Fabio Schiavolin – Snaitech: Gambling needs deeper skillset to navigate new decade of complexities

Speaking to SBC, Fabio Schiavolin, Chief Executive of Snaitech, has emphasised that entering a new decade, European sector incumbents will have to develop deeper skillsets as the ‘industry’s credibility remains in play’.

Accustomed to leading Snaitech through Italy’s many political disruptions, last year at ICE 2019 Schiavolin warned European leadership counterparts that betting had to find its ‘public rationale’ in order to avoid an ‘Italian outbreak’.

A year-on, European gambling sees disruptive political narratives reappear in its key markets of the UK, Sweden and Spain. Entering 2020, Schiavolin believes that leadership faces critical questions on ‘the sustainability and the future of our industry’.

“Recent regulatory changes across Europe, underline that there remains an increasing political demand for the industry to showcase better care of its responsible gambling directives,” he told SBC.

Amid fast-changing regulatory dynamics, Schiavolin underlines that leadership faces pressure to deliver “an industry that can innovate and grow in terms of volume, undertake better projects, but in-turn ask itself whether it can achieve its goals in a sustainable way.”

Of utmost concern, Schiavolin believes that betting leadership will have to prove to political observers that auto-control measures developed with wider stakeholders, can deliver tools and concepts safeguarding the 1-2% of problem gamblers recorded amongst regulated European markets.

Schiavolin acknowledges that tough leadership decisions are being undertaken during a period of acute political sensibility and reactions across Europe, dynamics that can drain and distort leadership mindsets.

“I prefer playing football to playing politics! But yes, we must develop heightened sensibilities on concerns related to the industry,” Schiavolin added.

“In a new era for gambling, it is no longer sufficient for executives to be just regarded as ‘tech experts’ or great leaders in operations and management of corporate resources. Deeper sensibilities are required especially with regards to community needs and in which direction the politics of a respective country is heading.”

Despite facing a tougher remit, Schiavolin underlines that leaders are in a position of privilege in which they can shape the industry’s ‘big new ideas’ – an opportunity that should not be understated.

He continued: “For sure I see the engagement and relationship changing with our consumers. For sports betting in particular, we have to find a way of serving the customer a better all-round experience.”

Schiavolin urges counterparts to drop aggressive marketing and engagement tactics that no longer work in saturated marketplaces. Instead, Snaitech’s leader believes that the betting industry will be sustained by the operators that “achieve the next level, which is reactivating the ‘passion base’ of consumer safely, especially for sports betting in which this fundamental dynamic cannot afford to be lost”.

Schiavolin concludes that industry mindsets should not simply change to adjust with regulatory enforcement, but more importantly to accommodate for changes in consumer demands which await incumbents in a complex new decade.

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