1xBet is a sportsbook and iGaming company that has been quickly making a name for itself. The company has been securing a number of high-profile partnerships, focusing specifically on soccer, and strengthening ties with such established powerhouses as FC Barcelona, FC Chelsea, and the Nigerian Football Federation and FC Liverpool. 1xBet focuses exclusively on the European, Asian and African markets, with a footprint spanning over 50 countries today.
In February, 2019, the operator teamed up with the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF). We had the pleasure to speak to Alex Sommers, 1xBet’s official spokesperson, who has been busy with the recent spate of partnerships the company has been signing. From soccer to esports, to new market opportunities, here is what Mr. Sommers had to share with us.
Alex Sommers, Spokesperson at 1xBet
GamblingNews: 1xBet has been very busy these past months, securing one partnership after another, with a particular focus on soccer. Today you partner with major soccer leagues all across Europe and beyond, why the particular focus on the beautiful game?
Alex Sommers: We’re delighted to have signed contracts with partners who are so well known around the world. It’s an important step in our long-term development strategy, which we hope will be very successful.
Soccer has been one of the main verticals that 1xBet is excelling in, as attested by the number of partnerships signed by the company in recent months. So far as 2019 goes, 1xBet has been doing quite well, securing a number of landmark initiatives that have truly put the company on the map:
GBN: Speaking of soccer, apart from adding big names such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona and partnering up with Serie A, you are also strengthening your presence in Africa. Why the interest in that region?
AS: 1xBet is a global brand and we’re striving to offer our services on every continent. That’s why we’re interested in improving our visibility in lots of different regions.
To follow on from what you said above, we’ve got a number of sponsorship deals aimed at the African region. We’re Tottenham Hotspur’s Official Betting Partner for Africa, the Official Partner of Nigeria Premier League, Official Partner of the Nigeria National Football Team and an Official Sponsor of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sweden has been a tempting market, but 1xBet has kept a clear head about it. The country has definitely been benefiting from the legalization of the industry, claiming some $190 million in tax money, double what the government expect. Still, 1xBet is tentative about the market, Mr Sommers explains:
GBN: Sweden is an interesting but tough market these days. With the offer freshly launched, do you think operators will manage to acclimatize to the regulatory measures set out by Spelinspektionen?
AS: Yes, Spelinspektionen regulates the market quite strictly, and Sweden on the whole is a difficult place to start up and develop this kind of business. Nonetheless, we’re sure that many operators will be able to adapt to the local laws and that Swedish players will be able to make the most of their services.
In February 2019, the Dutch regulating authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) targeted 1xBet with a fine, arguing that the company has been intentionally targeting dutch nationals. KSA recently revved up the number of fines it has been issuing while moving towards legalizing the industry. Here is what Mr Sommers had to say about a potential entry into the market.
Rather than waiting for a specific event to motivate us, we’re trying to create new products and develop the ones we already have in many different aspects of our business every day. – Alex Sommers
GBN:With this in mind, do you consider the Netherlands to be an important future market for you?
AS:At the moment, we’re monitoring every market and estimating the likelihood of success in each one. Potential is very important to us, so the Dutch market is sure to be a point of interest for us in the future.
GBN:Back to tough markets, what do you think about the United Kingdom considering the latest measures reducing FOBTs betting limits, introducing voluntary watershed bans, and hiking remote gambling levy?
AS: We’re closely following the news on all these recent events. For us, the most important thing is that the changes are transparent and clear.
GBN:Do you think it’s accurate to say that if in the past the United States was a hostile environment to betting companies, but the market seems more open than Europe these days? And in general, what is your take on the U.S. market?
AS: From experience, we can say that every market is unique. Recently, the US has become clearer and more open. As a result, it has the potential to become one of the largest, most developed markets in the world.
Mr. Sommers spoke about the growing focus of the company to create a range of products that go well beyond the traditional stomping grounds of the company:
GBN:Is it accurate to say that the addition of Pragmatic Play earlier in 2019 signifies a growing interest towards the iGaming/online casino sector on your part?
AS: iGaming has always been an integral part of the wide range of entertainment products we offer. In 2019, we’re not just striving to maintain the volume of content that our clients are used to, but also to introduce something new and widen the range.
Talking about esports and the future, Mr Sommers noted the potential of the segment. He explained that 1xBet was in the process of developing the vertical. The numbers seem to back his statement. According to Newzoo, a marketing intelligence company focusing on the gaming space, the esports industry is hurtling towards the $1 billion mark.
One reason for concern, however, is the fact that sportsbooks in general have been failing to turn a steady revenue on esports bets, because of fans proving too clever for traditional algorithms:
GBN:You have also been present in the esports betting space. In August, 2018, you teamed up with HellRaisers, becoming the gaming team’s official sponsor. What do you think of the esports segment in general and its potential?
AS: In 2019, we hardly need to explain how popular esports have become. This rapidly developing sector of the sports industry can’t fail to draw you in. We’re actively developing our esports products and right now are one of the leaders in this niche area of betting.
It’s important to note that 1xBet is partnering with ESCharts.com, a data API website which tracks esports trends, marking a significant brand awareness for the sportsbook among esports fans:
GBN:What is the event/development you are most looking forward to in 2019?
AS: Rather than waiting for a specific event to motivate us, we’re trying to create new products and develop the ones we already have in many different aspects of our business every day.
GamblingNews will continue to keep to date with 1xBet’s initiatives and keep you posted.