CB100 pathways through gaming and beyond, with John Gordon

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 up, discover the journey of John Gordon, CEO and Co-Founder of Incentive Games, who begins the conversation by travelling back to a goal of becoming a chemical engineer while at University in Edinburgh.

“I basically just researched what the best paying job was in the UK and at the time chemical engineer was in the top three,” the conversation begins, with time at Heriot-Watt University leading to a successful career and a Lead Engineer position for BP in Trinidad and Tobago.

However, after seeing FanDuel and DraftKings adverts for fantasy sports while in the Caribbean, Gordon used to write algorithms for himself and friends to compete against each other.

“I would create competitions for people that I knew at BP and such and we would bet thousands of pounds. In conjunction with what I used to play fantasy football for what was the Barclays Premier League at the time, I thought ‘well I could do this and we could do fantasy betting in the UK and Europe’, because FanDuel and DraftKings were focusing on the US. 

“So, I left my job in the Caribbean and came back to the UK to Scotland, and started my original company around nine/ten years ago.”

Despite being forthright in stating that “we had no idea what we were doing,” future developments saw the fantasy app become number one in the UK app store for a while as various licences began rolling-in before the receipt of advice saw a pivot from B2C to B2B occur.

“…we just doubled down on the fact that sport will come back, we’re on to something here”

After learning of an upbringing within a gambling atmosphere, Gordon delves into a passion “to mix maths and engineering with football, in the first instance, and trying to write algorithms to beat bookmakers”.

As talk turned onto obstacles encountered during the life of Incentive Games, the uncertainty that organisations across all industries have encountered during recent years is an inevitable starting point.

“It was really challenging to say the least,” it is noted, with no government help or revenue and a roster of staff to pay, personal assets had to be sold to fund wages “but we just doubled down on the fact that sport will come back, we’re on to something here,” Gordon continues.

Adding: “We could’ve rolled over and said ‘oh well we tried,’ but we did the opposite. We created virtual games, so we, given our engineering background, turned the algorithm that I used to use to beat the bookmaker into a virtual product.”

As the conversation ebbed towards a conclusion amid talk of futher challenges encountered during his time within the industry, we end in our usual way of tasking the 100 Club and wider industry with one key question. “How tall do you think I am?” Gordon gleefully responds.

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 100 Club tackles the tricky questions and shares members’ views across the CasinoBeats network. Have your say by joining the 100 Club.