Following its well-received launch in the UK and ambitious move towards its own gaming platform GoWild HERO, GoWild Gaming has seen exponential growth over the last year. We sat down with the company’s CEO, Itai Zak, to hear more about how this ongoing success is being achieved.
The UK has a reputation as being one of the most demanding regulators in the world - tell us about your recent expansion into the UK market.
The UK market has its own unique challenges. Beyond tight legislation, this is a very mature, crowded space. So when GoWild went live in the UK in November 2017 (after receiving our remote Gambling Operating License from the UK Gambling Commission), there was already tonnes of competition – and everyone competing had a fairly similar product. Because of this, we needed to differentiate ourselves. We chose two main ways. Firstly, the product; we introduced a much better user experience. The second thing is that we embraced responsible gaming.
On the user-experience end, the main standout is of course our proprietary GoWild HERO platform powered by more than 30 best-of-breed content providers and featuring over 4,000 games! This gives players unprecedented variety. Additionally, the platform empowers exceptional customisation in terms of promotions, so players get an unsurpassed personalised experience.
This is backed by our incomparable customer support, which means 24/7near-instant availability to players with dedicated teams for general, finance, tech, and VIP support always on-call. Our players also love that we also offer unbelievably quick withdrawals, issuing winnings within three to six hours of being verified.
As for responsible gaming, the UK is a very strict market in terms of regulation and player protection. It is obviously a challenge. But seeing as it’s not going to change any time soon, we’re not only accepting it, we are actually welcoming it.
So, for example, we’ve made it very easy for players to control their gaming, their betting, and the time spent on-site. We’ve also been inspired to take additional measures, developing a unique system which identifies potential gambling problems. We don’t wait for someone to mention that they have a problem, rather the system automatically detects any changes in player behaviour. This, alongside very experienced staff, means we are able to pinpoint potential risk, and immediately contact the player to verify that everything is ok.
Bottom-line, the increase in market regulation is only going to continue, so the only way to succeed is to accept this and go with it.
And it’s certainly worked for us. Our growth in the UK over the last three months is tremendous; it’s way above our expectations – and a very exciting time for GoWild.
Are you looking to expand into other regulated markets as well, such as Asia or the US? Is there a lucrative opportunity to flourish there?
We are looking at various countries in Europe for expansion. Sweden is going to be regulated very soon. We haven’t made up our minds yet, but it’s a serious consideration.
We’re also contemplating a few countries outside of Europe that might include Latin America, which is starting to get more and more regulated.
So, expanding into other regulated markets is definitely part of our strategy. If we expand into at least one other regulated market by the end of this year, we’ll consider that a success.
Do you plan on adding more product verticals, such as sportsbetting or DFS?
Yes. We are investing a lot in our products and are absolutely going to add more verticals, as well as improve the current ones.
In fact, just two weeks ago we launched a new product within casino called GoVegas. This is a very unique approach that gives players more personalisation and restyles their game-play.
We’re also in the process of redesigning our system for what’s called a Wild Jackpot. I can’t give away too much yet, but it will be very slick, with a completely new user-interface to cater more towards the Nordic players as well as casual players definitely something that will happen this year.
How can companies attract more Millennials – do you think Generation Z is less engaged with the gaming industry?
I think, overall, the original way of doing marketing has changed completely. This is necessary today, especially when the entire industry is shifting more towards mobile. Nowadays, it’s likely 60-70% of your market comes from mobile. So it’s not only a generational thing, it’s a platform thing. And mobile needs to be a strong focus.
Expectations have also changed across the board, where we’re seeing a
strong move towards personalisation. In gaming, as an online business, we can successfully meet market demands for personalisation with data-based tailoring, to give each player exactly what they want. This, of course, extends into individual tailor-made promotions and offers, as well as actual game-play, making preferred game types very accessible and available to that particular player.
Basically, companies today are paying huge amounts of money when it comes to acquisition costs. So the only way to succeed is retention. And the only way to retain them is to give each and every player exactly what they are looking for. There is no one size fits all formula.
To this end, GoWild has developed a very sophisticated CRM system that can target and automatically create, on the fly, tailor-made offerings for individual players in a very micro-segmented way. This enables us to super-personalise content, successfully boosting customer loyalty and engagement.
Other than that, when it comes to user-experience in a high-speed digital world, it is absolutely essential to make sure each player has the ultimate experience: very fast, very smooth, very slick. This means keeping the user-interface up-to-date, and always staying on-top of technology trends.
You moved away from supplier Microgaming towards your own proprietary GoWild HERO gaming platform, have you encountered any challenges?
Moving to our own casino platform, GoWild HERO, was a huge step for us. The project began at the beginning of 2017, and within six months we succeeded in completing the migration.
After 10 successful years of operating exclusively on the Microgaming platform we can say that for the first time in the history of the company we are in full control of our business system, and in full control of our products. This is a major accomplishment. It’s something companies are often afraid to try. We realised that if we want to succeed, we need to own the technology and to own the platform.
And while there were challenges along the way, thanks to a lot of careful planning and excellent implementation, migration went very well. Since then we have had the fortitude to expand into other markets where previously we’d been less active, including the Nordic markets and Germany. And the results have been amazing.
You experienced exponential growth in 2017. Part of that growth included the many new partnerships you signed this year at the London Affiliate Conference. What’s the secret to your success?
The London Affiliate Conference was a very successful event for us. We were amazed and thrilled by the appreciation our partners and affiliates showed. Equally exciting, we signed numerous new deals mainly in the UK, but also in the Nordic markets.
A lot of this good fortune has to do with the company maturing. Following the move to our own platform, GoWild is now much more independent, and can really decide on its own strategy and product.
At the show, we also increased our exposure in the industry, and solidified our desire to be more transparent, to communicate more of what we are doing and where we are heading. This includes our desire to establish new partnerships. As a result, we’re now getting a lot of feedback from a lot of different companies that offer different types of potential partnerships, which are always interesting to explore.
It is really encouraging to see all the appreciation we are getting in return for all the efforts we made in the last year. 2017 was an amazing transformational period for GoWild. We completed a very complicated migration, expanded our geographical reach, launched in the UK, built an entire new management team within the company, and added great people here.
Overall, we’re positioned in a very good place to continue growth and the development of our winning strategy through 2018, and beyond.