An ambition of entering regulated or regulating markets “where the conditions are right and there is plenty of growth to be unlocked” has been stressed by Betsson, as the group details the importance of geographical expansion within its growth strategy.
Speaking in the aftermath of scooping the Casino Operator of the Year gong at last month’s SBC Awards, Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson, discloses the online operator’s ambitions across the Americas as well as its Dutch market hopes.
A temporary cessation applied on Dutch customers per the implementation of a regulatory policy was done in a bid to “put ourselves in a good position for our long-term goal of a Dutch licence”.
“We strongly believe in the Dutch market, and with our great product and excellent brands, we’re in a good position to re-attract the players in the future,” Svensson added.
And subsequently attention turns elsewhere following significant investments made by Betsson to strengthen its foothold in LatAm markets as well as the US and Canada.
Looking at how key M&A driven expansion is within the group’s wider growth strategy, he explained: “As you’ve mentioned, we have been giving a lot of focus on Latin America. Today, we have a presence in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, and earlier this year, we entered into a partnership to go live in Mexico.
“In Colombia, we are in the process of establishing a hub in Bogota that will act as our headquarters for our B2C operations for the region. Being close to the customer is key.
“That is also why we often partner with organisation that have been active in the market for some time already as they know the local intricacies of that market as they live and breathe it day in, day out.
“Their market knowledge together with our award-winning product offerings and expertise on online gaming creates the perfect recipe for success.”
Before examining the company’s outlook further north: “North America is of course another strong market and over the past 12 months, we have made several moves to ensure we’re well equipped for this market.
“In the US, we are taking a different approach to many operators. While we will be launching as a B2C operator in Colorado during the next quarter, our focus will primarily be on the B2B side with other operators able to leverage our market-leading platforms and technologies to power their own brands.
“We have made a strategic investment in a PAM platform provider, Strive Gaming, to bolster our B2B offering. You also mention Canada and there we invested in a strategic venture with Slapshot Media to have an advantage for when the Canadian market is regulated.”
These comments come after yet another challenging year for many worldwide, with a number of professional and personal challenges endured by individuals across an array of circumstances.
With this in mind, Svensson offers an insight into lessons that have been learned and how these will be carried forward into 2022 and beyond: “2021 posed its own set of challenges on many industries, and the online gaming industry was not spared. What I have learnt is that if you have an agile team surrounding you, you’re able to face these challenges and cope with them resiliently.
“Our geographical spread has meant that when we witnessed challenges in one of the markets, all the others were able to make up for that. We are also at an advantage of having our own proprietary technology platform, meaning that we’re able to deal with any changes in a way that makes the best sense for us and our 20+ brands.
“In 2021 we have also embarked on one of our largest marketing campaigns. We signed an agreement with the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, to be the official regional sponsor of CONMEBOL Copa América 2021. We have witnessed amazing results, and this has shown us that such high-level, targeted marketing raises our brand awareness and trust levels amongst consumers.
“From an operational side, we have launched our work-from-home hybrid model in some of our office locations. It gives our Betssonites the flexibility of working three days from home, and two from the office.
“This pilot is going really well as it gives us the best out of both worlds – the in-person interaction that we get when people are at the office, and also the flexibility that people get when they can work from home. This is something that we will continue to monitor in 2022 as it increases the safety of our Betssonites.”
This past 12 month period also saw Betsson secure the aforementioned honour at the SBC showpiece in London, a gong lauded as “a great seal of approval” with the offering of “a great” casino experience “at the very core of our company”.
However, with the new year well and truly in full flow, Betsson is looking to “continue to innovate, reinvent, and keep moving so that we continue to delight our customers.”
Svensson concluded: “We are fortunate to be operating in a growth industry and on the digital side where there are tremendous opportunities to be explored. Market expansion is of course on our plans for 2022 – I am truly looking forward for our launch in the US as this will allow us to showcase our amazing sportsbook product from a B2B perspective to prospective operators.
“This time last year we launched our new native casino app which has been extremely well received and has won several industry awards. We will roll out some changes to our mobile sportsbook and build a full native sportsbook app. Just like our native casino app, this will offer an unrivalled user experience and will help unlock even more growth in our sportsbook products.”