CB100 pathways through gaming and beyond, with Chris Conroy

The necessity of building and maintaining a strong network is a familiar construct among numerous industries, and is certainly one that is not lost in the gaming community.

However, among the multitude of strategies and expert tutorials on how best to achieve such a goal, is the question of: how much do you know about your network? With this in mind, CasinoBeats is aiming to take a look under the hood, if you will, and has tasked the 100 Club to help out.

Next into the hot seat is Chris Conroy, Chief Data Officer at Future Anthem, who veered off from potential careers in finance and public transport to enter the industry courtesy of a meeting with an old boss.

This saw entry into the retail casino space at Rank Group secured, however, at the time these land-based establishments were a vastly different proposition to what we see today.

“Grosvenor especially had really gotten ahead of the game in the UK and saw the opportunity, and maybe even necessity, to change from these smoky basements,” Conroy explains on the process of changing from an experience for a small number of people to the heavy investments that led to large leisure venues.

“I joined around the time that they really started to get data for the first time,” he continued. “They had implemented quite a widespread loyalty scheme, for which I think they were the first casino in the UK. And suddenly they had all this data.”

Following details of an offer for their biggest competitor, the conversation quickly turns to the “fundamental” role data played in the future growth of these facilities.

Labelling this period a cross over between the new digital world and old retail way of doing things, Conroy notes: “That period from 2010 and 2015 in retail it was a bit of a data race. There was a bit of a race between Grosvenor and Genting, with these big leisure venues it was about customer acquisition and customer experience all driven by marketing and CRM.” 

Despite acknowledging that data and the uses of data, as well as the level of importance that people place on it, as being among the major changes during his time in the industry, Conroy does question its comprehension and understanding.

“I think we’ve still got, within the industry in general, I think there’s still a long way to go in understanding how to manage data and how to use data,” he added when quizzed on changes for the better and worse during his time in the industry.

“I think that still provides a challenge. And I think the other big thing is … the understanding of player behaviours and players who are maybe displaying signs of risk.”

Furthermore, time is also reserved to address the importance of really embedding safer gambling within every facet or function of companies that are working within the industry, with it said that player safety has to manifest itself throughout all teams and not operate as a separate entity. 

Before tasking the industry with the question “why are we not better at technology?” to end, Conroy assesses his own journey. 

After suggesting that “in common with many people who somehow find themselves in a half decent position” a lot is owed to luck rather than good planning when looking back on his own journey through the industry, Conroy details a current position that he states very much aligns to the old adage of “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”.

If you would like to tell your story, or be considered for the CasinoBeats 100 Club, please email us at [email protected].

Launched to give a voice to the industry on a range of key issues, the CasinoBeats 100 Club tackles the tricky questions and shares members’ views across the CasinoBeats network. Have your say by joining the 100 Club.