“The return of physical events is not just important, it’s everything,” emphasises Ruslan Legenzov, head of affiliates at King Billy Casino, who has been speaking to CasinoBeats ahead of the long-awaited return of major international business events for the sports betting and igaming industries.

Next week’s SBC Summit Barcelona, which will go ahead at the Fira Barcelona Montjuic on September 21-24, will see 100 suppliers showcasing their products and 250 expert speakers sharing valuable insights.

One such individual taking to the stage will be Legenzov, who will be participating in a ‘negotiating the perfect deal’ panel session on Wednesday 22 September at 16:20-17:00 CEST (15:20-16:00 BST).

“Physical events are the default condition in our industry and going back to them feels like finally taking the cast off of a broken leg and being able to take a walk or run again,” he says of the return of industry events.

“Regarding Barcelona, there is so much to expect, and, literally, so many things to do in so little time. Restoring communications with affiliates, studying the new trends and learning about new regulations in workshops, catching up with affiliates and friends, and finally having a great time on both business and leisure sides – this is Barcelona after all.”

Legenzov will be participating in the aforementioned discussion alongside Adam Bielinski, CEO and co-owner of iGamingNuts; Joaquín Gago, founder and CEO of BetanDeal; Phil Kornyshev, chief growth officer at Betmaster; and Silver Portugov, chief business officer of MrGamble. Lasha Machavariani, founder and CEO of Sports Media Holding, will be on moderating duty.

“Negotiating the perfect deal is a form of art,” he continues. “Without disclosing too much of what the panel will include, I can tell you that we are not going to discuss the ‘day to day’ of this art. We will not talk about the exact number of brushes or exact number of colors in our palette.

“We will speak in broader terms, establishing the tangibles and, most importantly, the intangibles which give birth to a perfect deal. 

“affiliates are super busy, get numerous emails on a daily basis and they are suspicious by nature”

“We will also discuss how we can prolong a partnership beyond the early and mature stages and we will even explain the best way to ‘divorce’ an affiliate. This is a panel not to miss.”

The difficulties encountered since the early stages of 2020 have been much discussed, and amid the gradual reopening across global jurisdictions many have begun to see everyday life returning to something that resembles normality. 

Ahead of opening the doors to our biggest in-person event since February 2020, Legenzov looks back on some of the challenges encountered in recent times.

“There is a saying, usually circulating in social media, about never knowing the true value of a person until they are gone. Well, it may have taken a pandemic to check the veracity of this, but it is correct. 

“Indeed, the biggest challenge my team and I faced during these long lockdowns was the lack of personal meetings with our beloved affiliates. 

“Of course, we spent thousands of hours typing to affiliates and when the extra need came we Skyped and we Zoomed and we Teamed and we Slacked. 

“But believe me, there is nothing that can substitute live events where we meet face to face, discuss crucial points and find mutually beneficial solutions. 

“Moreover, there has been a difficulty in launching new partnerships with affiliates. You know, it’s exactly like those personal relationships from afar when the guy’s in London and the girl is in Cape Town which rarely work. 

“Affiliates are super busy, get numerous emails on a daily basis and they are suspicious by nature. So, they tend to discard remote approaches. 

“It has been very difficult to overcome these issues. However, one thing which proved to be helpful and alleviated the problem was the organisation of various virtual events. 

“…where people speak eye to eye you can actually sense the degree of fairness or lack of it”

“They have, to a certain extent, helped human touch and functioned as a ‘ventilator’ for the industry during the dark days. 

“Finally, audio podcasts in well known forums and media sites gained popularity and also helped communicating with our industry fellows.”

In recent weeks, Joonas Karhu, CEO of Bojoko, told CasinoBeats that the biggest area of improvement regarding how operators and affiliates work “is around contractual security and the contractual framework”.

Looking at this issue, Legenzov discusses what recommendations he would have to ensure that there’s contractual fairness between the two: “From this question, we should keep the ‘fairness’ factor, but actually examine it beyond the ‘contractual’. 

“What do I mean? A contract is, of course, a legal and binding document, but there are plenty of ways you can interpret one or another contract clause depending on your understanding and the power of your legal team. 

“From my point of view, fairness originates from the ethics of the participating parties. At King Billy Casino, we used to say that we go ‘beyond the commission’ in our relationship with affiliates. 

“Transparency, gentlemen’s agreement and unspoken trust count. This is why live events are so important: where people speak eye to eye you can actually sense the degree of fairness or lack of it. Eyes don’t lie.”

Before concluding by looking at what he believes players look for when deciding which casinos to play at: “There are some universal factors we observe in all markets regardless of geolocations,” he states. 

“From Japan to Argentina players are mainly looking for clear bonuses with no fine print and a really helpful live support line. From then on, one clearly emerging factor, especially during the last decade and the proliferation of thousands of online casinos is reputation. 

“Reputation is either earned from reviews in forums, portals etc or via awards. We, at King Billy Casino, can testify to the power of the awards on casino sales, as we have won around 15 of them – and a few from SBC, too. Market results do not necessarily lead to awards but awards definitely lead to market results.”