‘Like all businesses, we’ve had to adjust accordingly to continue operating during the COVID-19 period’ stated Mark Segal, CFO of Gaming Realms, who explained how the company navigated through the challenges presented throughout 2020.
CasinoBeats spoke to Segal on the company’s highlights of the year, a look into its Freeround services, and what Gaming Realms has in the pipeline for 2021.
CasinoBeats: Looking back on a very difficult 2020, what challenges did Gaming Realms face and how did the company overcome them?
Mark Segal: Following the excellent progress made in 2019, we began 2020 with exciting plans to deliver further licensing growth, which included targeting international territories, especially the US, launching with new partners through our distribution channels (as well as targeting new distribution channels themselves) and working closer with our partners by releasing new unique Slingo games.
Like all businesses, we’ve had to adjust accordingly to continue operating during the COVID-19 period, but being a digital business, we haven’t experienced the upheaval others have had to endure. We were able to very quickly set up the team to operate remotely and ensure continuity.
Communication has been key to this, and I have been very impressed with the team’s professionalism in working together and with our partners and our productivity has not slowed.
CB: Even though it has been a tricky year for us all, what would you say has been the highlight of 2020?
MS: We entered 2020 with our portfolio of unique Slingo content already proving very popular, especially in New Jersey. We have since partnered with more big brands, such as our collaboration on Slingo Rainbow Riches, Slingo Deal or No Deal and Slingo Monopoly, and added Slingo Centurion and Slingo Fluffy Favourites. We have added other unique Slingo games and mechanics to the portfolio. Ultimately, we have been able to create Slingo as a genre of game.
We have also further enhanced our RGS platform to be able to grow rapidly with both new partners, players and also games.
Performance-wise, we have managed to grow our revenues by 55 per cent as well as move into profit, which is hugely exciting as a growth company.
We have also signed and delivered some key distribution agreements in 2020. We integrated with Scientific Games’ distribution platform in March, launched with Sky Betting and Gaming and followed up with our agreement with 888casino.
Since then we have added a number of new partners, going live with Draftkings in New Jersey as well as maintaining our strong position in that market. With new US states going live in early 2021, we believe that we’ll see plenty more success in the months to come.
CB: How has the company’s H2 performance compared to its H1 in 2020? What has been the contributing factor to these changes, if any?
MS: We have managed to maintain momentum through H2 2020 thanks to the huge efforts of the team. We have continued to launch with new ‘tier one’ partners such as PaddyPower Betfair, launch great Slingo games, such as Slingo Fluffy Favourites and prepare our plans for 2021.
CB: As we’re coming to the end of the year, one eye is now fixed on 2021 and how companies look to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic. What has Gaming Realms got in the pipelines for the next 12 months?
MS: 2021 is looking very promising. We have applied for licenses in both Pennsylvania and Michigan, where we expect to go live in both in the first quarter, and we already have a number of multi state deals with the largest operators in the US.
We also are excited to broaden our partners and distribution in Europe. We expect to launch in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark regulated markets in 2021.
Our games roadmap is also very exciting. With our partnerships, we will be launching Slingo Starburst, Slingo Reel Kings, Slingo Lobstermania as well as a really exciting Slingo fishing game. These are all a combination of our original IP and key gaming brand licenses.
CB: You’ve highlighted your focus towards various regulated markets, can you explain which ones you’ll be targeting and why you’ve selected these specific markets? How will entering these territories benefit Gaming Realms?
MS: As already highlighted, we are expecting to be entering Spain, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark in Europe, as well as Pennsylvania and Michigan in the US.
We already have demand for our unique Slingo games with operators in these territories and are looking forward to seeing our games live in those markets.
These are markets where our partners are already operating and they are keen to take our games to their players.
We are also starting to build games which are tailored for these different markets. We have very strong business intelligence which allows us to really analyse the player behaviors in the different markets we are in to ensure we are working with our partners to have the best portfolio for them.
CB: Planned for the first half of 2021, you previously gave us a small hint about the launch of your ‘Freerounds service’. Can you explain more about what this involves and what the industry can expect from it?
MS: Yes, we will be developing and bringing to market our free spins service in the first half of 2021. This is the beginning of a suite of marketing tools that we will bring to market. In the second half of the year we will continue with other innovations such as tournaments and progressive jackpots.
Free spins are very important as it allows new players to acclimatise themselves with our games on casinos. We have invested heavily to have unique and engaging content, adding free spins will ensure our partners are able to market to new players.
CB: Finally, what is the one lesson you’ve learnt from 2020 that you’ll take into 2021?
MS: The key lessons from this year have been:
- Make relationships your number one priority – this is the foundation of our business and is relevant both for our staff and our partners.
- Have an agile business culture – we have seen that those businesses who are nimble and can change in a dime, while keeping their culture, have thrived this year.
- Trust – this has been particularly relevant with the COVID-19 pandemic. I think those businesses who have developed high levels of trust with their partners and staff will be the strongest.
- Embrace innovation – this goes back to being agile. We can’t simply rely on what and how we did things in the past. Learning how the pandemic has affected all our lives can serve as a lesson on how we are able to adapt and accept change. It could mean we can look further afield for the best talent or change our processes and idea generation.