Tim Kennedy, VP of Sales, Europe

SUZOHAPP: "Our bartop and tabletop terminals really bring in-play betting into the bar and casino environment"

Reading time 5:56 min

The gambling industry is always evolving, and the sports betting vertical isn't the exception. Quite the opposite, few segments have seen as much change over the last few years as the sports gambling market. From more countries launching to updates in regulation, from new technologies gaining momentum and betting preferences seeing drastic shifts, operators and suppliers alike work to keep up the pace.

For SUZOHAPP, this has implied the constant evolution of its sports betting ecosystem, which for the retail gambling space encompasses a full range of wagering terminals. Driven by the experience of having worked with many different clients in several territories, the manufacturer has a tailored approach by working along with the operator to better understand their needs and meet their requirements.

In conversation with Yogonet, Tim Kennedy, Vice President of Sales, SUZOHAPP Europe, discusses the company's proposition for the retail segment and how it adapts to the market's demands, what the US can learn from European betting (and vice-versa) and the importance of in-play betting and payment systems. Additionally, Kennedy talks about future events for the business and how SUZOHAPP is also innovating in the lottery market.

We are at a point of change for the gaming industry with new solutions being launched and online gaming gaining space. What role is retail betting called to play in this context, and how does it capture new customers for operators?

Retailers always played a big part in betting in Europe for its convenience and also for its entertainment value. There is also a big opportunity for US-based operators to engage with new players that we consider sports fans at a much lower cost than we've seen recently online.

There are a lot of operators that are clamoring for new players and spending large marketing budgets. The flip side is in retail. You can engage with players at a very low cost of entry. It's key for the second or third stage of growth in the American market that retail plays a big part as a very cost-effective way of winning new players.

Do you see retail sports betting growing in the coming months?

Yes, absolutely. A number of jurisdictions around the world are still working on legislation to introduce sports betting, both retail and online, and then the US is still rolling out betting in a number of states. Various states have not yet passed legislation to allow sports betting, so there are a number of states there.

Also in Europe, there still are quite a number of new opportunities. For example, the Netherlands is still talking about allowing retail sports betting, and in various markets, the market is still growing. We see growth pretty much across the board.

For those operators seeking to expand to retail sports betting, how can SUZOHAPP help them develop their strategy for this segment, and what's new in the company's current portfolio?

For some time now, we've been exhibiting our sports betting ecosystem. We have a full range of terminals. Whether it's a floor-mounted traditional terminal to a desktop or a bartop terminal, essentially what we offer is based on our experience of working with many different operators in lots of different territories.

We bring all that experience, but our offer is essentially working with the operators to understand what they're trying to portray, and building or acquiring some hardware that meets those requirements. And lately, we are also integrating a payment system to make payment as seamless as possible because it's important that retail offers the same kind of payment convenience that players come to expect online.

Which technologies and topics specific to retail sports betting do you see as gaining momentum?

I think payments is one, very loud and clear at the moment. But the other one is player protection and social responsibility. A number of jurisdictions are looking at introducing some kind of age verification that can help retail environments offer some kind of automated system, so it doesn't rely on purely the personnel of the operator to make that decision. The first decision is made by technology; a camera and facial recognition are one way that age verification can work.

Moving to gaming preferences, in-play betting is one of the most important bet types in Europe. Would you that this form of betting is changing the game for the retail space?

Traditionally, in-play betting has been very difficult to do in the betting shop because you have to keep up at the counter. And by the time you place the best, often the event has already happened. But the introduction of our bartop and tabletop terminals really brings in-play betting into the bar and casino environment.

We see that as having a dramatic effect and a dramatic opportunity for operators to introduce something new and exciting, and in the US where the legislation allows, particularly in bar environments. We really see that starting to take off in bar environments, and also sports stadiums.

Sports betting has been around in Europe for a longer time than in the US and other countries. What would you say these growing markets can learn from the European gambling scene?

What the US can learn from Europe is their ability to transact large numbers of bets in a given time scale and have a very reliable network of shops and outlets. But I think conversely Europe can now learn from the US. The US is really leading the way in attracting new players by offering different types of terminals and different environments, and I think actually Europe could learn something from the US now as well. It's come full circle.

In Europe, the company will be present at a number of events in the coming months and weeks, including SBC Barcelona and the Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Exhibition. How is SUZOHAPP preparing for these meetings, and what opportunities do you think these events open for the company?

It's really key for us to engage with our customers, both existing and new customers, to really get a feel of what's going on in the marketplace and then refine our plans and anticipate their needs. We ask some very pertinent questions about what challenges they are facing and also what opportunities they see, and that will form the basis of our product portfolio going forward.

We also use it as an opportunity to present new products as well, so we have a number of new products that we're constantly working on that we will be showing at those shows. In fact, we recently presented our scratch ticket vending machine for the lottery market. We see a lot of opportunity not only in the variant that we showed it in, but also in other variances. We see a product line evolving from that opportunity.

SUZOHAPP presented the new instant ticket vending machine at the European Lottery Congress last month. What are the product's main features, and what was the reception like at the show?

The key feature of the product is to have a self-service vending machine in which a user can make their own selections and get an instant win ticket, using a variety of different payment systems, whether cash flows or some other online wallet. They can all be integrated into that hardware. 

The problem it is really trying to solve is that as retailers move to an unattended environment, there's less staff around to actually sell tickets. This enables the retailer to have a standalone ticket marketplace so that players can make their own selections.

The machine comes in various sizes, so you can have fewer or more dispensers. You can have up to twenty different tickets available on that machine for markets where there are lots of different choices, or we've been asked to produce a desktop version and maybe dispense four different tickets.

We see a lot of opportunities. It was well received. I think the market is definitely looking for a solution. And SUZOHAPP let the people bring it to market and be flexible about the different options to meet the market requirements.

With the first half of the year now over, how would you describe 2023 thus far for SUZOHAPP, and what should we expect from the company in the coming months?

I think the key to our success in the future is the number of new products that are going to be coming from us. Expect to see more new products. Also, we continue to expand into sports betting and now lottery, so we'll continue to expand into new markets as well as new products. It's the traditional SUZOHAPP.

Supplied components are still a core part of our business, but we see many opportunities in putting those components together and integrating them with various software platforms to provide much higher value for our customers.

Watch the full interview with SUZOHAPP's Tim Kennedy here.

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