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 in to the hot seat is Gal Ehrlich, CEO of BETER, who looks back on 13 years in the industry by welcoming a positive change in putting the player first, addresses the only way of staying ahead of the competition and asks if there’s a way to create a more unified industry-wide ESG effort.
CasinoBeats: Could you begin by talking us through any past experiences that have been gained outside of the gambling industry? Could your career have taken any different paths?
Gal Ehrlich: I’ve worked in the gaming and betting industry for more than 13 years, after I joined Playtech back in 2009. I definitely made the right call and I’m more than happy that I became part of this industry.
During my time in gaming I’ve worked for both B2B and B2C companies. Before that, I worked for corporates in the telecom industry and also some start-ups. This combination of experience has shaped my character and toolset as a manager today because I bring proven frameworks and methodology from the corporate world, while keeping a start-up mindset.
A career is a journey, in which we develop both professionally and personally, and we’re sometimes faced with key moments and decisions that influence our future path and how our story develops. So far, I can say that I’m very happy with how my key decisions worked out.
CasinoBeats: What was it that eventually led you into this industry?
GH: I like to think that I made this decision in ‘cold blood’ after I assessed the industry’s potential growth and the opportunities it could provide. This was absolutely the case with the betting and gaming industry back in 2009, when it began to mature and heavily expand.
But there’s always some passion involved, and I clearly remember visiting gaming exhibitions at the very beginning, experiencing for myself the strong entertainment factor of this industry – especially when compared to the purely engineering aspects of Telecom. I watched all the exhibiting vendors, experienced the content and witnessed the innovation that drives such strong engagement for everyone who joins this industry.
CasinoBeats: How would you assess your progress through the industry to date? Are there any interesting anecdotes that would interest our readers, or any standout experiences that may not have been possible without the current, or a past, role?
GH: As far as I’m concerned, it’s been a fascinating journey so far. One key anecdote I’ve found very relevant for our industry is around the need to constantly innovate. We were, for example, the first to launch online casino in the Czech Republic with Fortuna, and one of the first to launch native mobile casino with Playtech. These were defining moments for those companies, which impacted our revenues and market share for years afterwards.
In the gaming and betting industry, successful innovation is usually replicated by competitors within six to 12 months, so the only way to guarantee leadership is to constantly innovate.
We’re now following the same path in BETER by introducing a new Esports iFrame, for which we received the silver award for ‘Innovation of the year’ in the 2022 SBC awards. We’ll soon launch some very creative live casino games that will be unique in the industry, and a few other things that we’re really excited about.
CasinoBeats: What would you say have been the major changes during your time working in the industry? Both for the better and worse.
GH: The industry has matured a lot during my time in it so far. It’s become more regulated, more governed, and companies and management teams have developed, becoming more experienced and professional.
You once had wild, free-spirited gaming companies formed more than 20 years ago in exotic Caribbean islands like Curacao and Antigua, and now today there are massive corporates across the whole globe.
One very positive change through this journey of a maturing industry is that of putting the players in the centre, providing them with a much safer, more entertaining and increasingly diverse portfolio. Doing so eventually led to massive growth in player numbers all over the world.
CasinoBeats: If you could ask the 100 Club any questions, or task them with tackling any issue, what would that be?
GH: Global circumstances are sensitive right now, and there’s an increasing emphasis on the environmental, social and governance work done by companies. Existing EU legislation requires all companies of a certain size to carry out such work.
I’d like to ask the 100 Club what they are planning to do for their ESG projects and is there a way of creating a unified effort across the industry to further enhance its already busy community-minded work. We show leadership in many ways through our industry-wide expertise – can we show leadership across our industry and beyond in this social responsibility work too?