Brandon Walker: How Amelco is using technology to tap into new markets

Sports betting systems provider Amelco  boosted its Asian market presence earlier this month after securing a football trading partnership with the legacy operator Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).

Brandon Walker, Head of USA at Amelco, spoke to SBC about how the partnership has put them ‘on the map’, what opportunities  could arise as the Asian market matures, whilst also highlighting the US as a key area for growth.

SBC: Has your partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club increased Amelco’s presence in Asia? 

Brandon Walker: It certainly put us on the map, and the work we have done with them has been a real advertisement for just how much we can do for our partners here. 

In my view, the Club’s use of our industry-leading solution is a true endorsement of our ability to provide the best-in-class global operators with a modern and scalable operation bespoke to their needs. UK football betting has proved to be especially popular with the Club’s betting community, with its high performance, algorithmic driven pricing solutions set to provide for the operator’s unique needs for years to come.

In line with that, I anticipate that we’ll be getting ready to increase our presence here as Asia gears up for its own PASPA moment, and we’re looking forward to bringing out the best of our toolkit, including introducing Quantum Outrights to the Asian market, the industry’s first football outright pricing model to harness machine learning technology. 

SBC: Why has Amelco earmarked the Asian market as an area worth investing into?

BW: Our success with the Hong Kong Jockey Club speaks wonders in terms of the region’s potential. As we see it, the stellar growth of the Asian betting industry remains incredibly encouraging, as the international advance of sportsbook continues unchecked in most developing countries. 

As the market matures, there will certainly be room to expand our product. We understand the local requirements well, and we’re in a great position to deliver here. We’re familiar with betting behaviour and what customers are looking for when it comes to solutions, and we know exactly what we can do to ensure our partners really get ahead of their competition. 

SBC: In the interview at ICE (embedded below), there was mention of Amelco wanting to boost their presence across Africa, what products will best help you achieve this? 

BW: I can say with full confidence that we have the industry’s most comprehensive package of products available. We’ve been working there for a while, and being from South Africa myself, I take our plans for the continent very seriously. 

As many of our partners already know, the market is as dynamic as it is vast and understanding the needs of each region is a vital part of delivering a successful offering – none more so than in adapting technology to fit the continent’s fragmented infrastructure.  

Our Opera-mini mobile sportsbook has been created to crack this challenge for our partners. Designed with low internet connectivity, high distribution costs and the unique African challenges of platform scalability in mind, it can serve what environment it is in, no matter how underserved. Alongside that, our ‘spin and bet’ games have been a real hit, offering sports betting on casino-style slots, as well as unique shared jackpot style-games that add that social element, which have proven to be of very high value. 

SBC: And what are the key differences between European and African operator needs that Amelco has identified? 

BW: It depends where you are! Any operator looking to enter the market must first find a way around the significant connectivity and payment processing infrastructure gaps that isolate its regions. Of course, while major cities in South Africa certainly benefit from a more developed infrastructure, this is far less the case for markets further north, such as in Kenya and Uganda – and needs to be mitigated. 

To say this part of the world is unique when it comes to retail would be an understatement. Luckily, we’ve got the toolkit required to deal with both agency and retail sales models, both of which are key to operator revenue in most of Africa’s markets. 

Our product sits on handheld terminals as well as via any other point of mobile, laptop and the like. We’ve also spent the time setting up unique integrations with telecom providers, which enables direct sports and lotto betting paid via phone credit, which, as anyone who has spent time there will agree, is a very common way of transacting on the continent.

Any operator looking to make their mark here needs to take these unique requirements in mind, luckily, they have us here to guide them through the process with one of the most advanced solutions around. 

SBC: Amelco has continued to increase its foothold in the US, having secured deals with Atlantis Gaming Corp as well as being awarded a licence in Pennsylvania. Are there any plans for further expansion across the US in 2020? If so, what are they?

BW: We’re definitely going to be expanding. As a partner of choice for some of the largest retail and online networks across the U.S., word is getting out as to how much we can bring to the table. 

Testament to our US-focused efforts, we have been given a vote of confidence as the technology supplier that will power FOX Bet across the US. As well as rolling out across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we’re now looking at expanding with them across a further 16 states over the year ahead.  

Alongside a raft of deals signed across Tennessee, Indiana and Colorado, we’re really excited by the growth we’ve seen for the past two years post-PASPA. Regulated online betting is only getting started and we’re here to help operators build their brand with them. We’re unmatched when it comes to efficiency and cutting-edge technology, and our pioneering work with U.S. customer data and automation ensures we can deliver the most efficient price differentiation and segmentation models available on the market. 

SBC: What are the key regulatory challenges that Amelco faces when it comes to the US market?

BW: The US is a unique proposition in that we have so many states, all of which have their own spin on things. We have dedicated the past two years to ensuring our US platform and sportsbook caters to exactly what our customers need and given it so highly modular – we can adapt to any jurisdiction’s requirements. 

Of course, that doesn’t come without its challenges. Each state has its own process, board, personnel and time-zone, all of which needs to be factored in. Throw in the pressure to meet aggressive time frames, and you have a raft of moving parts that needs to be taken into account. 

Thanks to our market-leading tech, we’re able to deliver a truly multi-market, multichannel operation across any bet entry point, from retail to mobile and everything in between. Whether for online and mobile only in Tennessee or Washington’s three types of licences across lottery, sports venues and bars, we’re able to deliver a customised, segmented solution that can be immediately operable and compliant for the regulatory challenges of each state.  

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