IN-DEPTH 31 July 2017
The evolution of digital gaming
BtoBet’s CEO Kostandina Zafirovska gives GI an overview of the platform specialist’s use of AI, and shares the company’s future global expansion plans
By Gambling Insider
What was your background before you got into the gaming business, and how has it prepared you for this unique environment?
I have over 17 years’ experience in Computer Science Engineering, spending six of those as the head of different departments, assisting high profile clients from various industries such as insurance, health care and finance. Since the beginning of my career my challenge has been to design and develop IT software products aimed at improving customer experience and providing simplicity of use, then, with growing experience and expertise, I gained more involvement in technology project management. Around 2012, I entered into gaming and from that moment I’ve been mostly dedicated to this industry. Before being engaged by BtoBet, I enjoyed a successful career as COO of IT Company Seavus. At BtoBet I’ve been involved in all the processes of software development, overseeing interesting and challenging research concerning the gaming environment. The experience I gained in the gaming industry was the deciding factor in my recent appointment as BtoBet’s Chief Executive Officer.
What are your strategic plans for BtoBet over the coming months and how does that fit with your long-term aims for the business?
As demonstrated at ICE Totally Gaming in London, the provision of true and effective cross-channel data analysis technology tools is one of our main aims, worldwide. BtoBet firmly believes in the importance of focusing on solutions that are centred on the satisfaction of the final user, preferring a “giving and receiving” approach to data collection as opposed to simply “taking” it from customers. In this perspective, the company will continue to provide licensees with the comprehensive support they need to face the ever-evolving iGaming and betting industry, giving them a deeper insight into their players’ data and giving customers the best experience ever with the help of advanced tech tools and emerging new trends. Given the importance of knowing the player and getting insightful integrated data through every channel, at BtoBet we are constantly improving our software technology and intelligent omnichannel engine to guarantee an advanced standard of connection between the gaming and sports betting platforms and the players’ behaviour.
What are the biggest challenges your customers need support with?
Players are increasingly tech-savvy and always demanding, which is why operators must be kept up to date regarding new trends and technology in the gaming industry. BtoBet can totally support them with this, providing what they need: the latest software engines to understand their clients’ preferences and drive their business in a profitable direction. The knowledge of players’ preferences, no matter the channel in use, is fundamental
for our clients to inform future offers, and is essential to gain the clients’ attention, trust and ultimately their loyalty.
What part does AI play in helping operators improve their player experience?
The evolution of platform technology has advanced way beyond simple player management systems that enable operators to acquire and analyse a player’s data and behaviour. The innovation of AI - and the related concept of the Recommendation Engine – today enables operators to automatically cluster users according to their interests and preferences, manage them across all channels and provide them with cross-channel marketing solutions. AI helps licensees to monitor their player’s data, activity and preferences through the sophisticated and precise algorithms based on the human brain system and processes. It also analyses an huge amount of key player information - such as a player’s happiness level, type of player and player segment - and allows the micro-segmentation of gamers dynamically according to their behaviour.
How does your platform personalise the experience for players?
BtoBet’s platform is underpinned by Artificial Intelligence, and in combination with the sophisticated Recommendation Engine it collects and analyses player data (age, country, language), behaviour, activities and preferences (events, sports, kind of bets); it then predicts what players would like to bet on next and offers quick automatic suggestions to customers to access their preferred bets in one-click. It also allows the offering of specific automatic one-to-one marketing campaigns. The AI element is also extremely important in detecting any fraudulent behaviour, and allows licensees to take actions promptly, guaranteeing totally secure business management.
Do you believe that there are any impending regulation changes that will affect BtoBet’s business?
Not really. Our multichannel, multi-jurisdiction and multi-currency platform can easily fit with any regulated market.
Does BtoBet have any radical new projects in the pipeline?
After the recent launch of BtoBet’s Augmented Reality (AR) marketing strategies and its multidimensional experience tools, we will continue moving in this direction. We can’t ignore that the integration of in-store experiences with mobile or online channels usually works synergistically and in this view we won’t stop supporting operators’ online and in shop businesses with fitting technology and solutions that make the customer feel like the protagonist.
Where do the opportunities lie for expansion into other geographic markets?
This year, we will be showcasing at the main gaming exhibitions in Africa, Latin America and Europe. We are expanding in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and in South America. We have just participated in the East Africa Summit in Kampala and met operators from Uganda and other areas of the continent. In the next few months we will meet licensees in Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Miami and Central-Eastern Europe to cement existing partnerships and create new opportunities in many new countries.
There seems to be a tightening up of ID verification and AML legislation around the world, how will this affect BtoBet’s products?
As mentioned before, BtoBet’s multi-jurisdiction, multi-currency and omnichannel platform won’t be affected by the tightening up of ID and AML legislation. Any change can be perfectly accommodated by our technology products and solutions.