Parimatch, the leading global CIS gaming business, has doubled down on its commitment to players wellbeing, responsible gaming and the iGaming industry as a whole following an invitation to partner with Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Her Excellency the President of Malta, at this year’s SiGMA. Commenting on the importance of CSR to iGaming and Malta, Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov explores the growth of UFC and eSports, how events can shape the industry’s future and why Parimatch truly dares to be different in this growing sector…
How important is it to have events such as SiGMA where decision makers from both the industry and government meet and network?
Industry wide events such as SiGMA provide a valuable platform to meet with partners, potential customers and establish new connections. They also present a great opportunity to hear different perspectives on the latest industry trends and discuss future plans with like-minded people. It is always particularly useful to be able to meet and talk to regulators, helping to create an open dialogue with them and dispelling any misperceptions.
What were your key takeouts from exhibiting at SiGMA – how would you describe the mood of the industry?
SiGMA was even bigger and better than ever before this year. The Exhibition Centre was action-packed and there was a really positive and exciting buzz across the hundreds of exhibition stands. We also enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Malta Gaming Awards & Charity Dinner at the beginning of the week. Parimatch sponsored the coveted award for the ‘Best Mobile Gaming Provider,’ which was won by BETSOFT.
You were invited to meet Her Excellency the President of Malta, why do you think Parimatch was selected and what did you get from the meeting?
We were really honoured and delighted to be invited to meet Her Excellency to talk about how Parimatch could collaborate to support the Maltese economy and society. The immediate result was a commitment to work together to support the President’s Trust and Community Chest Fund Foundation. Both are worthy causes that we are really excited to be contributing to.
Parimatch is highly CSR-focused, do you believe a robust social responsibility commitment is key to the deregulation of gambling?
Betting is a lifestyle choice that offers a lot of entertainment and excitement. However, it is important that we are good corporate citizens by protecting our customers and contributing further to the societies of the places we operate. To improve the industry’s image it will take a sustained commitment to these values across the industry. At Parimatch we are playing our part through our CSR programme, which supports over 20 initiatives across our international footprint helping to empower and better communities through sport and education. We are always looking to engage with the industry, regulators and partners about collaborating to expand the reach and impact of this programme.
Your company offers bets on more than 20 sports, 200 leagues and 600 sporting events everyday: with the current surge in sportsbooks, where do you see the big wins for the business?
A key area of strength for the business is mobile iGaming, as customers increasingly look to place bets ‘on the go’. Today 45% of bets placed with Parimatch are made via mobile and iOS or android applications, representing 15% growth year-on-year.
In July this year, we became the official EMEA betting and wagering partner for the UFC. Mixed Martial Arts is thriving and growing in popularity across the world and this partnership gives Parimatch an opportunity to be ahead of the trend and tailor our offer to reach its fans. eSports is arguably the fastest growing sport in the world though and can help the business to bring betting to a new demographic. We are looking at ways of marketing our offer and gambling content, including sponsoring eSports team Virtus.pro, to reach these new customers and realise the betting potential eSports has.
Our huge range of sports and fields on offer is also particularly important because it gives our customers the opportunity to bet on whatever they are passionate about whenever they want. Football remains the biggest sport in our sportsbook and with its established popularity we are always looking at evolving our offer to ensure it remains at the top of the industry.
Can you summarise your business philosophy in a single sentence?
“Dare to be different.” We are building a brand and a betting offer that stands out and excites.
How would you summarise both the opportunities and the challenges for the company in 2019?
We are focusing on consolidating and building on our market position in the CIS region. With the growth of betting within CIS, there remains a strong opportunity to further grow our revenues and brand within the region. Our aim is to reach 20% market share in the region.
From an international perspective, we are concentrating on developing our software so that it is able to scale internationally. At the same time, we will be growing our global reputation through a brand relaunch and targeted innovative marketing initiatives, and with partnerships such as our sponsorship of UFC, to help attract potential partners in new markets.