Jeremy Taylor, Managing Director of Genting Online, discusses the recent acquisition of Authentic Gaming and plans for developing the live casino sector in relation to land-based.
Could you outline Genting’s background in the live casino sector? What is your custom offer?
Genting is a leading provider of live casino games and experiences and we continue to innovate in the sector and to expand our offering. We have been adding new titles and venues to our platform throughout this year and in the last few weeks alone have added Roulette Live From Crockfords and Baccarat Live From Genting Casino in Chinatown, London. Both of these are really exciting additions, but being able to give players the opportunity to play a table at Crockfords – a name recognised throughout the world and synonymous with exclusivity, prestige and quality – well that is quite a special USP that can’t be replicated by any of our competitors.
This ability to harness our unique, global, land-based estate really sets us apart in the sector and means that we are ideally placed to capitalise on all of the opportunity that the live casino market presents. For example, in the UK alone, Genting has 180 Live Roulette Tables in our land based properties. We are now – with the acquisition of Authentic Gaming – uniquely positioned to cost effectively bring a superior live roulette experience from these tables to our online players, and that opens up huge opportunity to maximise the potential of the £1bn Live Casino market in the UK.
Our long term vision for the future is that customers will be able to play at any of our casinos in the world – for example in London, Malaysia, Singapore, Cairo, Bahamas, New York, Vegas – in an immersive experience, from the comfort of their own surroundings. I think it signifies a real step-change in the way gamers play online and to be at the forefront of that is very exciting.
Could you outline the strategy behind the acquisition of Authentic Gaming? What inspired the purchase?
We are always open to opportunities that help grow and develop our business. In Authentic, we saw an organisation that closely matched ours in terms of strategy, culture, people, passions and product. The acquisition also means we are able to immediately benefit from all of their years of technical experience and development, which is incredibly valuable as we continue to expand our foothold in the live casino market.
Of all the live casino operators in the marketplace, what was it about Authentic that was most attractive?
I have covered some of this in the previous question, but first and foremost the fit from a business point of view was very symbiotic.
In addition, Authentic are a young, technology driven business with a very strong and experienced team who have a track record of innovating in this space and who are laser focused within their niche. They have established themselves as a leader in their field with an impressive B2B customer portfolio of nearly 50 operators, of which Genting is of course just one.
We look forward to working closely with them on ongoing projects, but also to supporting and investing in their ongoing innovation, development and growth.
Will we be seeing a major marketing push? How high profile will this acquisition be within the Genting group?
Genting are committed to making the most of the opportunity in the live casino space and so positioning ourselves in that way through our marketing and comms is certainly a part of that.
Could you describe how you plan to utilise Authentic’s in-club streaming technologies and expertise across its land-based and digital customer base?
We have recently launched two big new games and venues – namely Roulette Live From Crockfords and Baccarat Live From Genting London Chinatown – to our live casino offering and we are now looking at how we develop both our existing games and where and when we roll out new venues to be added to our platform. As previously stated, we have big ambitions in this space and will be continuing to lead the way in the sector from both an innovation and growth perspective. What this means specifically in terms of how we will use and implement certain technologies… well, watch this space.
As a land-based operator, how does Genting’s ownership evolve the Authentic product going forward?
Our intention is for Authentic to continue to operate independently, so how their product evolves moving forward will be very much down to them. Of course they will now benefit from Genting’s support and our ability to invest in their ongoing development, innovation and planned rapid expansion.
The Authentic transaction is very unique in the sense that it’s the first time that a land based casino operator has got involved in Live casino technologies in a substantial way. Authentic Gaming was founded with the vision of spearheading the convergence of land based and online live table gaming. We share this vision and believe that as a group we are now uniquely positioned to capitalise on the rapid growth of live casino online as well as the trend of convergence between the two.
Could you tell us more about how the purchase of Authentic impacts the partnerships it currently holds with other operators? How does the purchase affect Authentic’s independence and its ability to attract new customers when it is owned by a casino operator?
As already stated, Authentic will continue to operate independently, but with additional support and investment from Genting as a parent company with unrivalled global experience in the leisure and entertainment sector. That investment will help to turbocharge Authentic’s growth and attracting new customers is clearly a vital part of that.
Authentic has various live game formats that are streamed from land based casinos. They are already planning new games from our properties, many of which will be made available to their entire network of operator clients.
Likewise, Genting will continue to work with other partners wherever they better suit the needs of the business across different markets, games, venues and technologies.
Maintaining this independence is important for both GentingBet and Authentic so is something that is integral to the ongoing management of both businesses.
Does live casino present the opportunity to blend land-based and online customer databases?
One of Genting’s USPs is the variety of our product offering. We have a global land-based presence – from Malaysia, Singapore and Egypt to the Bahamas, New York and Las Vegas – plus a diverse product range online encompassing casino and slots games, live casino and a comprehensive sportsbook. Therefore our ability to cross sell certain elements of our business in to other areas is significant, whether that be via our website, CRM, across our social channels, in casino, etc. We do it where relevant and appropriate though. We understand our customers don’t want to be bombarded with cross promo messaging, but equally they appreciate being made aware of products relevant to them. We take quite a personalised approach to this and will communicate with our customers on topics relevant to them and in the format they find most convenient.
How do you anticipate the live casino sector developing as a whole? What are the advantages for Authentic to being owned by a land-based casino operator in terms of the changes it can make to its products to make them more attractive?
Well we know that the live casino sector is estimated to be worth in the region of 2.5 billion Euros in Europe alone, so I expect to see it continuing to develop at pace, with operators in the market expanding their offering and improving their experiences as they try to capitalise on the opportunity. Of course I believe Genting are uniquely placed to do this and we have exciting plans for the future in terms of how we develop our offering and improve the immersive experience for players.
In relation to the Authentic deal, of course we benefit from all of their technological experience and expertise and in return they benefit from over 50 years of global experience in the land-based gaming, leisure and entertainment sector, plus the support and financial backing of a multibillion dollar, multinational organisation.
Are there further adjacent technology sectors of interest to Genting at this time or is this going to part of a wider technology portfolio they are adopting at this time?
We are always open to opportunities that help grow and develop our business in line with our ongoing strategies. Of course each opportunity has to be right in terms of strategy, culture, people, timing, etc, but we are open minded about what specific sectors these opportunities may come from.
What are your ambitions for the online/land-based live casino space? What are your plans going into 2020?
I think this has been pretty well covered in previous answers, but in summary, we believe Genting are ideally placed to effectively bridge the gap between the real world and the online experience and we are committed to developing our product and our offering to achieve this seamless convergence. Long term, our ambition is for our online players to be able to play at any one of our venues throughout the world in a really enjoyable, immersive experience from the comfort of their own surroundings, and we’ll be continuing to take steps towards achieving this ambition throughout 2020.