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As CEO of European gaming big SAZKA Team, Robert Chvátal appreciates a lot more than most how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the business in excess of the final 18 months. But whilst lockdowns in a selection of its marketplaces have taken their toll on the group’s retail presenting, he is bullish about the extensive-phrase potential customers. In an distinctive job interview for European Gaming, he unveiled how the use of technological innovation and a buyer-centric method is driving on-line expansion and letting operators to offer a safer gaming setting.

Holiday getaway year is typically a time for rest and reflection. How do you search back on the previous several months and what challenges did it pose for SAZKA Team?

I’m happy to say that we have managed to remain resilient in what has been an unpredictable period of time with usually disruptive investing situations. As people today will know, 80% of our EBIT is created by way of lottery-type online games. Obviously lock-downs have experienced an impact on our functions, with retail in Italy and Greece in certain taking a strike. And however our strategic concentrate on on the web channels paid off. I assume the growth of digital income during the pandemic is incredibly supportive for our long term improvement much too. 30 for each cent of GGR for our Czech company in 2020 came on the web and that continues to expand. In Greece, OPAP lately introduced a electronic enjoyment hub and has seen truly great get-up of on line lottery product sales, in spite of starting from a low base. Retail continues to be critical. Buying it up and rejuvenating it in the coming months is a priority, but online is a rising star supplying us with true direction too.

Across the field we have viewed witnesses the introduction of a wave of new goods and a freshening up of aged types. What component has SAZKA Team performed in this?

With a lot more and extra prospects heading on the net, as effectively as potential new ones sat in front of their laptop or computer and cellular phone screens, it was imperative that we saved our products giving up-to-day and appropriate. All our operator organizations released new content material suited for their jurisdictions. Needless to say, we also launched new lottery attracts much too. Hand in glove with this went client engagement ideas that permitted us to showcase the total products portfolio and material diversity that is so crucial these days. We also saw the roll-out of purchaser loyalty applications that rewarded our standard gamers, be they in-retail outlet or on the internet. This helped to actually personalise our conversation at a time when we ended up all distancing ourselves from one yet another as a society. The final results to day have been pretty encouraging.

How has the pandemic adjusted the way that you strategy advertising and marketing, especially when it comes to players who have moved on the net and these new types who are joining them?

Interestingly, we are attaining true traction with celebration-based mostly jackpots with certain themes. Friday the 13th has turn out to be a authentic tradition for us, as numerous persons will now know. There are some key dates when gamers like to check out their luck these kinds of as Black Friday best. With thousands and thousands of folks on the internet hunting for a discount, it is a date that resonates in some of our marketplaces. We are typically capable to accumulate much larger wagers on these distinctive dates because we’re equipped to market place them improved. Plainly client loyalty usually takes on a new indicating on the internet as well. Traditionally, retail has been an anonymous expertise with people going to a newsagent or a kiosk to invest in a lottery slip. That satisfies some individuals and that’s high-quality, but it doesn’t permit us to seize anonymised details on consumer developments. On the web clearly necessitates people to sign up and be verified, making it possible for us to guarantee the are safer from a accountable gaming position of watch, which is vital.


What component is technological know-how taking part in in providing a improved participant practical experience?

We are definitely generating the most of massive data, signing up for the dots concerning lottery and those people who participate in other online games. It has a massive reward online. But retail loyalty is similarly crucial for us. Which is why we available virtual loyalty cards, the place players sign-up on the net with a cellular range. This then makes it possible for us to detect them as a exceptional participant. We also have a proposition in retail loyalty named Wheel of Fortune in which individuals profit by being made available a next possibility within 24 hrs of their retail purchase, for illustration. Individuals are embracing it due to the fact they see the added benefits of what is becoming available. There is almost nothing even worse than being bombarded with items and providers in which you have no interest. Harnessing major information and processing it thoughtfully makes it possible for technological innovation to tailor our presenting. That has never been a lot more significant in a world full of distractions. We also see technological innovation as a critical indicates of preserving gamers, additional of which is down below.

Participant protection and the will need for safer betting and gaming environments are almost never out of the headlines these days. How is the lottery sector and SAZKA Group in individual dealing with the difficulties these considerations existing?

SAZKA Team is dedicated to accountable gaming. It usually has and generally will be a central plank of our proposition as a organization. All of our operator businesses are aspect of European Lotteries, so there’s a rigid and supervised accountable gaming certification system. In some respects, we’re privileged. In lottery wins are rare, in contrast to video games with bigger likelihood and higher frequency. The threat of excessive or difficulty gaming is modest as a final result. But there is clearly no area for complacency. Some of our businesses run sports and casino betting much too, of study course, and set significant methods into guaranteeing consumers are supported. We let them know about setting time and spending restrictions and the benefits of using recurrent breaks. We also educate our staff members and keep companions in dependable gaming teaching, so that they can use the applicable expectations and principles. At the stop of the day, this really should be an pleasurable and playful working experience for our clients – and we want to perform a central purpose in maintaining that.