Online betting operator Betsson takes the Mediterranean markets by storm

By Katrina Holmes

It’s undeniable that expanding into new markets in the gambling industry is the key to global success, especially if you want to grow your user base and be seen as a leading operator. Sportsbook, online betting and live casino operator Betsson has done just that with tremendous growth across the Mediterranean over the past 18 months.

With a spotlight on Greece and Italy, it’s grown its audience exponentially and Regional Affiliate Team Lead for Western and Southern Europe, Anastasios Ioannidis sat down with iGBA to explain the importance and success of this expansion.

Betsson has been focusing on expanding across the Mediterranean markets recently, what can you tell us about the expansion across Greece in particular? What are your product offerings and do they differ to what Betsson offers in other markets?

“Betsson has been active in the Greek market for over a year now. We launched Betsson in Greece on 11 June, 2021, and since then we have gained incredible traction in the market and in the affiliates. This is mainly because we have leveraged the tremendous experience we have gained in other jurisdictions and used it to deliver a superior player experience in Greece.”

“This includes providing players with access to a wide range of casino games and a compelling sportsbook product, underpinned by award-winning customer support. This has enabled us to gain a significant share of the market in a short space of time and this is something we will continue building on as we continue to improve the product and experience we offer to players and to the affiliates in Greece, and as the market continues to mature and grow.”

What made Betsson choose Greece in particular for its expansion plans?

“Greece is one of the largest markets in Europe, so it was a natural step for Betsson to apply for a licence from the Hellenic Gaming Commission when it moved to a regulated model in 2021. To not only secure this licence but to be the first operator to do so was an incredibly proud moment for us and is evidence of our position as a leading regulated markets operator. Today, we hold licences in 19 markets around the world with an ambitious strategy to enter even more regulated markets over the coming years.”

The iGB European Regulatory Dashboard describes the new regulated model in more detail, ‘the permanent licensing regime includes; two 'Types' of licences are available to private operators: (i) Type 1 for online betting; and (ii) Type 2 for other online games (which includes poker and casino games). However, certain entities which were previously state-owned have the exclusive right to offer bingo, lottery and pari-mutual betting or fixed-odds betting on horse racing.’

How do you see the Greek market growing over the next 5 years and how do you plan to utilise this?

“The market is growing incredibly quickly, and we expect this to continue for several years to come. This will be driven by more players becoming aware that online sportsbook and casino is legal and regulated, and available to them. This will see many consumers shift away from playing at land-based venues to playing on their laptops, tablets and smartphones.”

“We plan to spearhead this growth by continuing to deliver a superior experience to our players, combined with engaging content. In line of this, Betsson has signed a number of sponsorships in Greece such as Betsson SuperLeague 2, Rally Acropolis WRC and International Cycling Tour of Greece, which allows us to generate strong brand awareness both locally and internationally.”

Do you think this market will become more competitive and if so, how does Betsson plan to have a competitive edge?

“In the next 12 months, the Greek market will look a lot more competitive. We expect to see more operators and more affiliates entering the market over the coming months and that might lead to some level of consolidation. The market itself will grow and evolve and we expect the Hellenic Gaming Commission to roll out several important initiatives that will help the land-based sector develop and become more involved with the online market.”

“Betsson is currently working with most of the licensed affiliate partners in Greece. It is very encouraging indeed to see that more and more affiliates (especially the global ”key” affiliates) want to enter Greece and obtain the affiliate license. This clearly proves that the value of the Greek market is taken into serious consideration by the biggest affiliates of the industry.”

Betsson further expands into the Italian market

Another market that Betsson is growing rapidly in is Italy where it operates its StarCasinò brand. Despite the legislative complexity and the high competition rate in the market, StarCasinò has, over the last months, recorded an amazing growth (+41% compared to 2021). Closing the second quarter of the year with a growth trend in betting with a turnover exceeding every expectation was music to Ioannidis’ ears.

Ioannidis explains, “Hard work on every aspect from affiliates, CRM, marketing to support and product (100 new casino games added every month) led to this amazing performance and result. Gaming behaviour and seasonality are coming back in Italy as the market continues to grow.”

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing expanding into the Italian market, however. As iGB reported, ‘AGCOM, the Italian communications regulator, has issued sanctions against operators and media companies for violation of the gambling advertising ban (introduced in 2018). Measures to combat unlicensed gambling, including payment blocking measures, entered into effect in October 2019.’

“The Italian gambling advertising ban has obviously impacted every vertical within the industry but affiliation is still vital and one of the main player acquisition channels in the market. With the recent re-launch of StarCasinò Bet, our affiliate partners will benefit from promoting a multi-award brand with amazing products and great promotions and offers.”

Learn more about Betsson Group Affiliates.

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