GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 31 - February 2015

In Greece, “interim licenses” create uncertainty for operators and players alike How did you become involved in the in- dustry? When I was serving in the army (that’s obligatory in Greece) back in 2002 I met a guy who was running one of the first bet tipping websites in Greece. As I was a web developer, he asked me to re- build his website and that’s how I got my first taste of the gaming industry. He is the best tipster I have ever met and is cur- rently the CEO of a gaming company. How long did it take for you to start earning money? It wasn’t until late 2005, when the sites started picking up signifi- cant traffic, enough for gaming companies to take notice and start offering deals. All three of your sites are sportsbook oriented. Which one came first, and what was the process that led to developing and launching the other two sites? Goals and Globalscore were built at the same time, one after the other, in 2004. Goals was our entry website in the Greek mar- ket, while Globalscore was an investment in the dotcom market. Betscores was de- veloped as a multilingual livescores web- site in order to tap into more local mar- kets in 2006. The driving force here is to always be on the lookout for opportunity. Your sites are very football (soccer) ori- ented. Do you ever think you'll branch out beyond soccer to other sports? What about other gaming verticals like casino or poker? Goals already features a mod- est basketball section besides football, and with those two sports I believe we are cur- rently covering more than 85 percent of our audience’s needs. However, coverage of more sports is always inmy mind, although it would probably be something I would implement on Globalscore, as the audience there is much bigger and the expansion cost would be more easily covered. As far as casino and poker are concerned, they are in my plans but I would prob- ably go about creating one or two new websites for those, as I would not want to spoil the character that the livescores web- sites have come to acquire over time. Your sites have an incredible wealth of information and statistics for soccer bettors. How difficult is it to keep that information up to date? Is everything automated? The core of the statistics and information on our sites is indeed auto- mated, as keeping track of updates for the amount of leagues we cover would be a huge task. However, over time, I have created several mechanisms to enrich the core data with information that I gather via several resources, and that is what adds value to our content. What is the current position of the Greek government regarding licensed vs. un- licensed online gaming sites in Greece, and how has the issue affected the oper- ation of your sites? This is perhaps THE most important issue in the Greek gam- ing market at the moment. Unlicensed operators are completely banned, with ISPs blocking access to their websites and financial institutions doing the same on a transaction level since the summer of 2013. On the other hand, the 24 licensed operators are currently working under so-called “interim licenses” which allow them to “host” third-party operators un- der their license. The biggest examples are bet365 and Interwetten, which oper- ate as intermediaries under two interim licenses. Given the unstable situation, ev- erybody in the market has been waiting since 2011 for solid legislation to be put into place. This has affected my websites as it has affected the sites of every affili- ate in the market, with big players hav- ing pulled out over the past two to three years, causing income levels to plummet. Are you a one-person shop or are you part of a larger organization? I have gone through various stages. I initially launched my websites as a hobby with a couple of friends. The hobby then turned into a real business that was quite profitable for a few years, but as austerity hit the Greek econ- omy and legislation changes forced ma- jor operators to pull out of the market, the people working on projects for my sites de- cided to move on, so I was left alone to sup- port them. In the past couple of years I have managed to again turn them into a profit- able operation, with help from my brother, and I am now looking into slow expansion. Describe your work environment. Do you work from home or in an office? As I am currently involved in a number of proj- ects besides my affiliate websites, I work from my office. I used to take my work home, but ever since my baby daughter was born I prefer to devote whatever time I have at home to her rather than work. What traits do you look for in an affili- ate manager? How about in an affiliate program? I look for people who are really into what they are doing and are not just trying to make a living. I have found that they understand the ups and downs of the business a lot better and are going the extra mile to help and guide you. As far as affiliate programs are concerned, good commissions, no negative carryover and good creatives are what I am after. What’s your preferred method of com- munication with affiliate managers? Well, as people in my line of work tend to communicate with lots of people every day, e-mail is the way to go for day-to- day tasks. But if something more serious or innovative is to be discussed you really need to get on the phone and have a chat for 10 to 15 minutes to get the job done. What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you? Having heard stories from fellow affiliates in the past of how affiliate managers would delete customers from their platforms, or put limits on their commissions, I thought that joining the GPWA would be a good way to protect myself from such mishaps. GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES VANGELIS goals GPWA Affiliate Interview Series