Exclusive interview with CEO Scott Burton

FansUnite: "One of our biggest goals was to operate in a regulated gaming environment in our home country"

Scott Burton, FansUnite CEO.
2021-11-30
Canada
Reading time 3:47 min

After the approval and coming into force of Bill C-218 and Ontario's iGaming launch, FansUnite presented a request to become fully licensed as a Gaming Related Supplier - Manufacturer by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which would allow the company to operate in Canada with its Chamaleon service.

As the company awaits a final decision from AGCO, CEO Scott Burton spoke with Yogonet about this potential expansion in the country and the company's strategies to operate in one of the biggest gaming markets in the world. 

Is there an approximate launch date in Ontario, provided the license the company has applied for gets approved?

Based on the timelines given to us by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), we anticipate a decision in the first half of next year. Having already been granted multiple gaming licenses in top tier jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Malta, we are confident that we will be approved for a license to operate in Ontario. 

What drove FansUnite to the Canadian market? What are the company's advantages in terms of competitiveness? 

There were numerous reasons for us to want to operate in Canada, none bigger than the fact that we are a Canadian company. We are based in Vancouver, with most of our employees residing in Canada. We know the space, we know the regulators, and one of our big goals was to operate in a regulated gaming environment in our home country. 

Canada is one of the world’s top gaming markets and we only operate in top tier jurisdictions. A recent study by PlayCanada estimated that when fully mature, the country could see up to $25 billion wagered annually, of which they estimate 80% will come through online operators. We are excited to be a part of that explosive growth. 

How would FansUnite evaluate Ontario’s regulatory framework and the standards for each vertical the company operates? What business model is the company seeking? 

On the whole, FansUnite has been impressed with the way the AGCO has approached licensing. It appears as though they’ve taken a lot of guidance from other top jurisdictions, including a few we’re already quite familiar with. Their approach has been fair and reasoned. They haven’t been heavy handed in the way they evaluate companies, instead taking a lighter touch when they evaluate potential operators and suppliers, looking at the applicant’s background, established business models and where they are already licensed. 

We are seeking our gaming related supplier license (B2B), which would allow us to provide Chameleon, our full service proprietary sports betting, esports betting, and iGaming technology platform to licensed consumer facing operators. Our technology has received great reviews in the industry, having been named as a finalist for both the EGR North America gaming awards and SBC gaming awards this year and it is positioned to be the platform of choice for multiple Canadian operators.    

What are FansUnite's business strategies in order to promote the company in these new markets and attract new audiences?

Our main offering in Canada is our B2B gaming technology, so our focus is on successful strategic partnerships and providing our platform to regulated operators. FansUnite has been in the traditional sports betting and esports betting spaces for the better part of a decade, with established relationships that go back even longer. We have already spoken with most of the major online gaming operators that are likely to be granted licenses and will continue to focus on business development as the country’s gaming markets expand.   

After the acquisition of Askott Entertainment and McBookie, how does the company describe the role they've been playing within FansUnite's machinery? What is the added value they provide? What trends brought about by the broadening of the company's offering define the audience's preferences, and future verticals to explore in that market?

Askott Games came with some licensing already and what was a pretty robust tech platform that was being used for esports betting primarily. We’ve been able to leverage that, adding traditional sports betting and casino offerings, to expand our offerings and go after more licenses. 

We’ve been validated on multiple fronts for our B2B strategy that targets niche markets with large built in consumer bases. You mentioned McBookie, which is our UK B2C sportsbook and casino brand that specializes in Scottish sports.  It dominates the Scottish soccer marketplace and is on pace to double year-over-year revenues for the second year in a row. Our Brazilian B2C esportsbook, VamosGG, recently completed a hugely successful launch in conjunction with the PGL Major 2021 CS:GO tournament, generating more than 6,500 new registrations and more than 100,000 user sessions. 

The continued expansion of the gambling jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada and the near universal acceptance of esports betting as the next frontier in the industry gives us a real opportunity to supply our technology to any number of operators. 

Could you provide an update on your esports product in the US, whose launch in Colorado you announced in December 2020? Have there been any changes to the online sportsbook conceived project from its announcement to date? What can we expect from this kind of product in the coming months, and from your partnership with GameCo?

The deal you are asking about is with the Sky Ute Casino to launch what will be the first standalone, dedicated esportsbook in the U.S. Our technology has been implemented, tested and approved. At this point, our partner is waiting to get final approval from the state to take it live. 

Once it is, we believe it will be a great illustration of what we can offer our partners and a showcase for what we can replicate in other states with GameCo. 

Julieta Galiano
by Julieta Galiano
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