Dmitry Starostenkov, EvenBet: “Malta remains one of the most influential igaming hubs”

Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.
Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.

Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming talked with Focus Gaming News about the company’s first attendance at G2E as an exhibitor, his vision regarding the Latinamerican market and expectations surrounding upcoming SiGMA Malta.

Exclusive interview.- EvenBet Gaming showed incredible growth throughout 2021, especially establishing its presence in the USA and amplifying its gaming offering by incorporating content from Caleta Gaming.

Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming sat down with Focus Gaming News for an exclusive interview to talk about these achievements and prospects for the future.

For the first time, EvenBet presented its online poker platform at one of the major global gaming industry events, G2E 2021. How was the experience?

We have been at G2E Vegas pre-pandemic as visitors, and this year, we are establishing EvenBet presence in the USA, so we have considered it necessary to exhibit at the show. 

For us, in general, it was productive and effective, yet, it is a shame to see how the Covid-19 restrictions and measures affect the industry and business communications: numerous companies had to cancel their participation, and which was one of the biggest global gaming shows has significantly reduced both in visitor numbers and in brands present, and the show organisation has become a little chaotic. 

However, we are sure that the online gaming market in the USA is only starting to grow, so we intend to be there next year, hopefully, with less sanitary and administrative barriers.

What main aspects of the event could you highlight?

Despite the exhibition being notably reduced, the content and networking sections of G2E have remained superb. The industry still needs to keep the communication and to exchange the experience! 

For me, it was a welcome opportunity to put a name to a face: since spring 2020, we didn’t have a chance to meet in person with many of our long-term and new partners.

EvenBet will also attend SiGMA Malta. What can we expect from the company at this event?

The main novelty we are going to present in Malta is a completely redesigned mobile poker application. 

It’s not yet available to try for the general public as an open demo, so our stand visitors may get some exclusive information. 

We have completely redesigned the app UI, taking into account the players’ demands in the mature markets such as Europe, the USA, and Canada. It took months of work!

“The main novelty we are going to present in Malta is a completely redesigned mobile poker application.”

Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.

Since our last visit to SiGMA, we have also reworked many other aspects of our platform: promotion and affiliate module, bonus system, finance management, and added a high-demanded opportunity to manage all the casino and side games directly from the poker platform back office. 

If you haven’t tried modern poker platforms for a while, don’t miss us at stand ST15!

What are the expectations regarding this event?

Expectations are always high, as Malta remains one of the most influential iGaming hubs and the must destination for everyone involved in the online gaming business. 

The last 2019 live edition had around 15 thousand visitors, so taking into account the complex situation with the entry to the island, we are sure that this year we will see around 10 thousand attendees.

We are looking forward to a week packed with the expo and several conferences, numerous meetings, negotiations, and probably the new deals signed. 

Unfortunately, due to the travel situation, we could not bring our whole exhibition team to Malta, so it’s going to be an extremely busy week for each of us!

You have delivered a keynote speech at SiGMA Americas about taking Poker Online in South and Latin America. What does the Latinamerican market represent to the company?

Today, it is one of our key markets globally. In those countries that have already introduced online gaming regulation or are doing it now (Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, etc.), the market is growing at the speed of light. 

Latin and South America are interested in online poker. Some countries like Argentina have been actively dealing poker hands online for years, some like Colombia have notable offline poker players’ communities, and so on. 

There is still a lot of room for poker in the market, because many global brands have a hard time adapting their products and services for the audience’s needs, and local companies are in a beneficial position.

We have started exploring Latin and South America about two years ago, and since that, we have secured extremely important deals in the market, signing off major operators like Apuesta Total and growing a poker network based on our software platform. 

This year, we are growing our physical presence in the region with more experienced business development managers and industry expert Manuel Jimenez joining the company. I’d say there’s a lot to do yet!

Poker is going through a sort of revival. What are the main challenges you have to attract a new generation of players?

For the millennials and newcomers from generation Z, old marketing tricks with bonuses don’t work that well in the long-term perspective, that’s why online poker was stagnating for a while. 

If you looked at the poker rooms audiences before the pandemic, you would notice that their core were the old school poker fans, those who have started to play during the poker boom in the noughties. Yet, the pandemic had changed it all: a new generation of players have come into poker looking for a way to play social games while staying physically isolated. And that forced operators to search for new promotion mechanics to retain these newcomers, exploring quests, new types of rewards, interactive elements within a game, and finally, online poker has started to change and adapt. 

We are experiencing not simply a revival, but a rediscovering of online poker, seeing it becoming mobile, more interactive and social, offering new UX on top of the beloved Holdem and Omaha games. It’s an exciting time for the vertical!

“We are experiencing not simply a revival, but a rediscovering of online poker, seeing it becoming mobile.”

Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.

EvenBet Gaming has recently signed a partnership deal with Caleta Gaming. What represents this agreement for the company? Are you working on new partnerships for the near future?

Partnerships like this one with Caleta Gaming allow us to provide an attractive product for specific markets. 

We are offering not just poker, but the gaming platform with online poker games at its core, and all the additions of side and casino games help to tailor the operator’s product to the specific audience. 

Caleta Gaming is a well-known game provider, especially in South America, and their games are demanded by the players there. 

We have already secured deals with many providers offering slots, sports betting, bingo, live, table, and casino games, so our operators have a choice of thousands of titles and may find exactly what their players will like, no matter where they are – in Asia, America, or Europe.

For the moment, we have a small queue for performing technical games integration, however, if we find a provider who offers a unique product that could be interesting for our operators, we are ready for a new deal. Probably, at SiGMA Malta!

What are the perspectives for the rest of 2021 and the next year?

We have big plans for the end of this year! First, it’s increased activity at live events: after SiGMA Malta, we are planning to be at Affiliate Summit Mexico, GAT in Dominican Republic, Peru Gaming Show, and to sponsor EGR Operator Awards. 

Second, we are looking forward to the end of the year: in 2020, our company has doubled the revenue, and we expect to continue beating the records in 2021 as well. By the end of the year, we will also make available to try the most important platform updates of 2021.

In 2022, EvenBet plans to secure this growth by extending our company presence in Europe, our Malta-based office, and Latin America. 

For the moment, we are actively working with the operators in the USA, so probably, 2022 will be marked with our first big contract in the region announcement. 

As for the platform itself, in 2022, we will continue improving our marketing, reporting, and anti-fraud engines, to provide precise and smooth management tools to our customers.

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