Peter Greenhill, recently recruited as Head of eBusiness by Equiom Group, explains how his new firm fits into the gaming eco-system and why it decided to become a sponsor of the Asian Spring Social, organised by AGBrief and SBC.
SBC: Hi Peter, great to catch up. As a gaming and eBusiness leadership veteran, what attracted you to join the Equiom Group as its new Head of eBusiness?
PG: Not sure that I should be thanking you for using the title of ‘veteran’ to cover my 20 years of gaming experience. When I decided to move back into the private sector last year, Equiom stood out from the crowd to me as a company that fully supports and works with its clients throughout their set up and growth. We provide a comprehensive range of services to clients, including creating corporate structures to best support their ambitions, selecting which jurisdictions to obtain a licence from, and helping them to achieve those licences.
We also provide whatever back office and support services that they would prefer not to do themselves – at least in the short term. As our clients grow they can easily take any of these services back in house.
SBC: 2015 saw mass consolidation enter the iGaming space. From a governance perspective what new factors and standards are being valued by leadership and decision makers?
PG: Mergers and acquisitions was the key theme of 2015 and this will no doubt continue during 2016. This naturally controls costs for the major players and leads to squeezing smaller ‘me-too’ gaming companies with no real product differentiation into difficulties. Jurisdictions are placing extensive controls on the gaming industry, as they do with the financial services industry, in terms of anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and the protection of children.
In addition, sports betting is dealing with increased issues relating to match fixing, which was recently in the press relating to tennis. These issues are forcing gaming operators to increase the numbers and skills in their compliance teams. Equiom is able to offer support services in these areas if required.
SBC: The Equiom Group is expanding its Asian gaming services; how has your team built this division in order to help operators expand their services?
PG: Equiom already has Asian gaming clients and we are in the process of helping them expand their operations with additional licences in new jurisdictions. Our offices cover Hong Kong, Malta, Jersey, Guernsey (including Alderney) and the Isle of Man and we also provide assistance on licencing into other gaming jurisdictions – obviously including the UK. Equiom’s other services help create efficient structures to protect hard-earned wealth and ensure a positive future for private and corporate clients across a number of sectors. These include trusts, family offices, aviation, yachting and property.
SBC: The Asian economy has suffered a tough start to 2016, how has this affected sector business conditions and growth?
PG: The economy has indeed been under pressure but actually we have seen growth from our existing Asian clients and a desire from them to expand into new markets. Equiom is very pleased to have opened discussions with a number of potential Asian clients who are looking for our services.
SBC: From a consultancy perspective, are current Asia roadblocks understood by operators and suppliers targeting the market? What core misconceptions does your team see with regards to Asian gaming and betting?
PG: My previous experience in Asia working for a company with true Asian expertise included launching a company on the UK AIM market and investing funds with the governments of Chinese provinces in the gaming and lottery markets. We also developed a true Asian Handicap betting operation.
My opinion is that standard non-Asian operators find it very difficult to develop and run products for what is a very different player experience required in Asia. They also find it almost impossible to successfully break into those markets. Roadblocks do exist and can only be overcome by understanding the many differences in culture which could only realistically be achieved through developing long-term relationships with key Asian companies, understanding gaming habits and products and not trying to impose ‘western ways’ and concepts. Asian Handicap, Baccarat and Sicbo are essential products and while slots are growing, it is vital that, for example, great care is taken with which colours to use and how many claws a dragon should be depicted with.
SBC: What made you decide to support the Asian Spring Social?
The Asian Spring Social is an excellently timed event, just before iGaming Asia which is where I will be moderating a panel on European jurisdictions. Equiom is proud to be a sponsor for this event and I will be joined by members of our Hong Kong office to discuss our worldwide capabilities with existing
Asian gaming companies looking to expand into Europe and brand new start-ups who need to understand where best to operate from. The attendee list is an excellent group including our existing clients, prospects and new people to network with.
Equiom Group is a sponsor of the Asian Gaming Social being held on 18 March at Salon de Ning in Manila. Other sponsors include Play’N Go, EveryMatrix, Telstra, Frosmo, GB Group, Domicilium, BetISN and SBTech.
Sign up for the free networking event organised by AGB and SBC here.