Q&A: Simon Collins, Commercial Director, Gaming Realms

Q&A: Simon Collins, Commercial Director, Gaming Realms

There were high expectations for the launch of mobile and social business Gaming Realms by the founding team behind Foxy Bingo in July 2013, and affiliates formed the core of both major acquisitions since. 

Published 28th January 2015

You recently signed an exclusive deal to develop real money products using the Slingo brand, what’s the significance of this deal for Gaming Realms, and how does it plug the gap in your existing product portfolio?

Slingo is a brand we feel works really well on mobile, which has proved a challenge with traditional bingo formats, so we hope to use it to gain traction among social gamers.

Blueburra Holdings, which you acquired earlier this year for up to £10.5m, consists of an affiliate business, player database and white labels. How will these assets transform the Gaming Realms business?

Blueburra and Quick Think Media [acquired last year for £2.2m] have combined to give us a market-leading position in the soft gaming affiliate space. We have already seen that we are able to mitigate the costs of scaling our business incomes using their combined expertise.

How have you been working towards mitigating the effects of the UK point-of consumption tax (PoCT) and how is this strategy changing post-implementation?

By having a strong affiliate proposition via Gavin Walters [Head of Affiliates at Quick Think Media] and the rest of the team in London, we believe the impact will be less competitors and more opportunity for companies like ours, who can buy media and traffic cost effectively.

Costs and competition in the UK market will only increase post-PoCT. How do you see the Gaming Realms business positioned relative to your peers?

The talk seems to mainline around the regulatory impact of the new licence regime, but it often fails to take note of the expansion opportunities in our sector. Mobile continues to transform the sector, and this development opens up new streams of traffic and opportunity. Additionally, through brands such as Pocket Fruity we are seeing SMS marketing and our fusion slots garner great take-up. By a fusion slot, I mean one that takes elements of a social game format and combines it with a real-money RNG.

Bingo Godz attracted a lot of attention upon launch last year, but there was no update on its progress in your interims. Have you found the going harder-than-expected in this business segment?

Bingo on mobile is a tough challenge and we are happy with the recent developments on the platform. Revenues continue to grow and the concept has good player traction.

How has the central concept of Godz gone down with players, and has it delivered the desired effects for the business in terms of improved retention and player values?

Having a very different offering in the market has allowed us to learn huge amounts. We have struggled to make bingo work as we would have liked from a mobile context, but we have three brands pushing the envelope on mobile: Bingo Godz, Pocket Fruity and Spin Genie. As mentioned in our H1 results, we are seeing huge scaling in the amount of income we receive via this channel.

You’ve been very acquisitive since launch. Can we expect to see this continue, or is organic growth now your near term focus?

We always look for opportunities which will grow the company, so we would rule nothing out. We think the consolidation of the market will continue in 2015.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6-12 months?

We will be hoping to utilise UK TV more aggressively in 2015 in support of the key company brands. We think the ability of TV to reach audiences will ensure our innovations from the product stand point have the opportunity to shine.

Putting the PoCT aside for a moment, what do you see as the major transformative issues in gaming over the next 12-24 months?

Mobile, mobile, mobile. The future is bright on mobile.

“We have struggled to make bingo work as we would have liked from a mobile context, but we have three brands pushing the envelope on mobile.”