot with The Dark Knight Rises online slot which was greeted with a very positive reaction from operators and players alike.  
Regulated markets remain a key focus for us and this year we’ve grown our presence in several key markets. Working with Betware, we won the Bingo and Instant Games contract for Danske Spil, Denmark’s national lottery. In Italy, a year on from the launch of slots, we have also signed agreements with some of the largest operators in that market, including Bet365, Lottomatica and Cogetech.
Last, but by no means least, Quickfire has had an impressive twelve months and will end the year with over 190 brands on its platform including William Hill, Sky Vegas and 188BET to name but a few. We also took our first operator live with Quickfire Poker and have seen a lot of success in Poker with the Blazing Cannon mini-game and Achievements, both of which are popular player friendly features.  

What do you think were the most exciting occurrences for the sector in 2013?
Predictable but for me mobile gaming is one of the most exciting occurrences in 2013. The mobile gaming market is rising at an exponential rate and there isn’t any sign of this slowing down. Microgaming has actually been in the mobile arena for almost a decade now. Back in 2004, we were one of the first casino games providers of Java games to the industry. In those days Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson were the main manufacturers of handsets and Symbian was the main operating system. App stores were unheard of and 3G was just a concept.
Now the market potential is there for all to see – software providers and operators alike. That’s why we’ve embarked on a rapid rollout of mobile gaming content – we now have 40 HTML5 games live in addition to Android specific games. HTML5 has been a crucial platform for us; it enables instant-play and is compatible with the broadest range of devices. We’ve built the tools necessary for success in the mobile gaming space and we will continue to develop this as the market grows.

What about 2013 perhaps irritated you the most?
The complexity and diversity of compliance requirements in different regulated markets can of course be frustrating, with every market presenting its own unique challenges. However, that said, regulated markets also obviously present plenty of exciting opportunities, as we’ve seen with Denmark and Italy. With challenge comes opportunity and we never miss an opportunity!

What is going to be big for Microgaming in 2014?
We have several announcements to make next year; many of which will coincide with ICE Totally Gaming 2014. One of our most exciting launches will be Avalon II The Quest for the Grail, sequel to the ever-popular Avalon, which has continued to be one of our top-performing slots since its launch in 2006. The Arthurian legend will return in February and after two years in development, the game certainly sets a new precedent in terms of slot creation. The 243 ways-to-win slot will take players through eight bonus rounds of captivating gameplay as they embark on their epic quest to retrieve the grail. Legendary by nature, the second instalment of Avalon will not disappoint.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
The capabilities of gaming on the go are endless; there is so much more to come in 2014 and beyond! For Smartphones and tablets, Koomey’s Law which is a recognised trend in the tech industry whereby for every 100 units of data that need to be processed the battery power required will half every two years offers an interesting opportunity when coupled with Moore’s Law, in that as processing power doubles every two years, the power required to accommodate that will half. This presents a lot of opportunities for us to produce bigger, more complex and more immersive games. All of this is why we don’t see mobile devices as a platform; we see them as a product line.

Per Eriksson: President and CEO, Net Entertainment    

What was the biggest event for you in 2013?
The most notable developments for us have been the launch of our own live casino product with the commercial launch going according to our plans at the beginning of the year.  Net Entertainment was proud to release our most recent branded game, South Park, which received fantastic recognition from our partners, and their customer base. A lot of focus has been on our mobile games developments in 2013 which was recognised and awarded with the prestigious “Mobile Provider of the Year” award. Our continued drive to expand our reach into the UK market has also been successful with the launch of several high profile customers.
 
What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
The rapid development of the mobile gaming sphere has been hugely exciting and is probably one of the most important takeaways for the sector in 2013. The growth of mobile offers new and exciting opportunities for user interaction, content distribution and product development advancements, as well as accessing and engaging new demographics.
Net Entertainment firmly believes in the potential of mobile in the gaming industry and we’re excited about evolving our product suite to compliment the new devices and technologies available.

What about 2013 irritated you the most?
We operate in a more complex environment today, which to a large extent is driven by the on-going regulation of our industry. The regulatory compliance, and certification frameworks varies between market to market, and one of the important tasks ahead is finding a better way to harmonise technical standards to achieve a more common approach to our regulatory market entries.  Regulation brings both challenges and opportunities to the market, and harmonising the process would help define a clearer path and standard for suppliers and operators.

What is going to be big for you in 2014?
We have an exciting and strong roadmap for 2014 which will add positive business value to our partners and their operations. We put extensive work into every single part of our development chain, and we can proudly say that we are delighted with every new release we to push to the market.
At ICE 2014 we will be revealing our latest branded slot title. In previous years we have launched branded slot games such as Frankenstein, Scarface and South Park, which have been very well received by the general market and we are very excited about its prospects.
Next year will be an exciting time for Net Entertainment as we build and develop both upon our new growth and expansion areas whilst furthering our reputation as an innovative and quality driven supplier.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
The sector continues to show huge growth potential. The market is buoyant with new jurisdictions, product developments and technological enhancements, all of which present clear opportunities for Net Entertainment to build upon its great offering to our customers.
Mobile, of course, offers great excitement as we see how the vertical and player trends develop which in turn helps stimulate innovation and quality; a field Net Entertainment excels in.

