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Ani Atabekyan: Expanding Vbet’s European presence through French market entry

Ani Atabekyan, Vbet Regional Manager for France, has been speaking to SBC News about the “strategic importance” of its operations in France, a market for which it has held an online sports betting licence since September 2017.

Atabekyan also explained the importance of working with affiliates to build trust among players in the region, while sharing her excitement over the recent partnership between PMU and BetConstruct – the platform provider for Vbet – which will soon enable the operator to provide a betting market for live horse racing worldwide.

SBC: Why is the French market such a strong focus for Vbet in 2019?

AA: The French market has strategic importance for our company. In France, high taxes, excessive regulation and restrictive laws have made life difficult for gaming sites and players in previous years. Since the legalisation of online gambling in 2010, no new operators have been able to enter the market.

Therefore, getting this licence itself after years of hard work was already a big achievement for our brand. This market entry is driven not by pursuit of profit, but by the aspiration to affirm Vbet’s strong position in highly regulated markets.

SBC: What are the key characteristics of a successfully localised brand for the region?

AA: In any market, the key to success is the customer-oriented strategy and an excellent product adapted to the market needs. As an international brand, we already have experience of working with different countries. We know what our potential users value and what are the trend developments in each region.

France is not an exception; by putting customer at the core of our operations we aim to leverage our quality services and powerful platform provided by BetConstruct to ensure the best offer for the local market. Our sportsbook offers all the range of possible sports betting markets in France. Along with brand new features, interesting offers and bonuses our players will also be able to enjoy Vbet’s advanced Fantasy League offer.

We are planning the launch of  Poker in the second half of the year and complete our range of products with horse racing in the near future. With the possible authorisation of virtual casinos in France, we hope to add on Vbet’s impressive casino offer as well.

SBC: Would the privatisation of Française des Jeux (FDJ) assets lead to a fairer online gambling market for new incumbents?

AA: Private management is always more efficient for business than public management. Historically, the French government has been largely involved in this sector. Legalisation of online gambling in 2010 was already a serious step forward.

Now, privatising FDJ, the monopolist of lottery and point of sale sports betting in France with relatively smaller share in online gambling sector, will surely make the French online gambling market more competitive.

Hopefully, the reforms towards market liberalisation will be continuous. As for the possible implications on Vbet, we are not here to compete, we aim to position our brand as an innovator and this will differentiate us from existing operators.

SBC: Late last year, BetConstruct secured an international agreement with PMU; how will this influence the horseracing offering on Vbet?

AA: PMU is the leading French horse racing betting provider in the world and the recently signed cooperation with BetConstruct will enable us to stream and provide a betting market for live horse racing worldwide in the near future.

We are very excited for the opportunity to bring the best experience in horse racing betting to our customers. This will be a long-term cooperation and we expect to have great results from the partnership.

SBC: And finally, how much growth can be achieved by working with affiliates in this region?

AA: France is a new market for us so raising brand awareness and building trust among players will be our main goal. Affiliates play a big part in helping us to do this. Along with working with direct marketing and advertising channels, we aim to establish long lasting strong relationships with affiliates as our brand ambassadors.

Given the specificities of the market, there is a tough competition amongst operators to maintain the best relations with each affiliate. We are already in contact with the largest affiliates of the market and look forward to welcome others into our affiliate program.

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