CEO at Coingaming.io
Tim Heath is the CEO at Coingaming.io, which is the brain behind Sportsbet.io and Bitcasino.io. He is also the co-founder of OneTouch.io
It is not really needed for you to introduce yourself and your brands, but this is also interesting – how would you pitch them when you already have the brand awareness, the experience, the successful partnerships behind?
Well, we operate the world’s leading Bitcoin gaming and betting brands, our most well-known being Sportsbet.io and Bitcasino.io. We have gotten to this point with the mindset of being a fun, fast, and fair operator.
Fun – with innovation being the key. We have a huge selection of games from the world’s most popular suppliers, as well as up-and-coming game studios.
Fast – our withdrawal speeds are lightning speed compared to fiat operators; we handle over 10 million transactions weekly in Bitcoin alone.
Finally, Fair – we pay in under 2 minutes on average, and blockchain technology keeps our transactions secure and allows for transparency with our players that wouldn’t be possible with traditional banking.
Please tell us something about the team you are working with and how you all manage to organize yourself in the current world situation.
Since Friday 13th March, 350 people across 12 countries and five offices switched overnight to working from home and since, productivity and vitally, our communication with one another has been incredible.
This has obviously been a challenging time for everyone globally, however, we’ve tried to push forward with a pragmatic yet positive approach. We’ve been using the time to look at ideas and projects that were on the back burner, and to do some general housekeeping.
Are you concerned about COVID-19’s impact on the business, or you see more opportunities there? In which direction?
Of course, Covid-19 can and will have a huge impact on many businesses however, for those who have always encouraged a resilient business model, the crisis can open up many opportunities too.
As an example, we have recently taken to the idea of opening our very own live casino studio. When things turn upside down, it’s good to have control of our own ecosystem.
That way, key decisions can stay in our sphere of influence. It has also opened up more interaction with our players, such as the fun poker tournament we had with our VIPs. We want to keep our customers happy and let them know they are not alone.
Now more than ever, businesses need to adapt quickly and find new opportunities like this to survive. As a result of forward-thinking, and our resilience, we have been able to remain business-as-usual throughout the crisis.
How 2020 started for you and where are you now, already almost 6 months behind?
Well, at the start of 2020, I can tell you that I never predicted Sportsbet.io’s most popular sport in April would be table tennis! As the tides have turned with Covid-19, our roadmaps for the year have gone out the window.
Despite the current climate, we are still hiring new people, integrating new currencies such as USDT, developing our loyalty system, and expanding our live online casino offerings as well as eSports. I’d say, like most other businesses right now, we’re not in the space we thought we’d be but we’re in a strong position; vitally to us, we’re also still keeping our players at the centre of our plans and actions when adapting to the new normal.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see potential in the emerging markets?
As a crypto operator, our market focus is first and foremost crypto users. Crypto offers people the chance to take control over their assets and yes, also enjoy a bet at Sportsbet.io or a spin on Bitcasino in a quick, safe and secure manner.
Markets with growing support of crypto are our number one priority, and the more bitcoin is introduced to the world, the more emerging markets we will explore in the future.
How do you see the blockchain and crypto affect the iGaming world? Everyone is admitting their advantages, but when we talk to the industry, they all say – our biggest revenue is not coming from crypto. Do you agree?
We’re the exception to the rule in that case! I’m sure that as crypto becomes more and more mainstream we see the revenue percentage change. Crypto adoption can be likened to chip and pin or credit cards – it took some time for mass adoption, some industries and even countries were faster than others. Since Bitcasino started in 2014, demand has only increased as players have come to realise the benefits of using crypto.
Gamification in the iGaming world is a big topic. Is it a big part of your marketing strategy at the moment?
I wouldn’t say it is the be-all-and-end-all of our marketing strategy, however striving to be a fun, fast, and fair operator, we do incorporate some elements of gamification such as Bitcasino’s Bitcoin predictor campaign.
Gamification is a bit of a buzzword at the moment and there are definitely pros to building this functionality into your offering, greater engagement for example. However, what we focus on is listening to the players and providing what they want rather than guessing. This could mean that we undertake gamification projects but we do so because there’s a preexisting want for it.
How do you see the application of VR in the iGaming world? Will it be the BIG thing of 2020, or you see the focus elsewhere?
Technological advances, consumer expectations and industry innovation will be among the main drivers behind a rise in virtual reality gambling over the next years, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
Currently, we still have some barriers to entry to overcome such as equipment, pricing and availability but once these are mitigated, I’d fully expect VR to become a part of the iGaming world as in other industries too.
How do you see the impact of NO sport events on the sports betting industry? Where will it be headed as a result?
These are certainly interesting yet challenging times. Navigating around the lack of sports events means we pivoted to integrating a variety of eSports offerings, from virtual cricket to NBA, CS:GO, LOL and of course eFIFA. In April, 15% of Sportsbet.io’s turnover came from eSports competitions, so I think it’s fair to say that this situation will cement the virtual vertical in sportsbooks far and wide.
With virtual being here to stay, players will most likely develop an affinity with their favourite teams and likely remain loyal when regular sports events start again.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors or new patners to scale, bring further innovation or grow your business this year?
We have no current plans to bring in investors. I do however invest in other innovative early-stage businesses across Blockchain, FinTech and iGaming spaces via a Venture Capital fund that I founded in 2017.
When it comes to partnerships for the Coingaming Group’s brands such as Bitcasino.io and Sportsbet.io, we keep an open mind to the possibilities and tend to quickly and carefully seize those opportunities.
Watford and Flamengo FC are perfect examples of this, we saw there was a good symbiosis between our values and wider mission, so we went for it and haven’t looked back since.
Are you attending any digital conferences or planning to join some?
Just the other week I was speaking in a panel with fellow industry leaders at the SBC Digital Summit where we discussed how our market has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and where the future lies for sports betting.
I think now is the right moment to come together and discuss the future of our market and digital conferences are the way to do it.
How do you see the crypto industry in the upcoming months?
I think the position of crypto in our industry is only going to get stronger. We see that global adoption is growing steadily and purposefully. If traditional economics prove true, then BTC, for example, could be highly valued in the very near future.
Of course, there’s a buzz around the halving in mid-May which will likely grab mainstream media attention too.
I think the crypto industry will go from strength to strength purely based on the fact that the crypto community themselves are a strong, agile and determined community. With people such as the crypto community in your corner, it’s hard to do anything but get stronger.
What would you say to a person that is just entering the crypto world?
At first glance and without any previous knowledge whatsoever, the crypto world might look like something very complex and complicated but what I would say is look beyond it, let yourself be immersed in it and you will quickly start to realise and understand the benefits of such a unique system.
Involve yourself in the crypto community. In general, they are keen to help and share insight and knowledge, so don’t be afraid to reach out on a forum (Bitcointalk, for example), Twitter or even Bitcasino or Sportsbet.io’s customer support agents!
My final piece of advice to a person just entering the crypto world would be to always keep your wallet recovery phrases safe and HODL!