Helen Hedgeland: Managing Director, Evolution UK

What was the biggest launch for you in 2013?
Ahead of the extension to our mobile offering, and even ahead of becoming the first and only (at the time of writing) Live Casino provider to gain a temporary licence for New Jersey, I would have to say it was the launch of our Immersive Roulette product. With Immersive Roulette we’ve created the world’s most advanced online Live Roulette game. Immersive Roulette is Live Roulette presented in much the same dynamic style – with multiple camera positions and close-ups of the action – we have come to expect from coverage of live sporting events.
In the Immersive Roulette area of our Riga studios we have multiple HD cameras set up around the Roulette table that follow every movement of the ball around the wheel. There are close-ups and slow-motion replays, all captured in 200 frames-per-second High Definition video, so online players really do become immersed in the live game. It’s a very dynamic viewing experience because although the camera sequences follow a general pattern they are randomised so nothing’s ever predictable. Of course, players still have the live dealer talking them through the action and the end result. However, the visual confirmation of the live game action, and the clarity with which it is presented, is both exciting and doubly reassuring for players.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
I would say the opening up of the US market – and more specifically New Jersey from a Live Casino perspective. Although this is only a small step in the much bigger picture of the US market, it is a very significant step. In many ways New Jersey will be seen as a model for the entire market. Developments there, and decisions by regulators and operators, will be monitored very closely. It has taken a long time to get this far and it is almost inevitable that the opening up of other States will not take place for some while. Nevertheless, things are moving and you can sense the excitement and anticipation.

What about 2013 perhaps irritated you the most?
Inconsistencies in regulations and delays in new jurisdictions coming to market are always frustrating. We have a track record of achieving first to market advantage for our licensees in new markets, so we always strive to be ahead of the curve. Very often that means working alongside regulators and adapting to the various iterations of the emerging rule book. There is a lot of work for regulators to get through, though, and new regulations typically take longer than originally anticipated.
What is going to be big for you in 2014?
Well, 2014 will immediately kick off in a big way for Evolution with the opening of our new studio in Malta. Scheduled to go live in Q1, Malta will be our second central studio, extending the facilities currently available at our main central studio in Riga.
Riga is already Europe’s largest single-site casino operation with upwards of 115 live tables. Malta will add capacity for a further 50-plus tables and will the home of our international dealer teams and native speaking dealer tables.
Early 2014 will also see the opening of the in-venue live studio we are creating for Casinó Campione in Italy. I think this move by Casinó Campione will register in a big way with the land-based operator community. We have been saying for some time that there are many exciting opportunities for land-based casinos to extend their offering online and maximise the value of their brands.
One way they can do this is to use services from an existing Live Casino studio – our Riga studios, for example. Alternatively, the casino can install and run a dedicated in-venue live studio on the gaming floor of their land-based casino. That’s what Casinó Campione has chosen to do, but they will also supplement the choice of live tables at their in-venue live studio by offering generic tables hosted in Riga.
With an in-venue live studio the land-based casino can offer a seamless offline and online service, while also cross-promoting services and drawing in more players via each channel. Part of the strategic progression will typically be the implementation of a single loyalty system. In that way existing land-based customers can be incentivised to supplement in-person visits to the land-based venue with online play. Likewise, new customers, including new demographics, can be attracted to the online offering and then incentivised to visit the land-based venue.
As you might expect, we also believe mobile to be a big area for Evolution and its licensees. We have taken a careful and considered approach to the rollout of mobile.  Results in 2014 look set to justify that approach as more and more players supplement their Live Casino play on desktop devices with incremental play on tablets, and increasingly on smartphones. Our full product offering is now available across multiple devices. In each case the mobile solution has been optimised specifically for each device’s screen size and OS. Also, when we make a game available via mobile we make all tables available not just one or two.
Mobile has huge potential for growth, particularly with the rollout of 4G and faster connections, However, we are confident that, overall, mobile play will not cannibalise play on desktops/laptops. Mobile will drive incremental growth by being a complementary access channel, not an alternative channel.
Finally, there is arguably no bigger market than the US in terms of both its potential and its iconic status in the gambling world. We will continue to consolidate in Europe and to expand into other new territories, but North America will be a big focus area for us – not just New Jersey, but Canada too.

What are you excited about heading into 2014?
4G rollout is very exciting, as is the continued strong take-up of tablets and smartphones. Mobile service provision is set to get ever-more competitive and affordable, as more and more customers look to access the services they want, and at the quality they demand, thanks to faster connection speeds.
As always, we are excited by the opportunities that emerge when jurisdictions regulate or re-regulate. There are a number of such markets in Europe and further afield where we are monitoring developments very closely.
And actually, we are quite excited by the number of new competitors looking to take a share of the Live Casino market. This is healthy competition and will drive us to deliver even greater levels of innovation, choice and flexibility for our licensees and their players.

