LeoVegas CEO exclusive: “Those who don’t innovate risk becoming dinosaurs”

LeoVegas CEO Gustaf Hagman will be taking part in the CEO Special of Gambling Insider magazine, which takes place in the January/February edition.

Gustaf Hagman

The interview will be a deep dive into the executive’s entrepreneurial career and journey through the gaming industry, with some truly insightful thoughts on innovation, regulation and even working at McDonald’s.

Be sure not to miss the full in-depth feature when it is published but, for now, you can read of some of Hagman’s thoughts on topical industry issues below.

LeoVegas CEO on the future of gambling – low stakes and high entertainment:

The old LeoVegas database passed 15 million just a couple of weeks ago and is something we’re quite proud of. There was a tendency of people who signed up a couple of years ago to not be so active but they all of a sudden show up again, become active, and play €40-60 ($48-72) a month, which is quite healthy. So instead of having a few customers playing for a lot, there are a lot more customers playing for less nowadays – and you can see that in our numbers. We are reaching an all-time high on active players, depositing players and new depositing players as well. But that’s a good tendency for the future and that’s a good thing to talk about with politicians because it’s a language they understand better. Entertainment is, of course, a lot better than having a few people playing for a lot of money.

LeoVegas CEO on the hardest thing about being a CEO:

Oh, wow… Well, it’s hard sometimes to always be the happy guy; you need to have a lot of energy to be able to influence all your co-workers at work with that energy. From time to time that drains you a bit. That is, to be honest, quite hard. You need to have a role when you step into the office: you’re always the leader standing on the edge and talking about the direction, talking about the future and being the visionary and at the forefront. We talk innovation, growth and sometimes it’s a rainy, cold day in November and it’s all dark!

But you know you have to perform – sometimes that’s a little bit tough I would say. Yes, it’s demanding – I manage but I’m just saying it’s sometimes quite tough. Then, of course, it’s always tough to take tough decisions when it comes to people. Naturally, it is. Good people you work with, sometimes you can see they are losing tempo or output. Sometimes you have to put them on track again or convince them maybe they need to look for something else.

LeoVegas CEO on industry consolidation and its impact on innovation:

To some extent, consolidation is a little bit boring because you will probably see less innovation. Maybe some of them will continue; LeoVegas will for sure, but you tend to slow down on innovation when you become a larger company. I think R&D and innovation are extremely important for a company. That’s the only way to evolve.

You need to have those kinds of people, mindset and culture internally, to enable innovation. Otherwise quite quickly you will become one of those dinosaurs that’s standing still. You would just live on old technology, more or less. You need to be in the forefront and driving the industry – that’s the only way you grow.

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