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Exclusive interview with Stuart Godfree, Managing Director and co-founder, mkodo

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Exclusive interview with Stuart Godfree, Managing Director and co-founder, mkodoReading Time: 3 minutes

 

Stuart Godfree co-founded mkodo with Sue Yoxall in 2001, taking the opportunity to bring an innovative technology-based service to the rapidly developing gaming market. Recently, Stuart founded mkodo’s Evolve Scheme, a graduate scheme investing in the next generation of talented individuals who want to progress a career in the mobile applications technology field.

 

You offer apps and digital products to the betting, gaming and lottery sectors, what do you think is the most important thing operators need to consider in terms of their digital experience offering?

Having a strong digital offering is no longer an option but a necessity for all operators and suppliers in the gambling industry. We work with several lotteries and traditionally this has been a product popular with the older generation who would buy and check the outcome of the draw in a retail environment. But nowadays, people are using their mobile phones for everyday tasks and this includes leisure activities such as betting and gaming. People have got used to the convenience of having everything just one click away and expect an easy, effortless user experience. For the lottery industry, this could for example mean a fully transactable experience; an app that offers the functionality to log in, deposit funds, check lottery tickets and withdraw winnings without unnecessary friction.

You work with several National and State lotteries. Would you say they are falling behind in the fast-paced digital development?

Although it can be argued that lotteries were late to the party when it comes to adapting to the online environment, we’re now seeing a sizeable shift in attitudes. For lotteries to benefit from all the opportunities provided by the digital world, they must be bold in embracing new technologies and trends. This is particularly crucial to engage the mobile savvy younger generations. We have seen with our operating partners that with a slick and efficient online or mobile offering, no audience is unattainable. Of course, as with any industry, there is room for improvement and challenges remain. Regulators world-over are tightening up on legislation while Apple is following suit with its own restrictions on the App Store guidelines, troubling digitalisation. But the ambition is finally there, and that’s an important step in the right direction. We recently gained a membership to the World Lottery Association and are partnered with some of the biggest names in the industry such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. It’s great to see that implementing an innovative digital strategy is a top priority for the lotteries we work with and operators have proven that they are able to keep up with rapidly changing consumer preferences in an online world.

You have recently worked on a project together with Teesside University, could you tell us a bit about that?

This was part of our “innovate together” competition that we launched to see if we could generate solutions to one of the biggest challenges that lotteries around the world are currently facing; attracting and retaining the younger generation. As mentioned, traditional lotteries are seen to be a preferred game of choice for older generations of 55-64, where 87% of lottery tickets are still bought in retail stores. So, who better to address the challenge of engaging a younger audience than millennials themselves? We asked students at Teesside University to come up with a solution that bridges the gap between traditional lotteries and the younger generations, in line with responsible gambling regulations and charitable beneficiary obligations. We heard four presentations packed with great ideas and well-developed arguments. We’re now developing these innovative ideas with the students and we’re excited to showcase them soon.

Apple has recently started enforcing their guidelines 4.2 and 4.7, could you tell us a bit more about the implications this could have for the betting and gaming industry?

Apple’s restrictions on nativity and real money games have served as a double blow to the industry. For a lot of operators, repacking a HTML website in a native container was standard practice for their mobile applications. But that approach will no longer work under the new guidelines and has the potential to impact the industry massively in terms of app re-development time and cost.

On top of that, the 4.7 restriction has potential to be even more damaging, particularly for operators that have a high level of native functionality but include third-party casino games. As Apple will no longer accept games that have been ‘side-loaded’, as we call it, operators are left with a difficult decision: either abandon their iOS application and move solely to website distribution channels, or work with game developers to embed top titles with the application code. Both options come with pitfalls, however, the full extent of how these restrictions will truly impact the industry is yet to be realised.

What can we expect from mkodo in 2019?

We’ve been helping our clients and partners understand their obligations and responsibilities with the revised Apple Guidelines, as well as developing strategies to minimise the impact amongst operators in the wider betting and gaming industry. We will continue to do this and will advise on what happens beyond the September 3rd deadline. More widely, our business in Canada and North America continues to go from strength to strength and we’re looking forward to making valuable new partnerships in the region.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Exclusive interview with Stuart Godfree, Managing Director and co-founder, mkodo

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Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at Blexr

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Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at BlexrReading Time: 5 minutes

 

First up, tell us about yourself. It’s always great to hear successful entrepreneurs speak about themselves.