Steven Spartinos: Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Kiron Interactive

What was the biggest event for Kiron in 2013?
The biggest event for Kiron in 2013 was the successful migration of our virtual sports products from a betting shop environment to a casino environment. Our multi-station gaming terminals went live in Vietnam in October and have proved a big hit with both operators and customers. We’re expecting to roll them out across other territories in 2014. Our suite of Race Day virtual horseracing loyalty and marketing products have also been popular in casinos and have opened up new markets to us.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
The most exciting thing as far as we’re concerned has been the continued evolution of server-based gaming in land-based casinos. The days of providing a standard suite of table and slots games are fading as operators are becoming increasingly interested in showcasing new products and content to their customers. They need to as the tastes have changed. In such a competitive industry we are seeing a move towards a more cost-effective and dynamic server-based offering. At Kiron Interactive we are well-placed to assist.

What about 2013 perhaps irritated you the most?
Regulatory red-tape is the bugbear of every company in our industry, particularly in emerging gaming markets. Although regulation is a necessity the challenge for regulators across the globe moving forward, is to make sure due diligence is carried out without tying up legitimate businesses in lengthy and costly regulatory processes.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
The emergence of new markets in new territories is always exciting. But the evolution of casinos in existing territories is equally interesting. We are witnessing innovative styles of gameplay which will appeal to new customers and help maintain the loyalty of existing ones.
Non-traditional, and in particular sports – and virtual sports – betting, is going to become an essential part of that mix. The casinos that break the mould will be the ones that survive and prosper.

Fredrik Elmqvist: CEO and founder, Yggdrasil Gaming
 
What was the biggest occurrence for you in 2013?
For Yggdrasil it was a lot of things but mostly that we were able to achieve a great deal with just a few heads; launch in two jurisdictions, sign a client in a nationally regulated market, expand our game engine into slots and get our own Lotto studio up with live draws. All of these things demonstrate the agility in our business operation model. And even more importantly we have attracted some clever and dedicated people that make a huge difference day in day out.
 
What do you think were the most exciting occurrences for the sector in 2013?
To be brutally honest we didn’t have too much time to monitor all the occurrences in the sector. But from a macro perspective it appears that operators are far more agile in their product leaving 2013 than when entering it. Not necessarily that the word ‘backlog’ will be a memory of the past, just that we tend to see more agile models which is also very good for Yggdrasil moving forward. Also it is interesting to see all the new and recent ventures coming up, taking place and performing so well in a short period of time.
 
What about 2013 perhaps irritated you the most?
Not enough hours in the day, but I can’t do anything about that!
 
What is going to be big for you in 2014?
To finally launch the much anticipated Lotto7 product and to start seeing its potential. It has generated lots of interest already but putting together something new like this was a big challenge. The studio, draw equipment and presenters have been ready since the summer but getting all the pieces of the financial puzzle, as well as getting it licensed, took longer than expected. We finally went for a solution whereby we finance the €2.5m jackpot seed guarantee ourselves, which makes it cheaper and less risky for the entire chain.
 
What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
I’m sure other people have said this, but the situation in the US is very exciting. Now that New Jersey is open we could see a domino effect with other states looking to regulate online gaming. We will monitor the situation closely.

David McDowell:  Co-founder and chief executive, FSB Technology (UK) Ltd

What was the biggest launch for you in 2013?
It has to be launching our managed sports betting service for GentingBet. We spent the last three years building our live sports betting platform and algorithmic pricing technology and it was a thrill to finally get this to market.
Although we run some large-scale fantasy football games including for Metro Newspapers, we started the year without any meaningful scale to our sports betting services. We ended the year, however trading a dozen sports and with our in-play technology for football and tennis comparing extremely favourably against more established brands.

What do you think was the most exciting occurrence for the sector in 2013?
State-by-state regulation in the USA finally becoming a reality has to be the biggest development in online gaming in 2013. I cannot believe it has been seven years since UIGEA threw the industry into prohibition. Unfortunately sports betting is off of the agenda at the moment, but hopefully these first three states will pave the way for more to come on stream and/or federal regulation; a growing market is good for everyone. At FSB Tech we are constantly looking at innovative ways of using our live sports betting technology to enter the US.
What about 2013 perhaps disappointed you the most?
It is the same challenge that every entrepreneur faces; it is tough to build-up a track record and win flagship customers when you are trying to deliver new solutions to a market with established suppliers. However, once these barriers are broken down, the benefits should be substantial.  I understand risk-adverse thinking; no one ever gets fired for picking the same software that their competitors are using. We are really fortunate to have Metro Newspapers and Genting as early adopters. Both showed a real desire to do things differently and break out of the status quo.
 
What is going to be big for you in 2014?
We have a number of really exciting contracts in the pipeline that will showcase the technology we have put together. I cannot really go into great detail, but the convergence between live sports, social engagement and mobile access is truly exciting. We are trying to create an entirely different in-game experience for consumers using the strength and flexibility of our regulated platform.

What are you excited about for the sector heading into 2014?
It would be amazing if the Supreme Court chose to hear New Jersey’s case against PASPA, but I am not going to be holding my breath.

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