Following a year of formidable growth for the industry’s leading matchmaker and sales house, Betbazar, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Max Sevostianov spoke to us about its success, the changing nature of sports betting with the advent of Esports and how AI is leading the way.
Congratulations on your two-year anniversary at Betbazar! Can you talk us through your vision when joining the company and how you and your team have created such record-breaking growth over the past year and a half?
From the outside, I could always see that the iGaming industry held plenty of growth potential, so it was an ambition of mine to get involved. Given the business model and vision, Betbazar had and has, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I have enough experience working in the B2B segment to know precisely how to build the proposition Betbazar offers.
Given the nature of recent global events, it’s been a challenging couple of years. Still, we have concentrated on analysing the sales processes and optimising our role as a global sales house.
I believe the key to our success is our ability to identify new trends and opportunities. We help our partners to integrate their content effectively. It has been crucial when dealing with a new concept such as Esports. During the pandemic, when top tier sports events were cancelled, we managed to support our clients by providing them with a new form of content.
Looking back at the last 18-months, what do you see as key to contributing to the company’s success?
A clear vision of what we want to achieve and a deep understanding of the types of products needed for our partners’ success has been essential. We have taken a data-driven approach to identify the right products for the right clients. We use transparent sales processes in the B2B segment, and we always try to find new approaches as well. Our priority is to build relationships, not only for the business side but also for growing human relationships. It has proven to be the best way to identify the client’s needs.
For example, we know that the modern player wants fast, engaging and easy-to-understand betting products. This audience needs to feel the integrity of the stats behind the product they are using. For example, our esports partner, BETER, is very popular with the millennial and GenZ age group as it has what they’re looking for. It made them an ideal candidate to become one of the industry’s favourite Esports providers. Such growth, where we can symbiotically benefit each other, is exactly what Betbazar is aiming for.
What do you believe differentiates Betbazar’s business model in terms of what you’re able to bring to your partners?
We’re unique in what we do, and our client-first approach is what makes us stand out. We learned during our journey that content creators often don’t have the sales capabilities they need. They can create the perfect product, but it can be challenging to find the perfect client. Betting providers are also constantly under pressure to identify which products will take off on their websites. Betbazar, as a global sales house, has expertise in B2B sales and clients needs. We help to choose the most appropriate product for the client. We also assist in managing the integration process to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Your experience spans more than 20 years across both B2C and B2B, how do you feel your experience has contributed to what you’ve brought to Betbazar?
In my opinion, there is a connection between B2C and B2B sales in the betting business. We negotiate directly with the business, and we present the content they might be interested in. Yet the final user of this content is a B2C client, which is an audience whose needs must be taken into account while selling the product. Doing that effectively comes down to being able to build mutually beneficial relationships. It is another reason our business model has worked so well.
When I started working at Betbazar, I shaped the structure that helped us provide a client with all necessary information right after the connection was established. You need to understand that the betting business develops immensely fast, new products appear on the market in the blink of an eye, and it’s us who present them to the client. We constantly monitor and research the market to give our clients the latest trends and create a transparent information sharing process. This clarity is always the best way to retain clients for as long as possible. Experience in doing this is what I bring to the table.
Looking to this year in terms of betting, how much has the B2B and B2C landscape changed in the last year?
We saw a lot of mergers and acquisitions this year, including 888 with William Hill, DraftKings with Entain, Kindred with Abios. Companies are clearly looking to create in-house technology stacks and move away from outsourcing software. We are seeing huge companies looking to start-ups with a winning edge to offer technological and AI-driven solutions, and this is just the beginning. Next year we will likely see more M&A action for this reason – as the business case is clear for many to integrate their tech internally.
On the B2C side, the audience is changing. As we’ve seen with millennials and Gen Z, the way they want to be entertained evolves at the speed of technology, so an effective offering needs to be just as dynamic. Operators need the right insights and the right data to be able to keep up with this kind of fluid demand. How they want to be engaged, what devices they want to use, and what games they like are all in flux. A data-informed solution is the only way to achieve this.
Given your wide selection of products, which B2B supply-side verticals are going to prove key to 2022 success for operators?
No one is surprised that Esports betting is growing in popularity, and it will continue to increase. The priority for the B2B segment is to develop new products that cater to these needs. The integration process also has to be streamlined, which is why we’re seeing plenty of tech being integrated in-house.
I saw The International DOTA 2 tournament, and there is a lot going on in that, even I wasn’t always able to follow it! What became clear to me is that this type of player enjoys investigating different game mechanics. So, it is as important to provide new mechanics as it is to have unique content. The gamification of the betting process is becoming more important in this way.
The key now to attracting the audience is personalisation. It is by far the fastest route to a young audience today. Modern content must include not only high-quality video, information about the players, statistics, but also a correct marketing approach should be applied to present the content in a favourable light.
Looking at the next few years – how much do you believe sportsbooks and casinos are going to be shaped by player demand and what’s going to change?
AI is going to play a much more significant role, and the collection of data to inform these processes will become a far bigger priority for sports betting providers. As a result, we will see more personalised betting for players. We are going to see more intuitive additions of sportsbooks to online casinos to maximise cross-selling and retain their existing audience.
New games will definitely be introduced to the market. I am sure in the upcoming years Esport will become just as popular as the regular sport, if not more popular.
Online betting will continue to grow as people adapt to a post-Covid world. Tech development will inevitably surprise us since we already know the betting industry is one of the most progressive in the world.
New approaches to responsible gaming will also appear as the industry grows. It will be a major step to creating a better customer experience and taking the sector to the next level.