(Exclusive interview).- Stanleybet CEO Giovanni Garrisi talked to Focus Gaming News about how the operator will survive the Covid-19 crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the industry hard, but companies are finding was of adapting to and surviving the crisis.
Stanleybet has been hit particularly hard. but CEO Giovanni Garrisi, remians confident in the long-term future of the sector.
Focus Gaming News spoke to Garrisi to learn how the operator plans to ride out the storm and remain on course for success once the crisis has passed.
How big has COVID-19’s impact been for your business?
The impact of the pandemic has been particularly hard for our Group, especially considering that when we look at Stanleybet’s core business, we are talking about over 2000 stores in various countries of Europe that have been closed and that will probably be able to reopen starting from the first weeks of May.
By narrowing this analysis down to Magellan Robotech, the group’s B2B brand, we can say that the work has not only not decreased at all but has probably even increased.
We had to conceive our efforts especially in the improvement of the online platform, we accelerated some integrations and certifications and finally, we concentrated our efforts in responding to the needs to move a large part of our business from a retail-oriented approach to an approach entirely dedicated to ‘online.
These efforts will naturally also pay off in the future as we will have to learn to live with waves of virus spread and likely closings here and there according to the emergency.
You provide virtual sports solutions and are mainly focused on the iGaming market, have the isolation regimes in some countries benefited your business?
To date, operating mainly in the UK, Belgium, Italy, Cyprus, Denmark, Croatia, Romania and Malta, our operations have been affected almost everywhere. The Virtual sports market has experienced a period of great dusting together with eSports. But everyone’s efforts have so far been concentrated in integrations, certifications, platform adjustments, porting from retail to online. It was also for us.
On the one hand, we have shifted our attention to a necessary improvement of the online offer, on the other we have strategically decided not to abandon the roadmaps and strategies decided in the past months. So, for 2020, let’s keep the bar straight and aim as we have done in recent years for the development of our Virtual Sports portfolio. Do not forget that at ICE London we had presented the new Falcon, the Virtual Football built with an artificial intelligence engine and which allows you to play even in running.
We have strategically decided not to abandon the roadmaps and strategies decided in the past months.Stanleybet CEO Giovanni Garrisi.
A revolution in the sector that soon, as soon as the various European governments will start Phase 2, will be launched in the first group of 800 stores.
You’ve taken Virtual Trident to the east into Croatia and to the Latin American market (Colombia), do you plan to expand it into any further markets in the short term? What other solutions are you planning to take to different countries?
In the last months of 2019 and the first months of 2020 we pushed the accelerator with regards to the certifications of Trident, our Virtual Football in championship mode which is undoubtedly a blockbuster in Stanleybet stores.
We are now bringing Trident to Belgium and Denmark, we are working on launching the first Virtual Sports platform for retail which will also include an ad hoc betting kiosk designed by our MBK.
Next step will be to launch Trident in the UK where we are already certified and have a UKGC license and then as soon as possible in Peru and Colombia. In Peru we have an agreement with two of the top 3 top brands on the market and we are working on the customization of the Championship. The next goals are the strengthening of our online offer with the same Trident available today with feed integration which will also have a wallet integration shortly and then the addition of our other sports.
Finally, we will also add two new virtual games based on real but pre-recorded horse races and greyhounds in a few days.
Early in April, you revealed your projections for COVID-19, what do you think about those figures today?
Our mathematical model is proving correct. As expected, Italy would emerge from the emergency on May 7th and officially this is in line with the official data of the country. We had a fair percentage of 88% and the margin of error remains unfortunately still high because much will depend on how we will behave in the phase immediately following the lockdown, especially with travel between regions and from abroad.
Our mathematical model is proving correct.Stanleybet CEO Giovanni Garrisi on their COVID-19 projections.
Another response that the model has given us and that we see today in line with the current situation (interview conducted late in April, model published on March 28) is that relating to Malta which would have been the first country in Europe to arrive at r0 (each infected person infects zero people). We must be careful. I read that some countries are thinking of reopening their business already. The risk of returning to the waves of the pandemic is very high.
What do you plan for Magellan Robotech for the rest of 2020?
Our real goal is to close this very hot phase in which we often had to review the emergency plans and return to a normal situation. As a Group, we like to plan things on time, and we like to make strategic decisions based on our business beliefs.
An emergency is an extraordinary operation, a great stress test for the system, and our company.
I am convinced that we will come out stronger and more united than before, but I also see a great recovery in the economy and sustained growth starting from the first quarter of 2021. So, we will roll up our sleeves and work to conclude all our projects and continue our march to become one of the main suppliers and a point of reference for the sector.