Connect with us
Midnight Princess - Power of Love slot game by Play'n GO
Midnight Princess - Power of Love - Slots game by Play'n GO

Interviews

America’s got talent

Published

on

America’s got talent

 

Operators and suppliers must attract the best talent in the business if they are to achieve their ambitious goals in what is a highly competitive market. We sat down with Brady Eagle from Van Kaizen to learn more.

Talent acquisition is one of the greatest challenges for organizations in North America to overcome, with the demand for experience and skill on both the operator and supplier sides high. But with the first half of the year marked by micro and macro-economic challenges, set against the maturing of the online gambling sector in the US and Canada, the pace and scale at which organizations recruit have slowed significantly.

With some of those challenges now behind us, it looks set to be business as usual for operators and suppliers when it comes to identifying and onboarding talent for the rest of the year. To learn more about current recruitment trends, including where the supply/demand balance currently sits, we spoke with Brady Eagle, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Van Kaizen.

 

Advertisement
Stake.com

How has the recruitment space in North America played out so far this year?

Recruitment in 2023 has been quite different to years past. Where there were hiring bursts from the end of 2020 to the end of 2022, the first half of 2023 saw a perfect storm of micro and macro-economic factors that hit all around the world, including North America, that slowed down the pace of talent acquisition.

These factors included the USA hitting five years post-PASPA with share/stakeholders telling companies to stop spending money and demanding they become profitable, and even layoffs hitting the iGaming sector which we hadn’t really seen before.

Off the back of a challenging six months, the second half of the year was always going to be the timetable for companies to pick back up hiring. Come the end of July the speed at which companies were looking to onboard new talent accelerated ahead of the busy fall sports seasons, along with the continued anticipation of iGaming state expansion.

So, we have seen a steadying out of hiring across operators, suppliers, and the wider iGaming ecosystem (including newer niches in North America like media and affiliates), with the main hires coming across product, digital marketing and commercial roles including sales, account management, customer success, etc.

Advertisement
Stake.com

 

What have been the main challenges faced and what impact has this had on talent acquisition?

The biggest challenge in 2023 was the economy’s ups and downs and the ripple effect this had on the industry. It was important to educate those in the iGaming space that the layoffs that were happening in the North American economy were mostly across the digital and B2C sectors and especially at the ecommerce power players (Meta/Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) that had expanded exponentially during and post-Covid.

It was a reminder to clients that the iGaming sector isn’t affected as much by economic volatility as other industries are, and that it can even see a slight uptick during an economic downturn. So, for roles in competitive spaces like product and digital marketing, companies need to continue with those hires before the next upturn when they will find themselves back in competition with organizations from both the iGaming and other sectors. This was a tough message to get across at times.

 

Advertisement
Stake.com

What are the biggest hurdles organizations are up against when it comes to attracting the best talent? How can these hurdles be cleared? What does talent expect from an organization?

One of the biggest hurdles is the competitiveness within North America’s iGaming and sports betting space. With the industry being regulated for five years in the States, and even more recently in Canada in Ontario, it’s become mainstream to the point where even the most novice of bettors and/or those interested in casino want to work within the industry. iGaming is seen to provide the stability that some industries currently lack, with the ability to grow versus more mature industries that have become stagnant.

These hurdles of identifying and hiring talent can be cleared by having a very streamlined interview process, from candidate introduction and interviews, to offer, to the onboarding stage, to the candidate starting with the company. So many times, we see the interview process get off to a great start only for the final interview and offer to happen after one or two weeks of waiting during which time the candidate has potentially moved on to another opportunity. In such a competitive market, companies just can’t hand this sort of advantage to their rivals.

 

Where is the balance between supply and demand currently sitting? Which roles are in the highest demand?

Advertisement
Stake.com

In the iGaming and sports betting space, you’ll always see product managers, digital marketing (especially acquisition and CRM) and commercial roles (sales, business development, customer success) as being those that companies are looking to identify top talent for.

When it comes to the supply and demand of candidates, companies very much have a need for iGaming/sports betting talent, especially for Lead, Manager, Director and above levels. They need these candidates to have started/built/conceptualized and led a product roadmap end-to-end, or for them to understand campaign management on the marketing side or have a good “rolodex” or client base to be able to “hit the ground running” on the commercial side. So, the supply-and-demand, while getting bigger as a whole, is still pretty finite for senior-level roles.

