Sky Betting & Gaming may be sitting at the very top of the UK gambling industry, but as its Chief Commercial Officer Steve Birch tells the new issue of SBC Leaders magazine, the business still has big ambitions for further growthIn an in-depth interview – which covers the operator’s close relationship with other Flutter-owned brands, the evolution of its culture and ongoing commitment to product development – Birch outlines where the next expansion may come.

“On gaming, Sky Vegas is a very big brand. It’s very popular, but it’s still got a lot of headroom in the marketplace. So we’ve got big growth aspirations for Sky Vegas. It’s a big entertainment destination and we will continue to grow that,” he says.

“Sports is very saturated. It is tough, in that every proposition is getting to be more and more similar across the whole market. Everyone has copied each other to the point where everyone’s waiting for all the next things. Our job is to find the next big thing.”

Elsewhere in the magazine, there are interviews with two people who are taking on a challenge very familiar to Sky Betting & Gaming – building a successful operator with an already well-known brand name. Mike Morrison, VP of ESPN BET, explains why ESPN has now chosen to enter the sports betting world, while Sam Behar, the UK Director of BetMGM, tells the story behind the brand’s blockbuster launch campaign.

While all of that is very digital focused, the SBC Leaders podcast team have been speaking to two giants of the retail world about the changing nature of their businesses. There are features with Snaitech CEO Fabio Schiavolin, and with Betfred Group CEO Joanne Whittaker alongside Kresimir Spajic, CEO of Betfred USA.

Issue 29’s cover star Uri Poliavich, Founder and CEO of Soft2Bet, outlines why he is confident that gamification has a big future in sports betting, as well as in the igaming world where it is better established.

Asked about the potential of Soft2Bet’s proprietary Motivational Engineering Gaming Application (MEGA) engine, Poliavich explains why sportsbook operators and suppliers have struggled to make a success of gamification so far, but also where he sees opportunities for progress.

“The inherent complexity of real-time events is what makes embedding gamification into sports betting platforms such a formidable challenge,” he says. “While casino games have a closed selection of outcomes with predictable odds, sports betting is much more dynamic. It requires leveraging advanced algorithms and real-time data integration to ensure the seamless incorporation of the gamification elements.

“But there is still an opportunity to introduce fun new features such as in-play challenges, personalised notifications, and interactive elements. These can help to empower users with a heightened sense of involvement and influence.”

SBC Leaders also features Monika Grue, Group Director of Regulatory Compliance for LiveScore Group, talking about the impact of AI on the industry, McBookie’s Paul Petrie on an exciting summer ahead for Scotland’s national football team, and Smarkets’ Lead Politics Analyst, Patrick Flynn previewing what could be the biggest ever year for political betting.

From the casino industry, there are interviews with Savvas Fellas, Founder and CEO of MrQ, and Américo Loureiro, Director of Solverde Casinos & Hotels, while RETAbet CEO Xabier Maribona and Hugo Baungartner, VP Global Markets for Aposta Ganha, talk about the markets in Peru and Brazil respectively.

Read Issue 29 of SBC Leaders magazine here, or pick up a copy from the SBC booth at ICE, which runs on 6-8 February at ExCeL London.

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