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Mike Johnson December 23, 2020 7 min read
FansUnite CEO Scott Burton: “We Are Going After a Younger Demographic and a New Generation of Player”
FansUnite is a leading technology firm with a clear focus on satisfying consumer needs in gaming and entertainment. The company has focused on providing online gaming solutions, and helping traditional gaming operators with onboarding their consumers on esports websites through a dedicated B2B solution.
FansUnite merged operations with AskottEntertainment boosting gross gaming revenue by 412% despite the pandemic, and even embracing the changed consumer attitude towards entertainment and gaming products.
The company has been looking to leave its mark on iGaming and expand its footprint in the United States. FansUnite teamed up with 10star and GameCo LLC earlier this year to seek and target audiences younger than the traditional casino consumer.
Meanwhile, growth has been quick in the United States, by the company’s own account, and FansUnite already operates its namesake B2C FansUnite Sportsbook, among other platforms with a combined betting volume of $350 million.
Put simply, there is a lot happening with the company right now, and the best person to shed some light in the current priorities trajectory and growth targets is FansUnite CEO Scott Burton who is at the helm of a company leading in iGaming, sports and esports gaming innovation.
Q: Scott, thank you for taking out of your time to talk with us. We tried to quickly sketch out FansUnite, but we feel you could tell our readers a little better what the company is and where your main focus lies.
At our core we are a technology company that has been building and launching betting and iGaming products since 2013. We have held multiple gaming licenses around the world and have three arms of our business now.
First we provide a B2B solution for anyone wanting to power a licensed betting and iGaming platform. In certain markets we do have our own B2C brands that run on our platform and licenses. Lastly, we recently introduced our Askott Games division, which makes esports and video game-themed RNG games to license.
Q: Where is FansUnite headed right now? Is it esports, traditional sports, online gaming or all of this and more?
It is really all of the above and more. FansUnite as it currently stands is a merge of two companies, Askott Entertainment and FansUnite. FansUnite was in the traditional sports space, with their main asset being McBookie, a successful direct-to-consumer UK sportsbook. Askott had built out a B2B technology platform for everything related to esports betting, casino gaming, and daily fantasy sports. FansUnite was looking to add esports to its portfolio and Askott’s aim was to be a complete betting and iGaming solution by adding traditional sports. So the merge made sense to create an all-encompassing platform serving esports, traditional sports, and casino games.
Q: How do you define your main customer group that the company describes as “the next generation of bettors?” Who are these new bettors and how are they different than the ones we have today?
We are going after a younger demographic and a new generation of player. With our focus on online gaming, as well as esports, we are trying to make our games and our platforms more interactive and engaging. We have to realize that we are competing for entertainment time and not just looking for bettors. We do believe that a shift in consumer habit to more online gaming has already begun, and the pandemic has only accelerated that, which positions us well.
Q: Are you able to transfer experience and know-how from one vertical to another? Where do you see the point where all different verticals come together and boil down to the same approach towards the customer base?
Our verticals are quite integrated and synergistic, which allows us to transfer experience between all arms of our business. As an example, our direct-to-consumer brands will launch on our own B2B technology platform, Chameleon. This allows us to operate in new jurisdictions, adding features and learning about consumer behaviors in those jurisdictions. That allows us to give our B2B clients the best product suite to successfully launch.
Q: How has the pandemic changed FansUnite’s strategy?
In terms of our technology and platform that we license to other operators, we haven’t had to change much. The acquisition of Askott Entertainment and their esports betting platform was great in terms of the pandemic. Interest in esports went up significantly and we were well positioned to take advantage of it.
For our more traditional sportsbook, McBookie.com, it forced us to spend more time on the casino games and virtual offerings, which has strengthened that site overall.
Q: Do you see ways to innovate the iGaming experience in a way that will attract younger generations of players?
The growth in esports, both in terms of global viewership and betting, has been exponential in the past few years and we believe it will continue to grow. This demographic is naturally younger than the traditional retail casino players, and who we are trying to cater to. We don’t believe this demographic is interested in cherry wheel casino games, which is why we try to take a more interactive approach to our games, incorporating crash games, loot games and esports and video game-themed slots.
Q: What is the staying power of video games in the iGaming sector and is there overlap between these?
The future of video games and iGaming is bright I believe. We have to recognize that video games make up a major part of entertainment for the next generation. It is ahead of movies, music and TV shows. I don’t think the issue is the impact they will have. Rather, the issue will be which operators and content providers in the iGaming space can position themselves to be leaders in content creation that appeals to the audience.
Q: What markets are next for you? Do you see potential in India and Southeast Asia, two regions where gaming is taken very seriously?
Our next immediate focus is Brazil and our esports brand vamosgg.com. It recently launched and we will be announcing some major partnerships in early 2021. We do see potential in both India and Southeast Asia, especially from an esports perspective. If I were to predict which one we would focus on next I would say it will more likely be India.
Q: In an interview for BNN Bloomberg, you mentioned that FansUnite is clearly in a growth stage where you do not have to radically alter your products, but rather focus on expanding reach. Do you think the market has a natural over-saturation point or is there room for new brands so long as they bring something unique?
The market is going to continually evolve. While there may be segments that may appear oversaturated, new technologies, advances and approaches will continue to propel the industry, engaging current customers in myriad ways and appealing to new consumers. There are still new jurisdictions continuing to legalize gaming, most notably the U.S. market, which is still in its infancy. Growing brands that bring unique products and services will not only be able to join with existing operators for market share, but will also be able to set new paths, opening up new revenue and customer acquisition avenues.
Q: And last, but not least, has FansUnite thought about Virtual Reality as a product worthy of investing more into?
I think there are some very interesting possibilities with VR and casinos especially. I don’t see the space as an area for us to invest money or time, as it requires a level of expertise that doesn’t suit our current make-up. Our platform will remain open to any great content that appears, but for now we are just looking at content opportunities and no direct investment.