Operator talk: ‘Our sector’s technology standards compare with those of Amazon’

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The gambling industry is a leader in technology, but must do more to promote its achievements, according to Chris North, chief executive and founder of GamCrowd.

North was speaking ahead of next week’s London Tech Week, during which GamCrowd will host the event’s first ever gambling-focused conference at the Hippodrome Casino. The event will feature panels and presentations from leaders within the gambling sector itself, as well as experts in areas such as payments, recruitment and legal affairs. Representatives from companies including Gamesys and Unibet are among those taking part, with the programme including discussions on hot topics such as Blockchain technology, disruption in payments, liquid workforce and SAAS.

GamCrowd, which has partnered with Clarion Events in launching the conference, has positioned itself as the home of ideas and innovation for the industry, and North believes it is essential that gambling becomes more open and reaches out to other sectors.

“If you consider some of the major online operators, you see that they are dealing with the kind of traffic and transactional issues that are comparable with global giants such as Amazon,” North told TotallyGaming.com. “Coping with that demand gives an idea of the expertise that exists within the gambling industry. The sector has also been a leader in coping with complex payments issues that many others do not have to face, in the main because regulators and some processors have not always been amazingly welcoming to us.

“I think gambling has been bad at talking about its successes, and perhaps could be considered something of a closed shop. If you visit a networking event within technology and mention you are from the gambling industry you are likely to be met with fairly blank looks.

“We need to get out there and talk about our industry, tell people about the great things that we do and discuss the issues we face with other sectors that rely on technology. They can help us and we can assist with their issues. We need to collaborate more, and I hope the GamCrowd event will give us the opportunity to do that.”

North believes this is a crucial time for the gambling industry to take steps to reach out to the wider world, with regulatory and cultural plates shifting to the point that it is now considered mainstream.

“The lines between gambling and entertainment are becoming more and more blurred,” North said. “People are more willing to embrace it than they may have been in the past. That’s obviously beneficial in attracting customers, but also in perhaps enticing bright young talent.

“By pushing the industry at technology events we become part of the conversation, and we reach out to those people who may not ever have realised the variety of opportunities that are available within gambling. London is a great place for this event to take place as it’s a global centre for the gambling industry.”  

North hopes the GamCrowd event can play a role in beginning the conversation with other industries, and admitted that similar events are already being planned.

“Our hope is to inspire some great discussions and offer people the chance to meet and talk,” North said. “Ultimately it would be good to organise more events, with Asia one region that appeals in particular as is such an exciting market with so many opportunities.”

* The GamCrowd conference takes place on 21 June, from 8.45am-4.30pm. The conference is one of over 200 events taking place throughout the capital between 20-26 June. As part of GamCrowd's partnership with Clarion Events for Pitch ICE and EiG/GiGse LaunchPad, ten FREE passes are available for start-ups - email info@gamcrowd.com to see if you qualify. For more information click here.