Operator CEOs head 20/20 Vision track at Betting on Sports 2019

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Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson, and Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith are among the leaders offering their insights on the key issues shaping the betting industry as part of the 20/20 Vision – The Future In Focus track of Betting on Sports 2019.

The track, which takes place on the second full day (Thursday 19 September) of SBC’s flagship event at Olympia London, was specifically designed to provide leadership perspectives on critical topics, with input from major operators, suppliers and the sports industry.

A key part of the track is the CEO Panel tackling the fundamental question: What is the Future for Sports Betting? It features heavy hitters who can offer perspectives from markets around the world, with Dominik Beier, speaker of the board, Interwetten, and Lahcene Merzoug, CEO, ComeOn! joining Smith and Svensson for the session.

Smith is a regular attendee at SBC events and, speaking after last year’s conference, said: “It’s been fantastic. It’s the focus that SBC has, it’s the operators they bring to Betting on Sports. There is a lot of C-level people present that you won’t see walking around at other conferences.”

The Hall of Fame Panel promises to be another of the highlights of Betting on Sports 2019, with insights from some of the highly-respected professionals who played significant roles in the development of the online betting sector. Among the members of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame set to offer their views on the latest developments in the international gambling industry are Mark Blandford, founder, Sportingbet, and Norbert Teufelberger, co-founder, Bwin.

Blandford, another regular at Betting on Sports, said: “I find the quality of the speakers on the panels to be very good and it’s surprising how much real valuable information they do give. For anybody who’s in the industry or researching the industry, you’d be missing out not to be here.”

A further high-level session is: Entering the Unknown – The CMO Panel, which addresses the changing role of marketing in the sports betting industry in light of the tightening of advertising restrictions in some markets and the pressures of a heightened social responsibility and sustainability agenda. Speakers sharing their experience and ideas about the evolution of the marketing function include Viktor Hoffmann, CMO, VBET, Francesco Gaziano, CMO, SKS365, and Panos Konstantopoulos, CMO, Betano and Stoiximan.

Opening the 20/20 Vision is: The Future In Focus track is Stick or Twist… The Agency Conundrum. This is to be a discussion about the role of marketing agencies in the tough advertising landscape faced by operators.

The panel was hand-picked to ensure views from a range of stakeholder perspectives, and includes Dan Towse, head of brand, Marathonbet, John Cole, group director brand partnerships – sport, gambling and alcohol, LADbible Group, Matt Wilson, CEO, Ball Street Network, Josh Linforth, commercial director, Genius Sports Group, and Jonathan Edelshaim CEO, Natural Intelligence.

The second session is: Pulling Up? Does Racing Need to Implement Cuts? It examines how horse racing can cope with an anticipated fall in funding from the under-pressure retail bookmaking sector, with Stephen Emberson betting integrity manager, Betway Group, Nick Rust chief executive, British Horseracing Authority, and Tom Byrne operations manager, Horserace Betting Levy Board, among those contributing ideas.

The Retail – Leveraging the Customer Experience panel focuses on why retail outlets are still a key part of an operator’s portfolio and how to improve customer experience. Input comes from both suppliers, including James Coxon, business development director, SBTech and Peter Woodfine, business development director, Vermantia, and operators, such as Luca Grisci, director of retail, SKS365, Sami Kauhanen, vice president – betting, Veikkaus, and Jens Nielsen, sports betting director, Danske Spil.

Coxon said: “I am talking at Betting on Sports as it is a key event in the industry calendar and a mixture of current and prospective partners are attending. It is a chance to reflect on the year that has passed and gaze forward to what stands before us, to share opinions and strategies on important topics that can ultimately enhance our sector as a whole.

“Collectively we are much stronger together and this is a great opportunity to be part of the collaboration that SBC co-creates.”

Another key looming problem for the industry will be addressed by the Gambling and Football – Sponsorship Issues panel, which will discuss whether operators will soon find their logos removed from shirts and how clubs will react. Expert insight comes from Hilly Ehrlich, CEO UK and Asia, Betcris, Rory Anderson, consultant, 12BET, Benny Bonsu head of women’s Sports, GiveMeSport, and Dean Akinjobi, CEO, Football Media.


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