With one month to go until the 2nd Annual SPiCE opens its doors, the full speaker line up has been announced. The Eventus International team has brought together leading industry speakers from diverse affiliations among others to discuss on how elections of 2019 will affect the regulatory scenario for gambling and betting in India; opportunities in the South Asian casino industry; and growth of online poker and poker leagues.
There will be five panels hosted by experts in the industry. The panels will discuss opportunities and growth in online fantasy gaming, eSports in India, need for introduction of responsible gaming practices in India, structuring and growing online skill gaming businesses in India, and opportunities, monetisation challenges and solutions in Mobile Gaming market in India.
Interview with Mark Watts, Head of Gambling, paysafecard
Mark Watts began his career in the online gambling industry in 2005. He was based on the Isle of Man for six years, with Microgaming. Since 2006 Mark has specialised in online casino merchant management for poker, bingo and casino in core markets including Europe, Canada and Australia as well as emerging markets Asia, LATAM and Russia. In 2012, he moved to Data Cash/MasterCard as Head of Gaming, London. Focused on acquiring, gateway card processing and APM’s, his core verticals were sportsbook and casino. Mark joined paysafecard in August 2014 as Head of Gambling based in Gibraltar. He is responsible for merchant acquisition, retention and launches into new territories.
Eventus: How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
Mark: After working in IT for 8 years, managing direct sales teams, it was time for a change. An advert sparked my interest and I took a chance. The person who interviewed me turned me down initially, however I persisted with him and once I was given an opportunity I have never looked back.
Eventus: What do you think the industry will look like in five years?
Mark: A difficult question as each country or territory has its own complexity. Mature markets are at a position of established regulation, taxation and operate within the controls they have set out. Self-exclusion and the social impact of gambling will become more of a topic in time. Emerging markets need to be realistic about how to regulate and agree taxation for gambling revenue. Also, any licence applications need to be at a level which will allow new entrants to capitalise on the opportunities available.
Mobile will dominate to the point of being 90% of all gambling revenue, with in-game bets also becoming more of the preferred option in time. Players will ultimately desire simplicity.
Eventus: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
Mark: Implement gambling taxation the same on all verticals for all game types. Countries should adopt the GGR model (Gross Gambling Revenue); this would place all verticals on the same operating path.
Eventus: What advice would you give your younger self, starting out in the Gaming Industry?
Mark: Take a leap of faith, secure funding, and go for it. Become an operator in a market I would feel comfortable entering.
Eventus: How is the global gaming industry responding to the liberalisation of gambling regulations in and the growth in demand from India?
Mark: Slowly. Unless you start local and find secure and socially responsible partners it will be difficult to gain traction. Invest wisely and focus on key goals.
Eventus: What are the innovative products that can be offered in the current market and are you looking to expand your offering?
Mark: India has a strong leverage on cash, so solutions need to be delivered. paysafecard is the perfect payment solution for this market as it enables everyone to pay online with cash, no bank account or credit card is needed. Consumers first buy a paysafecard voucher that has a specific value with cash in a local sales outlet, and can use this to make purchases with their favourite online services or retailers using a 16-digit PIN.
paysafecard, part of Paysafe Group, is a global market leader in online prepaid payment methods and is available in 47 markets at more than 650,000 sales outlets.
Eventus: In your own words, describe what you believe SPiCE 2019 to be.
Mark: A new platform which provides the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded businesses and to build new strong relationships with local partners and customers.
Eventus: What do you look forward to by being a part of SPiCE 2019?
Mark: It will be a learning curve for me, I am an open book and willing to listen to any business models which would generate significant revenues. Any merchant focusing on Mobile in the gaming space in India is my focus.
Mark Watts looks forward to meeting you in person at SPiCE 2019 in Goa. See more information on SPiCE 2019 and how you can register below.