At ICE London, Pragmatic Play Chief Business Development Officer, Yossi Barzely, spoke with Gambling Insider about the company's new products and the challenges involved with branching into new areas.
What has ICE been like for Pragmatic Play this year?
At every conference, each year at ICE, we have been seen as a slots provider. It’s great to be here with all the new products we have released, such as live casino and bingo, which we launched here at ICE. It’s really good to show we are a multi-product company and the products are being well received. We’ve learned a lot from slots as well, so now, when we release a new product, we try to get it right in one go, or as close as possible.
The reason for developing new products is encouraging diversity in our portfolio, both for the operators and players and to strengthen the Pragmatic Play brand.
Were there challenges involved in introducing a new product?
With slots we really came into our element in late 2017 and throughout 2018, so not really because once operators trust the brand and the games, and they see the games work, it’s not as hard. Of course, this does not mean by default it will be a success, but at least you have already built that bridge to open doors. With our technology we try to make everything as smooth as possible and as convenient as possible for operators.
Now, for example, when we add new products onto an operator’s website, they no longer need to do any developing. Just like adding a new slot, they can add a new product like live casino. We’ve developed that level of trust with the operators.
What were the specific products Pragmatic Play launched at ICE?
The new products are bingo and live casino, as following our acquisition of Extreme Live Gaming we had to wind that down a little and implement new developments. We've also launched a new studio and it has a capacity of 43 tables. It’s all state-of-the-art technology with updated user interfaces.
You’ve started off in Sweden this year; how has your brand fared there?
As a company we try to go into as many regulated territories as possible. We really encourage it, and as soon as a new area opens up, we look into it. We just heard the Isle of Man is going to offer a supplier license. As far as we’re concerned, bring it on.
It’s not just about getting a license; we need to adjust certain elements of games and be more compliant to regulations. It’s also important to protect players from certain aspects, and we need to accommodate that; we want to be able to offer all these components to the operator.
You just mentioned player protection; it will be a big year for new regulations in that field. How do you think they will impact the industry?
I think that’s always been the case and it will be interesting to see the ways in which everything is enforced. Most of these regulations are for operators, because they have the real, direct contact with players; but there are of course some tweaks on the games we will have to use. For example, in the UK, you cannot offer over £100 ($130.79) per total play and in Sweden you need to have X amount of seconds between a spin. We encourage that; for us that’s absolutely fine, even if it means the session is a longer period of time, that just means our players will enjoy the games a little longer.
What else does 2019 have in store for Pragmatic Play?
It’s really about launching our new products, and we have also just acquired Vsoftco, which adds virtual sports to our portfolio. These are very exciting times for us, because I don’t think what we are currently doing exists in the industry. Our USP is all about having a multi-product API where you can take all these new products and give them to your customers seamlessly.