February 17, 2022 4 min read


20Shots co-founder Jacob Kalms: Free-to-Play Games Will Be Big in 3 Years as Their Own Product

At a time of a quickly evolving sports betting landscape, innovation is welcomed by companies and fans. One great example of moving past traditional form in the industry is the solution delivered by 20Shots and their Fantasy5 – a purely free-to-play game. The Premier League game is an opportunity for the company’s latest partner, in the face of BoyleSports to acquire, engage, retain, and reactivate sports betting customers.

And, as tastes in sports evolve and consumers expect higher added-value, only the best solutions can make it. Fantasy5 is one of those solutions. The company’s growth spurt continues, too, as 20Shots has passed the 100,000 active user milestone. After a challenging beginning that every start-up can relate to, 20Shots is ready to shift into full gear and co-founder Jacob Kalms outlines what’s next for his company and the flagship product.

Q: Fantasy5 is now available to British and Irish punters through a partnership with BoyleSports. What is significant about this?

Fantasy5 is a customer and fan engagement solution which can seamlessly be offered to betting operators – as well as other sports-focused B2C businesses – via our white label technology.

The partnership with BoyleSports is significant as it allows them to acquire, engage, retain, and reactive sports betting customers via our Fantasy5 EPL product, bolstering their free-to-play offering, in a category that is rapidly growing as a marketing funnel. 

BoyleSports are a top-tier UK & Irish bookmaker and a partner who shares our growth aspiration, focus on customer experience, and has expertise in social media/digital marketing, so are the perfect fit to go to market with. 

 Q: Has the free-to-play model always been this popular with businesses and punters or is it only now beginning to show its true potential? 

In the gambling industry, free-to-play games have been popping up over the last 5 years, and it’s now more who has not got than who has. However, our focus is not just the sports betting industry.

However, our focus is not just the sports betting industry. Many consumer-centric brands have had similar struggles to sportsbook operators in terms of engaging customers and we feel our selection of free-to-play products can use the best of the gaming industry’s technology to help businesses across multiple verticals acquire, engage, and retain new customers and demographics. My prediction is that in the next 3 years, we’ll see many more gambling-style free-to-play games become prevalent in multiple industries.

Q: At a time when we have access to regular sports betting markets, what makes fantasy sports betting popular?

Fantasy5 is not a sports betting product. It is strictly free to play and has been so popular as we tap into a market that has 9 million players playing the UK fantasy Premier League product and a global community of 300 million players across all fantasy products. Customers are always going to engage with a free-to-play game if it is attractive, so we need to make sure we provide the right offerings to also support the players’ journey afterward, which is equally applicable in sports betting or other areas of eCommerce. 

Q: Do you see any setbacks to the fantasy sports adoption in different markets? 

Obviously, certain markets will be interested in different leagues or even sports and will have less knowledge in regard to fantasy sports and their scoring systems. Unlike most other fantasy games, we use an extremely simple scoring system to help onboard new players with ease. There will be some markets where adoption may not be high for example Basketball in the UK or Cricket in the USbut that is far from a concern for us. Football caters to a worldwide audience of 3.5 billion people and Fantasy style games are only growing year on year globally. 

Q: What’s next for Fantasy5 after your BoyleSports partnership? What do you have planned for 2022 and beyond? 

We have several partnerships that will be announced this quarter as well as new products and leagues to add to our offering.  We are striving to become the go-to solution for all fan and customer engagement products and that involves expanding the team, increasing our product line, and partnering up with more industry-leading clients.

It’s been a battle to get to where we are today, which all technology startups will relate to, but now we are running at full speed, we’re on course to make Fantasy5 a household name. 


Stoyan holds over 8 years of esports and gambling writing experience under his belt and is specifically knowledgeable about developments within the online scene. He is a great asset to the GamblingNews.com team with his niche expertise and continual focus on providing our readers with articles that have a unique spin which differentiates us from the rest.

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