Gambling Insider met up with Mark Rehorst-Smith, Bede Gaming's Head of Play, to find out about the supplier’s technology, expansion opportunities and company culture.
Could you give a brief introduction to how Bede got started?
I don’t think a lot of people know the history behind Bede. We’ve been running for around six years now, having been established by people in the gaming industry who had been operators themselves. They had frustrations with other platforms, so they wanted to build their own. The platform was specifically built with operators' needs in mind.
The back office solution that we have is the best that I have seen in the industry. That is in terms of the marketing campaigns, special offers, and ease of use. All the operator’s needs are serviced by the platform.
In what way is Bede innovative, in terms of how its run as a business?
When I first started at Bede, I went up to the head office in Newcastle and I was blown away, seeing their 170-strong staff. It is a young business, in terms of the demographic of its employees. Also, for the industry that we are in, there are a lot of women at Bede, reflecting the forward-thinking culture of the company.
How does Bede’s technology stand out from its competitors?
The technology is very modern, as it is API driven, meaning that it isn’t shackled. It’s easy to build on and very easy to have it react and adapt quickly to compliance changes in both the UK and other territories. Where some have been struggling with issues such as CMA or GDPR, we already had a solution and were helping our partners overcome their issues.
With the repeal of PASPA, we are seeing new partnerships daily, what partnerships are you currently searching for and how do you ensure that you retain your existing ones?
We have started to actively look for new business, as we have already begun to win larger scale businesses, some of which I cannot mention yet. It underlines the level that we are now punching at.
Since I have joined, we have made sure our existing partnerships are in great shape. Currently, we have 23 content providers directly integrated onto the platform. There are over 28 that are on the road map in one form or another. We are now looking to add six to eight content providers to the platform a year, as they are actively looking for new partners. Within the next few years, the number of content providers on our system should increase to 50, as we look ahead to fast-moving markets such as esports.
In what ways have you seen the company develop and keep up-to-date with the latest tech and trends?
Our content solution has proven that it can truly hold its own against any alternative. The past few years have nonetheless been a learning curve to understand the needs and commercial appetites of operators. However, Bede is a fast-learning company and it hasn’t taken us long to get a grasp on these things.
In terms of technology, there is not a lot that will have to change at our core. As new service providers or operators are added to the system, they can be integrated simply through us writing new scripts, which will allow us to communicate with new technologies, as we are API driven.
To ensure that we remain up-to-date, we run feedback forums with Rank and are looking to roll that out to other operators. We communicate with them to find out what works and what doesn’t, and what they would like to see added to it. We then take their feedback onboard and add the suggestions onto our platform, if it is beneficial to everyone on the platform. The technology improves as more people are integrated onto the platform.
Other company’s which offer similar services are unable to react as quickly as they are too big and less agile. It will be important to Bede in the future to keep that as one of our core business values.
Are you currently looking to expand into the US? If not, what other markets are you currently interested in?
In terms of opportunities in the US, we are scratching the surface. We have several providers who are active in the US and we are also looking at more who will be entering into the US in the near future. We are gearing up for it, but the market is still so young.
There are so many opportunities outside the US that remain untapped, and we are constantly improving our services for our existing clients. Bede can also bring value to services elsewhere. We will undoubtedly enter the US, but not for now. We are also waiting for the dust to settle, as we are looking to enter the market intelligently and efficiently. However, we are currently on track to go live in North America in 2019-2020.
We are also looking at markets such as Spain. In terms of Europe, Bede we are also looking at Germany and Denmark. Then there is also LatAm and a few other areas. We are cementing the new relationships in North America, maximising what we do with existing operators in the UK, while expanding our foothold in Spain, and exploring new opportunities in Europe and LatAm. However, we do not want to spread ourselves too thin, which is easy to do.
There are not many huge names in the industry left who we do not have some kind of a relationship with. However, there are new and smaller companies that we are talking to. A lot of aggregators already have these companies as partners, so when they join us, they bring them with them. We are agile and operators are definitely seeing the true value of Bede.