Bob Akeret: Nevada approval is a ‘trust stamp’ for FSB’s US momentum

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Securing regulatory approval across the patchwork quilt environment of North America poses significant challenges for ambitious operators and suppliers. One supplier making noticeable progress in the region in recent months is FSB.

On the eve of G2E, we sat down with Vice President of Operations Bob Akeret to discuss FSB’s recent regulatory momentum in North America.

Last month you announced you had secured licensing approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). How was that end to end process?

As you would expect from such a distinguished body, it was an extremely thorough and detailed process that involved many of our key stakeholders not just in North America but also in Europe. The comprehensive and intricate nature of the procedure pays tribute to the extremely high standards the NGCB sets to enter their jurisdiction.

Securing a license in Nevada has been a central pillar of our long-term strategic plan in the North American region and last month’s news was a milestone moment for us. Nevada occupies the soul of sports betting in the US and receiving authorization in that market is truly a trust stamp on where we are as an organization currently.

Being at the market’s flagship event G2E this week allows us to showcase our ambitious plans in Nevada and in the wider North American market to the perfect audience. 

Can you expand further on your plans in Nevada?

We see Nevada as the central cog in our expanding North American wheel. Our biggest hub in the US is in Nevada, my good friend and colleague Mike Van Ermen drives our Business Development endeavors from the Silver State and we have some major partnerships within the market to announce in the coming months. We believe this news will truly propel FSB into the position of No.1 global challenger brand in B2B sports betting. 

Moving further north, you’ve also made significant strides in other key Northern American states this year. Tell us more.

Yes, as well as getting the green light in Nevada, we’ve also received regulatory approval in South Dakota and Ontario. Last year was all about scaling up our operational teams across North America and Europe and a big part of that was in compliance and regulation. This is now an integral part of our business and we’re now starting to reap the rewards on the back of that. 

Securing approval in South Dakota in July was a real step forward but the fact we were one of the first suppliers to be licensed in Ontario back in March speaks volumes for the talents of our people and the exceptionally high standards of our Tier 1 tech stack. This palpable progress across three complex markets in six months puts us in a strong position moving forward as we look to scale into new geographies and procure new operator partnerships. 

Talking about operators. You’ve come from an operator background and you’ve mentioned in the past it influences the way you do business at FSB.

Yes, it’s a thread that runs through a large portion of our North American team. Last week we hired Keenan Lassor into the Business Development team and he’s another individual who’s come from a sportsbook operator with a rich background in the Delaware market.

In terms of the regional leadership, both Mike and I have come from Tier 1 operators and have played integral parts in launching sportsbooks across Nevada and New Jersey so having that experience influences our whole strategy in the North American market. This is still a nascent environment for operators and we understand it’s not easy. We’ve been there! 

What we’re able to project within our partnerships is trust and experience with the ability to unravel pain points before our partners even know about them. We speak their language, we know their priorities and together we collaborate with them to curate an operator focussed solution. 

What’s next for FSB from a regulatory point of view in North America?

First up is putting building blocks out there in our existing markets. After a great show at the SBC Summit North America in July we’re now excited to be at G2E this week. The Vegas show has extra significance this year of course with us now being licenced in Nevada.  Naturally, our award-winning multi-solution omnichannel sportsbook will be front and centre of our G2E offering alongside our 10,000+ game iCasino product and ever-evolving feature-rich retail proposition. We want to be part of the sportsbook story in Nevada and G2E will allow us to start that journey.