Interview: Head of Sales, Fiona Hickey, speaks with CasinoBeats on our commercial journey so far
Our Head of Sales, Fiona Hickey, recently spoke with Casino Beats on our commercial journey over the years. She speaks about our key promise to players, and how that has influenced our strategy, as well as her thoughts on key markets in the industry.
Talk us through Push Gaming’s commercial journey over recent years, what growing regulated markets have been particularly key?
Push Gaming’s core focus in recent years has always been towards regulated markets. Europe has obviously been the crux of this approach and building strong relationships with the likes of the MGA and the UKGC has allowed us to flourish in their covered markets, and with more deals to announce in the coming months in the region, there’s plenty more potential to tap into.
The UK has sustained a regular spot in our ‘top ten’ markets in recent years, and we’ve been laser-focused on signing deals with a number of the country’s tier ones. Tied in with our efforts to tailor content to the territory, we have now seen it propel rapidly into our top five performing countries. Our partnerships with the likes of Rank Group, William Hill, and most recently Gamesys, are testament to this, and it’s looking likely to be our top performing market sooner rather than later.
Sweden has also been a major focus for us, and with some of the world’s most discerning players, we’ve certainly enjoyed taking on the challenge! The same goes for Norway, and we’ve seen considerable action there since recently integrating with Norsk Tipping.
Looking back – what’s been integral to Push Gaming’s expansion and are there any lessons you can share from the commercial side?
We’re a true believer in quality over quantity – so it’s our policy to work alongside other brands that resonate with our values of putting the player first. As a sales team, we’re also careful about who we integrate with to ensure we have full control over our content, and we’re happy to take time over these deals and partnerships in order for it to be a mutually beneficial partnership in the long term.
Unfortunately we see many suppliers looking to apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach, which simply isn’t our style – we’re an entertainment company at heart and we want to make sure our games can stand the test of time. After all, what works for some deals doesn’t necessarily work for all and it’s important that you look to operator demographics and jurisdictions to see if that’s a good fit for your brand and content. For us, it is crucial that our partnerships also give importance to the player, both in terms of safety, and premium quality entertainment.
Ultimately, it’s important to arrange your commercial deals by striking a balance between direct integrations and complementary third-party ones. This is cost-effective, allowing you to reach the widest audience possible while still providing the necessary level of control over your product.
Looking ahead – what markets are going to dictate the industry’s direction over the coming years?
Everyone’s talking about the US, and with good reason, but we need to remember it’s a vast set of individual markets - and requires a supremely tailored approach. That’s exactly what we’re here to deliver, and with the right planning and partnerships, I’m looking forward to making sure we have the strategy in place to really make our mark.
More importantly, however, is to make sure our focus isn’t limited to one set of markets – and there are plenty of other opportunities on the global stage that we’ll be devoting our attention to.
Japan for example, has demonstrated its own significant potential as an already-established market that may also look towards becoming regulated, alongside other jurisdictions that can offer particularly high growth in the coming years, such as India and New Zealand.
Closer to home, Germany is also exciting for us. Having ensured our content meets the current standards of the market, as well as being close to ensuring its future-proofed against further regulatory moves too, we’re well set to move faster into the country as regulation completes.
In your professional view, where do you feel will offer both consistent growth and a regulated framework?
There’s a fine balancing act to be done when approaching the US and Europe as growth regions. Both still have massive untapped potential with the right regulatory frameworks in place, and we’ll need to manage that as we look to push into maturing states. The US is taking the headlines, but we must not neglect Europe and should continue delivering the best in gaming experiences to players in those countries which have slipped down the pecking order in recent years.
Some regulated markets, such as Spain and Italy, still offer us much in terms of commercial potential, and will be forming part of our plans and upcoming strategy in the coming months. Latin America is also a market too big to ignore considering its ongoing regulatory developments. Colombia and Argentina have come a long way in a short time, taking learnings from other legislative bodies along the way, and that’s something which I think similar organisations can do more of the world round.
How much is the pandemic going to impact slot suppliers?
Engagement levels have been very strong during the pandemic, with lockdowns driving a real demand for content that is not only safe and fun, but also enjoyable to spend extended sessions with. For an entertainment-first supplier such as ourselves, it’s certainly meant that we’ve had a great chance to really connect with our players and work out what’s proving popular in a responsible gaming environment.
For us as an organisation, working remotely has been fairly straightforward, but there are certain aspects of our day-to-day lives that are always benefitted by face to face interaction. Certain creative tasks can be trickier to channel – although we’ve made good use of the last few months to make sure that doesn’t get in our way! As Head of Sales, I can certainly also say that nothing can replace the in-person interaction that comes with hashing out the specifics of a business deal, so I’m looking forward to that returning.
We’ve also learnt to be flexible and are ready for more lockdown waves wherever they may be. That said, we must double down on our creative spirit to ensure this industry continues to remain competitive with an increasingly saturated entertainment space – and we look forward to ensuring we stay on top.
The original interview may be found here.