Amid much fierce competition, Relax Gaming added yet another feather to its cap this month when the firm claimed the Casino/Slots Developer of the Year gong at the SBC Awards.

Spearheaded via a “reputation for understanding player wants and needs” and a plethora of new releases, including releases such as Money Train 2, the firm has also enjoyed a steady stream of high profile commercial tie-ups, as well as working with CasinoGrounds to develop the community-led Iron Bank, which also claimed SlotBeats’ Slot of the Week honour.

Amid such fierce competition on a daily basis, Simon Hammon, CPO of Relax Gaming, spoke to CasinoBeats regarding what it means to triumph in such a sought after category: “It’s great recognition of how hard the team works and we’re immensely proud, especially given the stiff competition in the category. 2020 has been an eventful year that none of us could ever have imagined, but amid all the challenges, there has been much to celebrate too. 

“The Relax team has worked tirelessly for our successes this year, swiftly adjusting to new regulations, building on our core values of technical excellence, business simplicity and always pushing for more differentiation. It’s a real thrill to see these efforts rewarded and commended by the industry and our peers.” 

Continuing on this theme, Hammon moved on address how the developer stays ahead in such a competitive environment, especially with so many slots titles being released on a weekly basis: “I think it’s about never getting complacent about quality and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, while at the same time ensuring that you listen to players and operator feedback. 

The impact since live sports returned, therefore, hasn’t been as pronounced as some might have expected”

“The reason our in-house portfolio has been so well-received this year is that we’ve taken on board critique of our games from the player community and sought to address areas where we weren’t quite hitting the mark. 

“Money Train 2, the game that smashed records this year and is award-winning in its own right, was born out of this very approach. It is the product of our commitment to keep improving, pushing boundaries and delivering innovative, original content that makes an impact. 

“This said, we believe that quality content is nothing without the reliable and hassle-free business relationships that we try our best to cultivate. Providing the support and creative solutions our clients need is how we intend to stay ahead of the competition and continue to grow.”

The struggles endured by many throughout the year have been much documented, with deep examinations conducted on these pages on a consistent basis as the month’s progressed.

Alongside the global shutdown, however, came a surge in performance online, with Hammon examining how the company performed following the return of major sports worldwide: “Online casino did see an uptake following the cancellation of live sports, but not significantly so. There were of course players that turned to poker, bingo, slot and table games in the absence of sports betting. Some have migrated back to their preferred form of entertainment, while others have stuck. 

“The impact since live sports returned, therefore, hasn’t been as pronounced as some might have expected. We’ve continued to see strong performance of our portfolio across markets in the last few months, bolstered by the release of Money Train 2, which achieved a record-breaking launch even though live sports were back in full swing.”

There’s plenty of opportunity for growth next year so it’s a case of focusing on our priorities”

Alongside the numerous difficulties, Relax Gaming has seemingly moved from strength to strength, and at pace, from week to week, with the group also telling CasinoBeats of a desire to focus on the positives following an unimaginable year.

“2020 has been the year that firmly established Relax as the go-to aggregator for the industry’s biggest brands,” Hammon added when quizzed on what major lessons would be taken through to 2021 and beyond. 

“Since our inception, we put full force behind our mission to carve out a new gaming era, one defined by robust, agile technology, quality products and a hassle-free approach to business. This year, as we celebrated our 10th anniversary, it really began to feel that we’d turned our vision into reality. But now isn’t the time to rest on our laurels. 

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of content and product diversity. Looking ahead, we’re going to sharpen our focus on driving differentiation in the sector, through localisation, collaboration and an ambition to challenge the status quo.”

To conclude, Hammon continued to look forward and explained a desire of building upon the undoubted success that Relax Gaming has enjoyed: “There’s plenty of opportunity for growth next year so it’s a case of focusing on our priorities. New market openings, such as Germany’s regulated online gaming sector, will be critical to our expansion plans as will new markets that we deem high-value for ourselves but also our third-party studios. 

“We’ll also look to deepen our share in core jurisdictions, such as the UK. We also want to maintain the momentum behind our in-house content after Money Train 2 was such a standout success and we’re adding a third and highly experienced in-house game team early in the New Year. 

“With the IP rights we gained this year to new smash hit mechanics, such as ReelPlay’s Infinity Reels and Big Time Gaming’s Megaclusters, our roadmap is already shaping up to be incredibly exciting and build on our 2020 successes. We’re looking forward to another busy year at the forefront of innovation in the sector.”