Digital Summit CIS: Operators mistake the Baltic states as ‘culturally the same’

Veiko Krunberg, managing director at Olybet, claims that operators often make the mistake of thinking that all countries in the Baltic region are culturally the same. 

Speaking on the second day of the SBC Digital Summit CIS, Krunberg was participating on a panel titled, ‘Operating a Gaming Brand in a Multi Cultural environment’, sponsored by Singular, which delved into the challenges businesses face when expanding on a multinational level and discussed the importance of marketing, consultants and company culture. 

Jesper Kärrbrink, creative director at Green Jade Games, who was moderating the panel, asked Krunberg if, culturally, the three counties in the Baltic region, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are the same or if there is a difference even in neighbouring countries?

Responding to this question Krunberg highlighted that companies often make the mistake in thinking of the Baltic region as three countries with the same ideologies yet stated they are ‘completely different’.

He explained: “They are completely different nationalities. That’s often a mistake that companies make, establishing themselves as a Baltic’s business rather than focusing on these different directories separately. Maybe not so much in gaming as the industry is fairly new here.

“From a retail perspective, when the big Polish companies come here and try to take them at once and don’t really put much emphasis on the differences, localisation of the content for example.

“From a gaming perspective, even here, there are differences. Land-based, you can go to Lithuania and you’ll see on a random Thursday morning at 7-8am you’ll see two full tables of Roulette players and in other countries where we operate to the south you just see older ladies playing AVP machines in the evenings.

“To put a little difference to the online gaming side, in the larger picture, yes localisation is important on the product side but at the same time we do see that the big titles from the north, Sweden specifically, they don’t just work in the north or the Baltic’s, we have a good traction on the titles in Central Europe and further south.

“It’s one size doesn’t fit all but at the same time good content still works on the markets from slot games.”

Joining Krunberg and Kärrbrink on the panel was Lasha Machavariani, CEO and founder at Sports Media Holding, and Kirill Miroshnichenko, sales director at Endorphina.

Moving forward, Kärrbrink asked the panel what are the different components that make the gaming population and if their history of previously being part of the Soviet Union would have an impact on players.

Machavariani noted: “If we take into consideration several countries, I’m regarding CIS countries for example Georgia, the first thing is that people are very much sport supporters. The second thing is that it was never promoted from the government… but at the same time people are very much oriented towards gambling, it’s emotional and entertainment stuff. 

Adding to what Machavariani stated, Miroshnichenko claimed: “What we’ve seen in the CIS market is that players like to play games, not because it’s a part of entertainment but they really think they can make some money and it’s a really big portion of those players who really believe that they know how to make money from this industry and this is a clear difference between the Western players and the CIS players.”

Karrbrink stayed on that topic and asked Miroshnichenko is they take his statement into account when it comes to Endorphina developing titles for the CIS region. He responded: “Of course. We have a bunch of games that a top performing in the CIS market and it’s normally the most simple games, without a lot of bonus features, super easy games to understand the logic of the game you basically know the outcome and the way the games behave.”

SBC Digital Summit CIS (4 – 5 November 2020) is the leading virtual conference and exhibition for the betting and gaming industry in the CIS, Ukraine and Georgia. It features more than 70 expert speakers sharing insights and ideas about the future of markets across the region, with all 18 conference sessions available both live and on-demand.

Delegates can also enjoy a programme of networking roundtables and an interactive product display area showcasing the latest industry innovations. Click here to register for your free pass.