RELAX Gaming has enjoyed a high-profile start to 2018 recruiting several industry big-hitters and announcing an array of tier-one customers for its multi-vertical product range.
Founded on a disruptive poker product that has since gone on to award-winning success with Unibet, the supplier has since branched out into slots development, bingo and table games. And with the recent noise from its Maltese headquarters, it looks like 2018 will be an exciting year for its growing team.
Among the operator partners to have hitched their wagon to Relax are three of the biggest in Scandinavia: Kindred, Betsson, and LeoVegas. Having spoken to two of the company’s most recent appointments, it would appear there’s plenty more to come.
These new signings – Daniel Eskola, currently chief product officer at Kindred and set to become Relax’s new CEO in April, along with current chief product officer Simon Hammon, who joined from NetEnt earlier this year – as well as chief operation officer Martin Stålros, are bullish about what’s to come and happy to tell CasinoBeats about Relax’s unique strategy and vision for the gaming sector in the coming years. It seemed apt to delve into recent commercial activity.
“It’s not so much about an increase in output or a sales push – more that the demanding work going on behind the scenes has started to bear fruit…”
When asked what’s changed since the end of last year and the beginning of this, Hammon said: “It’s not so much about an increase in output or a sales push of late, more that the demanding work going on behind the scenes has started to bear fruit.
“Our new table games content is now live, and we’ve been in a place to announce deals with an extensive list of partners, with more to come in the coming months.
“Our new partnership approach, somewhat disruptive to the industry, has been to form partnerships on the back of extremely competitive rates for our table games content, with the aim of building relationships on the back of them in the coming months.”
Eskola, who will be the figurehead of this strategy when he takes to his new role, added: “Our table games content is high quality and developed with the customer experience first and foremost. But to set ourselves apart even further we looked at what the operators wanted from supplier deals. We’ve come to the conclusion that we should target the vertical with a commoditised approach.”
He continued: “I know all too well in my current role that there’s a wealth of blackjack and roulette titles out there and, despite some suppliers’ attempts, investment in innovation hasn’t exactly won over customers but instead raised the price for operators, negating valuable margins in the process.
“We see our titles as a cost-effective, yet robust foundation for future collaboration…”
“We see our titles as a cost-effective, yet robust foundation for future collaboration and the operator names we’ve confirmed partnerships with suggest it’s a very appealing approach.”
The pair went on to outline how a partnership, built on straightforward integration processes, allows the operator to value hard-earned margins in the table game space, while the supplier has an open door to offer further content in other verticals such as slots, or further down the line, poker and bingo.
The poker industry has been somewhat of an enigma in recent years. Innovation and investment in the sector seems to have stalled so when asking what their thoughts were on the current state of poker, Stålros pointed out: “Many operators seem to be in a state of flux about whether they should be re-investing in their poker products or shifting the resources elsewhere. What I would say is that the sector is far from dead and with the right products, there’s huge room for growth.
“Millions of committed poker players around the world don’t suddenly disappear, instead they need to be brought out of their dormant state with the right socially led, mobile-focused poker product.”
Having seen success in Relax’s poker partnership with Unibet in recent years, Stålros’s words certainly carry extra clout but he does add the caveat that a renewed marketing push would help renew the sector.
Eskola will be the key strategist in Relax Gaming’s future, and with his in-depth experience on the operator side, what tools does he bring to the supplier side of the gaming relationship.
“Kindred has been one of the pioneers in multi-vertical gaming, starting from a small base of a few core suppliers to working with almost all the major developers in the industry,” he said. “Fortunately, I’ve grown with the company as this occurred and learned what it is that operators want from their partners.
“Relax is well equipped to become one of the leading suppliers to any global tier-one operator…”
“Relax is well equipped, in terms of depth of content, platform provisions and an open-minded outlook, to become one of the leading suppliers to any global tier-one operator, and I’m excited to lead further strategy and develop these relationships over the next few years.”
Relax Gaming has seen constant, steady growth in recent years. With a renewed executive team and what sounds like ambitious growth plans, both on the content and partnership sides imminent, it will be interesting to see how the commoditised table games approach and multiple-vertical outlook develops in the near future.