‘Leading from the front’
Max Meltzer, Chief Commercial Officer, Kambi.
Many will know Kambi as the leading B2B provider of premium sports betting services. However, talking to Max Meltzer, Chief Commercial Officer at Kambi, I realised that Kambi is so much more than just a supplier. Kambi’s passion for sports and innovation is what turned it into the leading sports betting platform provider, truly caring about its customers and their players.
Kambi provides its end-to-end solution and additional services – frontend user interface to customer intelligence, risk management and odds compiling – to a large number of operators, including 888sport, Mr Green, Paf, LeoVegas and Kindred – in regulated markets all over the world. The company’s current coverage includes more than 185,000 live betting events and 300,000 pre-match events per year, covering 65 different sports from all over the world.
The sports betting industry has been facing considerable changes in recent years. What kind of changes have you seen from a Kambi perspective?
In my view, there have been three significant changes. First of all, there has been the continued growth in live betting, which at Kambi now amounts to roughly two-thirds of turnover. Secondly, the dominance of mobile betting in Europe is increasing with mobile penetration in markets such as Italy and Spain beginning to catch up with the UK, a shift which offers huge opportunities for those with a quality mobile product. Finally, we’ve seen an increase in jurisdictions changing the landscape through the adoption of varying regulatory frameworks, making servicing customers a greater challenge than ever.
How did Kambi respond to this last change in order to continue to deliver a high-quality Sportsbook solution?
At Kambi, we forecasted these regulatory shifts many years ago and predicted operators would find it increasingly difficult to offer both a high-quality and fully compliant Sportsbook service as a result. You only have to look at Europe where there is a patchwork of regulatory frameworks in place right across the continent, which makes it both complex and expensive for operators that wish to be active in multiple countries.
This is where Kambi is most effective – by offering operators a Sportsbook which meets the requirements of each individual jurisdiction while at the same time providing an engaging, differentiated and localised Sportsbook experience. This scalable, end-to-end model enables operators to focus their resources on other business-critical aspects such as customer acquisition and CRM, empowering them to grow and compete against the market leaders.
Kambi recently won a very important prize; Sports Betting Supplier of the Year at the EGR B2B Awards 2017. In winning the award, Kambi ended a string of seven consecutive wins for a competitor, does this tell a bigger story?
Yes, I think it does. Collecting the award for best Sportsbook Supplier after the dominance of the competition in recent years means a lot for Kambi. This particular win not only broke a string of consecutive wins for the competition, but it proves the need from within the industry to differentiate with other brands.
Kambi is using a different business model to our competitors and by winning the award this year – based on the continued success Kambi has had with its partners – it recognises that the industry needs a flexible, highly scalable and fully managed service. It also proves that the Kambi solution is the most effective operational model for Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators wishing to compete in regulated markets.
And what must Kambi do in the future to have a chance of winning the award once again?
While it’s great to win awards, our focus is firmly fixed on the accomplishments of our operators because if they aren’t successful, then neither are we. And our operators have enjoyed great success – as a group they’ve been outgrowing the market, while many of them have also been recognised on the awards circuit, with one winning a sportsbook of the year prize just 18 months after launching a Kambi Sportsbook. So it’s not about whether Kambi is winning awards or not, but how our customers are performing.
It is for this reason that we last year signed four new customers and extended contracts with four key customers in 888, Paf, LeoVegas and Napoleon Games. New customer wins, coupled with existing customers extending deals is testament to the quality of the Kambi Sportsbook and the high level of service we provide.
Punters increasingly prefer to place wagers ‘on the go’. How is Kambi responding to the growth of mobile sports betting?
Sports betting is, to a certain section of players, becoming a casino-style type of entertainment with customers looking for a more instant type gratification. To satisfy this growing demand, since 2014 Kambi has been offering instant betting markets, which enable customers to bet on specific outcomes taking place within a short timeframe.
Take last year’s Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor fight as an example. Kambi offered more than 100 pre-fight bets but also married this with a range of in-play and instant betting offers. During the fight, we saw players engaged throughout, placing bets and having them settled within 60 seconds – a timeframe similar to the spin of a roulette wheel.
This type of offer is very complex, as it requires the whole value chain to work perfectly in harmony, from our official data providers through to our data processing, algorithms, traders and operators. The work we have put into offering and building out these markets in recent years has ensured we are truly market-leading.
Max is the Chief Commercial Officer of Kambi. Max joined Kambi in 2016 and has more than 10 years’ experience in the formalisation of business strategy and complex selling within organisations such as Microsoft and the Press Association, where he was formerly Head of Sales. He was also formerly a Licensed Football Agent and Founder of a successful sports agency representing Premier League stars past and present such Oliver Burke, Tomer Hemed and Shefki Kuqi. He has a Master of Laws degree and BA in business from Durham University.