Here comes the second one of the series of STATSCORE’s interviews with some of the most inspiring leaders of the world of sports betting! Today we’re talking with Dinos Stranomitis, the Director and COO of Altenar.
STATSCORE: What are the 3 biggest opportunities for the online betting industry in 2022?
Dinos Stranomitis: I do believe that 2022 is the year that we will remember that we have recovered from Covid, and the result is that many people want to travel. Many people are coming back to the aeroplanes and the airport, and they’re going to meet each other to start discussing business. They see that the situation now is like: ‘let’s do business’. For 2 years people were afraid of making decisions, because they were afraid of the future. 2022 is the year when people are back to making decisions. So, there is no better moment to make the deals than now. That’s how I see what is happening. There are challenges, of course, during this period of time, but I think this is the first and biggest opportunity.
The second opportunity that I see is that technology is moving forward and there is a huge demand for human resources. So, if you have good people, keep them! It will make a big difference in the future. It might not sound like an opportunity, but that’s the truth.
Another opportunity I see, and which is related to Altenar and STATSCORE, I think, is that I see small companies coming up by providing data, streaming, and content. We don’t have the previous situation as before Covid, when you had one, two, or maximum three players delivering such content. Now you have more smaller companies coming up, slowly appearing in the market, ready to provide content and data. This is very interesting because I can see that in the future we will not be dominated by two or three big providers. This is a change already happening!
STATSCORE: What are the 3 biggest threats to the industry?
Dinos Stranomitis: Human resources challenge. At this moment there is a great demand for people. Not any people, but good people, with good knowledge, understanding, and attitude. This is the biggest demand I see.
Inflation, especially in Europe, will hit the bottom line of every company. So whoever survives Covid will have to go through the second phase of ‘starvation’, we have to say that. You have to prove yourself, you have to check the attitude of your people, check the attitude of the company. You have to make sure that you keep the best people, these people who got you here, to keep them with you for the future. For me, this is the biggest challenge.
And, well, the whole international political environment is a big question mark. However, I don’t see the problem in the betting industry, because I can see more regulation coming forward, and eventually, this means more new markets are opening up.
So, I will say that the single great challenge at this moment is the human resources challenge. The rest is quite promising for our industry.
STATSCORE: What has been the biggest achievement of your organization since the beginning of 2020?
Dinos Stranomitis: The last three years were a unique opportunity for Altenar. For us, Covid was an opportunity. During the Covid period, we decided to deploy our new software, and now after two years and a few months, we are in a situation where 99% of our new software. So, the legacy code that has evolved into completely new technology is there.
And the opportunity during Covid was there because it was the period of very few games being played every day. That was a concern for many companies. For us, it was an opportunity to deploy the new software and start getting new customers, new operators, and to work on that. So, the biggest achievement for us was that we moved on to the future. Our new code is for us the future, and with features that are applicable to modern sportsbooks. This is what I see as our biggest achievement.
Then, during this period we’d also made sure to keep our people, to create loyalty. What we had promised to everyone before Covid, we honoured during the Covid period. We stayed together, and we’ve never regretted it. So, that was another point that we’d achieved.
When it comes to Altenar, during Covid we had good software development and good operations development. This is how it worked.
When it comes to providers, such as STATSCORE, which provides certain content, I think it was good for Altenar that during this period we’ve managed to have a multi-feed operation and multi-feed content, we got together content from many companies. It eventually gave us the opportunity to have a better product. This is the point. These are the last three years’ achievements.
When it comes to this year, it’s the return to the conferences. I think this is the achievement. At Altenar we’ve found opportunities, which of course, come at some price. For instance, in 2022 I had to travel week after week to meet potential and existing operators. It’s a little bit challenging. I’ve found myself waiting in a queue in Amsterdam for 3,5 hours, for two hours inside an aeroplane in Ontario, Canada, going to Texas, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Greece, Turkey… Just to clarify, Turkey is not the place where we can work, but it’s a great place to meet people coming from different countries. Also, our team from Latin America travelled to Sao Paulo, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico…The headline news of 2022 is: ‘let’s get back on the plane!”.
