Gal Ehrlich: “For ICE this year, we’re focusing on our sports and esports product lines”

Gal Ehrlich CEO at BETER.
Gal Ehrlich CEO at BETER.

Gal Ehrlich CEO at BETER, shared his vision about the new edition of ICE London and how the Russian military invasion affected the company’s initial plans for the event.

Interview.- The long-awaited return of ICE London is already a fact and, although the Russian invasion of Ukraine affected BETER’s plans for this event, asBETER is a European company with a big team in Ukraine, it continues with the idea of meeting as many partners to showcase the best of its products.

In this interview, Gal Ehrlich, CEO at BETER, delves into the company’s goals regarding the event and explains how the war affected BETER and forced them to adapt to a new environment.

The industry’s showpiece event ICE London has returned after a two-year pause, with a slightly different feel given the many companies’ decision not to exhibit. Having a big team in Ukraine, how did the war there affect your plans for the show given the size of your operation at home? 

We are all excited to see the ICE London event return after a two-year pause. The event is a key fundamental networking and engagement activity for the whole betting and gaming industry.

Originally, we had ambitious plans to go big this year with an outstanding booth showcasing our diverse portfolio to the industry.

Unfortunately, with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the existing martial law that does not allow most of our employees to leave the country, we practically couldn’t bring to London the required personnel to operate such a booth, including our product, technical and marketing teams. 

Therefore, we had to switch to a scaled-down format comprising of a couple of meeting rooms, in which we are meeting our partners and industry friends – something we’re still very much enjoying, despite this undesired change.  

How did the Russian military invasion affect your wider business in general? 

This unprecedented war in Ukraine has required us to completely reformat the way we operate and deliver value to our customers. We’ve had to adjust rapidly to the developing situation, and I believe we have done our best for both our people and the company.

First, given the events, we took an immediate decision to cease all cooperation with Russia-based brands and suppliers. It’s not hard to understand why. Looking at what our people on the ground there are dealing with, it is a moral statement on our part.

Second, while being a truly pan-European company with multiple locations across the continent, the closure of most of our sites and venues in Ukraine required us to put more focus on expansion in other European countries. For example, we have just recently launched two new sites in Slovakia and Moldova, and we are actively looking for more opportunities across the globe.

Given that you don’t have a stand this year and not all your team members have been able to come to London what are your goals for the event? Have they changed? 

Unfortunately, the current situation in Ukraine completely changed our ICE London plans as already mentioned. Our focus, however, is still largely unchanged – to meet as many partners to showcase the best of our products, whether that is existing or new – and we’re already seeing great results in further developing our network.

Who are your current or potential partners that you’re meeting at ICE London and what products, features or services are you presenting?  

For us, it’s all about continuing the excellent work we’re doing for multiple tier-one industry brands – including the likes of William Hill, Fortuna Entertainment Group and Bet365. Looking at the calendar, we’ve been busy in both receiving plenty of both inbound calls and proposals sent out for meetings, and we’ve seen a very high level of interest in our products, which is very exciting. 

For ICE this year, we’re focusing on our sports and esports product lines, as well as our recently launched all-new live casino, which is a fantastic product to speak about. 

What’s the forecast for the year ahead now that the landscape has changed? How does BETER fit into this evolving environment?

Generally speaking, nothing is supposed to change for the mid to long term. We see an actively growing demand for our product and services, and we are constantly increasing our customer base and market share. The current developments in Ukraine have had a short-term impact on the way we operate, but I don’t expect it to have any long term impact on us. 

Our contingency plans that we’ve had in place since the crisis began at the beginning of winter meant we were ready and resilient. So much so, truly believe that as a team we will come out stronger from this – and continue the fantastic momentum we generated in 2021. 

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BETER ICE London 2022