An interview with Filippos Antonopoulos, Founder & CEO of Vermantia
Vermantia is a leading provider of omni-channel content solutions for lotteries, gaming and betting operators worldwide. As astounding as it may sound, the company constitutes a one-stop shop for gaming content, aggregation and delivery, providing the largest premium catalogue worldwide, of more than 25 unique virtual games, the best International Live Sports and Racing events, Instant Win Games DFS, as well as eSports. Our magazine strongly recommends that you get to know Vermantia’s philosophy better.
➤ In Romania, Virtual Sports did not lie among the popular forms of betting, until recently. What are the chances that they will increase their presence in the Romanian market?
Virtual Sports is a diverse, exciting and growing market. The particular type of games is nowadays considered strong and primary gaming product, having surpassed their initial market placement as mere filler content between live sports and racing events.
Operators in both mature and developing markets are increasingly deploying dedicated virtual betting channels at their whole retail estates to offer customers the widest possible range of fast-paced, exciting and entertaining virtual sports. Cutting-edge technology and significant improvements in motion capture, graphics and animation have helped gain the attention of more players, and made virtual sports an increasingly integral part of each operator’s portfolio; and one of the fastest growing and fully automated product verticals.
The rise of betting on virtual sports is fully aligned with the fast-paced sensibilities of the modern consumer and their desire for product diversity. Virtuals also lead to competition among operators that drives growth and leads to increased product offerings and differentiation. This is the reason why virtual sports, having started in the UK more than a decade ago, are now booming in Italy and rapidly expanding in Romania and many other European countries.
➤ Do you think that there will be a time when an equal amount of bets is going to be placed both for virtual and live?
Under no circumstances could I foresee a time when the amount of bets wagered on Virtual Sports would actually equal the amount of bets placed on Live Sports events. However, due to Virtual Sports high frequency and availability (24/7), as well as the typically low stakes involved, I can see the particular betting sector growing throughout the years in the Romanian market. Based on our experience through our collaboration with acknowledged operators in some of the most significant gaming markets globally, we have actually come to see that Virtual Sports betting is finding favor with both operators and punters for a variety of reasons.
First of all, the look and feel of virtual betting events has upgraded greatly leading to a more enjoyable experience for the punter. Virtual sports are ideal products in these market conditions since they, in contrast to real sports, can be scheduled at any time. Based on these unique features, the addition of virtual products to any portfolio, if properly selected and deployed, is a great enabler for every operator seeking to attract and engage new customers, drawing the attention of younger demographics, as well as retain the existing customers. Virtual game cycles also last for a much shorter period of time than live events, and can be offered on a 24/7 basis and at whatever intervals the operator and its market may dictate. Virtual sports offer unlimited betting opportunities to punters, and thus attract the widest possible clientele.
➤ How have providers differentiated their virtual sports offerings?
Seeking a way to differentiate their virtual product offering, providers are attempting first of all, to improve their games’ graphics, so as to present the most realistic possible look & feel and as a result, more engaging products.
Moreover, being totally aware and further evaluating the market’s needs, providers’ aim is to offer the widest variety of betting opportunities, so as to maximize the user experience, as well as creating unique games to match local betting habits and culture; Vermantia is proud to be uniquely positioned to support this growth by offering the largest virtual games single source worldwide with 25+ top performing products and more than two-thirds of the total number of virtual game titles available on the market, including unique, global and tailor-made titles created to address specific markets’ needs.
It is worth to mention the Dominican Republic case. We went into that market with customized and localized gaming content, having created Virtual Horse Racing Roulette and of course, Virtual Baseball, the industry’s first Virtual Baseball game, bringing to players fast and engaging games, the key differentiator of Vermantia is our goal to enable lotteries and gaming operators to shape the ideal product mix of virtual games for each market.
➤ How do you think you differentiate among the other providers?
Here in Vermantia, we firmly believe that it’s all about offering tailored-made solutions for the operators, both in terms of innovative premium content and multiple distribution media delivery, as well as the development of cutting-edge solutions. Vermantia is uniquely positioned globally, bringing to players a real, immersive betting shop experience through a multitude of channels within the shop, both in terms of content and data.
So, no, it’s not about just providing operators with premium content. Virtual games for instance, have to be correctly commercialized, in terms of being branded accordingly, and positioned according to specific market trends and requirements. Then, product mix plays a fundamental part. Vermantia believes in a managed content platform, not only games provision. At this point, comes Vermantia CONNECT in the equation, our multi-vendor, multi-content platform, which includes, not only our Virtual games suite, but also eSports, Instant Win Games and Daily Fantasy Sports, as well as the best international Live Sports and Racing events using a single universal scheduler. Its benefits extend beyond providing bespoke virtual games, live sports and races, as it enables a seamless integration with any online wallet or bet acceptance system the operator may utilize, has integrated omni-channel support and powers delivery through our market-leading satellite broadcasting, streaming or in-shop rendering, or any combination of the aforementioned, when serving different channels. You are asking us about differentiation.
Differentiation lies at the core of Vermantia’s strategy.
Our aim is not just to provide customers with unique content, nor the optimum for each customer delivery solutions. Maintaining our focus on retail and having achieved major collaborations with several leading land-based operators, Vermantia is also proud to have developed and deployed revolutionary, modern retail solutions, so as to rejuvenate and transform their retail networks.
Besides, it’s evident that retail remains admirably the most common channel for betting, still dominating the gambling scene, despite the undeniable growth of online / mobile betting.
The retail’s longevity and prominent position in the marketplace is a sure bet to us, having proved itself through the years across all markets where Vermantia activates. It is our firm belief that diverse content, aggregated by an enabling platform, delivered seamlessly to the shops and consumed via an array of complementary to each other retail solutions, is the one-way forward for operators to stay ahead of competition and serve their players in an engaging and entertaining manner.
➤ It was your first year of attending the Entertainment Arena Expo as exhibitors. Would you like to share your experience? Did the exhibition meet your expectations?
Since the Romanian market is definitely an emerging one in the gaming industry and our strong presence and collaboration with several leading Romanian operators is now a fact, we couldn’t be absent from the Entertainment Arena Expo. We were thrilled to have exhibited among leading providers and operators globally and presented our innovative solutions in both terms of content and technology.
➤ What plans and projections has the company for its business in the near future?
Vermantia keeps customers at the heart of what it does and continues to develop ground-breaking products & cutting edge technology focusing on operator’s needs for enabling and innovative solutions. In order for the company to keep up with the constant evolvement of its customers’ demands and the gaming industry’s itself, it’s vital to grow both organically as well as through partnerships with other suppliers. With a highly skilled and motivated workforce, Vermantia is well positioned for the future as the company continues to serve the gaming industry with high performance products and services.
Within 2017-2018, we have already secured a number of strategic partnerships, soon to be unveiled in the upcoming weeks.
Our plan is to expand to multiple geographies, such as America and Spain, with tailor-made content in terms of both product and technology. Our continuous expansion is expected to lie mainly in the addition of multiple games titles and the roll-out of core, revolutionary technological tools.