Betting on Brazil- Max Sevostianov interview for the iNTERGAMINGi

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Max Sevostianov, COO Betbazar, sat down with iNTERGAMINGi for the Issue 5 and explains the company's big belief In Brazil and esports' growing impact on sports betting.

BETBAZAR CEO, Alex Iaroshenko mentioned in iNTERGAMINGi Issue 3 about your plans for LatAm and specifically Brazil. Could you offer an update on this expansion heading into the final portion of the year? Deals / partnerships in the pipeline?

While it’s still a bit early for me to get into the specifics of the deal, we’re currently in the process of signing an agreement with a content provider that we plan to offer to LatAm clients, so that will be a significant step for us in the region. In terms of why we’ve identified Brazil as a particular focus area, it’s a country many companies around the world are trying to approach at the moment as we all share the belief that regulation is imminent there. It’s also a really competitive market - especially for eSports - so we see huge potential for some of the products we currently offer in Brazil. In particular, the popularity of football is very high, so I believe our FIFA console games can provide further value to existing bettors and clients in the market.

What is the latest on your plans for Asia?

I’d say we’re at a similar stage with our plans for expanding into Asia, but what’s particularly interesting there is that the market is already really mature, so you have to find a suitable approach in terms of the products you offer. Typically, Asian bettors really like casino games, but we’re also seeing a growing interest in eSports there too and we already have several Asian clients who’ve capitalised on this fact with great results. Again, we’re currently in the process of signing a new partner who has a really strong position in Asia in terms of slots and casino games, so I really see a lot of potential for providing this client with our comprehensive eSports coverage as well.

What types of sports betting products have been trending this year for BETBAZAR as the company builds its igaming marketplace?

For most clients it’s really important to find an appropriate partner who can provide excellent tech for their platform. We see this as an area of huge potential for us, as we already have a partnership with Gr8 Tech - a leading sports platform provider - who can supply this tech excellence while also offering wide sports event coverage.

In terms of sports that are growing in popularity, we’re seeing increased demand for fast games like table tennis tournaments. Of course, football and basketball are still the big two, but as bettors these days don’t want to wait so long for events to finish, table tennis can be a great “filler niche” that we can organise in-house with trading.

Another area where we’ve been able to help clients is live data, live odds and live streaming. This is a full service solution, so a sportsbook provider doesn’t need to invest in their trading team and can minimise expenses by getting all the details from us directly, which I think has been really important for us in terms of client attraction.

How will eSports betting continue to grow its influence on sports betting and BETBAZAR’s product offering?

I believe in the next three to five years, we’ll see a massive increase in eSports around the world, with bigger audiences and better content available. If we go back to 2009, global eSports had around 200,000 players in total; but these days, that number is in the millions. Increased internet penetration has definitely helped, as you can now access different games channels like YouTube and Twitch via your mobile practically anywhere in the world. This will only continue to improve as internet coverage and speed evolves - and soon we’ll also have the potential to add new features like VR and AR to the eSports betting experience as well. Of course, as eSports have gained popularity, so has the demand for official data. In the past, companies just created their own data, but that often resulted in mistakes and delays in the market. Our partners, however, use official data for global eSports trading, meaning we can increase the up-time by keeping the market open for as long as possible, thereby generating increased turnover and providing a more stable margin.

How are micro-betting and instant gratification-based sports betting events becoming key components in sports betting offerings?

As long as your platform can provide streams and live odds, micro-betting will always be popular with customers. While I don’t think that’s anything particularly new, what is interesting here is the potential cross-sell opportunities to other products that this increased popularity provides. I think the FIFA console game is a great example of what you might call an “instant gratification-based sport” as it has the same mechanics as football, but in this case a match only takes eight minutes and you can also bet on many different markets. For this reason, we always recommend that our clients add FIFA to their main football section, as it will attract existing audiences when there are no live games on. Other eSports like CS:GO also offer plenty of micro-betting opportunities, with players able to wager on everything from which weapon a team will choose to who throws the first grenade, so the potential is there.

What do you make of recent M&A activity in US sports betting and how will these transactions offer more opportunities to global sports betting suppliers? E.g. Fanatics’ acquisition of PointsBet US and Penn Entertainment’s ESPN deal.

I think this type of activity makes a lot of sense for the companies involved as when someone creates a great product in one niche, it’s much easier for big companies to simply acquire the product than it is to invest in developing their own. You can take the solution, the team and the product and - as you already have a lot of clients yourself - you can check its popularity and improve the concept really quickly. I think these mergers also have a big impact in terms of marketing, as we often see big operators increasing sponsorship on local teams - like when Entain acquired Polish operator STS, for example. I expect this will also be the case as Brazil becomes more regulated and sports betting operators want to increase the popularity of their eSports products, as they’ll likely sponsor a local team to help raise brand awareness.

Has your focus on the products you source and offer changed post-pandemic or has your strategy remained the same?

During the pandemic there were obviously a lot of popular fast games like FIFA and NBA 2K which filled the gaps while no real sporting events were available, but what we learnt is that these games had a lot of growth potential post-pandemic as well. They can generate additional value and additional money for operators and you can still use them as an engagement tool even while real sport is taking place, so that focus hasn’t really changed for us. What did change post-pandemic is that we branched out so that we could fill different product lines. Starting from KYC products to casino games and platform providers, we now try to cover every service a client could need both when starting a new business or adding coverage to an existing one.

With this issue published over halfway into 2023, can you give us any early indications of what 2024 could look like for BETBAZAR?

I think 2024 will be an awesome year for BETBAZAR. We’ll be increasing our development and will probably be able to add a new in-house product to our marketplace. Beyond that, we’re currently in the process of increasing our sales team and we’ll be changing some internal processes in terms of promotional marketing and the industry events that we intend to be at. We’ll also be on the lookout for new iGaming start-ups to invest in, with a particular focus on those who are working on projects that we believe can have a positive overall impact on the iGaming industry.