Gambling Insider caught up with new LSports CEO Dotan Lazar, following his recent transition from the COO role. Lazar told us all about the supplier’s plans for 2021, the company’s STM product and consolidating its data integrity.
Congratulations on the appointment. Is this a crowning moment for your career?
Absolutely. Obviously, I’ve been working in leadership behind the scenes for a few years. But now I’m stepping up to the front and it’s a big opportunity. The important thing is to always learn and always think a few steps ahead.
What are the day-do-day differences going to be in your role, moving from COO to CEO?
Much more responsibility, from building the strategic plan and confirming it, up to the point of execution, hiring and recruiting more talented personnel underneath in the pyramid, to sustain all the other layers of the company; so a lot of responsibility.
What are your personal goals as CEO?
My personal goals in this specific region, which is the sports betting industry, will be to first create the best company the world has ever seen data-wise. Also, for the company to be one of the top 100 places to work in Israel. As you know, Israel is a very high-tech area, with a lot of start-ups and high-tech organisations – big organisations like Microsoft to a two-man show in start-ups. We want to be included in lists of the top 100 of places to work.
Given the high-tech competitors you mention in Israel, how are you aiming to stand out as a place to work for talented employees?
The first point would be technology. We need to always strive for new technologies, implementing new features in the company. Additionally, the terms of working in LSports, which means bigger offices, bigger space, bigger features; improved worker conditions. That’s just for starters.
What is the current lockdown situation in Israel, when it comes to working in offices?
Israel is in lockdown as we speak; it should be over soon but no one really knows. The main change in attitude during COVID-19 is working from home more than coming to work in the office. We allow all workers to work in their home environment but we encourage them to come to the office occasionally and get a fresh perspective from their colleagues, have a laugh etc. Because the house is a very stressful environment, as we learnt from research we conducted. You don’t have the routine you’re used to and people get nervous.
As you know, Israel is a very high-tech area, with a lot of start-ups and high-tech organisations – big organisations like Microsoft to a two-man show in start-ups. We want to be included in lists of the top 100 of places to work
Long term, how does this affect your outlook on remote work beyond the pandemic?
Things won’t be the same, obviously, but we hope at least one or two days a week once everything is back to normal, and once everyone is vaccinated, will involve working from home. The rest will be from offices – we have new offices under construction with a great view of the Mediterranean Sea. We invested a lot of money into these conditions and facilities.
In 2021, how do you see the sports betting and data markets developing, with professional sport having been back in action for some time now?
Well, during COVID-19 itself, we saw in March and April a decline in sports in general as everything stopped. But we reinvented the wheel by adding a lot of other events that can be offered, like eFIFA and other products. This basically saved the industry. Our customers used it as well and flourished from it. From that point, we increased and grew further with a lot of our customers. During COVID-19 itself, sports kept growing against all odds.
We spoke last year about LSports’ Tennis Betting Simulator; how is that product progressing?
The Betting Simulator was a great success; a lot of customers use it as we speak. The turnover around it is very strong. Where you have no tennis, LSports is offering 10-15 tennis events at any given moment. Next is adding new sports that are not yet offered in the betting industry and managing it by ourselves, including building the odds, models and rights. This is our main objective for 2021.
Are there any specific sports at the top of your list?
Yes, we have a list but I can’t share it at the moment because we want to keep it a surprise for 2021.
What are the company’s other objectives for the year ahead?
For the year ahead, we are working on the development of a lot of new features. They will focus on our auto trading; we already have the Sports Trading Manager (STM), where you have your own automation around trading. We want to get it to the next level and implement a lot of features from the stock market. Stocks and events are pretty similar – you trade them both, you follow them both and you need to get alerts on both. In both situations, you also want to stop trading in specific cases. So the system will give you the flexibility to either have everything automated, partially automated or whatever your preference is. This, alongside a lot of business intelligence and automation, is the vision for 2021.
My final question: what are the biggest challenges the company faces in 2021 – and how are you planning to adapt to them?
The biggest challenges this year will be thinking outside the box, bringing new products to the market. We’ve been consolidating the product and making sure our data integrity will be on a very high level. This is the roadmap that was relevant for 2020 but, now in 2021, we are finalising all the features we’ve built to stabilise the data and data integrity. In the second half of the year, we’re going to start with some extra features and products, analytic reports for managers and everything will essentially be under the STM. The STM will be the main product and the rest of our products will be features within the STM. So we will keep on consolidating and focusing on making the STM the most cost-effective product in the industry.