Lee Davy sits down to talk to Tristan McDonald. A businessman, recreational gambler and poker player who has recently launched Stakes and Ladders. A social pools betting forum for people who like to have a bet on the side.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a country where the word ‘gambling’ is not associated with words such as Satan, Evil and Justin Bieber, then your modalities of gambling are far and wide.
Bringing the same bottle of wine to the gambling party just isn’t going to cut the mustard these days.
You have to be an innovator.
And one such innovator is Tristan McDonald – the brains behind the new online pools site called Stakes and Ladders.
First of all can you please tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and how you got into gambling?
“I have been in the gambling business for years as a customer. I loved the horses and have been a poker player for most of my life. I worked in the city, and the company I worked for was bought out, so I decided to achieve a dream of mine by setting up my own business.
“I accidentally got involved with a group of people who had a great idea to set up a new and innovative business in an industry that I felt was absolutely ripe for some new ideas.
“We are trying to create a 21st Century gambling business that’s different than some of the bigger companies who are more interested in keeping the cash cow business they have, instead of one based on new ideas.”
How important is it to be different from your competition?
“I am not an advocate of being different for the sake of being different. I come from the insurance industry where everyone talks about innovation but there never is any. They come from the theory that if it aint broke then don’t fix it. Whereas when you look at the gambling industry I see so many of the customers complaining about the product and how they take advantage of their custom, and yet the world is changing. We live in a data driven world and it’s amazing how much data is available for even the most obscure events.
“Betfair was the great innovator in the market when it opened its betting exchange, but now it has joined the fixed odds market, which I think is a bit sad. One of our initial inspirations was the old Betfair – Flutter.com, – which was a prop-betting site. We want to have a little bit of that in Stakes and Ladders.
“It’s people betting with each other. Being able to bet on every element of the sport rather than what is being offered by a traditional market. We want to be able to bet on everything with just one bet. That’s the idea behind Stakes and Ladders.”
What is the core message of Stakes and Ladders?
“First of all we want it to be social. People want to bet with each other. The kind of markets we want to go after are the Fantasy League type groups, the last longer bets, and office pools that people have on things like the football on the weekend. So instead of the spreadsheet, and someone walking around the office collecting sweepstake money in a mug, you can now do it online with us.”
Who are your audience?
“We have the £1 – £5 punters who are having as bit of fun on the weekend, but also the £100 – £200 person market is also important for us.
“The poker players are an absolutely perfect market for us. Every weekend they are sitting around waiting for aces and need to do something with this mobile phone in between hands. There is a huge amount of prop betting going on between these guys and we want to offer them a platform.
“One of the things we are going to launch is the last longer poker pools. One thing that interested me is the Skrill ‘last longer’ offer at the EPT and the Sole Survivor idea at the Irish Open.
“The whole idea for Stakes of Ladders is we are a secondary enjoyment for something you are already going to do – like watch the football. So if you are watching the football then we enhance the experience for you by offering the betting platform. The IT gurus call us a second screen experience for those different types of groups that have something going on-on the side.”
To continue with the rest of the interview click on the link above.