 

Do North American businesses prefer to hire from within the US/Canada? Or is there a preference for experienced talent from Europe? What is driving this?

Unfortunately, most companies in the US are tied to immigration laws where they are only able to use US citizens or those with a Green Card (permanent residency). Even more so now, we are starting to see companies (like those in other industries in the US) wanting candidates to be located within the metro where they are headquartered or have a hub so that they can be a weekly hybrid company. With that, we are seeing an advantage handed to those companies that are still offering fully remote working.

Advertisement
Stake.com

On the Canadian side, there’s a little more flexibility, but most companies want to have the candidate based in Ontario and ideally within Toronto. But, if they are in a major metro area like Vancouver, Calgary or Montreal, there’s scope for remote and hybrid working.

 

How’s the recruitment space shaping up for the final quarter of the year?

Most companies have weathered the storm of the first half of the year, and things are starting to pick back up. With conference season in full swing with SBC Barcelona having just taken place and G2E in Vegas and SBC Latin America in Miami on the docket for the end of this year, you’ll see companies celebrating their successes by hiring across sales and business development, marketing, and product.

The continued (and more recent) push is for those with iGaming and especially iCasino experience as there is hope for more states to launch iGaming next year – Rhode Island is ready and raring to go – and the need for them to start to prepare for that given how much of a revenue driver it is for organizations.

Advertisement
Stake.com

 

Any final thoughts you’d like to share about recruitment in North America?

I think that recruiting will be back to somewhat steady and normal levels in 2024. With the steadying of inflation (as of September, at least!) and potential new jurisdictions coming down the line or launching, it should be another exciting year for both operators and suppliers to continue to carve their way to more market share on the B2C side, or to be able to get in and bring their product to operators on the B2B side. At Van Kaizen, we look forward to supporting clients on the hiring side, along with finding that new adventure for candidates.

Continue Reading

eSports

How Esports Companies Can Address The Confusion Around Gambling

Published

on

How Esports Companies Can Address The Confusion Around Gambling

 

An exclusive Q&A w/ Gary Denham, Founder and CEO of Wamba Technologies and Gamer’s Oasis

 

What inspired you to found Wamba Technologies and develop the patented esports platform, Gamers Oasis?

My motivation was the void of wholly accessible online gaming competitions. Wamba Technologies, in conjunction with Gamers Oasis, aims to create a platform where gamers can engage in fair and constant competition, free from any suspicions of impropriety, while winning money as a result of their performance. Basically, players will be able to pay an entry fee into an online competition, compete, and win money back if they place well enough in the competition.

Advertisement
Stake.com

 

Could you elaborate on why the misconception of esports as a form of gambling exists despite the legal framework distinguishing skill-based competitions from games of chance?

This misperception arises from the similarities between online esports competitions and traditional gambling activities, particularly where participants are paying an entry fee and vying for monetary rewards. However, at the most basic level, it comes from industry ignorance. 

Anyone who has actually looked at this or participated in esports knows this is no different than tennis, golf, NASCAR, motocross, etc. This just happens to take place online. Aside from that, there is really no difference.

 

Advertisement
Stake.com

In your recent Forbes article, you draw parallels between online video game competitions and the financial structure of online poker. How do you see this comparison influencing the perception of esports within the regulatory landscape?

This comparison sought to underscore the potential revenue from esports while addressing any misunderstandings regarding its classification as gambling. By framing esports within a recognizable regulatory context and emphasizing its skill-based nature, the intent was to facilitate clearer guidelines and regulations conducive to industry growth. Beyond that, I also wanted to illustrate just how much untapped financial potential exists in the industry, which I aim to capitalize on with Gamers Oasis.

 

How do you think the historical context of online poker and its impact on the perception of online gambling influences the current discourse surrounding esports and its legal classification?

The confusion and misconceptions stemming from the past have contributed to the ongoing debate over whether esports should be deemed a form of gambling, despite its inherent emphasis on skill. Here is where it becomes very clear: remove the internet from the equation and consider the question again.  

Advertisement
Stake.com

Has anybody looked at “real life” video game competitions as “gambling” in the last 40 years (aside from Las Vegas trying to get their hands on it, and failing)?  Of course not.  So why would featuring the same exact competitions on the internet suddenly somehow magically make this gambling? 

