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.

Eberhard Dürrschmid, CEO of Golden Whale, steps into the hotseat and elaborates on a less than conventional entrance into the gambling arena, a love of computers and consoles, how passion for the industry has ignited once again and if people think products really react to the customer in a smart way?

CasinoBeats: Could you begin by talking us through any past experiences that have been gained outside of the gaming industry?

Eberhard Dürrschmid: My background is actually in biotechnology, which I studied at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. But because of my other interests, the work I did there as part of my PhD saw me explore biological data with statistical methods and apply neural networks to them.

This might not seem like the necessary experience to start a business in the gaming industry, but that’s what I did as soon as I completed my studies. My first business, Dürrschmid & Reisinger OEG, ultimately transitioned into Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions and became a major player in the global online gaming industry.

Since exiting the company back in 2016 I have invested in a wide range of start-ups before founding Golden Whale Productions last year. Biotechnology might not be a traditional starting point for someone entering the gaming industry, but my fascination with data and statistical methods has been crucial to the success of the companies I have founded and invested in over the years. 

CB: Could your career have taken any different paths?

ED: There was always the option to stay within the biotech sector and either continue with my academic studies or find work within the industry. For me, however, the potential I could see during the boom meant I felt compelled to launch an online business and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Of course, it’s not always been plain sailing. After Greentube was born, the bubble burst and I found myself at a career crossroads. Ultimately, I felt there was significant long-term potential in the business and the online gaming industry and, along with the incredible team we had built, emerged on the other side much stronger than before. The saying smooth seas never make for a skilled sailor comes to mind when recounting this period in my career. 

CB: What was it that eventually led you into this industry?

ED: I have always loved computer games and gaming and wanted to get my hands on the latest computers and consoles. My passion really did start young – when I was just 13, I wrote my first game on a C64 and have been hooked ever since. Even at that age, I realised there were much better developers and programmers than myself, but I still had this incredible urge to be a part of this industry and to produce well-designed products and technologies.

Over the years, it has been a great privilege to be a part of the phenomenal structural shift that has taken place starting with the dawn of the internet. When I look at where the world, and the gaming industry in particular, is today, it’s been quite a ride that’s for sure. 

CB: How would you assess your progress through the industry to date?

ED: I am satisfied with what I achieved with Greentube which accounts for the majority of the work I have done in, and the contribution I have made to, the industry. When I left the company in 2016, I felt proud of what I had helped to achieve and was happy to be leaving it in such good shape and well-positioned for future growth.

After a short time out, my passion for the sector was once again ignited and that’s what drove me to launch Golden Whale Productions. I have been incredibly lucky to bring with me some of the brilliant people that I have worked with before at Greentube and on other projects – we really do have a fantastic team in place.

The impact of machine learning on the gaming industry has not really been felt to date but with the work we are doing at Golden Whale, we will change the game for operators and suppliers when it comes to leveraging big data and using MI to drive the greatest value from it. I’m really curious to see where we end up with this. 

CB: What would you say have been the major changes during your time working in the industry? Both for the better and worse.

ED: Regulation has been a common theme since I entered the industry and connects that point in the past to today and then on into the future. Back in the early days, regulation was a bit of an afterthought with only a small number of people really understanding what it meant and the value it could bring.

Today, regulation underpins most organisations and allows them to be more transparent and responsible than ever before. In addition to regulation, the advances in technology have been tremendous and I am still amazed almost daily about what is being done and the speed at which progress continues to be made. 

CB: If you could ask the 100 Club any questions, or task them with tackling any issue, what would that be?

ED: Personalisation has been an industry buzzword for some time now but what I’d like to ask is whether people think products really react to the customer in a smart way. Once they’ve considered that question, I’d follow up with another. Do they think that five years from now, a product or experience will be viable without an orchestrated effort by machine-run systems to guide users and ensure their expectations are being met at all times?