It’s Betting on Football by name, but so many of the topics to be discussed at this month’s conference are far from exclusive to the beautiful game.
Held at Stamford Bridge from 20-23 March, the Betting on Football agenda will combine expert analysis of this year’s football frenzy with a tour of the sports betting world and a breakdown of the most pressing international issues for industry leaders.
OPTIMA CEO Jacob Lopez will be opening the ‘Global Market Profiles’ track with an assessment of the licensing opportunity in Spain, one of more than 40 countries represented at this year’s event, with Jdigital Chairman Mikel López de Torre, La Liga Head of Global Partnerships Gregory Bolle, and Ficom Leisure Senior Partner Christian Tirabassi.
The morning part of the track will also cover preparation for a football-free summer in Italy, before Danske Spil Head of Sportsbook Jens Nielsen, Mr Green CEO Jesper Kärrbrink, Better Collective CEO Jesper Soegaard and Jari Vahanen, Senior Vice President for state-owned Finnish operator Veikkaus, combine to explain the success of gaming-based start-ups across the Scandinavian region.
Following a lunch break, the focus will turn to tackling the changing laws in Africa and the move towards legalised sports betting across the pond. Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith and Sportingbet Founder Mark Blandford will be among those discussing New Jersey’s attempt to overturn PASPA, which holds direct implications for mainstream US sports such as basketball, as the NBA targets a 1% integrity fee on all bets placed on the competition.
The afternoon will include a session on dealing with the opaque regulatory landscape in Asia featuring TCM Inplay CEO Jim Yu and Bill Mummery, Executive Director at SBOBET.
Yu said: “When I was invited to speak at Betting on Football 2018, I was super excited. This is one of my must-attend C-level events for the year. Meeting such an amazing group of speakers and experts from the industry at a great venue such as Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge is just bound to create good conversations.”
This diverse and international focus is replicated in the Leadership track, which gets underway with an analysis of the philosophy of gambling, and whether there is an acceptable balance between the potential benefits of betting and its potential for harm.
After headlining a ‘Managing Risk’ panel last year, Marek Smrha, Investment Manager at Central Europe investment group Penta Investments, is back to help delegates identify the ‘attractive risk’, with Akur Capital Partner David Shapton, Better Collective Head of M&A Michal Kopec and David Levy, Business Development Director at XL Media.
Šmrha commented: “We are happy to share our experience as a long-term investor and partner for companies in CEE. With Fortuna Entertainment Group being one of our key assets, we have a vested interest in the future of the gambling industry in the region."
Following the focus on trading tools, the prospect of regulatory backlash is next on the hitlist for our ‘Leaders’. Kindred Group CPO Britt Boeskov, IBAS Managing Director Richard Hayler and Wiggin Partner Stephen Ketteley will be alongside Andy Taylor, Regulatory Policy Executive for the Committee of Advertising Practice., to discuss who’s to blame as established betting jurisdictions start to push back on the industry.
Ketteley added: “This year’s agenda is full of incredibly knowledgeable speakers. The ability to hear them speak about their businesses, and the challenges and opportunities for this industry is a real draw. I am also looking forward to meeting the industry’s most innovative individuals and catching up with familiar faces – this is a key event in our calendar.”
Meanwhile, the afternoon will feature an update on the changing affiliate landscape by Inbal Lavi from Israel XL Media, OLBG’s Richard Moffat and BetBrain CEO Dan Grigorescu, before Sportingtech CEO Tiago Almeida joins Jacob Lopez, Kambi Chief Commercial Officer Max Meltzer, SBTech Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Cochrane and FSB Tech CEO David McDowell to discuss how suppliers can plan for the potential opening of the US market, and whether operators are too reluctant to experiment with third party ideas.