Mine is the classic affiliate story: in my final year of college in 2004, I started getting seriously into poker after winning €450 in a home game. Having been broke my entire student life, winning that amount of money in a night piqued my interest. I started to read a lot about poker, immersing myself in books, forums, and any other poker-related content I could find.

Soon after, I graduated from university and started my first job with a telecoms company, working in their web content department. At this point, I was playing online poker almost every day. After some initial struggles, I was earning more playing poker in the evenings than I was in my day job.

I was keen to travel while I was still young. Having saved up some money, I decided to quit my job to seek adventures overseas. At this point, I had enough of a bankroll to play poker full-time and sufficient money left in the bank for a return ticket, in case poker didn’t work out. I headed off to Asia with some friends and started my professional poker-playing journey.

The next three years went brilliantly. By 2008, I had travelled across Asia and moved from low-stakes to high-stakes games.

I was also getting an amazing rakeback deal from the poker site I played on. The manager signed me up to their affiliate programme and told me to offer the same deal to my poker network. Not long after, I had 20-30 of my poker friends on the same deal and got a 5% cut of their action.

Most of my poker network were professional players, so 5% of their rake added up to a pretty significant amount. That then got me interested in the business side of poker, and it was from there that I found affiliation and immersed myself in online marketing in the same way I had previously done with poker.

I had very strong links with several members of the close-knit Irish poker community and regularly chatted with a gentleman who went by the name of “roadsweeper”. After we got talking about building a website together, we decided to try our hands at the online marketing game.

When roadsweeper (or Paudie, as he’s better known these days) and I started working together, affiliation went from a part-time hobby to a full-time job. Our first site was dedicated to our shared passion – poker – and we had immediate success, reaching four-figure earnings in our first few months. Soon after, we made our first foray into casino, and sports betting followed not long after that.

While I’m wearing the hat of CEO, Blexr is very much a partnership. Our success to date would not have been possible without Paudie’s positive energy, work ethic, and sense of humour, as well as his superhuman ability to put up with my pig-headedness. He was also the driving force behind the eventual creation of Blexr in 2015.

It has been four years since Blexr started. What were the ideas and circumstances behind founding it?

At the start of 2015, I was in China and Paudie was in Ireland. We were running 10-20 websites, and had freelancers spread across the world managing everything from design to dev to content.

Back then, we assumed every affiliate was running a similar operation to our own, and that everybody was running a “two guys in a garage” type of setup. On receiving an invite to a private affiliate event in Punta Cana, our eyes were opened when we learned that several of the super affiliates in attendance ran “real” companies with offices, staff, and the rest of the things you’d expect in a normal business.

That led to discussions on centralising operations. We went on to do some research on the various gaming hubs around the world and finally settled on Malta as the home for Blexr.

The company is going great, judging from the awards you get. What is the secret of maintaining freshness and motivation even after four years?

That’s a great question. While Blexr opened its doors four years ago, we’ve actually been working together since 2008.

Our motivations have changed a lot over the years. Initially, the main motivation was money. When you have bills to pay, you need to have a viable business that can cover your living costs. Luckily, things went well from the very beginning, so we never had financial worries.

Once you reach a certain level of financial success, money becomes much less of a motivating factor. Nowadays, there are other aspects of running a company that are far more important to us.

The first is our focus on building great products, something that is part of Blexr’s mission. Being part of a team that works on products users love is highly motivating.

Secondly, developing and growing a company culture is both fun and challenging. It can be an emotional rollercoaster at times, but ultimately it’s very rewarding.

Blexr has reputably earned a standing in the lead generation, especially in the gaming and casino verticals. Tell us about some of your innovations in the digital marketing arena.

All of Blexr’s success is a result of the hard work and dedication of the 100 or so individuals that make up our team of teams. Our growth and constant evolution and innovation is a result of their creativity, dedication, and commitment. Malta often gets a bad reputation when it comes to the quality of talent on the island; we’re fortunate to be blessed with some of the smartest and hardest-working people in the industry.

