We caught up with Jacob Lopez, CEO at OPTIMA – the sports betting and gaming solutions provider confirmed as a ‘Headline Sponsor’ for next month’s Betting on Football conference.
Ahead of the event, which takes place at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge from 19-22 March, we talked all things OPTIMA, including the firm’s Betfred partnership, making up for lost time in Spain and providing its operators with a complete, innovation-filled roadmap.
SBC: How successful was your first year in partnership with Betfred? And how excited are you to power the operator’s expansion into Spain?
JL: With Betfred, we have a very nice symbiosis. The first year has been mostly to make sure that our support and development processes are all well engaged.
However, after the first six months we started pushing through new innovations with them, for example Serverless 2. They are launching in Spain, and other jurisdictions as well, so we are calibrating with them in a very good way.
SBC: How important is it for OPTIMA to make a mark on its home market in 2019, through both Betfred and Efbet?
JL: Really, our home market is the world. We want to make our mark in every legal jurisdiction in which we are active. Each regulated market is different in terms of how products are launched, and how the operators face up to challenges.
Spain was not a target market for us initially, even though we are based there, because the licensing process was not available, so basically there were no new licences granted to operators. As soon as the window was opened back in 2018, we were ready to take our current operators into Spain, as well as new operators who wanted to break into the market.
SBC: Are there any concerns that the government’s plans for gambling ads could restrict the potential of new market entrants?
JL: No, I think that marketing rules and protection of the players are necessary. What is very important is that the Spanish government is putting a lot of measures in place so only the regulated operators can service the market. That’s very important because when the rules are the same for everybody, fairness is there and the operators will not suffer.
There are lot of external operators from the black market. If they are not exposed to the same rules – in terms of marketing, gambling protection and compliance – that will only damage the regulated operators.
SBC: What will be the big breakthrough technology for sports betting in 2019?
JL: It’s not so much about big breakthroughs, or anything that will provide drastic change for the end user. It’s more a constant innovation, from companies such as OPTIMA, around things like artificial intelligence, marketing systems, new promotion systems.
Allowing the operator to provide a complete innovation roadmap. That is really what brings about change in the market, and is why big operators work with us. If they want to be leaders, not followers, they are with OPTIMA.
Betting on Football is the only trade conference that brings together decision makers from international operators to address recent issues and opportunities in the sports betting industry.
Lopez will be speaking on the ‘Product in Focus’ track on the second full day (21 March) of the event. For more information on sessions and speakers at #bofcon – click here.