BUSINESS

Paris Smith: Embracing diversity and listening to the customer

TAGs: CAI, eSports, paris smith, Pinnacle

As the world changes, so too does the gambling world, becoming more obviously diverse and moving on to products that better suit the next generation of customers. That was a big focus of the recent World Gaming Executive Summit (WGES), and CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero, who moderated the “Building the business case for diversity in gaming: What are the positive business outcomes?” panel, interviewed CEO Paris Smith on these topics afterward.

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Pinnacle has been a pioneer in the esports space, but as the product gets more popular, it’s getting some serious competition. “It’s really been challenging, the growth has slowed down a little bit,” Smith noted. “The new companies are coming in strong, they’ve got great user experience. So our response to that is to increase our user experience, keep pushing the product offering, looking at some data rights and making sure that we have that quality product for our players.”

But they have a strategy to stay at the top, Smith told Liggero. “We’re looking a little bit more at strategic sponsorships,” she noted. “As well as, like I said, the data, and building the website to be really interactive for the players. We’ve always focused on having the product itself, but now you know the millennials, they have certain demands and it’s our responsibility to meet those demands.”

As diversity was the topic of the day, Liggero couldn’t help but ask for a few final thoughts from the CEO. “I think, you know, we do what makes sense, we do what’s right,” she said. “Yesterday, when you were at the panel, you know it was interesting because there’s diversity with gender and culture, and you know, even diversity in age. And I think that’s part of why we’ve been really successful. We take professional gamers that understand the sport itself, and we don’t tell them what they want, we ask them what they want and then we try to deliver on that.”

As one of the few female CEO’s in the industry, Smith is a potential role model for others in the industry. But she doesn’t want them to get the wrong idea. “What I try to do is, if people come up to me and ask me, I just give them a little coaching, what my experiences have been, and basically say just stay true to yourself,” she said. “Because I’m not who I am today because I’m a woman, it’s because of who I am. So I never really think about it.”

Before letting her go, Liggero asked her what we can expect next from the gambling giant. “I think the biggest change is going to be the look of Pinnacle,” she teased. “So you know we’ve always had this, what we call legacy. And we brought in a team that are phenomenal and they’re changing the landscape of the website. And that’s going to be really exciting for us, not just for esports but for the entire user experience, and we’re really focusing more on our client.”

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