In the run up to this year’s #bofcon, which takes place from 19-22 March, SBC caught up with both Dennis Tsalikis, the CEO and Founder at Fantasy Sports Interactive (FSI), and Bill Mexias, the Chief Operating Officer and Founder. FSI are one of the welcome additions to this year’s Betting on Football sponsors, which will take place at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
In our discussion, Tsalikis and Mexias spoke about how industry challenges and time form the driving force behind industry innovation, and how FSI will be promoting their new Fixed-Odds-Fantasy product at this year’s event.
What are you looking forward to at Betting on Football?
SBC Events have grown significantly within the last few years, attracting most of the key influencers and powerful executives of the Betting industry. We have been following SBC since its early days, when we ran our B2C arm, Bet4theBest, and we are very happy to see their hard work being acknowledged.
We are looking forward to the BOF networking events to catch-up with peers and establish new contacts. The conferences cover most key subjects of the industry, and expert forums are once again, particularly interesting as well.
What are you promoting at Betting on Football?
At FSI we have been actively researching all aspects of Fantasy Sports in conjunction with betting, iGaming and marketing potential, starting from our hands-on B2C experience with Bet4theBest between 2014-2017. Our collective experience and ongoing product development have led us to two distinct, yet intertwining Offering Categories and a world-first, exclusive fantasy betting product.
On one hand, there is our “Classic” Fantasy Sports gaming suite, featuring our No-Budget innovation, the standard lobby format and other exclusive products, while on the other hand, there is a variety of flexible, mobile-first options we promote as user engagement and marketing tools. However, the exclusive fantasy betting product we aim to promote at BOF 2019, is our innovative “Fixed-Odds-Fantasy”. This product is perfect especially for existing sportsbook operators, since they can launch it under their sportsbook licence. It also cuts the “Guaranteed Pot” marketing expenses of pool fantasy gaming and does not require player liquidity.
What industry innovation will capture the most attention in 2019?
We feel strongly that the innovation that already has caught the attention of major industry players, and has global and virtual growth potential, is FSI’s very own Fixed-Odds-Fantasy product.
Fixed-Odds-Fantasy is an original concept, based on a unique algorithm, combining fixed odds betting with fantasy sports; It is a simple, but sophisticated concept which solves major issues such as licencing and marketing costs.
We revealed it at ICE London, as first-time exhibitors, and we witnessed great interest, while we have been in discussions with top-tier companies and operators.
According to our ICE London 2019 experience, this year was all about iGaming variety, plethora of options for casino and slots, as well as useful back-office oriented solutions, but there was a lack of innovation both in terms of product and technology.
Do you expect speed of innovation to slow in the absence of a major football tournament?
Although football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports worldwide and a favourite of the mature European audience, is not the sole driving force behind innovation.
On the contrary, challenges and time are key factors for creativity and innovation. We feel that most companies will take advantage of the absence of major football tournaments, to find alternative angles and new approaches – at least, FSI will keep doing so.
On another note, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in August is a major event that will attract the attention of fans worldwide, while the major football leagues are set to kick-off earlier, ensuring increased fan engagement and more reasons for providers to stay alert and keep up the good work.
How can betting and football stakeholders work together more effectively?
It is time to admit that especially for the territories with a rich wagering history and advanced regulatory compliance, football is more often than not directly linked to betting.
The competitiveness and the incentive of a wager are similar to the ones in football, making betting a synonym of fan engagement. Fantasy football betting is a great example.
Betting and Football stakeholders can form constructive collaborations both on a commercial level, promoting their interests collectively, as well as regarding regulatory compliance, in order to protect consumers and the integrity of the Beautiful Game.
Which parts of the conference agenda have caught your eye?
We definitely want to find out more about “Betting on Innovation” and “Product in Focus”, since we invest heavily in product research and development. Having prior experience with emerging markets and ongoing discussions with international companies beyond the European market, we are also very interested in “Global Markets” as well.