Talking affiliates, success, and growth, we got to know CEO Alexander Stevendahl, and Head of Acquisition Ali Atam and Head of Affiliates Alison Brincat, to find out more.
So, first things first, Alexander – how does it feel to be at the helm of one of the most exciting online casino brands around? Tell us how the story started?
AS: It feels great, especially when you’ve worked so hard to build something that is truly unique and di erent from the roots up. When I finished school, I started to play poker for fun and then ended up earning quite a comfortable living from it, but after one bad month I decided to launch an affiliate site called Rakebacklovers in 2006.
It was a great business and very profitable and I liked that it didn’t require the level of risk that you get with just playing poker.
What was your concept, your ethos and your core ideas when you set up Videoslots? How did you intend on positioning yourself to make yourself stand out against the competition?
AS: At the time, we had closed the poker site and had decided to focus on just the casino instead. It was important for us to create a casino that was innovative and different to what you normally find, both when it comes to product, as well as in the way that we treat our players. We pride ourselves on both the range of games we offer, and the customer service that we provide to our clients – I believe that this alone sets us apart from lots of other providers. This was the beginning of a casino with a concept different to many others, as it was based on poker. One of the other differences you will find is the bonus system where all Videoslots promotions are based on poker promotions. This makes us automatically stand out in the iGaming crowd.
You launched Videoslots in 2011, tell me about your growth and expansion since then?
AS: The growth has been very impressive because when we launched in 2011, there were 5 employees, then by 2015 we launched Battle of Slots and the team grew to 35. Now we employ over 110 people in Malta alone and expansion both locally and internationally means we will be taking on more and more people over the coming months. It is an exciting time for us!
Where is the company heading in the next 5 years? 10 years?
AS: It will be some time yet before I have achieved what I want to with Videoslots, however, I have various other big projects in mind – as well as maintaining our position as the largest online casino in the industry and the creators of many leading and innovative features and concepts, I am looking to launch a new poker site that will hopefully measure the same levels of success that Videoslots has measured.
Once again, I will be looking to create something other than the normal run of the mill concept as at Videoslots, we highly believe in doing things differently and standing out from the crowd.
These are all dreams that will not happen overnight, they will take time and dedication before they can become a reality, but that is half of the fun.
We are also in the process of applying for licenses in Romania, Denmark, Spain, Italy, and Portugal and the intention is to set up a local base in each one.
We would be looking to recruit around 60 additional people to help us execute these plans and to support these ventures in each country.
Why do you think Malta is such a hotbed for iGaming? Why do you like living and working here?
AS: Well not only is the weather sunny and sizzling, but I met my partner Patrizia here and we have a beautiful daughter- going anywhere else is not an option for me!
Alison Brincat (AB): Apart from the attractive taxation schemes for iGaming companies, Malta also offers a diversity of talents and creativity. It is such a multicultural country and it has become a perfect location for the iGaming industry. Due to its size, it is also great for networking and easily meeting others that are a part of the same industry- it is also the perfect place to entertain, with many different options available. Oh, and of course, the sun, sea, and a relaxed atmosphere is a big plus!
Ali Atam (AA): Malta has developed a lot since I moved here in 2000. I find it a happy country that is also very safe when compared to other countries. It is easy to adapt to the lifestyle and to network, as people are generally very friendly. I like the fact that I can be home within 15-20 minutes after work and when it comes to business, I also like that my contacts and connections are just a few minutes away.
In an industry that is so closely interlinked with digitalisation and technology, what do you think the next step will be? Where is the industry heading and are you ready for it?
AA: I think the future looks bright for the iGaming sector. Responsible gaming is key and innovation will also play a big part. I expect to see virtual reality and an emphasis on skill based games coming into action. I also expect to see growth in social casino gamification where players can connect with each other and become a part of the community. Lastly, I think mobile slots and games will also continue to grow and of course, I was born ready!
So, how are you different in terms of what you offer to your clients, but when it comes to a liates, what sets you apart from the rest?
AB: Firstly, we are very exible when it comes to making deals. Upon signing up, we offer our affiliates the option to choose their preferred commission plan between three different models, in fact, Videoslots is striving to start offering one of the most transparent affiliate programmes in the industry.
Tell us about the affiliate market at the moment- what is happening, what are the trends, and what are your predictions for the next 12 months?
AB: At the moment, the affiliate market is in consolidation where we will see many bigger networks acquiring small to medium sized ones. I don’t see this slowing down and I also think that we will continue to see growth on social media channels such as Twitch and that it will continue to positively impact the affiliate business. I also think that mobile affiliate channels will continue to grow and that games will become more targeted towards mobile, both when it comes to visual and UX. I also imagine that augmented reality will make a big impact, maybe not next year, but in the future.
And how are Videoslots strategizing to stay at the top of their game when it comes to a liate marketing?
AB: We are continuously working on developing our affiliate software to make it the best inhouse affiliate programme in the industry. We aim to provide all of the necessary tools and data to be able to analyse and optimise the traffic to its full potential. We believe that transparency is key and we promise to be open to our
affiliates and to share as much information as possible. Videoslots will also be launching its new website design and this will certainly impact affiliate conversions positively.
In such a competitive market, what do you think makes a great online casino?
AA: Without a doubt, the quality of the product and gaming experience are the main factors. For me, a great online casino must have a large selection of games available for their players, and it is also important that all games are running smoothly without any glitches. Another key point is fast payments to players because the faster the payment, the more they will trust and play at your casino. Of course, a great casino must also provide first class support both onsite, and on forums.
So, what do you all enjoy most about your job, work and sector?
AS: What I love the most is that I have managed to turn my passion into a successful business whilst evolving an innovative concept where players can play against each other whilst interacting at the same time. Working in such a lucrative sector with so much competition makes every day a challenge and keeps us on the ball when it comes to being creative. Videoslots has become a big family with an open- door policy for both staff and players, and working in this way makes me look forward to every single working day with what has now become my second family.
AB: The fact that this industry is ever changing means that you never get bored, there is always something new happening and as the industry is in its infancy, the possibility of growth and innovation are in nite.
AA: I enjoy the fact that it is a super-fast-growing sector and there is something new and different all of the time.
Do you play any of the casino games yourself, and if so, which are your favourites?
AB: Gonzo’s Quest, Jack and the Beanstalk and Starburst tend to be my favourite and Mega Fortune Dreams is my preferred Jackpot Game.
AA: Yes, I play casino games but mostly just for fun or to check them out when they are released. I usually like branded releases but I would say my favourite slots are Jack and the Beanstalk and Dead or Alive.
Thank you Alex, Ali and Alison for your time.