Gambling Insider Final Word interview with BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian

Gambling Insider Final Word interview with BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian

Could you briefly outline your previous experience within the online gaming industry.
In 1997 I founded a niche online retailer, which became known for its superb treatment of customers. Because of that, a friend of mine asked me to help a gaming company in Antigua, known at that time as Casino-on-Net and now as 888, to revamp their customer services. That’s how my journey into this incredible industry started. Online gaming was in its infancy, there were no experts you could learn from. Many things taken for granted now were created by amazingly creative and dedicated people I have worked with. The knowledge and experience acquired throughout these years are a great gift of fortune, which I gladly share.

What attracted you to the CEO role at BetConstruct?
BetConstruct is a unique customer-driven company. Before accepting this role, I worked as an adviser to BetConstruct’s executive chairman, the company’s founder. It was important for me that he believed in a diversified gaming market, where all operators have equal access to the tools and the support necessary to achieve their desired level of growth and success.

What are your short-term aims for the company in these early months?
At ICE 2015 we introduced our upcoming Spring platform, which is a powerful new tool for growing your bottom line without increasing your costs. It is not a regular update. It’s a completely new approach – a disrupter, a game changer. Now we are focused on delivering on the promise of Spring. This requires resources, unconventional thinking, tight management and a really strong culture of uncompromising precision in all our actions. We have almost 1,000 employees in eight countries and each one of them must be on top of their game. My job is to make sure there are no obstacles in their way.

What is your long-term strategy for the years ahead?
Everything we do is about our partners. Alongside our superior products and services, our partners also benefit from our flexibility, willingness to focus on their concerns and ability to deliver solutions they require. We recently introduced our Partner Appreciation Program and are opening offices in different countries so that we can be closer to them. Our long-term strategy is to uphold and strengthen this customer-centric culture, which has helped BetConstruct go from success to success for all these years. I am a strong believer in Peter Drucker’s tenet that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

In which gaming sectors do you see the most opportunity moving forward?
Sportsbook has historically been our strongest offering, however in the last few years we have put a lot of effort into strengthening the other verticals as well. For example, our live dealer casino has been given a lot of attention with the development of our state-of-the-art studios. This foresight has been rewarded with the demand we now see in this area. The same applies to casino, poker, financial betting, virtual games, skill games, fantasy sports, odds feed, live scouting data, statistics, etc. 
We relentlessly focus on keeping our products and services in tune with our partners’ requirements and then upping the ante with innovations that set them apart from their competitors. The greatest opportunity moving forward for me is in these applied innovations, in our uninterrupted efforts to enable our partners to positively differentiate themselves in the market.

What are the greatest challenges for BetConstruct at the moment?
The greatest challenge at this moment is keeping up with demand without dropping the ball and veering away from our core values. This sounds like a standard statement but it really does require an enormous effort. Complacency is the worst thing that can happen to a successful organisation. I trust that the experience we gained from growing slowly but confidently throughout the last 12 years will inform our actions when faced with any challenges.

What were the biggest industry topics and issues that visitors to your ICE stand wanted to talk about?
Because we cater to small and big operators alike, the discussions at our stand ranged from ongoing segmentation of the market because of regulation to continuous consolidation of providers and increasing cost of entry into the market. Use of mobile and new related technological developments was another hot topic. We listened carefully and, I am glad to say, were able to address most of the issues raised by our visitors.