This summer, Gambling Insider caught up with Digitain Founder Vardges Vardanyan in Nice, at the launch of the supplier’s partnership with new Brand Ambassador Luís Figo. Brand ambassadorships are becoming far more common among B2B gambling firms and, through this latest deal, Digitain hopes to bolster its brand awareness globally. Certainly, as former footballers go, Digitain dind’t exactly aim low in terms of fame and prestige here – as Figo’s recent Netflix documentary attests.
During our exclusive interview with Vardanyan, the Founder discusses the Figo signing and looks back on 20 years since founding the business in its original form. Vardanyan also addresses specialisation vs. diversification, how he balances his time as a business owner and where his biggest growth hopes lie geographically.
How has the business changed in the two decades since you founded it?
Digitain emerged as a lottery business in 1999, before we established our B2C operations in 2004. Our focus was TotoGaming, which is a local operator in Armenia. However, around 2015, we decided to establish Digitain. The knowledge and expertise we obtained when operating TotoGaming pushed us to establish our B2B brand.
How much more competitive is the industry now than when you started the company in 1999?
There is significantly more competition now than when we started. I would say it’s a whole different world now, in terms of leagues, markets, players, quantity of markets etc. But I would also like to say this is nothing for us to be scared of, because when you offer customers flexible solutions, customer loyalty is guaranteed – if you always stand out ahead of the competition. Whenever you attend a trade show, for example, you see new entrants each and every year. But, of course, we believe we stand out and are continually improving our offering, such as improving our iGaming platform with Centrivo – among others.
You also own a winery in Armenia. As a Founder and executive, how do you personally balance your time between projects?
For me, these are two completely different things. Wine is my love, whereas gaming is my business. They are totally different to each other; to the wine I contribute my love, my heart and soul.
To Digitain, I contribute my brain and my mathematical thinking. So I can balance these two projects simultaneously.
What’s the strategy behind your signing of Luís Figo as Brand Ambassador? Gambling Insider exclusively revealed the story in July – but traditionally brand ambassadors have been more prevalent for B2C companies. They are now becoming more of a trend for B2B firms – why?
Luís Figo is a living legend. I have much respect for him not only as an ex-professional player but also as a high-profile individual and social ambassador. He embodies the values that Digitain aspires to. He played with skill, professionalism and has the same love for the sport we do. He has an exemplary reputation and I believe our collaboration is a major statement that demonstrates the confidence we have with our brand, and as a major industry player. We have significantly grown our geographical footprint over the last year in LatAm and Asia, and our relationship with Mr Figo strengthens this brand awareness in those important areas – as well as globally.
Where do you see the biggest growth occurring for Digitain in the next few years, geographically as well as in which vertical?
Most of all, we are thinking about the Latin American market. In terms of verticals, it’s 100% clear to us that our name, knowledge and expertise is focused on sportsbook. Of course, we are currently transforming more into Digitain Group, with a number of brands. For example, Galaxsys launched this year – our fast games brand – while there may be more brands to come with a greater diversity and direction. Our Centrivo platform also adds value to the iGaming industry. We have a group of companies focusing on different directions but, in terms of regions, Latin America and Africa are two particular areas where we see expansion.
Finally, what’s more important in today’s market – being a very good specialist in one area, or having an offering across every single vertical i.e diversification?
It’s obvious that, in our case, sports betting is where our main knowledge lies. But, in our experience, business diversification is also the right choice – and this is the key to our strategy.
What I believe is the key for success now is that, with all the increased competition today, you need to provide only qualified and good products. You cannot ever succeed with cheap products or by taking shortcuts. The key to success is a strong product and the best service.