As a follow up to last week’s Costa Rica’s role in the iGaming industry today, I have taken a deep dive into the life of a professional who obtained the bulk of their iGaming experience while working in Costa Rica. The particular individual I’ve chosen, Nick Gatt, has worked within iGaming companies in both Malta and Costa Rica for a number of years and has recently landed a job at Bally Tech with a focus on New Jersey.
Within Bally Tech, Gatt is involved with the Product side of the business and he also works closely with Bally’s client and New Jersey land based casino partner, The Golden Nugget. Gatt’s focus is mainly on the development of Bally’s Casino products but he also dedicates a good chunk of his time to Retention Marketing, all skills that he fine-tuned while working in our beloved Costa Rica.
“The knowledge that I gained in Costa Rica is invaluable. From the software side of things, to the execution of promotions and Product development, to the solving of small bugs and issues, the hindsight which I got is all extremely useful for today’s world”, Gat ttold me.
Making this transition from old school, “Wild West” iGaming to corporate America iGaming can be a massive shock to the system, but likely a good thing for anyone’s personal and career development.
“Obviously, things are done a little bit different in the US”, said Gatt.
“The main difference is that business is conducted in a more ‘serious’ manner and with a heavy regulated gaming environment. The focus is solely related to doing your work in the most professional manner as possible, and with always keeping in mind the corporate culture to which I belong to and the principles of whole organization in which I must adhere to”.
He added, “As most people are aware, life in Costa Rica is a bit different and the country is known to be a ‘holiday’ country and many exciting things happening practically everyday. All in all, this has given me the best experience from both worlds and personally, I have no regrets experiencing both working cultures”.
I agree with Gatt that having the opportunity to experience both cultures is an ideal situation, both with their unique positives and negatives.
In addition to facilitating a party-heavy lifestyle if one so chose, the iGaming industry’s unique relationship with Costa Rica paved the way for many of the innovations and excellence in talent that we see around the world today. Gatt, with his new position at the American owned and operated Bally Tech, is a perfect case in point.
“Costa Rica was a great learning experience for me. The experience I gained was invaluable. I had the honor to work with a very good Marketing team and the unity and success of the team always stood out”, said Gatt.
“Most of the pioneers of i-gaming originate from Costa Rica so it was also a great to share some ideas and obtain unlimited knowledge in trying to further strengthen my abilities, knowledge and expertise in the industry. Also learning a new language did no harm at all”.
Making the move from a Costa Rica based iGaming company to a New Jersey based iGaming company is a big move in many ways, especially when it comes to characteristics of the locations. Costa Rica certainly nurtures that “party like a rockstar” lifestyle, but New Jersey’s Atlantic City has some of its own special characteristics as well.
“Currently, I am spending a substantial amount of time at Atlantic City and I can confirm that it is a great place to live and the city does have a good vibe”, shared Gatt.
“It has great places to go, whether you just want to have a chat with a friend, whether you want to dine outside, or whether you want to sip wine somewhere. The choice is endless and the quality of life is impressive and the bonus is that’s its always 2 hours away from New York, and I have plenty of friends living there”.
What is especially appealing about working in a place like Atlantic City is the excitement wrapped around the iGaming industry in the area. While we are still in the infancy stage of regulated iGaming in America, the hopes and dreams of professionals focusing on the American market are tremendous and that vibe is contagious.
“The potential [for the iGaming market in America] is enormous”, said Gatt. “Within the state of New Jersey, the feeling is that there is a level of confidence being shown and that a month-on month growth is sustainable and this growth will continue on an upward trend both in the short and long term”.
Gatt admits that there have been challenges along the way, such a payment processing and geo-location snags, but these types of complications are to be expected when dealing with a very new, very heavily regulated market. He’s confident that these snags are just minor bumps along the road.
“The success of New Jersey is vital as this will encourage other states to open their doors to the online world”, Gatt believes. “As we speak, there are around 10 other States who are interested in passing an Online Gambling bill and obviously all have their eyes on New Jersey”.
Despite the fact that the initial revenue projections for New Jersey’s iGaming market have not come even close to being hit, Gatt is pleased with how things are going with The Golden Nugget and has some pretty aggressive plans for the rest of the year.
“Bally through our customer, The Golden Nugget, will continue to bring the best casino promotions and rewards for players to the table, we will have the best and widest choice available of games to customers and we will continue building on the success of our Customer Support Team which is already considered the best in New Jersey”.
In addition to maintaining their position as leaders in casino games, improving the mobile product is also at the top of Bally’s agenda.
“In regards to mobile, for the short term, we are looking at increasing the number of games for customers and aiming to integrate the Bally Games. Moreover, our current plans also include to continue developing our Mobile Apps- both for iOS and Android and make them the truly standout product within the market”, Gatt said.
Gatt’s team is also in the process of launching poker for The Golden Nugget on the Bally/AMAYA Network, a network that shares Bodog Network’s focus on the recreational player.
“Poker on the Bally/AMAYA Network will present a new, innovative way of rewarding casual poker players with incentives and prizes. We have noticed that whilst the semi-pro poker player is somewhat catered for, the recreational poker player has been left out”, explained Gatt.
He continued, “We will immediately provide a home to all those players who just want to enjoy the game of poker, without leaving out those who also want to develop their skills or make some decent profits. Our promise is that every poker player will be valued for their contributions, whether big or small”.