SBC: Vermantia won Best Virtual Sports Product at last year’s SBC Awards; tell us about your approach to virtual sports?
Peter Woodfine: Our proposition to get ahead in the market is that we’re a one-stop shop for virtual content. We have a software platform called Connect that we use to blend all the best in breed virtual content from third-party suppliers with our proprietary virtual products, such as our baseball game. This creates an unparalleled suite of virtual games that we can integrate into any retail operator with a single API call.
We’ve got 30,000+ retail outlets worldwide and a third-party supplier can integrate with our API and with the flick of a switch be across that real estate. Equally, any new retail operator that wants the richest suite of virtual products on the market, they just do a single API integration with us and they are plugged in.
SBC: Why do you think virtual sports have proved so popular with both operators and players?
PW: It’s filling in the timezone gap between live content, it’s all about having round-the-clock sports betting. Obviously, live sport is very important and Vermantia do our best to have round-the-clock live content for our customers, with racing from the UK, Australia, the USA and South Africa. But, ultimately, however well you prepare yourself for that there are always going to be some gaps in the schedule, which is where virtual products come in.
SBC: How has Vermantia’s product portfolio developed this year?
PW: We’re updating our content portfolio all the time. In terms of our virtual product, we are regularly in touch with our buyers to make sure we always have the latest content. In terms of live, our parent company Arena Racing gives us unparallelled access to thoroughbred and greyhound content which is truly global, so we’ve got the UK Arena tracks, the BAGs greyhounds, then also US racing, South Africa and Tabcorp in Australia, which gives us a full round-the-clock service.
Also around live sport, we work with Perform and have a third-party deal for their live football content, tennis, basketball and the rest of their live sport portfolio, which we distribute into retail.
We also have a new product, the Live Sports retail solution, which mates live sport with live in-running odds overlayed onto the screen to create a premium in-running live sports channel. It displays the operator’s live odds against the content that’s being shown in the shop. We think that this solution, when combined with SSBTs, could be a key part of the future of retail, particularly in the UK market.
SBC: What have the highlights of Vermantia’s 2019 been?
PW: The launch of the Live Sports retail solution is a big thing for us, and another big highlight is our Flavor SSBT. We can now give a next-gen experience in the retail environment. Not only do we have all the live sports content and virtual content, as well as the live in-play joint-venture we have with Perform, we also have a flexible compact fully integrated SSBT which we’re in the process of putting into our distribution network.
SBC: Why would you recommend entering and attending the SBC Awards?
PW: There’s always a good senior level attendance. At a lot of these awards dinners, people send more and more junior staff to the point where they become not quite so relevant. SBC are very good at maintaining the quality in terms of attendance, and the numbers certainly seem to be growing.
There’s a good balance between the dinner, prize giving and networking, and there’s also usually a bespoke element to the evening, so it’s not as formulaic as other awards events can be. I’ve been to three now and each one has been different, which is very welcome. When you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to attend these things, it goes down very well when there is a definite effort to create a good experience.