Evoplay CEO Ivan Kravchuk on the World Cup 2022 and The Opportunities for Casinos

By securing a string of important deals in recent months, Evoplay has spearheaded its iGaming strategy by expanding its presence in new and existing markets. As the World Cup in Qatar approaches, we sat down with company CEO Ivan Kravchuk to discuss how online casinos can benefit from one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

Evoplay’s signed some really notable deals recently – taking you to live with the likes of Bragg, Fortuna, Relax Gaming, and Soft2Bet, what’s been the key to your success this year?

The proactive expansion has always been a priority in our development strategy as our products resonate really well with so many different types of players, thus showing strong potential for gaining maximum market coverage. Our latest partnerships with top-tier providers are excellent opportunities that allow us to reinforce our presence in key areas, such as  MGA-licensed markets, as well as Central and Eastern Europe. All of this showcases just how fast we’re growing as a studio that can really make a difference!

Looking ahead, we feel we’re well positioned to excel in the coming years, as we have a strong product offering that can still reach more players across the world. We are never afraid of thinking outside the box and rolling out groundbreaking titles aimed at a broader audience. This approach allows us to stand out from the crowd and pen deals with industry leaders.

As an innovative slot studio, which markets do you see as most exciting for next-gen gaming and audiences?

Each market has several types of player bases, including conservative ones and the next-generation audience. The task of a leading iGaming supplier is to reach and cover all audiences via its content. At Evoplay, we excel at this by introducing a vast portfolio of games that resonate with a variety of players. To illustrate, our latest football package was introduced to reach sports bettors and offer them a diverse form of entertainment during sports events and in periods when there are no matches to wager on.

Given the prevalence of the ‘internet generation’ that transcends borders, are global player preferences becoming more similar than 10 years ago?

If we speak about geolocations, I would say that cultural differences still have a significant impact on what players want to see in a supplier’s offering. You can use South America as an example, with a large group of passionate football fans that drive forward more football-focused initiatives.

At the same time, what unites online consumers is the channel from which they get access to content – the internet. On one hand, it simplifies our role as an iGaming provider, but on the other hand, we compete not only with casino product vendors but with other online entertainment providers, including Google, Netflix, and Amazon. Modern consumers are spoiled with the volume of content and information they now have access to, and it isn’t an easy task to draw their attention in this extremely competitive environment that transcends industries.

Looking to the next few months, Christmas and the World Cup are going to be a super exciting time for casino given all the promotions and potential for entertainment – how’s Evoplay planning on boosting player engagement?

Our football-themed package of games perfectly complements the World Cup, which is a real catch for both casinos and sportsbooks. It will perfectly fit into the library of casino games to grab the attention of those who wager during sporting events, as well as allow sportsbooks to retain their audience before and after the matches happen. If there’s one thing, we’ve learned from Euro 2020, it’s all about providing extended low-spend sessions at engaging and retaining.  

As part of that, we’re looking to make a splash, and we’re actively working on introducing our products to the iGaming community with some really strong communications, as well as building awareness by creating catchy promotional materials and immersive activities for players.

The Christmas title is also currently in the development stage, so stay tuned to find out what players can find in Evoplay’s holiday offering.

How key do you see sport as a way to tie in casino interest for sports betting fans, especially given the traditional hesitancy towards RNG?

As research shows, iGamers and sports bettors have much in common – specifically, the desire to place a bet and get a particular emotional pay-off from the process. Although in casino games, the result depends on RNG, bettors still receive what they want, a betting feature and the excitement that comes from interacting with it. In this case, iGaming developers have a privilege, as they can cram a title with engaging gamification tools, delivering a betting experience at the same level or even better than sportsbooks do. Moreover, this type of content isn’t limited in time and is at players’ disposal 24/7.

On the World Cup, your upcoming football games have been designed with exactly this in mind – can you talk us more through your Football Pack and what you’ve got planned?

Our World Cup-inspired football pack is 4 unique games – Football Bet, Penalty Shoot-out, Penalty Series, and Football Manager – in which we have combined a betting mechanic with various gameplays. Players can try to score a goal, wager in football championships, or take a role of a football manager working with a sports exchange. We have topped up the feature with a strong social component, bolstering competitive spirit by adding leaderboards to the games. As a result, we offer sports bettors an ever-available wagering opportunity from the comfort of any place and device.

How much of a shift have we seen in the last few years when it comes to cross-vertical, such as sports and casino given lockdowns and the like, are players now more open to trying out new entertainment?

Lockdowns in the last few years had a great impact on the gambling industry as a whole, however, land-based casino and bookmaking sectors were damaged most as companies needed to shut down, and sports events were canceled. As we’ve seen, however, the online casino vertical has thrived and this has become a springboard for many providers, with some of them shifting to online or diversifying their offering even further.

Of course, it has also left a mark on gamblers. Many of them replaced unavailable land-based entertainment with digital casinos. At the same time, with the return of sports events and brick-and-mortar casinos opening their doors to visitors, the conservative audience has come around to what they used to have. We actively work with such players, showing them that our innovative and comprehensive content actually gives them the same feeling as a real-life game. Gamification tools, such as live chats, leaderboards, and various mechanics, are what allow us to transport this experience from offline to online.

Last but not least, moving on to your latest launch Goblin Run which is inspired by your very popular Treasure Mania launched at the start of 2021. Can you talk us through the game and what you’re offering players?

Goblin Run is an absolutely unique and unparalleled product as it comprises a crash mechanic, a runner mechanic, a betting feature, and an instant game. It also features eye-catching visuals and a 3D skins shop, as well as various settings through which its plot is translated. The philosophy of a runner mechanic perfectly fits into this storyline, It builds a competitive element into the game as players see other participants’ performance in real-time, which adds significantly to the title’s social component. 

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