At ICE London 2020, Gambling Insider spoke with Mark Woollard, Business Development Director at Pragmatic Solutions, about the company’s approach to working with operators and its development plans for 2020.
How successful has your ICE been so far?
Yesterday was very good. We’ve had a lot of people coming up to the stand. A lot of operators are interested in the platform and a lot of developers are interested in putting their content on the platform. The stand we have here is fantastic. It’s very open and we get a lot of people walking through here. So far so good.
How important do you think events like this are for the industry?
I think it’s really important, especially for emerging markets where you maybe don’t have the contacts or partnerships in place already. For a platform business like this, it’s very easy for people to just look on a website and not necessarily get all the information. For potential clients, being able to look at our stand and come up to us and ask us what we do and how we can impact on their business is really important.
How do you attract and sell to potential clients in a room full of competition?
Our branding is very clear and clean. We also have an association with Pragmatic Play through the IBID Group which owns both businesses. It really helps that we are both here together. Then we’re also very clear in what we do. We’re IPA based, very modular and all the branding is very clear and concise. Instead of being over-complicated in what we are trying to offer, even on a stand basis with the branding, we’re trying to be very clear so when people come up to the stand they will know what we do straight away.
What are some of the most important developments you’ve seen in Pragmatic Solutions over the past year?
We’ve been trying to get our name out there in the market. As I mentioned, we are owned by the same business as Pragmatic Play which has got a huge footprint in the market, so our job has been to let people know that Pragmatic Solutions is a very separate business run independently. We are trying to let our customers know what we can do, how we can help them and the speed at which we can move. The past year has been about awareness in the market place and the next year is about trying to sign those big deals and get the operators across to us.
Last year, you received UK certification for your platform. How was this licensing process?
The platform is very able to go into new markets quickly so it wasn’t too difficult. It is very adaptable to market conditions whether that be in the UK or elsewhere, and we have a great compliance team. We’d actually done a lot of work for GLI-19 which is the gold standard for platforms across many different markets, so because we had already done that process the UK was just an additional box ticking exercise for us.
How do you plan on making an impact on such a competitive market as the UK?
We offer something very different because we give operators full control over their destiny and what they do. When you’re working with other platforms you may have to take their casino product, their bingo product, their sports and their live dealer. While we have those offers from different places in the market place, we allow operators to choose who they want to go with and then we integrate. We don’t put them into an internal roadmap where they’re competing with their home products.
That’s a real key difference for a market place like the UK. If you can control your offering and make that different, for say the UK territory versus Spanish territory, all on one system, that just makes for a much more powerful operation for an operator.
Outside of the UK, what are the other key markets for Pragmatic Solutions in 2020?
We’ve been focussed on looking into the US market. There is a big opportunity for the big US companies to own their own platform. We actually offer solutions to customers where we onboard them, we show them how good the platform is and then we give them the option to buy the source code which means that they then own their own instance of the platform. We can then help with training and help with updates. For the US market that seems to have been something that people are very interested in.
Obviously the UK and Europe is a very important space. One of our clients is 21.com and they’re obviously quite a European based business so we have a lot of experience with Maltese type operators. What we are trying to do is not concentrate on one specific market. We are open to all markets and can help facilitate what operators want to do.
What are the key challenges facing Pragmatic Solutions this year?
Platforms as a whole are not generally understood by a lot of people. Even at the conference here we’ve been asked ‘do I put my games on your platform?’ That would be an RGS platform. We’re a very different offering. We’re a core PAM platform, an online Gaming solution across all things like your back office, payments, and integrating operations. That awareness still needs to be elevated.
People don’t necessarily know what a PAM platform is or how it can benefit your business. We need to let operators know why having one supplier for your PAM and then integrating with multiple for other things is the best way forward – the more we can get that out there the better. It’s not as sexy a conversation as say slot games or bingo games but it’s probably the biggest conversation you are going to have because once you have a good core solid system you can build on top of that.
What is the absolute focus this year from a development perspective?
We are a very proactive business in that we want to keep up with regulations and what each territory requires from a platform, but we always work with client roadmaps. Some of the best feedback we have from our current clients is that they feel like they are building their own system. Once they put a request in of what they want to see, we make sure we facilitate it. We’re not reactive. We don’t see something on the market which could be that year’s best thing, integrate it and then operators lose out on resources. We react to what operators want and then we build on that.
Our 2020 roadmap will be dictated by what our operators want and what they see as the trends. You don’t want your platform to tell you what the trends are; you are the operator, you understand the players, so you tell us how you want to work and what you want to do. Then we will do that for you very quickly.