While Greentube's history in the United States is a fairly recent one, starting with a debut last year in New Jersey, it is also a very active and constantly-evolving one. These last months have been marked by a slate of major announcements by the NOVOMATIC Gaming and Entertainment division, which has expanded into a new state -with more to come in the future- and inked deals with major players in the US landscape.
"The opportunities in the US can’t be ignored," Markus Antl, Head of Sales and Key Account Management at Greentube, tells Yogonet in an exclusive interview. "We have prepared for the US for a long time and have carefully selected a strategy and approach that we think will work in the region," he further states.
In conversation with Yogonet, the executive discusses results delivered by existing operations thus far and expectations for new markets in the US. He also explains the key features behind the latest partnerships for the region, and the role social casino is called to play within the company's portfolio.
Greentube recently announced it has received a Michigan state license, its second in the US. What are the company’s expectations for this market?
Gaining our second US licence was a great milestone for us and expanding into Michigan is an important step in our growth strategy in North America. We see great potential in Michigan, which is strongly backed by revenue statistics. Last month saw the State’s commercial and tribal operators collect $131 million in total gross receipts from iGaming alone, which is incredibly impressive.
We’re currently in talks with operators in the state to introduce our content to local players. From our experience in New Jersey and also from our social casino product that is live in the US, we know that our content resonates well with North American players and we strive to quickly establish ourselves as a leading provider of online casino content.
The company made its US debut by entering New Jersey. How would you describe the experience in the state so far?
We have seen great results in New Jersey with the local audience really embracing our content. We have focused on partnering with the key operators in the state which has given us a strong springboard as we have been able to immediately reach a wide player base.
As our first entry into the US and indeed North America, we have already learned a lot from our activities in New Jersey about the specific player demographic and their unique preferences. We plan on taking this data to further improve and tailor our content portfolio in the states, including introducing additional localised titles.
We have no intention to slow down our growth in New Jersey and are preparing to extend our footprint in the Garden State.
The alliance with such a major operator as RSI is for sure a great achievement for Greentube. Our content is now live with them in New Jersey and is performing well with their customers.
We already had a long-standing relationship with RSI in Colombia and are also supplying their social casino in the US, so the New Jersey deal was a strengthening of an already successful partnership. Furthermore, we are aiming to extend this partnership into more markets and are accelerating our joint strategy.
Our approach is to join forces with players that have a multistate strategy so that we can seamlessly expand into new markets together. Since RSI is already live in more than 10 states, they are a great partner for us.
Greentube has described the US as a main focus for the company. What opportunities does the business see in the market and how does it compare to other countries in which a presence has already been secured?
The opportunities in the US can’t be ignored and both operators and suppliers from around the world are now trying to gain a foothold and grab market share as more states regulate online gambling. We have prepared for the US for a long time and have carefully selected a strategy and approach that we think will work in the region.
In terms of content, we have not brought the entire blue-chip portfolio of NOVOMATIC titles to the US because not all titles are suitable to the local market. Instead, we have focused on creating games with popular mechanics such as ‘Hold N Spin’ which appeal to US players. We have also developed market-specific content, such as Wild Lines: American Eagle™, a traditional stepper slot game with add-on features, to cater to the preferences of the local audience.
Along the road, we will carefully analyse data and operator feedback to further improve our localised portfolio going forward and players can expect more US-focused titles.
The company had previously announced it would be seeking to launch in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. How is this process moving along and what do you expect in terms of licensing for the near future?
To start with, we are focusing on the three big states, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but we are of course following the regulatory developments across the US closely and Connecticut is also on our radar. Michigan and Pennsylvania are by far the largest states besides New Jersey and the three states cover around 90% of the addressable markets for us at this stage.
Currently, we are in the middle of obtaining our license in PA but we are not in a rush and want to make sure we approach the US in the best way possible before focusing too much on broadening our reach. We will need time to build up any substance and establish the strong local team we need to be successful in North America. Other interesting markets we are closely observing are of course New York and California, which could become massive if regulated correctly.
This partnership is very important for us as it means we can introduce our social gaming content to a wide new audience. As we scale the reach of our social games with GAN and other partners in the US, we will gather a host of invaluable information about customer preferences and other relevant game-related information that we can use when producing content for our real money gaming (RMG) portfolio.
As regulation progresses and we launch RMG, players will already be familiar with our content which gives us a huge advantage. We can also spot regional differences in the player bases and that’s very valuable for us as we continue to optimise and evolve our offering.
Your social casino platform, Greentube Pro 2.0, has seen great results compared to top-rated B2C social casino leaders in the US market. What has driven this success?
Greentube Pro enables land-based casinos to stay connected with their players through online social casino gaming. Casinos offering Greentube Pro have access to extensive games libraries from NOVOMATIC, Greentube studios and third-party content suppliers, as well as several unique features, such as direct-to-player marketing created to keep the player engaged.
Before the onset of US online gambling regulation, this served as the only option for casinos to have a virtual arm to keep their customers entertained when not being at the physical venue. With more states now allowing online gaming, operators moving into the RMG space that have already utilised Greentube Pro will have an advantage, as their customers will not only already be familiar with multi-channel game offerings but will also be used to playing them through a desktop or mobile device.
We have worked with the Hard Rock International Group for a number of years, offering them a social casino platform for all Seminole and Hard Rock franchise casinos in the US and have seen some great results.
Social casino has been credited with allowing land-based operators to stay connected with their players by engaging them with the casino brand through social gaming. With your Greentube Pro offering, what role do you see social games playing in the future and how will the company advance in this area?
Social casino can be used by operators as an effective solution to drive players into the RMG space and to keep land-based customers engaged if they cannot attend a retail venue. It is a good tool to get a new audience familiar with slot content that might be new to them.
As a supplier, we can utilise this data we collect from social casino and take elements to better our own portfolio of RMG games. We can also use the space to test new games, mechanics, features and other innovations as we are accessing the same player base that might later convert to RMG. There are also gamification aspects currently used in social gaming that are not yet available in the RMG space because of regulatory restrictions.
We will continue to explore options to take the best and most suitable features and tools and apply them to RMG but only where it’s allowed by local regulation.