Interview with Georg Westin & Kristofer Bergdahl, Founder & CMO, Hero Gaming

georg-westinStarting with Georg, nice to sit down and talk with you! It has been some time since the launch of Casino Heroes (previously, Casino Saga). Has it turned out the way you had imagined?

It was a very hectic start and the first 2 years have been really amazing. We have grown from just 10 employees to 75, with our operational CEO, Magnus Alebo, running the Malta operations and Kristofer taking care of marketing. I am especially proud that my idea of creating something more compelling in the casino industry has worked. We see it in the player behaviour, the data analytics, and the feedback we receive.

Sometimes it appears that Casino Heroes has not evolved much since the launch – are we wrong in assuming this?

kristofer-bergdahlOf course, there have been massive improvements behind the scenes, as we build and run our own platform. There have been many additions for our customers including mobile app and mobile web improvements, along with three new adventures available for players.

Exciting! Can you elaborate on the future? Do you think other sites will be adding similar features?

Competitors building features similar to ours is fine. We have hired people from companies with gamification at its core, such as King, and they are now outlining the next generation of Casino Heroes. I am looking forward to releasing this to our players.

One thing I’ll add is a hint on our new feature where players will be able to play all adventures in parallel. Imagine trying to get the King’s crown back to Hero Island while simultaneously fighting evil engineers in Rock of Riches!

Speaking of mobile game developer, King, tell us about your recent struggle regarding the “Saga” trademark.

Oh yes! Although it felt like a battle against King and 20 London lawyers, it ended well. The change of name and logo was executed well, transparently involving players in the process.

We are all very eager to hear about the new brand coming out but what exactly is Betser?

We are already creating a “wow factor” for casino gaming with Casino Heroes, however, now it is time to reinvet Sports Betting. Betser has the first great mobile UX, the best casino games, and fastest withdrawal times. We now have two more concepts that will take the players by storm.

First, we have Balls & Brains. This is a concept that I think goes deep into what all gambling is about – do you listen to your brain and take the safe bet or do you have the balls and the courage to really push towards the high rewards? At Betser you constantly collect Balls and Brains points depending on what type of sports player or casino player you are. You can see your balls and brains meter and use the points in our Balls and Brains shop.

Secondly, we have Betser League. How may times have players discussed who is the best at betting? Well now you can really know. At Betser you are part of a huge league system with 2-week seasons. You get points for each sports bet you win, as well as based on the odds you receive. The players move up and down in the league system and are rewarded with badges and cool prizes. You can also see other player’s profiles and see how they bet to have a winning strategy!

Wow, it sounds you will definitely move this vertical quite a few steps forward. Kristofer, when will it be launched and how do you see affiliates who want to promote Betser?

The brand will be launched in November and soon after, we will launch the television commercials. Historically, we see affiliates as very important assets. I cannot understand the operators who treat this marketing channel poorly. It hurts them very much.

To further prove our commitment to affiliates regarding Betser, we have built a function that makes it possible for affiliates to send traffic to our pre-launch site even before the launch. The tracking codes will be saved along with the player’s details and will follow the player once a full registration is made.

There was a really nice event with affiliates and media partners in Italy with Formula 1, showing the new brand to the industry. Why this approach?

Well, as with all we do, we want, not only for our players to feel amazed, but also the people we work close with such as affiliates and large media houses. The great days at Monza Formula 1 and all the cool events that we have hosted, showed our dedication and made memories that represent what the Betser brand is all about: competition, cool lifestyle, and a lot of balls.

Georg, you have been in the industry for more than 12 years and have seen many trends; how do you see the coming year from an industry perspective?

One of my favourite topics!

Well, there are the obvious trends, such as the continuous affiliate consolidations along with the smaller operators struggling to handle a more regulated field moving forward. On the operator level, I have seen that many operators have been able to run their businesses completely on growth, without any profits whatsoever. I think this will not be possible moving forward, which likely means that the marketing budgets will be tightened a bit.

On a product level, poker will continue as a hard fight with Pokerstars. They have done most things right over the years. I hope that someone can take them on with radical innovation though.

Besides this, we have the geographical expansion where it will be the operators navigating the mine fields of licensing, payment options and tailor-made player experiences that will win. We aim to be one of them!

We are sure you will be. Thank you so much. We look forward to following Hero Gaming and Betser in the future!

This article was published first on SiGMA Magazine. The magazine was launched at SiGMA show last November. For SiGMA17 sponsorship opportunities click here.

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