Chetan Pandya, Chief Product Officer at Pragmatic Solutions (pictured), discusses the importance of strengthening its regulatory compliance standing in Malta, before explaining the evolution of the ‘Onboarding Hub’ resource to deliver more transparency to its partners, and why it is sticking to the “circle of competence” to avoid compromising on quality.
SBC: How would you describe the Pragmatic Solutions business performance in 2020?
CP: We are very excited about the momentum we have had in 2020. Pragmatic Solutions provides core player account management platform technology (PAM), an integration hub for 3rd-party services and content, and front-end CMS tools. This technology sits at the heart of a gaming business and is one of the most important vendor decisions that an operator will make.
As a technology company we recognise the significance of the role we play in supporting our client’s business and take this responsibility very seriously. Our clients are regarded as business partners.
We focus on long-term strategic alignment with their business goals and structure our commercial models to ensure we are mutually focused on cost-efficiency and profit maximisation. We believe in 2020 this approach has been well received and is an important factor driving current growth.
Business performance for 2020 to date has been ahead of our financial and operational targets and our business development pipeline is active with numerous new partner discussions underway.
We are a rapidly growing business and grateful for the partners who have chosen to build their business on our platform. We are committed to driving their success with our intelligent technology solutions.
SBC: Is the interest you are getting as we move through the crisis more on the iGaming side?
CP: We fortunately operate in an industry that provides entertainment that can be enjoyed at home and where remote work was already a common model, so while the COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on other sectors of the economy, our teams have continued to work and our business plans have progressed at pace.
As a result of the suspension of most professional sports, many operators have either used this time to evaluate alternative platform options to their current legacy platforms or accelerated their plans to diversify their product mix (e.g. growing their gaming offering). In both scenarios, we take a consultative approach to educate these companies as to what we can offer and help design programs to implement these initiatives within their businesses.
SBC: What does the recent B2B Critical Gaming Supply licence from MGA mean for the business?
CP: Pragmatic Solutions already has been certified for Malta as we were already operating with clients in that market. The B2B Critical Gaming Supply licence is an additional credential to what we had before, strengthening our regulatory compliance standing and is consistent with our 2020 commitment to expanding our business in regulated markets.
We will take the necessary steps to obtain certifications and licences to support the use of our technology by our clients in the jurisdictions where their business is based and onto the locally-regulated markets in which they serve customers. This licence is another step in our regulatory and compliance strategy.
As for regulation and compliance, we’ve been following all the headlines in terms of penalties – so new or even existing operators get a lot of confidence when saying we’ve gone ahead and done this due diligence, we’ve taken the extra step. It showcases our commitment to regulation and compliance.
For the business, it means a great deal because it gives confidence, credibility, and reliability to all existing and potential clients. Part of our approach means staying ahead and being proactive in making sure we offer full protection to our clients and their players.
SBC: How is Pragmatic Solutions helping to minimise the challenges that operators face, both during COVID and looking past it?
CP: As stated earlier, we’ve been fortunate not to be as adversely impacted by COVID-19 as other industries. The latest iGaming reports said that slots, virtual betting, poker and bingo have experienced an increase in turnover as a result of COVID lockdowns.
We have prioritised new product integrations to our customers to ensure that they have alternatives to sports betting to offer their customers while major sporting events have been suspended. We are their business partners and our commercial interests are aligned so we have been proactive and responsive to propose and implement solutions.
As a business we were prepared because we had a continuity plan in place. We have a very flexible work from home policy. Our biggest asset is, indeed, our team. I’m super proud of the team as we have been able to onboard clients with agility and speed, even during this time. They’ve worked hard and have real passion for what they’re delivering, and I am very proud of how our teams have responded to the challenges of the COVID crisis.
SBC: What is the Onboarding Hub that you have been promoting recently? Can you just talk us through this?
CP: The Onboarding Hub is a resource center for our clients containing extensive information about our technology, our APIs, and the use of our technology. The goal of Onboarding Hub is to demonstrate our commitment to transparency for our partners, assist in their initial evaluation of our technology, support their technical teams throughout the integration and implementation process and serve as an evolving reference center for operations teams to access information about the use of our technology and the 3rd-party services available through our APIs.
The Onboarding Hub is an evolving resource – as we introduce new functionality, support new regulatory requirements, or integrate new 3rd-party vendors, the content within the Hub is expanded and refined to support our client partners. At the end of the day, we are in a partnership where the better the operator performs, the better it is for our platform. That’s the kind of concept we want to bring with the Onboarding Hub.
To summarise, it’s a source of information for some of the best practices regarding product, technology and compliance matters. This is valuable for operators, working as their own hub; and allowing more engagement as partners, while bringing more transparency to the working process.
Too often is communication between a client and a technology vendor a one-way street. We want to present all the information we can to show that we are accountable to our partners and transparent with regard to progress of our shared development roadmap. This transparency helps a long-term relationship to flourish.
SBC: How would this help the company’s positioning as an iGaming platform (PAM)?
CP: This will help to unlock the value that our iGaming platform can provide to our existing and new clients. We want our operators to succeed and our commitment will show in the quality of information we provide and the system that we put in place.
So with regards to the Onboarding Hub, we will make compliance & regulation a core theme for operators, where they can get all the latest information and can use this information to improve their standing.
Our idea behind creating the Onboarding hub is to provide structure, accountability and transparency. We believe that operators will find value in it and it will help us build a stronger relationship with them.
SBC: Is there anything else coming up? Any new product developments you can share? How much has been pushed back as a result of COVID-19?
CP: We’ve been fortunate to push on with all the development plans we had in place. All the conversations we have are around a fast development cycle – this has historically been an area where Pragmatic Solutions stands out in a competitive market. Our hard-earned reputation for being responsive to our partners’ demands is an asset that we work diligently to maintain.
The idea is to maintain the speed of delivery but also the right compliance, consistently focusing on the AML rules and creating best practices. We have been, in fact, busier than before because we have some important businesses coming on to our platform.
Also, we believe in the circle of competence without compromising on quality. We continue to invest in improving the platform architecture, keeping the platform flexible, improving turnaround time and in our ability to integrate FAST with any 3rd party service provider. You should know what you’re good at and keep improving that part.
We try to avoid distractions which places us higher in the top when compared to other providers who have their hands in many pies. I understand the industry is growing, but we are trying to stick to the circle of competence so that when you use our Pragmatic Solutions, you get the best platform service.