It doesn’t. Ergo, this is CLEARLY not gambling.

 

What measures do you believe are necessary to establish clear guidelines and regulations for esports, ensuring both consumer protection and industry growth?

Nothing governmental. I think where esports are concerned, regulators need to stay out of it. 

Advertisement
Stake.com

Will they? Only time will tell — but we don’t regulate golf, NASCAR, tennis, or any other sports. Sure, they each have their own rulemaking bodies, but those are not governmental entities, nor should they be.  

I think that to make an exception for esports would set an extremely dangerous precedent and open up all sports to such regulatory oversight. Quite frankly, the day I see the government actually make something in corporate America better, I may be willing to revisit this sentiment. Until then….

 

How much of the gaming population do you expect to be interested in a platform like Gamers Oasis?

With approximately 660 million actual and potential esports players globally, I expect a significant portion of the gaming population to be interested in a platform like Gamers Oasis. Hundreds of millions of players are traveling to various locations to participate in competitions already.  

Advertisement
Stake.com

To give them the ability to simply access this from the convenience and comfort of their own home is something that has gone over exceedingly well in all other comparable situations which we’ve seen. Banking. Shopping. Poker. Collectibles. Multiplayer, casual gaming. Now we’ll see it with video game competition.

 

What can you share about monetization issues in esports and how Gamers Oasis plans to tackle the problem?

Monetization challenges in esports often stem from an attempt to mirror the traditional sports’ viewer-based model, where money is made by bringing fans out to stadiums or by encouraging them to buy merchandise.  In this model, revenue comes from ad sales and sponsorships in addition to gate sales and merchandising. 

While that works with traditional sports, it doesn’t translate well to esports. However, with the ease of access to gaming reaching an exponentially larger number of players than traditional sports reaches viewers (basically, not everyone can throw a baseball, but 40% of earth’s population plays video games), focusing on a player-based model that encourages everyone to participate, rather than merely making them a viewer, can produce far greater emotional attachment to the sport resulting in more participation time, more monetization opportunities in general, and ultimately, as a result, more revenue. Simply put, viewers generate some revenue for the sport, but players can be worth much much more than viewers. In video games, every viewer is a potential player, so, let’s make them players!

Advertisement
Stake.com

This is where Gamers Oasis will shine. We are developing technology that will allow players of all skill levels to compete and to know that they are engaging in fair competition. Basically, you could be a bad player, but know that you will only be competing against other bad players, giving you a real chance to win money. This is something that nobody else has seemed to be able to produce in a meaningful manner.  We have a way to do this and to ensure this fair play. When anyone can win, all will play.  When everyone is playing, the industry experiences exponential growth.

 

Looking toward the future, what do you see as the future of esports, more specifically in terms of regulatory frameworks and industry development?

One of the fundamental problems esports has had up until now is there is no universal set of guidelines. As I said before, I firmly believe that the government is not the answer.  

With our patent, one of the things we intend to do is to have all parties who are licensing the patent join us in setting up core guidelines for all games which feature our technology.  We see this as a sort of a start in creating that centralized entity which can help establish and enforce certain guidelines, keeping it as a consensus based entity composed of the major parties who are involved with us in these endeavors, a democratic approach of sorts, with us primarily facilitating the laying of the foundation.

Advertisement
Stake.com

 

What kind of a relationship do you envision between the casino industry and the esports industry?

Casinos are all about entertainment, and esports bring a whole new level of that to their customers. The possibilities are exciting in that whole new esport-themed experiences can be hosted within casinos. And as casinos seek to diversify their offerings to attract younger demographics, esports present a lucrative opportunity for engagement and revenue generation through esports betting and tournaments themselves. 

I think that third-party betting should be separated from any true esports platform. A true esports platform should only have the player paying their entry fees and should not involve third parties wagering on the outcome when they are not actually involved in the competition.  

This is where the casino industry comes in. The casinos can be a distinct and separate entity to facilitate those kinds of transactions, keeping them wholly separated from the platforms featuring esports. 

Advertisement
Stake.com

One of the major reasons for this separation is age requirements. A true esports platform should allow kids (with parental permission) to be allowed to compete just as they do in real life. However, I feel very strongly that wagering on anything as a non-participant should have some restrictions, as it has the means to cause harm to younger, developing minds. By separating the two, we can keep the competition platforms “kid friendly” while still serving the needs of the audience that seeks the other service.

