For Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson Group, 2021 can be characterised as a “bumpy year,” albeit a promising one, where the company excelled in three out of four months.
Sitting down for the latest episode of the company’s Betsson Live interview series, he discussed the year and provided his outlook for the year to come.
His personal highlights came in the form of the European Football championship, and the COPA America, which saw customer activity explode and Betsson do “really well.”
The first three quarters of the year, he said, saw the company going up and up and up, but then in Q4, faced regulatory changes coming out of the blue, having an impact.
Indeed, Q4 saw regulatory changes, most significantly those in the Dutch market batter leading iGaming operators that had been active in the region.
Betsson’s withdrawal from the market was particularly damaging and contributed to sportsbook and casino revenue falling by 11 per cent and nine per cent respectively, compared to Q4 2020.
Mr Svensson takes a balanced tone on the issue, and points out that when things were under Betsson’s control, the company excelled, and it only struggled when external forces hit:
“If we look at what we were in control of, we did really well and we were growing fantastically to that point. Like every year, there were ups and downs, but all in all, we did well.”
Looking back more broadly, the CEO celebrated that during the last two years the company has really sped up its geographical expansion.
He points particularly to Greece, which Betsson expanded into just prior to the EUROs, and Croatia as the most exciting market entries in recent years. In Greece in particular, Betsson is achieving “really good traction,” he said.
Providing his insights for the general trends of the iGaming industry for the coming year, he predicts that the trend toward digitisation will keep driving the industry, and that more local regulations will arise.
Regarding local regulations, he stated that Betsson really welcomes such moves, as long as they are conducted with favourable conditions.
For Betsson particularly, the company is looking to the US and Latin America as exciting new markets, while battling hard in all its core markets in Europe.
Asked about the culture of Betsson, which is rooted in three values: ‘One Betsson’, passion and fair play, he was particularly proud to point out the ambitiousness of the company, as well as the One Betsson mantra.
“I am amazed to see the One Betsson mantra everywhere, even as we are working predominantly remotely,” he remarked.
This mantra refers to the company’s drive internally and externally, to do its best to make an impact.
To do so, it has embarked on several fundraising drives, including a three-week collection drive in Malta to collect supplies for the Women for Women Foundation.
Mr Svensson also points to Betsson’s ambition to always win and perform highly as being to credit for its success.
Another vital characteristic is its adaptability, and the CEO insists that this is vital for a company to succeed, especially when there are fast developments happening in the local market, including regulatory changes and global changes, like COVID.
When COVID did come, Betsson and its staff’s performance made Mr Svensson proud, and he emphasises: “We did really well, even out of the office.”
The company’s employees are amongst its proudest assets, and the CEO discussed what they do that helps them excel.
“Ambition is important,” he said, “for anyone looking to move forward,” but an understanding of the company’s products are also vital – for people working across departments.
“You need to understand the customer experience when they interact with products,” he said. Aside from ambition, it is vital to have a passion, whatever it is, according to the CEO.
However, the company’s employees are backed by its acclaimed approach to their wellbeing, which is centred around its hybrid working format.
By allowing staff to work some of the week from the office and the rest remotely, the company fosters strong employee wellbeing, which is reflected in the impressive results of its employee satisfaction surveys.
Ultimately, Mr Svensson said, a successful Betssonite needs to feel like they “belong” at the company.
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