Ahead of his appearance at SBC’s Betting on Football, and with bookmakers increasingly taking a closer at the hype around DFS, Betting Business caught up with Oulala CEO Valery Bollier.
Malta-based Oulala pivoted to focus on its B2B offering late last year. Bollier will be speaking on a panel regarding how DFS’ strengths as a customer engagement tool at Betting on Football at Stamford Bridge in May, and he told us how attendees might be shocked at what he has to say.
Talk us through the latest at Oulala specifically and the latest developments in the wider daily fantasy sports industry.
We are constantly working on improving our game. After making the Champions League available on Oulala, we have also recently launched a social tool that enables customers to check the level of other customers before joining their leagues. This key feature is highly significant since DFS is a game based on skill, and it would leave new customers in a disadvantageous position if they were to play against far more experienced players. We have witnessed how such a situation damaged the poker ecosystem and we must therefore protect our customers from this danger.
The launch of the Maltese skill game licence last February certainly proved to be the most exciting news within our sector. For the first time, a European legislator is seeing us for what we really are: a skill game as opposed to sports betting operators, as is the case in most countries. This is an excellent first step towards creating an efficient legal frame around DFS and, being a Maltese based company, we are incredibly proud that, once again, Malta is showing the way.
Having won the SBC Award in the Fantasy Category in late 2016, has this ensured that you are well placed to continue to grow and expand in 2017?
The SBC award is definitely a great achievement for us. Being voted best DFS operator of the year by a group of iGaming leaders is major recognition that is helping us convince potential future partners that our B2B solution is the most efficient one on the market.
2017 is a key year for our young industry, because numerous major iGaming operators have been adopting DFS, and Oulala will benefit largely from its democratization.
What can attendees expect from the fantasy panel at this year’s Betting on Football conference in May?
Attendees may be shocked to hear what we have to say. Some iGaming operators have not yet realised that a major customer revolution is happening in our sector and that young customers no longer want to play the way their parents did. They are aversive towards the idea of playing against the house; they want real skill games, structurally social games, and they expect the same standard of graphic design that the video gaming industry has been offering them for years. Therefore, what we have to say to operators that are not heeding the changing market and believe that “gamifying” old games is enough, is that they will disappear within the next 10 years if they do not find the courage to fully reinvent themselves.
What are the top three benefits bookmakers can enjoy through adding a DFS product?
Firstly, one benefit is to offer a product that fits the exact needs (skill and social) of the younger generations. Another is because DFS functions like a market place (we are not interested in the results), customers are far more loyal and the long term profitability of DFS is therefore more beneficial than sports betting. Finally, bookmakers can still benefit from the first mover advantage; because if they don’t, they might end up being the first losers.
The arrival of Big Data in sports will definitely hurt sports betting in the upcoming years, as the GAFA has already proven that they can predict the results of most football matches and soon iGaming operators will have access to the same kind of Big Data. Young customers will therefore understand that playing against the house, when the house already knows the results from beforehand and creates the odds makes no sense. However, since Big Data is also allowing a new business model that enables customers to go up against other players, making this a real social skill game, vastly increasing numbers of millennials will certainly adopt DFS.