STS – Interview: Strength in numbers with Mateusz Juroszek

By Josephine Watson

iGB Affiliate speaks with Mateusz Juroszek, CEO of Polish bookmaker STS, to discuss how the company faced the early months of lockdown, and his view for the future

iGB Affiliate: COVID-19 notwithstanding, what have been STS’ strategic imperatives for 2020?

Mateusz Juroszek:STS is now the biggest bookmaker in Poland, and our offer is available in several European countries – still, we are thinking about breaking into other markets in Europe. We are also confident that our growth will continue due to investments in technology and customer functionalities. Our strategy is to lead the way in the development of technology that constantly pushes us to do things better. STS implements modern solutions, and developing our functionalities ensures that our customers have access to a unique offering. The proprietary bookmaking system, and the possibility for its in-house development, constitute a key advantage in our industry. Only the best European bookmaking companies can boast of their own technology and platform. This is another area that I feel clearly distinguishes us from other operators both in Poland and in Europe.iGBA: So, what was the impact of the pandemic on your business?MJ:STS was pretty well prepared for the lockdown - we have a 50% market share in Poland, and we have been doing very well for ourselves in the past few years with high growth, nice profits and a decent amount in our cash reserves. The important thing for me during the lockdown was that we were able to gain market share, because our competitors are not so good with virtual sports, betting games and live betting. We actually did gain market share, and some of our competitors went bankrupt here in Poland. What's more, while we didn't have to close our shops in Poland from a legal point of view, but we decided to close them for six weeks to two months, and we received funds from the government to support our employees so that we could keep the staff. When we re-opened the shops in May, we saw a big resurgence and also in our turnover online. Right now, I would say it is pretty good because all of the leagues are playing again, and every day there is a lot of football.iGBA: Was there much of an impact on your sales and marketing spend, then?MJ: Even though most of our staff in the head office during the lockdown were working from home, we continued to work on technology, so we didn't stop anything or cut any budgets. I think, however, that the bookmaking industry will certainly verify and optimise expenses connected with marketing more in future. We only stopped part of the marketing activities, because we didn't really advertise that much.iGBA: Looking forward then, what are your hopes, ambitions and expectations for the future?MJ: In Poland, betting is subject to a turnover tax of up to 12% – one of the highest in Europe. The grey market is responsible for an estimated 60% of the Polish betting market. In fact, a large part of the Polish market is covered by non-licensed operators, who do not pay taxes or comply with the strict Polish bookmaking law. If you have a 12% turnover tax, there will always be a black market because some people don't want to pay 12% on their bets. So, the legally operating bookmakers are pushing the government to do more around IP-blocking, to make the banks do more and educate people in Poland. Moreover, we are sure that our growth will continue due to our investments in technology and customer functionalities. That is why we implement continuously pioneering solutions and develop our functionalities to ensure that our unique offer can be accessed by customers.iGBA: How are you hoping to achieve this continued growth and development in the absence of trade shows?MJ: As of right now, 85% of STS’ turnover is generated by online channels – an application dedicated to Android and iOS, as well as the website and its mobile version. We strive to take maximum advantage of online traffic. We also really believe in affiliate businesses and the potential for growth. We’re focusing on the development of our affiliation platform, acquiring and establishing relationships with our partners across global markets and seeking new development opportunities – both in the services and the team itself. Our strategy is the continuous development of the partnership programme, and its focus on the needs and openness towards cooperation as well as long-lasting relations. STS is currently conducting advanced activities aimed at obtaining its own licences in other markets, but we are waiting to see what regulatory changes will be implemented there. We are also sure that our growth is the result of continuous investments in technology and functionalities of our clients. We will continue this strategy, and the company is focused on holistic development into areas such as R&D, technological innovations, mobile tools, marketing solutions, business intelligence and customer care.This article is sponsored by STS and does not represent the views of
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