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

Why is LatAm such an important market for 3 Oaks Gaming?

Published

on

Why is LatAm such an important market for 3 Oaks Gaming?

 

3 Oaks Gaming is beginning to establish itself across regulated European markets, but now it has a focus on gaining a footprint in the rapidly evolving Latin American region.

We spoke to 3 Oaks Gaming’s Account Manager LatAm, Henrique De Simoni, about the distributor’s plans for LatAm and the overall appeal of the region.

 

3 Oaks has recently signed multiple deals in LatAm. How did those deals come about and are there plans for any more partnerships in those territories?

Advertisement
Stake.com

It is fantastic to sign a range of deals across LatAm, initially in Colombia and Mexico before sealing a number of agreements in Brazil. Colombia, in particular, is now a mature jurisdiction and entering the market there first ahead of other regulated territories was something that we felt was a sensible move for us.

Luckia and BetPlay are two of Colombia’s foremost operators, with a huge network of suppliers under their remit. To sign deals with those two giants undoubtedly bolsters our reputation within the region.

We also have Bet7K and F12.bet with our portfolio in Brazil and many more operators that are almost ready to go live in the next semester.

Overall, we have connected with multiple casino platform providers, such as Vibra Solutions, Alea, Hub88 and Salsa Technology, extending the reach of our content across the continent and we are excited at what the future holds for us with these partnerships.

 

Advertisement
Stake.com

Why were Colombia and Mexico first on 3 Oaks’ list when entering LatAm?

Colombia and Mexico emerged as the top choices for several compelling reasons. Firstly, both countries exhibit substantial market potential, with burgeoning populations eager for new and exciting gaming experiences. Additionally, the regulatory landscapes in Colombia and Mexico have been evolving positively, offering conducive environments for the expansion of the gaming industry. This regulatory stability provides a solid foundation upon which we can build our operations and establish long-term success.

Despite Colombia’s rapid maturity within the gaming sector, our thorough analysis identified continued high potential for growth. By securing certification for our games in Colombia, we’ve positioned ourselves to capitalise on the evolving landscape and seize lucrative business opportunities.

Mexico is now the second market in terms of volume, internet betting traffic and great demographic numbers related to gambling in LatAm. This opportunity of offering casino games for Spanish speaking countries that adores sports is something that challenges us and makes the industry more competitive in terms of generating the best premium slots.

 

Advertisement
Stake.com

What other LatAm regions are 3 Oaks targeting over the next 12 months?

With some provinces in Argentina already regulated, such as the capital Buenos Aires, this is a key market for us as we look to expand across the continent. Argentina has shown substantial numbers in the iGaming market and can easily become the third largest country in terms of GGR.

However, we are also looking at other regions in LatAm as we try and finalise further partnerships here so watch this space as our journey continues!

 

With Brazil on the cusp of regulation, how do you think the space will pan out over the next 12 months and what plans does 3 Oaks have for the region?

Advertisement
Stake.com

It’s no secret that Brazil has been our number one target and we are thrilled to be live in the jurisdiction through a number of agreements already. Certain analysts predict that the market is expected to be worth over US$3 billion by 2028, which is an astonishing prediction, but also an incredibly exciting one.

We will see an increase of mature companies trying to expand in Brazil and can expect to reach the biggest operators with our approach and outstanding customer experience. We have premium slots, a team that believes in the market and everything to make our brand visible for our Brazilian customers.

These numbers ensure Brazil will be the jewel in Latin America’s crown once it fully regulates, and thanks to the deals we have in place, we feel we are well positioned for future growth when regulation finally kicks in.

Continue Reading

Interviews

“Francisco Leiva: Forging the Future of the Gaming Industry in Chile”

Published

on

"Francisco Leiva: Forging the Future of the Gaming Industry in Chile"

 

In the vibrant gaming industry in Chile, Francisco Leiva’s figure emerges as a key reference. A trained industrial civil engineer, his professional journey spans 35 years, from his beginnings in the public sector to his prominent role as Superintendent of Casinos, and more recently as Corporate Manager of Strategic Development at Marina del Sol. His entry into this industry, marked by challenges and significant achievements, reflects his commitment to progress and innovation. In this interview, Francisco shares his vision, experience, and accumulated wisdom over the years.

