ow has online gaming evolved since LVS got into the industry?
LVS built one of the first online betting platforms for Victor Chandler back in 1997. The first version was actually a tele-betting platform that evolved to a web version two years later. So we have seen many changes over the years. The two areas that have changed things most dramatically are the legal landscape and the advance in technology.
Of course back in the late 90’s legislation was very grey and it allowed many operators and software providers to grow very quickly without being challenged. This is now changing and legislation is now a driving force in deciding how and where the industry will grow.
Technology is the other area that has led to online gaming evolving at a rapid rate. Early on there was focus on how to support large volumes of transactions. Sites used to fall over regularly during high volume betting events like the Grand National due to the sheer number of people trying to place bets. Everything was done manually including the set up of events and it took large numbers of traders to manage the process. Of course all modern sportbooks today have maximum automation that allows any operation to run a much more cost efficient way.
Today the focus has shifted to convergence, for instance, new ways of seamlessly connecting to punters via devices such as mobiles and tablets.
Other areas of technology that can evolve the industry even more like payment solutions micro payments and mobile phone payment cards. These types of solutions will open up countries where credit/debit cards are not widely used, such as certain regions in Africa, India and the Far East.
What are the growth areas for online gaming industry?
Mobile and Live Betting are the two growth areas. Since smartphones were launched in the market, the impact of handheld devices on online gambling has become significant. At LVS we have developed solutions for tablet computers, Android phones, and other mobile devices. These developments in mobile technology have helped our customers greatly improved the accessibility of their service and in turn increase the revenues.
Mobile and live betting go hand in hand. The iPhone and Android have revolutionized live betting, previous to their launch betting on mobile phones was a poor experience. In the last 18 months we have seen the introduction of various smartphones and suddenly mobile sportsbetting has taken on a new life. Smartphones will have over 50% penetration in the market by 2012 and mobile betting will over take the PC as the main online betting mechanism and become the standard way for punters to place bets. The idea that a bookmaker can send a in-play market to a punter whilst they are at the game will soon be a reality, the live betting trend will continue to grow and will remain the single most important area for all operators.
Are you preparing any special activities to celebrate your 20th anniversary?
Any celebrations will be low key due to the amount of work we have on this year however we will be taking a select number of customers to various events throughout the year, for example we have a box at Royal Ascot this year which is a great place to spend the day with clients to thank them for their business over the years
What are the main characteristics of your products and services?
We set about building the most modern sportsbook on the market today. The Advanced Betting Platform (ABP), which is a second-generation sportsbook has been developed from scratch based on our experience over the last 20 years. It has been designed with all the latest features in place but also has the ability to add new features and functionality with minimum work and cost to the operator.
All of the components within ABP have been developed according to most modern design standards with the back office system being written entirely using Java code and open source Java plug-ins. This ensures that everything shares the same technology and provides an extremely robust environment. But customer service is our main characteristic - we work closely with our clients on all new requests and upgrades allowing new functionality to be deployed in a controlled, cost efficient way.
Who are your main customers and what kind of services do you provide them?
LVS have an array of clients across the board. Our focus now is very much on the B2G market. We have recently signed deals with major government owned lottery operators including Lonaci, the state lottery of the Ivory Coast and another operator based in Israel. We supply a multi channeled sportsbook solution that allows them to offer retail, internet and mobile services that are all linked directly to a central back office trading system. Of course FDJ has been an on going client for a number of years now.
Recently, LVS was acquired by La Française Des Jeux. How will this be reflected in your business?
Having FDJ as an owner has changed LVS for the better and allows us to continue to give our partners the high quality of service they require. A great benefit from a marketing point of view is that it gives a much higher industry profile than LVS have enjoyed in the past and with FDJ’s continued backing we believe LVS will go from strength to strength in 2012.
What are your plans and objectives for the coming months?
We have landed two "big deals". - one in Israel and with one of the biggest gambling brands in the industry today. Both are huge implementations.
We are expanding our relationship with our client Offsidebet to offer managed service sportsbetting and hopefully we will see the first of these go live this quarter and we are very busy responding to a number of government RFPs for the supply of sportsbetting software.
Alongside all of this our R&D team are working on some very exciting new trading tools that we feel will revolutionize how trading risk is managed.