Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO of EvenBet Gaming, teases exciting previews for ICE London 2024 and hints some of the company’s next steps.
Exclusive interview.- As the gaming industry converges at ICE London 2024, EvenBet takes centre stage to redefine the landscape of online poker. From their first appearance in 2016 to the present day, the evolution of EvenBet’s vertical and products has been remarkable. This year, the focus is on the customization of online poker and card games.
EvenBet showcases the power of choosing the right game package, coupled with its customization options, to create an immersive experience for players across the spectrum. Operators are invited to witness firsthand how EvenBet’s in-game features, flexible segmentation, and promotion engines pave the way for acquiring and engaging players.
Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming, offers a glimpse into what awaits spectators at ICE London 2024.
What are the advantages of meeting physically at an event such as ICE London?
Every company in the industry is at ICE. The event remains one of the best opportunities in igaming to meet in one place people coming from every region in the world, working in all the possible verticals, and developing all types of projects that ever existed. It’s an enormous chance to make connections, learn new names and find out what’s the best that each company does. For EvenBet, it’s online poker and card games.
How do you think online poker will evolve amid changes in technology and how we consume entertainment?
We already see the outlines of this evolution. In the years of online poker resurgence since the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that as a vertical, we have to learn from non-gambling entertainment to reach new and young audiences: casual mobile games, “big” video games industries, content giants such as Amazon and Netflix. To come to love and enjoy poker, you need to learn to play it first. And to learn to play, you need to be entertained to keep the motivation from the start, even if losing.
We will see even more beginner-targeted features decreasing players’ chances of losing the whole stack, like Double Board, interactive fun options, such as throwables and chat improvements, and mission-based promotional mechanics, giving an instant feeling of accomplishment.
You specialise in emerging markets. How do you respond to the complex requirements that this can entail?
The first and hardest thing to learn was that players in many emerging Asian, African or South American markets don’t know how to play poker. That required that we adapt our product offering to create a learning curve for the newbies, in addition to creating new language localisations, partnering with locally targeted casino game developers, and extending our payment integrations with market-specific solutions. Once we chose to target emerging markets as a strategic goal, we had to rework our mobile solutions to provide the best possible experience to mobile-only users. There was, and there is a lot to do.
As for the regulation, another headache, as a software provider, we don’t face any difficulties. Our software is certified by almost every laboratory. We have a Maltese B2B licence and the approval of such authorities as Coljuegos or DGOJ. It allows us to enter confidently almost every market.
To come to love and enjoy poker, you need to learn to play it first. And to learn to play, you need to be entertained to keep the motivation from the start, even if losing.
What do you think are the core traits needed to succeed in such markets?
First and foremost, the company should be ready to adapt and customise its offerings. Even in the same region, the market requirements differ. For online poker, there’s a famous example of Argentina with a high share of desktop application users, while across the rest of the continent, 90 per cent of the players use mobile ones.
In India, the gateway to acquire players would be Rummy and Teen Patti, and for several other countries in Southeast Asia, Big 2. For African countries, the developer has to consider the high-speed internet penetration rates that may differ from 5 per cent to 70 per cent and optimise the app connection requirements accordingly. Not a single project in the emerging countries will be the same as another one, so flexibility is the key.
How do you see the future for EvenBet?
We have proved our technical excellence as a poker and card game provider. The next step for us is to work on providing the same excellent quality of our services. We don’t want to be just a software vendor but aim to become an operator’s partner, capable of sharing unique expertise and supporting the operator at every step. We know the iGaming market well and don’t retain our knowledge, as proven by our latest iGaming trends and challenges research report.
“We have proved our technical excellence as a poker and card game provider.”Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO EvenBet Gaming.
What are EvenBet’s plans for the year ahead?
To explore new horizons. Our company is starting to work in several countries across Africa this year, and in many aspects, this is still a terra incognita of our industry. I hope we will be able to share more insight into the region in 2024. Also, it’s going to be a year of growth for EvenBet Gaming: our strategic goals demand that we onboard more talents in almost every region where we are present. But first, ICE London.