When it comes to innovation, at the moment we’re putting a lot of focus on big data. We’re working on a number of different projects that aim to provide a personalised gaming experience for our users. We’re also exploring different ways to discover what users want to then tailor our products to their needs.

Since you are into the business of bringing customers to the gaming and gambling websites, you must be in a great position to judge what customers really need. Could you specify a couple of things that customers really need or want, but not available at present in the gambling industry?

I think the big thing that customers in gaming want is trust and transparency, which is often lacking in the industry. Transparency is something we really care about at Blexr. It’s one of the core values of the company, and it’s also part of our mission statement when it comes to how we approach our products and our users.

The digital marketing space keeps on evolving. There was once Google’s near monopoly. Then Facebook arrived. Now, a host of new social media upstarts threaten to disrupt the digital marketing space every other day. How do you keep calm and generate leads amidst such fast-paced evolution?

The affiliate industry and SEO have changed a lot over the past ten years. The methods we used to rank websites a decade ago would have your website penalised for life if you tried them today.
It’s always important to look towards the future. What way is SEO going? What sites are ranking well these days and why? What other channels can be used to generate leads apart from SEO? We try to keep one eye on the future at all times, to ensure that we’re building sites and products that will stand the test of time.

You bring leads from all over the world. What are the steps that you take to ensure legal compliance, as the rules on gambling practically change from country to country – even from state to state in many countries?

We have fantastic commercial and content teams with dedicated people managing compliance across our network of sites. We are in regular contact with all our partners to ensure our sites are always up to date and aligned with current regulations.

Now you have an office in Barcelona as well, apart from the headquarters in Malta. Any plans to expand further, especially to the USA and Asia?

Right now, we’re focused on our two offices in Malta and Barcelona. As the regulatory landscape changes in the US, Asia, and other markets, we may look to strategically set up offices in those locations. However, for now, our priorities are Malta and Barcelona.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Exclusive Q&A with Ian McDonnell CEO at Blexr

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Zitro’s World Novelties, Illusion And Allure, Are In Red Casino

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Zitro’s World Novelties, Illusion And Allure, Are In Red CasinoReading Time: < 1 minute

 

Zitro´s new Video Slots cabinets Illusion and Allure are causing a sensation throughout Mexico, and also at Red Casino owned by the Petolof Group.

New players are already enjoying the latest global releases from Zitro: sensational cabinets and spectacular games. The new video slots game Bashiba Link that has been designed with an attractive Chinese theme that, thanks to its graphics and sounds of incredible quality, makes the game in Illusion an unprecedented experience.

In the new Allure cabinet debut the latest video slots games that combine the “multiway” mechanics with the attractive Link Bonus: “88 Link Lucky Charms” and “88 Link Wild Duels” that now are delighting Red Casino players.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Zitro’s World Novelties, Illusion And Allure, Are In Red Casino

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Legislators from Gaming States Announces 35 Expert Speakers for January 10-12 Winter Meeting in San Diego

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Legislators from Gaming States Announces 35 Expert Speakers for January 10-12 Winter Meeting in San Diego

 

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) announced the roster of speakers for its NCLGS Winter Meeting 2020 that takes place January 10-12, 2020, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. Registration is open for legislators and the public at http://nclgs.org/index.php/events/nclgs-winter-meeting-san-diego-2020.

“We are excited that so many highly respected experts are joining us this year in San Diego to help legislators, regulators, and industry participants understand the evolving landscape that is gaming across the United States,” said NCLGS President-elect Keith Pickard, a Nevada State Senator. “The lineup of speakers and panelists this year is unprecedented in quality and scope. I can hardly wait for this conference to start.”

The NCLGS Winter Meeting will focus on critical issues that legislative decision makers throughout the United States will confront, ranging from the rollout of sports betting to growing revenues and generating employment, to law enforcement, security and cheating at casinos. Additionally, a major policy initiative will be unveiled by American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Responsible Gambling Collaborative as a special presentation.

