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The Hot 6 was once again one of the most popular panel discussions taking place at this year’s NEXT Summit Valletta.

The session was chaired by Princeton Public Affairs Group partner Bill Pascrell III, who was joined by industry three industry experts: Yolo Group CEO Matthew D’Emanuele, principal at Avenue H Capital Benjie Cherniak, and Blackstone senior adviser Adam Rosenberg.

Start-ups across the iGaming sector including operators, suppliers, game studios and more, took to the stage to show the expert panel why their business could well be the next big thing.


The first panellist to take to the hot seat was Mia Nyland-Evers, co-CEO of Danish online casino operator Omnigame.

She explained that Omnigame offers a pared down online casino experience to its customers on the pip.dk brand, with just 30 unique proprietary slot titles to choose from.

Despite the offering’s simplicity, the business has already cornered 5% of the regulated Danish online casino market, while also boasting a 50/50 gender split among its customers.

“The numbers speak for themselves, you can’t get a 5% market share in Denmark without having good content, a good player experience, and everything else – the whole full package,” Nyland-Evers said.

The business has clearly gained some traction in its home market of Denmark, and according to Nyland-Evers, is considering a move into additional jurisdictions soon.

“Of course, I’m not ignorant – I know it takes something to go into a new market, but we’ve actually already built it. So we can go there, get the licences and actually go out with something that we know audiences in other markets are waiting for,” she concluded.

We the Bookie

Next up was Malcolm Wilkinson, founder of We the Bookie, an Ireland-based betting operator that prides itself on its low customer acquisition costs relative to the rest of the industry.

The brand’s core differentiator is that half of all its customer’s losses are redistributed to losing users each month.

We the Bookie’s monthly gross revenue is divided in half, with 50% going back to the business and 50% redistributed among losing customers as a percentage of their total monthly loss.

Such benefits for the consumer have helped the business achieve lower acquisition costs than its competitors, while Wilkinson said the brand is also less dependent on industry affiliates than others.

And it’s not just customer acquisition where We the Bookie’s innovative approach has led to success. “Retention’s an issue in the industry, but that’s our gold star metric,” Wilkinson said.

“Once people experience this, they are simply not going to go back to another site.”


The third Hot 6 panellist was co-founder and CEO of Speeqo, Petra Kolesarova.

Speeqo is an industry supplier aiming to help companies maximise their revenue per player and player lifetime value using voice AI technology.

The company aims to do this by transforming user feedback into actionable insights, thus enhanving retention and providing clients with a better understanding of their users’ experience.

By recognising not only words but the underlying emotions and tones in users’ voices, Speeqo aims to provide additional insights that can help drive customer satisfaction.

Not only does the company intend to help drive additional user satisfaction, however, as Kolesarova also pointed out: “We’re trying to supercharge responsible gaming teams in order to fulfil the criteria which are required for millions of users.”

Just Slots

The fourth Hot 6 panellist was Christine Parkhill, CCO of a new game development studio, Just Slots.

The studio intends to differentiate itself in this somewhat saturated market, by offering a more “engineered” approach to slot development which leans more heavily on data and emerging technologies.

While some game studios rely on producing huge volumes of games just to see which will emerge as the most popular, Just Slots intends to use data, player behaviour and feedback to take a more measured approach.

The firm’s first slot release, a title called Sugar Heaven, is due to come out soon, while the studio has a total of four games still under development.

While the first releases are expected to offer a familiar experience to players, “By game four we’re going a bit more innovative, so that’s a bit risky,” Parkhill revealed.

StatX Sports

The penultimate Hot 6 panelist was co-founder and CEO of StatX sports, Shawn Tucker.

StatX Sports is an odds supplier for sports with an “underdeveloped” odds offering, such as cricket, MMA, motorsports and women’s sports generally.

“Interest in women’s sports is growing fast, so we think they deserve better odds and better data,” Tucker said.

The business began as a B2C daily fantasy cricket product in the Indian market, before deciding that due to the dearth of quality cricket odds available, it was time to begin creating its own.

As for integrating the odds supplier’s offering with sportsbooks, “that’s the easy part,” Tucker said, thanks to the use of a unified data format and a simple API.


Finally, Nina Caput took to the Hot 6 stage, as co-founder and CEO of fantasy horse racing app, Eqwin.

Having secured $2m in funding to get the business off the ground, Eqwin now boasts 16,000 users in its native market of France, and has processed more than 700,000 transactions in under 10 months.

The app offers an open market in which users can buy virtual shares in race horses, “like a stock exchange for horses,” Caput said.

The product is aimed at horse bettors and enthusiasts, as well as newcomers to the sport, with a view to opening the door to them in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

As it is considered neither a betting or an investment platform in France, it currently requires no licence to operate.

However, the business has its eye on expansion in the future, and intends to begin offering the product to the markets where horse racing is most popular, such as the US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

All sessions from the Leadership Stage of the NEXT Summit Valletta can be found on the NEXT.io YouTube channel.

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