Strategy

Promoted feature: Preparing for a marathon, not a sprint

Play’n GO’s CEO Johan Törnqvist explains why long-term success in the US will be about building for a sustainable future, not rushing to grab market share at all costs

Next May will mark the fifth anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned PASPA. In the years since, the breathtaking speed at which we’ve seen a regulated online sports betting and gaming sector emerge across multiple US states has been remarkable.

Those states that have regulated online gaming – including New Jersey and Michigan – all together now make the US the largest online market in the world, surpassing the UK for the very first time.

Against a backdrop of almost unprecedented growth, it is easy to get carried away with projections of what is possible in the US over the coming years.

For us at Play’n GO, we’re thinking on a different timescale. As we entered the US for the first time this year, our focus is on how we can help build a genuinely long-term future for online gaming in the country.

This approach is very much informed by our own history. With more than 15 years of experience working across regulated markets worldwide (more than 25 in total), we understand that taking shortcuts or pursuing growth above everything else is harmful to both players and our industry. It’s simply never been the Play’n GO way.

Sustainable future

What do we mean by a sustainable future? Let me give you a few examples from the way we’ve done business in other regulated markets.

Since jurisdictions first began regulating on a dot country basis, we’ve seen a transformation in the way our industry is expected to act, and with it considerably more scrutiny from regulators, governments, and the general public.

Many see legislation around things like responsible gaming as a burden, or something to be navigated. At Play’n GO, we’ve always seen regulation as both a responsibility and an opportunity.

This starts with the idea of a duty of care to our players. As a supplier, it would be easier to pass on this duty to our operator partners, but we want to play an active role in ensuring that the people who enjoy our games can enjoy them in a safe way.

In practical terms, this has meant taking decisions like not making ‘bonus buy’ games, a feature that has generated significant revenues for others but which, we believe, is a not responsible approach. We build games as entertainment, not as a way of draining the bank balance of a player as quickly as possible.

Regulators are increasingly agreeing with us on this, with both the UK and the Netherlands banning bonus buy games. We expect others to follow.

Stateside success

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond the games themselves.

Play’n GO is now live in New Jersey, and we’ll soon enter Michigan where we’ve already acquired a license. Our aim is to bring Play’n GO’s beloved content to players in regulated markets across the US, as more states introduce legislation.

To do this, we’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years focused on how Play’n GO works with our own team, the wider gambling industry, and even the world as a whole.

Taking the time to carefully think about where we see Play’n GO as a company today and in the coming years has been an important process for us, and it’s given us both the understanding and the confidence to make the changes we feel are necessary to get where we want to go.

This includes pivoting to a digital-first workplace, which we’ve found gives our amazing team the freedom to thrive and innovate while also lowering our carbon footprint.

On the subject of the environment, our commitment to produce maximum entertainment with minimal impact has led to a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2025 and reach net zero by 2030. That’s a higher target than the Paris Agreement and one which underlines how seriously we take the idea of sustainability.

Bringing Play’n GO games – like the world’s favorite online slot, Book of Dead, or the recently-launched USA Flip – to the US for the first time is one of the biggest milestones in our history. Over the coming years, we expect regulated markets across North America to completely revolutionize online gambling, both the way it’s consumed and the way it’s delivered.

Without strong foundations and a clear plan for a sustainable future, we wouldn’t be taking these first steps into New Jersey, Michigan, and beyond.

Play’n GO is ready for the next part of this incredible journey. And we hope you’ll join us for the ride.

Johan Törnqvist is CEO and co-founder of Play’n GO. Since 2005, he has helped build the company into the leading supplier of casino entertainment in regulated markets worldwide, with games including the global smash hit Book of Dead which is enjoyed by millions of players. 

Johan Törnqvist | Online gaming | Play’n GO’s | Sports betting | Strategy | Sustainability | US

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