The growing popularity of sports betting and igaming in the US is likely to smooth the path to the easing of online poker regulations, EvenBet Gaming CEO Dmitry Starostenkov has predicted.
Speaking ahead of EvenBet Gaming’s participation in next week’s SBC Summit Barcelona event, Starostenkov outlined the evolving poker market across the Americas and detailed what operators can do to take advantage of the emerging opportunities.
SBC: What are the prime markets for online poker at the moment, and which markets are showing the most promise?
Dmitry Starostenkov: With more of South America’s regions embracing legalization and regulation, the territory has become an obvious target for online and mobile poker in recent years. But given the sheer size of the region and the rate at which its online infrastructure has developed, it’s no surprise that competition between operators continues to be fierce as they seek to secure market share. This is why a localized solution, such as those offered by EvenBet, is essential in order to attract players in specific regions.
The US also shows a great deal of promise, but high liquidity is normally necessary for a lot of players to find online poker exciting and prohibitive legislation stateside still makes this difficult. However, as other forms of betting, including sportsbook and online slots, become the norm in many states throughout the country, it’s likely that regulations surrounding online poker will follow suit before long.
SBC: Can you take us through EvenBet Gaming’s priorities for SBC Summit Barcelona and why the show is such an important one in the company’s calendar?
DS: We’re incredibly excited to return to SBC Summit Barcelona and meet our partners and friends in person, especially as last year’s event was less active and crowded due to the COVID-19 restrictions still in force in Spain. Nevertheless, it was informative to everyone from newcomers to veterans and we expect nothing less from this year’s edition. There’s no replacing face-to-face networking though, so this will be a treat.
We have quite a few new and updated products that we can’t wait to showcase during the event, including the new iteration of our mobile apps that make the user’s experience a great deal more straightforward.
On top of that, it’s always an ambition of ours to expand more aggressively in Europe and as we’re so established in LatAm, the Spanish-speaking Barcelona is an excellent point at which to gauge the wider European market’s growing interest in our online poker offering.
SBC: Can you take us through what your updated mobile app offers and how this benefits operators and players?
DS: We’ve made the most important functionalities of the app a lot more visible upon entering the main interface, which will serve to engage players a lot more quickly. This includes EvenBet’s games, the tournaments and promotions that players can take part in, as well as their own account information, making the onboarding process a lot more straightforward.
When updating the app, we also looked to improve its capacity to facilitate interaction between players enormously. Over the past two years, many new players have discovered the joys and convenience of online friendships. However, if these interactions don’t feel fluid and instantaneous then users won’t take to them. People are used to the slick and intuitive interactions they have on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and anything that feels less dynamic than that will fall by the wayside.
As well as the interactive updates, the app has a new Responsible Gaming section that massively simplifies the compliance process for operators, who will also gain access to 34 poker game modes.
SBC: The company has spoken fluently on the subject of enhancing customer loyalty and retention; what should operators be doing to maximize the benefits of such principles?
DS: This is an incredibly important area of focus for us because online poker is a really interesting outlier in the igaming sector with regard to acquisition and retention, as it is such a social activity. This makes acquiring, engaging and retaining customers an entirely different ball game to activities like slots or sports betting, even if sports betting has a lot in common with poker in this regard, meaning community spirit and the skill acquired with time.
This means operators need to take a specialized approach to marketing and engaging with their poker customers to make sure they enjoy the experience. Different kinds of tournaments are a must, for example. These need to vary widely depending on the experience level of the players. Those well acquainted with the game will want to play against players of a similar experience level and for higher stakes. Equally, free roll tournaments are ideal for encouraging new players to take part as there is no buy-in associated with this kind of tournament. Understanding the different usage of tools such as these is essential to success.
EvenBet Gaming is in such a unique position of expertise on the subject that we released a free guide detailing how operators can maximize the acquisition and retention opportunities available to them and the tools at their disposal to do so (downloadable here)
SBC: What can we expect from EvenBet for the rest of the year?
DS: We have some exciting new products in the pipeline as well as a number of partnerships that we can’t wait to announce. We’re also working on several interesting projects in Eastern Europe, Paraguay and India. We’re not able to say much more than that at this point, but watch this space!
EvenBet Gaming sponsors the ‘Evolution of Poker’ panel at the SBC Summit Barcelona 2022 conference and tradeshow, which runs across September 20-22.
The session is scheduled for the event’s Casino & iGaming Stage at 11.30am CEST on September 21 and will be moderated by SBC Americas Editor Jessica Welman. It features speakers Monica Rangel (VP of Marketing & Strategy, A5 Labs), Ivonne Montealegre (Founder and CEO, MaltaPokerFestival and Fieber de Casino), John Caldwell (Co-Founder, i3Soft), Peter Jesko (Strategic Consulting, Casino Guru), and Erik Shakhbazian (Founder, Pokerstyle Events).
Visit the SBC Summit Barcelona website to book your all access or discounted group pass.