Acquiring an RG platform that uses next-generation AI technology to provide real-time analysis and intervention on problematic gambling behavior certainly demonstrates that OpenBet had identified a growth opportunity and a shrewd financial deal.
But, for CEO Jordan Levin, the relationship between the people at OpenBet and Neccton – led by MD Dr. Michael Auer – was the key driver behind the deal.
Levin told deal stakeholders on a post-announcement webinar yesterday morning: “For me, it actually starts with people and culture fit. From the first sort of set of meetings that we had with Michael and his partner, we could see that it would be a very good working relationship.
“Obviously (we have) different areas of expertise but view the world in very similar ways, (we have) similar cultural philosophies, and similar philosophies around work. Having worked on a lot of M&A we actually start with the culture fit just right alongside the traditional stuff with strategy and financials, etc.
“I think beyond that, Neccton is truly a pioneer and a thought leader in the space. As we wanted to get into the space, we really wanted to acquire someone that had established themselves as a thought leader. We feel like Neccton has really done that.”
Levin was joined by Dr. Auer, as well as Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Auer offered a glimpse into how the Neccton software works, as well as how to best use and interpret data to make the best decisions in order to protect players.
Dr.Auer noted: “A good example is deposit frequency. In a lot of analyses and studies that I have published, you see potential indications of problematic gambling – you can never tell if somebody is a problem gambler because there are a lot of other factors that are not reflected in how they gamble – but there are a number of simple indicators that can be monitored, and they can be monitored in real-time.
“Let’s say a person signs up with an operator and they deposit money and they do this five, six times after the registration. You can immediately tell this is an indication of impulsivity, of loss of control, the person can’t stop chasing losses. An operator can immediately provide a customized message addressing that type of behavior.”
Whyte also joined the webinar to illustrate how the amalgamation of Neccton into the OpenBet family is beneficial for the North American sports betting scene holistically.
As well as explaining the obvious ethical benefits to employing a responsible gaming strategy, Whyte spoke about the economic benefits of being a responsible operator.
He noted that responsible operations make for a more sustainable business as players will have a longer lifetime value.
“We’re trying to push the market, legislators, regulators, the media, and the public,” Whyte remarked. “We would say, hey, if you’re going to gamble, choose an operator that’s got a system that helps protect you.
“If you’re gonna buy a car, choose a car that’s got airbags. Volvos may not be sexy, but they’re good cards and we would love to see consumers start to make more informed choices about who they choose to bet with. That builds the economic case for responsible gambling, which builds a longer lifetime value.”
Following the scheduled webinar session, which was moderated by Jessica Feil, OpenBet’s VP of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, SBC Media asked the OpenBet CEO how important it was for tech suppliers to show a commitment to RG.
Citing that as a key factor behind the firm’s acquisition of Neccton, Levin outlined that the additional feature not only shows its RG credentials but that it encourages operators to act responsibly too.
“Neccton has a large customer base of over 50 customers using software solutions today,” Levin said. “OpenBet’s technology platform customers are a subset of that. Being able to roll out a feature that has this out-of-the-box, (gives) customers with the OpenBet technology platform is yet another feature.
“Ultimately, the operators are the ones who need to take responsibility, right? They’re the ones that are interfacing with the players. But it’s up to us to provide tools and capabilities and advice to operators for best practices.”