BUSINESS

Innovation in iGaming Profiles: FSB Tech

TAGs: fsb tech, Video

London-based FSB Tech is an innovative start-up company featuring a managed sports betting solution.  FSB Tech’s cloud-based service eliminates the need for operators to invest in their own data feeds, traders, technical support and other enormous costs associated with running a sportsbook.  Sophisticated CRM tools are another benefit of FSB Tech’s service, allowing operators to override prices and margins in addition to offering bespoke promotions.

After winning the first Start-Up Launch Pad at EiG in 2008, FSB Tech has grown quickly and made its mark as one of the leading innovators in the online sports betting space.

Dave McDowell is the co-founder of FBS Tech and also the co-founder of GameAccount, a skill gaming company established in 2000.  In this edition of Innovation in iGaming, I had the opportunity to visit McDowell in his London offices to talk about innovation, FSB Tech and his background in the online gambling industry.

Loading the player...

You’ve been in the industry for many, many years and lets go back to your skill gaming days.  How did you even get involved with the industry? I know you have an anecdotal story…

It was Christmas 1999 and my parents were over visiting, my father just finished the book he was reading- my wife gave him (my fiancée at the time) the Harry Potter book.  He read it and he commented on what a great game Quidditch would make.  A friend of mine, Kevin O’Neil, who I co-founded GameAccount with, just said ‘yea- lets build it!’  We quickly realized we were so far out of our depth and there was no way we could build that as a video game, but we took away the tournament model and we liked the idea of running a Quidditch World Cup and so we applied it to casual games- games like backgammon and gin rummy – and it was really sort of the early birth of the skill games industry.

I know that you mastered system integration in your days of skill gaming- how does system integration apply to the way that the gaming industry works today?

That was a really interesting time in the industry – it was back in the early part of the 2000s.  We had all these product verticals, we had skill games, you had the sportsbetting channel, the casino channel , the poker channel- and all these guys are trying to figure out how to cross sell and even how to get the single wallet transactions working, and as we were out there selling the skill games channel to the William Hill, Paddy Power, SportingBet, we always had to integrate into these Open Bet systems.  I think we did- I’m claiming that we did- the industry’s first single wallet integration back in 2001 when we integrated our backgammon game into Cantor Sport.  You go through and you do a dozen of those integrations and you get a really good understanding of how all the technology pieces fit together.

And when we were writing this plan for FSB, it was obvious that sportsbetting was a legacy platform.  There was no sportsbetting platform that could be plugged into a modular system- plugged in and integrated into a casino wallet.  We saw that as one of the biggest opportunities in the technology side of the online gaming industry.

There are quite a few sports betting solutions out there and it’s a competitive space.  What is the innovation behind FSB Tech- what is special about your company that separates it from the rest?

I think we’re the only managed supplier out there that’s actually built from scratch to actually delivery this, whereas most of our competition are B2B companies, B2C companies like Unibet who are hiving off their trading division, trying to get this cost base out and saying ‘we can run this as a separate entity’.  Whereas we’ve actually taken a technology approach and said, ‘what does a modern sports betting platform look like’ – its not about how many markets you offer, it’s the about business tools that you’ve got to run your business.  The content management systems, the CRM systems, the analytics tools- how do you know when you’ve got a good customer or not- and we’ve put all of our effort into focusing on how you actually run the business.

We’ve also got a fantastic horse racing product. I think all of our competition comes from Eastern Europe or Asia where horse racing just isn’t run the same way.  And anyone whose got a UK facing product or wants to have horseracing, that’s just one of our unique selling points because we’ve got a phenomenal horse racing product too.

I know that you mastered system integration in your days of skill gaming- how does system integration apply to the way that the gaming industry works today?

That was a really interesting time in the industry – it was back in the early part of the 2000s.  We had all these product verticals, we had skill games, you had the sportsbetting channel, the casino channel , the poker channel- and all these guys are trying to figure out how to cross sell and even how to get the single wallet transactions working, and as we were out there selling the skill games channel to the William Hill, Paddy Power, SportingBet, we always had to integrate into these Open Bet systems.  I think we did- I’m claiming that we did- the industry’s first single wallet integration back in 2001 when we integrated our backgammon game into Cantor Sport.  You go through and you do a dozen of those integrations and you get a really good understanding of how all the technology pieces fit together.

And when we were writing this plan for FSB, it was obvious that sportsbetting was a legacy platform.  There was no sportsbetting platform that could be plugged into a modular system- plugged in and integrated into a casino wallet.  We saw that as one of the biggest opportunities in the technology side of the online gaming industry.

There are quite a few sports betting solutions out there and it’s a competitive space.  What is the innovation behind FSB Tech- what is special about your company that separates it from the rest?

I think we’re the only managed supplier out there that’s actually built from scratch to actually delivery this, whereas most of our competition are B2B companies, B2C companies like Unibet who are hiving off their trading division, trying to get this cost base out and saying ‘we can run this as a separate entity’.  Whereas we’ve actually taken a technology approach and said, ‘what does a modern sports betting platform look like’ – its not about how many markets you offer, it’s the about business tools that you’ve got to run your business.  The content management systems, the CRM systems, the analytics tools- how do you know when you’ve got a good customer or not- and we’ve put all of our effort into focusing on how you actually run the business.

We’ve also got a fantastic horse racing product. I think all of our competition comes from Eastern Europe or Asia where horse racing just isn’t run the same way.  And anyone whose got a UK facing product or wants to have horseracing, that’s just one of our unique selling points because we’ve got a phenomenal horse racing product too.

I know you’ve said you’ve got an overall goal of changing the conversation that revolves around sportsbetting from a numbers game to more of a CRM conversation.  Can you explain to me how this concept of yours will drive the sports betting industry forward?

Every business development conversation starts with ‘how many in-play markets do you have?’ and I think if you look at the industry as a whole, even the major players, what are they advertising? You can see some big name brands saying ‘we do 70,000 events per year’- that’s their tag line, that’s their unique selling point.  But anybody can hook up a Betradar feed, or whatever data feed, and be rating 100,000 markets and that’s not a sustainable, competitive advantage.  We want to change the conversation to away from just how many markets and start talking about the quality and start talking about how you run your business, with what tools do I have, how can I set up a promotion, money back if your horse losing by less than half a length.  Rather than manually awarding free bets on your legacy platform, you should have one person who can set that campaign up and set it to run as an automated campaign.

Comments

views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CalvinAyre.com