Compared to 2019, now it’s fewer people going around wondering if they need something, and more people asking about specific things, specific business plans. The quality of the leads improved compared to 2019.
STATSCORE: How is Altenar going to stand out among the competing platforms in the future?
Dinos Stranomitis: In my opinion, there are two points. The more important one is that we need to make sure we have a good product. All that matters at the end of the day is the product, including services, of course – the way you’re serving your customers. We need to make sure that we have all the elements that modern industry is offering. For example, we have developed an in-house bet builder. We are much more comfortable developing it in-house instead of getting it from someone else. For a simple reason – you can always improve it. If you get it from someone else, and you resell it, you are dependent on someone else’s development, and this doesn’t necessarily get you into the future. So, we also have early payouts, for example in the World Cup we will make use of that hugely. We already use it for big leagues. So, for instance, if a team leads 2-0, you pay it out. It works as a marketing opportunity, and also for the customers to get paid and bet again.
So this is what makes Altenar stand out. The product comes first. The other point is definitely the fact that we still remain a flexible company. What does it mean? We have seen a few competitors last years who have been acquired by big fish. In Altenar we continue with the same mentality as we’d originally had. Despite the fact that we are now almost 320 people, and we’re growing day by day, obviously processes are implemented and they’re slowing down certain things. Still, the mindset is to always move forward as flexibly as possible.
STATSCORE: What kind of products are the new betting companies looking for to succeed in the market?
Dinos Stranomitis: Well, to have just some games to offer for betting is not as good anymore. You know, the market is demanding, the market wants features, the market wants bonuses, the market wants to have clever things. For example, I told you about the bet builder. To have a bet builder just for football is not enough anymore. We have a bet builder for basketball, we will roll it out for American football very soon, which will be important for the American market, especially. We already have it for baseball, and we’ll also make it available for ice hockey.
What do they need apart from that? They need accuracy. There is a big demand for player specials. Not just player specials, like someone saying that Ronaldo or Messi will score this year in the World Cup, although I don’t know if they will even play…Maybe we could also have a question about the World Cup, if you don’t mind? So yes, player specials are important.
I’ll tell you that demand is also growing for products to be fast and accurate. People want to have money fast. Sometimes even the VAR is a problem because someone has to wait three minutes to see if he gets his money. I foresee in the future to have campaigns where we will pay out money regardless of the VAR decisions. This can come. As a marketing element, this could work pretty well. So one day maybe they will pay our bet even if a goal has been disallowed by the VAR.
Anyway, many things come up and the market is very demanding. They want everything at the best price. And when it comes to our product, I always try to have this strategy that Altenar has one product, and the product is a sportsbook solution. To make this solution better and better, you’re adding things up. But all this constitutes once again, one better product every time. The product is one, but you’re adding new things, you enhance the offer, you make it better, bigger, more accurate, faster. That’s how it works!
So.. Do you need a prediction for the World Cup?
STATSCORE: Sure, let’s do it!
Dinos Stranomitis: In 2022 I see a couple of strong teams. France looks to be the strongest team, with good players, a good coach, but I’m not sure if they are strong as a team. Don’t underestimate the PSG effect: too many good players in the same team don’t necessarily make up the best team. So, the best team will be the one in which one player plays for the other. It will be interesting to see if Argentina eventually gets it. Because they also have too many good players!
I think the time zone in Qatar will be an influence, and I’m not sure if it will favour the European teams.
Even though I never support England in big tournaments, I see that if they find some playmaker, some star that will rise in the midfield, they might have a chance to get a bit farther.
The two teams from Latin America, Argentina and Brazil will always be there. Though, I don’t see Brazil as a very good team right now.
If I had to choose an underdog that could really impress, I would say that at some point in the future the US deserves something better in football. When that will come, I don’t know. They have a winning mentality, they have good stamina, good preparation, and they take such a competition seriously. If they come together and play as a team, and if they have a little bit of luck, I think betting on them could be a good investment.
STATSCORE: Thank you very much!
Dinos Stranomitis Bio
Dinos Stranomitis is the Director and COO of Altenar, a company that provides a complete, fully-managed Gaming Solution. He is a highly-experienced iGaming and sports betting industry expert.