Speakers who will address these and other timely issues include:

  • Gerald Aubin, Director, Rhode Island Lottery
  • Joe Briggs, Staff Counsel, Public Policy Counsel, National Football League Players Association
  • Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, Partner, Quarles & Brady
  • William P. Coley II, Senator, Ohio
  • Frank Donaghue, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Chief Compliance Officer, Penn National
  • William Egan, Senior Lottery Associate, Spectrum Gaming Group
  • Alan Feldman, Distinguished Fellow, Responsible Gaming, University of Nevada, Las Vegas – International Gaming Institute
  • Jon Ford, Senator, Indiana
  • Steve Geller, Principal, Geller Law Firm
  • Robert Heller, CEO, Spectrum Gaming Capital
  • Jamie Hummingbird, Director, Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission
  • Brandt Iden, Representative, Michigan
  • Robert Jacobson, Executive Director, California Council on Problem Gambling
  • Susan Jensen, Executive Director, California Nations Indian Gaming Association
  • Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Member, Dickinson Wright
  • John Maloney, Principal Attorney, John K. Maloney Law
  • Marquest Meeks, Senior Counsel, Sports Betting & Investigations, Major League Baseball
  • Cody Martinez, Chairman, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
  • Bill Miller, President & CEO, American Gaming Association (AGA)
  • Steve Norton, CEO, Norton Management
  • Keith Pickard, Senator, Nevada
  • Dan Reaser, Director, Fennemore Craig
  • F. Douglas Reed, Senior Pari-Mutuel Associate, Spectrum Gaming Group
  • Kevin Ryan, Representative, Connecticut
  • May Scheve Reardon, Executive Director, Missouri Lottery
  • Sue Schneider, Editor-in-Chief, Gaming Law Review
  • Judith A. Shapiro, EsquireJudith Shapiro Law
  • Katherine Spilde, Professor, L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, San Diego State University
  • Perry Thurston, Senator, Florida
  • Dave Trujillo, Director, Washington State Gambling Commission
  • Joe Verrengia, Representative, Connecticut
  • Rachel Volberg, Research Professor, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling
  • Robert Zahradnik, Principal Officer, State and Local Fiscal Health, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Jane Zerbi, Principal, Law Office of Jane Zerbi

Additional speakers will be added in the coming weeks.

The agenda for the three-day NCLGS Winter Meeting includes:

  • Six legislative-chaired Committee sessions that will focus on tribal and commercial casinos, responsible gaming, and lotteries, as well legal, regulatory, and operational aspects related to sports betting
  • Two IMGL masterclass panels conducted by the International Masters of Gaming Law focusing on the legal and regulatory trends of tribal-state gaming compacts and cutting-edge issues related to the surge of sports betting across the U.S.
  • Morning Keynote Address from Robert Zahradnik of The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Luncheon Keynote Address from Bill Miller of AGA: “State of the Industry”
  • Special presentation featuring the release of the “Responsible Gambling Effectiveness Principles” by AGA’s Responsible Gambling Collaborative
  • General session panel examining what state and local governments can do to capture economic benefits of gaming
  • Thursday evening networking reception
  • Friday evening welcome reception
  • Saturday afternoon offsite event

To view the agenda, register, and book rooms at the host hotel at special attendee rates by the December 11 deadline, visit http://nclgs.org/index.php/events/nclgs-winter-meeting-san-diego-2020.

For sponsorship information, contact events@nclgs.org. Legislators and others seeking NCLGS membership information should contact Wayne Marlin at wayne.marlin@nclgs.org.

NCLGS is the only organization of state lawmakers that meets on a regular basis to discuss issues relating to gaming. Members of NCLGS serve as chairpersons or members of state legislative committees responsible for the regulation of gaming in their state legislative houses. NCLGS does not promote or oppose gaming but is primarily concerned with the regulation and economic and social impacts of the industry. The NCLGS Foundation is the educational and research arm of NCLGS. The 501(c)(3) non-profit is a source of non-partisan data on issues of gaming legislation and regulation. Learn more about NCLGS at https://www.nclgs.org/.

Spectrum Gaming Group, which has performed advisory and consulting work for gaming operators, regulators, and legislatures in 40 U.S. states and territories and in 48 countries on six continents, serves as Executive Director of NCLGS. Discover more about Spectrum at https://www.spectrumgaming.com/.

SOURCE National Council of Legislators from Gaming States

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Legislators from Gaming States Announces 35 Expert Speakers for January 10-12 Winter Meeting in San Diego

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