These are exciting times for the iGaming industry. Changing attitudes, new legal regulations and evolving technology have all come together to make a perfect storm. Of course, the major focus is on the US where one state is following another with almost indecent haste in a bid to legalize online casino gaming and sports betting and to gather tens of millions in tax dollars from an activity that is already commonplace even in states where it is not yet legal.
It’s unsurprising that this is a sector that is tempting new business entrepreneurs in ever-growing numbers. This is especially true at a time when so many other industries are facing economic doom and gloom in the wake of broader global events over the past year or so. Here, we have spread our virtual wings and flown across to Malta, arguably the most important iGaming hub on the planet, to check out three startups that are already standing out from the crowd and are worth watching as the year progresses.
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Singular launched in 2019, and has yet to take a false step. The business provides the full spectrum of online solutions in the iGaming and sports betting space, citing flexibility, innovation and reliability as its three tenets for success. It’s an approach that has been stunningly successful so far, and the business has scooped numerous awards in its short lifetime, including Five Star Poker Software Provider of the Year 2019 and Sports Betting Supplier of the Year 2020.
Singular was the brainchild of CEO George Shamugia and COO Akaki Meladze. As well as its main operation in Malta, the business also has development bases in Tbilisi, Georgia and Skopje in North Macedonia and employs more than 100 people, operating in 10 regulated markets. It has the power to add dramatically to these in the months ahead, so it will be intriguing to watch the company’s continued expansion through the course of 2021 and beyond.
From a startup that is looking to build on a promising beginning, we move to one that is in the very first stages of its journey. At Betman, technical expert Alex Bovkun has teamed up with business analyst and blockchain guru Ivan Dimitrijevic to deliver an online platform that can be used by both new and existing providers across the iGaming and sports betting space. Betmen Solutions’ main focus is on providing US focused online casino sites with a flexible platform that will reduce costs without compromising the level of quality delivered to customers.
The Betmen suite of products includes a casino games aggregator, a sportsbook and a payments aggregator. The company feels that its one stop shop approach will place it in a strong position as the US casino and sports betting market gains momentum.
At present, Betmen has pre-seed investment, and is actively seeking angel investment that will bring both the financial resources and the knowledge and skill to scale up over the coming 12 months.
Here’s a business that has seen a successful launch in the world of sports betting and is now looking to get a toehold in the US market. Since commencing operations from its Maltese headquarters in St Julian’s it has followed a rapid and ambitious growth strategy, opening country bases in Germany, Austria, Gibraltar and Croatia.
These have given the sports betting platform a solid presence in the European market, which has been bolstered by some well-placed sponsorship deals, especially in the German football leagues. It launched its first non-European operations last year, setting up bases in Colombia and the USA. If these see the same rates of growth as those in Europe, 2021 could be the year that Tipico gains critical mass and is able to take on the biggest names in the industry on level terms.
Finding success in the iGaming and sports betting world
These three burgeoning businesses are all in the gambling sector and are Malta based – but beyond that they are very different in terms of their target markets and their stages of evolution. Nevertheless, there are three common factors that have contributed to their success.
- Knowing your niche – it can be tempting to try to be all things to all people, but too often, that means you don’t stand out in any one area. By focusing on one or two specific products, at least in the early stages, you can devote the resources needed to truly excel and to outperform more established competitors. It’s always possible to expand the portfolio later.
- Building a community – Tipico is a great example of this principle in action. Brand loyalty doesn’t just establish a solid customer base, it also works wonders for overall reputation. That’s something that stands for a lot in a competitive industry where trust is vital.
- Remembering the basics – SEO might sound like a chapter from New Startup 101, but that’s because it’s fundamental for success in any online market. Investing up front allows the site to mature at the same rate as the overall business.