 

Could you tell us a bit about your career, professional trajectory, and path to where you are today; What motivated you to enter the Gaming industry?

I am an industrial civil engineer, and my career started in the public sector 35 years ago. Initially, I worked at the Ministry of Health and then at the Ministry of Finance, where I was involved in the drafting and legislative processing of various bills, such as the anti-money laundering law and the gaming casinos law.

Advertisement
Stake.com

Given my work in the legislative process of the gaming casinos bill, after its enactment in February 2005, President Ricardo Lagos appointed me as the first Superintendent of Casinos to implement the law. It was a significant professional and personal challenge as it involved bringing an industry that was far behind similar developed countries as Chile up to date.

 

During your time as Superintendent of Casinos in Chile, what were the most challenging tasks you undertook, and what would you say was your legacy in the gaming industry?

The main challenge was implementing the new gaming casinos law, which involved setting up the Superintendency, hiring staff, and preparing all conditions for private investors to apply for new casino operation permits. This led to 52 projects being submitted for the 18 available casino permits, with investments exceeding US$ 755 million at the time. Foreign investment accounted for 55%, and national investment for 45%.

The result was the construction of 18 new casinos along with complementary facilities such as hotels, convention centers, restaurants, and other leisure facilities that turned these areas into tourist attractions in the cities where they were built.

Advertisement
Stake.com

Undoubtedly, the main challenge was meeting the tender requirements within a tight timeframe. We managed to have a competitive process with operators from around the world, radically changing Chile’s gaming casinos industry.

The legacy was transforming the gaming casinos industry from seven municipal casinos to a modern industry with 24 top-level casinos and facilities.

 

What significant lessons have you learned throughout your career? And what message would you like to leave for future generations?

One lesson is that ambitious goals can only be achieved through dedication and by building motivated teams with clear objectives. It’s impossible to do it alone in tasks like these.

Advertisement
Stake.com

I believe the message is to work with honesty, dedication, and without losing sight of the task entrusted to you.

 

Knowing you personally, not just professionally, what activity inspires you or helps you achieve balance in your life?

Since I was a child, I have been passionate about playing tennis, and I have tried to maintain this passion even as a senior player. In this sense, I think engaging in sports helps maintain a healthy mind and body, which is essential to counter the stress that comes with demanding and complex work.

Similarly, one cannot neglect family life, as they are the ones who will ultimately support you in difficult times.

Advertisement
Stake.com

In summary, the only way, although not easy, is to harmonize work demands with a balanced life.

 

Finally, what is your opinion on hosting such an important international event in your country? And in a way, being one of the hosts to such important international personalities.

It is very important for the country to host such events that allow interaction among different actors in the gaming industry. It facilitates the exchange of experiences and networking, allowing the industry to continue developing. It is also important for public authorities, especially regulatory ones, to participate so they can understand the industry’s reality and see where the industry is heading given technological and cultural changes.

Francisco Leiva’s story in the gaming industry in Chile is an inspiring testimony of determination and success. From his crucial role in implementing the gaming casinos law to his contribution to the industry’s growth and modernization, his legacy endures as a beacon of positive change. Beyond his professional achievements, Francisco reminds us of the importance of balancing work and personal life, as well as the need to stay focused on values such as honesty and dedication. His optimism and commitment to the future of the gaming industry in Chile are a reminder that success is achieved through effort, teamwork, and a clear vision.

Advertisement
Stake.com

 

Continue Reading

Trending

GamingAmericas.com (part of HIPTHER) is your one-stop portal for the latest news, insights, and analyses in the gaming industry across the Americas. From legislative updates and market trends to interviews with industry leaders, we provide a comprehensive look at the dynamic landscape of both online and land-based gaming. Whether you're a stakeholder looking to stay ahead of the curve or a gaming enthusiast eager for reliable updates, GamingAmericas.com has got you covered. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter for real-time updates and exclusive content. Make informed decisions and stay ahead in the game with GamingAmericas.com.

Disclaimer: All the information provided is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Always check your local laws before participating in any gaming activities.

Copyright © 2018 – 2024, HIPTHER. All Rights Reserved.