Betpoint CEO Lahcene Merzoug: “The iGaming Industry Is No Longer a Wild West, We Have Social Responsibilities”

You may not know Betpoint Group but you surely know their brands. The company has developed some of the most memorable and compelling iGaming casinos, creating fresh gaming narratives, user experiences, and inspiring loyalty in customer bases.

With names such as 21.com, JustSpin, Nitro Casino, NeonVegas, and many others, Betpoint Group is a well-known name in the industry and a purveyor of excellent gamification options. The company’s reach has been growing and so has the number of satisfied users.

Betpoint Group is aware of how competitive the industry is, but expansion is on its mind in the years to come.

Actually, it’s already happening and we have the opportunity to speak with Betpoint Group CEO Lahcene Merzoug who can walk us through the company’s current ambitions.

Betpoint Group has created some of the best brands in iGaming, both in terms of functionality and user experience. Did you have a rough start, or did a success formula present itself right from the get-go?

“Back to Basics” was a mantra of ours right from the beginning. We thought the best way to operate an online casino would be to strip down the UX to its bare essentials and build out from there. We knew that time was the most important commodity for our customers; therefore, it was about cutting out the distractions and focusing on getting the solution right for the player from the very start. 

We immediately focused on providing a user-friendly sign-up process, a simple payment procedure, and a knowledgeable, reactive and experienced customer service team – because we knew that outside of the actual casino entertainment experience, this was going to be key to our overall success.  

What is essential to developing an iGaming casino that strikes home with players and becomes a recognizable brand that is sought by consumers?

Along with finessing the player journey, we believe that a strong brand that stands for something and an extensive yet engaging game portfolio is absolutely crucial. We are always looking ahead and keeping an eye on emerging trends, new game developments, and player behavior. Player satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we need to keep one step ahead of market demand to ensure we are meeting the latest trends in game innovation.

In addition, we pride ourselves on excelling in retention. We have created a unique approach when it comes to customer communication with regards to frequency and content, and we’ve found a formula that keeps our customers active and happy for a longer than industry standard amount of time, which is very important to us.

If we continue to do all of these things and more, we will curate a brand that will always be a desirable entertainment destination for players.

How has the casino experience evolved since you have started? Were there notable trends that you had to get ahead of to stay competitive, for example?

There’s a huge variety of game providers now compared to a few years ago. There has been significant investment made in our industry which has led to a number of start-ups and new independent studios coming to market, which means this is a really exciting time for online casino operators. 

Some of these companies are really pushing the limits of innovation and player engagement, and that’s a very desirable commodity to have. They’re constantly rethinking the online gaming space, which is also reshaping the future genre of players and keeping the industry-relevant.     

When I started in the industry, it was a bit more ‘Wild West’, and today many operators are still finding themselves in a position where they are competing really hard to attract more customers with aggressive sign-up bonuses and welcome offers. As a consequence, they lost sight of what was really important, and that was the customer.

This has undoubtedly changed drastically over the last few years. Today, operators must focus on compliance, responsible gambling, and creating sustainable business opportunities. 

At Betpoint, we believe this is a good and natural step for the industry as it acknowledges its social responsibilities – ultimately putting the players’ welfare first. 

Today Betpoint Group is focused on growth. Could you walk us through the pillars of that strategy? Where does your focus lie – is it new markets or consolidating footprint in existing ones?

We’re pursuing an ambitious and aggressive growth strategy, and that includes rapid expansion into new territories, which makes this a really exciting time for us. As well as launching organically in several new markets, we are also looking to acquire companies that are already licensed in regulated markets that we’ve identified as being key growth areas for us. 

We’re also potentially looking to acquire companies that have a proprietary technology that will enable us to build out our own product offering – a sports betting platform, for example. And more generally, we’re always looking at partnerships or mergers with companies where we see great synergies.  

We are also taking a holistic approach to our own internal growth. This involves recruiting the very best talent and finding people who want to be part of this incredible Betpoint journey. Ultimately, we want to be the premier employer for the gaming industry. To be the company people want to work for and to share in our ever-growing aspirations, knowing that by joining our team, they can make a real difference to our business and feel valued in return.

How far do you think Betpoint Group can push personalization to create even more unique experiences? Are you already trying to approach consumers as individuals and not a homogenous audience?

Could you imagine a restaurant that served just one dish to all its customers? Why should gaming be any different? 

We’ve invested a lot of time and effort into adjusting our operation to ensure it is 100% customer-focused. Data analytics allow us to offer a gaming experience that’s tailormade to each player, based on metrics such as nationality, age, and game preferences.

As mentioned previously, we pride ourselves on our unique retention strategies, whether that’s via our software capabilities or through our awesome customer services teams. We never want any customer to feel like they’re one of a herd. More than they are being heard and to provide a tailored online casino experience accordingly.

What is next for Betpoint Group in 2021, and where are you headed next?

We want to be considered one of the biggest European operators and innovators in the industry within the next few years. That’s the ultimate, singular goal, and we believe that we have a robust strategy and solution in place to realize that.  

In the interim, we’re looking to expand into new verticals and establish Betpoint in markets where we don’t currently have a presence, either organically or through strategic M&A. However, we’re particularly focused on newly regulated jurisdictions. 

Many operators find these new markets difficult to penetrate due to regulatory constraints and taxation. At Betpoint, we only see incredible opportunities because we firmly believe that we have the skills, understanding, and fortitude to unlock the huge potential in these markets. 

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