"We are now looking to play a protagonist role in the region," Alexandre Tauszig, Regional Manager for LatAm at Skilrock Technologies, tells Yogonet with confidence. Skilrock is the technology business arm of the Sugal & Damani Group, which has long led lottery operations in its home country of India. But the business is now also keen on exploring opportunities in Latin America through a more aggressive strategy.
"As a leading solutions business for our segment in both Asia and Africa, we understand there are many similarities in regards to the challenges LatAm countries face," Tauszig says. The executive explains Skilrock is ready to assist the region through a wide range of solutions, many of them presented at the latest edition of the SAGSE industry summit, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 30-31.
In this exclusive interview with Yogonet, Skilrock's Tauszig talks about the importance of in-person summits, the company's wide variety of solutions -including offerings for the whole life cycle of scratchcards, cashless products and sports betting solutions, among others- and opportunities in the region.
Which were the main novelties, products and services the company presented at SAGSE?
Skilrock is a technology business arm of the $2.5 billion+ Sugal & Damani Group, which for half a century has led lottery operations in India. Looking to further gain a presence in Latin America, we decided to present at SAGSE some solutions which are very connected to the region.
First of all, we presented our management solutions for the whole life cycle of Instant Lotteries (Scratchcards), from pre-production, printing/production to post-production; and management of inventories, sales, ticket validation and prize payment. To this end, we were accompanied at the event by security printing, courier and collection services company Thomas Greg & Sons, a leading company in its segment and our partner. They provided us with samples to distribute, in order for us to present the graphic quality of the products and security items.
The capacity to localize and customize games, instead of simply translating them to a different language, is another virtue we focused on and presented at SAGSE.
Instant Lotteries/Games are currently a segment that has not yet been much explored in the LatAm region. These are games that feature numerous sweepstakes per hour, allowing players for a new gaming experience. At SAGSE, the Draw Machine (sweepstakes machine) of three of our games -Mini Keno, Zoo Lotto and Lotto Amigo- was showcased live. Lotto Amigo is a Bingo-styled lottery, another one of the company's areas of expertise we presented at SAGSE.
Lastly, now that sports betting is on the rise, we presented our Sports Lotteries (sports pool) solutions. Unlike fixed-odds betting, they utilize official soccer games as a backdrop and replace the prize draw with numbered balls. This is a product that is already established and explored in Brazil by Caixa, but which has low penetration in other countries in the region, despite being known for its passion for soccer.
Which were the main objectives Skilrock pursued at the event, and which were the highlights of the expo?
In addition to presenting the aforementioned solutions and expanding our presence in the region, we used the opportunity to distribute for free the Alea Jacta Est eBook, which is now also available for Yogonet readers through this link.
Alea Jacta Est is a book written by a Brazilian (me), especially aimed at foreign readers -but Brazilian ones as well- that are new to the Indústria dos Jogos de Azar (games of chance industry) in Brazil. The eBook has up-to-date information on the current Lotteries and Games of Chance landscape in the country. This is an issue that has caught the attention of many stakeholders due to the special moment this industry is currently experiencing in the country, especially given the ongoing debate on gaming legalization and the creation of new state lotteries. The eBook is available in three languages: Portuguese, Spanish and English.
A highlight of SAGSE was the opportunity to reconnect in person with those people also working in our business segment, given our activities are highly influenced by encounters and expos. I have working experience in other business activities in which, through the expansion of technology and new forms of communication, as well as virtual meetings, most interactions are now carried out online.
But in our industry, physical encounters have always played a key part. Perhaps because players also prefer physical interaction. Gaming, be it at a casino, a lottery or at a games parlor, is an activity of both pleasure and sociability - people need that. Thus, SAGSE was a very successful endeavor in providing us, once again, a chance to reconnect with the Latin American industry.
What did the SAGSE participation mean for the company in terms of its business strategy? Which are the opportunities the event opened in terms of networking and conversations with clients?
Skilrock is ready to work with Latin America as a leading player in technology solutions. We have been participating for years now, in a more discrete manner, in events linked to regional Lotteries, such as those close to the CIBELAE (Ibero-American Corporation of State Lotteries and Betting). And we are now looking to play a protagonist role in the region: we have closed deals in Colombia and Brasil, and we expect to do business in other countries in the region this year.
As a leading solutions business for our segment in both Asia and Africa, we understand there are many similarities in regards to the challenges LatAm countries face. That is why at the moment much of our attention is focused on the region.
At SAGSE, we also had productive conversations with prospects who came looking for us, and I hope that soon will translate into new deals.
The event also focused on the cashless and online business segments, which have gained momentum as of late in the LatAm region. Which are the opportunities you find in markets such as the Brazilian one and in the region in general, and what will be the strategy for them? How can Skilrock help the gaming industry with its products and services?
Our main product continues to be, without a doubt, Infiniti, our omni-gaming and omni-channel solution for games of chance and lottery. But we have a lot more to offer as well. Skilrock offers solutions for three main segments: 1) Systems for Lotteries and Gambling, 2) Payments Ecosystem 3) IT Services. We are ready to serve LatAm in any of these segments.
In regards to Cashless gaming, Skilrock has developed solutions that are available for any casino or games parlor looking to operate in a completely safe manner without the need for physical money, or even physical contact. Through a virtual wallet on their phones, clients can place or withdraw credits from slot machines or table games. This brings many advantages both to operators and players.
Regarding payments, few people in the region know about Paykonnect. It is a Payments Ecosystem that is much more than just a virtual wallet. You can make payments, add or withdraw credits and buy different types of products and services, including gambling-related ones.
The Paykonnect solution is very important for countries such as those in Latin America, where banking levels are still low. With its Payworld client in India, Paykonnect today operates over 250,000 POS and handles over 1 million transactions per day.
Skilrock is set to participate in the National Indian Gaming Association expo this month. Can you tell us what the company’s participation will be like? Which opportunities does the business find in this market?
NIGA is a very important event for our sector. Despite it taking place in the US, it tends to attract a considerable number of visitors from Latin America, given its proximity to the southern border of the United States, where there are a large number of Latinos. For us, NIGA will almost be an extension of SAGSE, where we intend to present the same solutions.
I am also informing you first-hand that we hope to be present at other important events such as CGS LATAM in Chile, in May; PGS in Peru, in June; and BIS in Brazil, also in June. To some of these events we will send representatives, while in others we will have our own stand. For those interested in doing so, you can follow us on social media, especially LinkedIn, where we will share more details about our future meetings.