Gauselmann Group acquires majority stake in Bede Gaming
The Gauselmann Group has acquired a significant majority stake in Bede Gaming, the leading online gaming platform headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne. Bede develops and markets online gaming platforms for operators of casino, sports betting and lottery offerings.
With this acquisition, the Gauselmann Group is further expanding its already strong digital presence, while at the same time creating new opportunities for the opening of the German online gaming market from 2021. Furthermore, it is gaining a foothold in the North American lottery market, in which Bede Gaming is an important partner to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), one of the world’s largest lotteries.
“Bede’s technological expertise is very impressive and its highly complex solutions are first choice for leading gaming companies not only in the UK, but around the world. This acquisition will allow us to significantly broaden the existing technology base within the Group and at the same time enable us to offer it to our customers and partners,” explains Paul Gauselmann, CEO and founder of the Gauselmann Group.
Bede Gaming will operate as an independent business unit within the Gauselmann Group and continue to maintain its offices in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Toronto (Canada). The management will also continue to hold a stake in the company.
”We are delighted that the Gauselmann Group has acquired a majority stake in Bede. Gauselmann’s long-term prospects and financial strength will allow us to further enhance our range of products and services to existing customers as well as win new business partners,” concludes Bede Gaming Chairman Joe Saumarez-Smith.
Oakvale Capital (finances), CMS (legal) and BDO (taxes) acted as advisers to Bede Gaming in connection with this transaction. The Gauselmann Group was advised by Addleshaw Goddard (legal) and Grant Thornton (taxes/finances).
Alistair Boston-Smith, Chief Strategy Officer at Bede Gaming, spoke to iGaming Business about his views on how the sector is using its technological prowess and marketing might to make gambling safer.
When the Gambling Commission recently challenged the sector to utilise its technological experience and talented minds to make gambling safer in the UK, they were perhaps preaching to the converted.
This is the view of Alistair Boston-Smith, chief strategy officer at Bede Gaming, who feels the industry has entered a new era, where it accepts things have to change.
Now, some brands are altering the way they operate, communicate and advertise – a move highlighted by the Gambling Commission’s announcement that three industry-led working groups have been established to tackle high value customer incentives, advertising online and responsible product design.
The Gambling Commission’s message to the industry could not have been clearer – use the expertise that helps you attract millions of customers to ensure they are better protected.
Advertising has been an area of particular concern for some time, with untargeted marketing attracting criticism from politicians, regulators, charities and, increasingly, the public at large.
Whether it’s saturation advertising during football match broadcasts or operators’ logos adorning the kits of footballers, critics contest this potentially normalises gambling and increases the risk of reaching vulnerable audiences.
However, the development of a more targeted marketing approach to customer attraction and retention has reduced the attraction of blanket advertising and highlighted its short-comings, according to Boston-Smith.
“These methods have their merits, but with the nature of our industry, and the responsibilities we have to ensure a safe environment, we’re always looking to reach an audience with meaningful, targeted messages.
“The industry needs to be proactive in using customer data and expertise to make timely interventions, utilising technologies .”
Boston-Smith explains that the tools integrated on the Bede platform allow operators to communicate with customers at the right time, using live data. This could be a moment when the operator wants to encourage further play or offer different games or – conversely, and going back to the potential benefits for safer gambling – urge them to take a break.
By using machine learning, operators and their marketing teams can improve the relationship with the customer.
“Targeted communication builds trust between the player and the company,” Boston-Smith explained.
“Using rich and highly targeted data to create smart campaigns by linking behaviours to interventions enables better decisions to be made about how and when a player will be reached; perhaps by a push notification, text or live chat session. It’s a lot more beneficial to contact the player when they’re actively interacting with the site.
“The operator must look to build the relationship with the player to build retention rates.
“By building this capability we can also ensure the operator is able to intervene and check on a player’s well-being – at Bede, we are striving to be the safest place to play so these features are core components of the platform.”
The technological developments mean data-led targeted campaigns are also more effective and economical than traditional, untargeted methods; naturally encouraging a stronger relationship between operator and customer, whilst also being proactive towards the ever-present responsible gambling duty.
“Historically the strategy has been to spread the net wide and try to bring as many new customers in as possible or get them to claim their bonuses, and that was pretty much the end of the journey.
“It is clear now that strategies have changed, and operators are now looking for longer term value. With new technologies and advanced data tools it’s easier than ever before for operators to tailor campaigns towards their customers for a personalised and protected journey, as opposed to the traditional blanket approach such as TV campaigns.
“A targeted, data-driven approach ensures operators yield more information about the success of their campaign, so return on investment can be measured.”
Recruiting the right people lies at the heart of Bede, and is synonymous with our acclaimed culture that remains even as we grow. We’re super proud of what we have so decided to shout a little louder about life at Bede and what is important to us. You may have heard whispers of what it’s like at Bede, but we thought why not straight from the horse’s mouth? This is the first of a series of blogs to provide insight into our approach – first stop: Flexible Working. There’s no such thing at Bede.
At Bede it’s important to us that our policies reflect our people, ensure best practices and encourage creativity and innovation.
We often get asked what our ‘Flexible Working Policy’ is, and our answer is always the same – we don’t have one! We don’t have flexi-time, we don’t have a choice of working hours and we don’t have increased flexibility based on length of service. This is because this isn’t being flexible. This “flexible working” is merely moving the structure to a different place. Being rigid with flexibility just ain’t our bag – being flexible with flexibility is.
Flexible: able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances.
Of course, we have core office hours to ensure we deliver the service we promise to our clients, and provide structure to our employees working week. But we are happy to be open and adaptable to meet the needs of our employees, so they can be the best they can be for themselves, and our business.
Now, we can already hear some of you wincing at the thought of this, how can you not have a policy? How do you measure this? How do you ensure it’s not taken advantage of? Well simply put, this is down to our culture. And it can be yours too!
We put a lot of hard work into ensuring our staff is engaged, aligned to our values and most importantly, feels respected and trusted. The result? 97% of employees feel their work is valued. If our employees feel engaged and empowered, this leads to greater outcomes for everyone.
Life has twists and turns for everyone, we can’t define it or predict it – so why create a policy to deal with it? We’re human and adults so we treat staff like human adults! From your first day, through to your last – we are flexible with all our employees, providing enough support to make it work for everyone.
So the next time we get asked what our ‘Flexible Working Policy’ is – our answer will remain the same – we are flexible with flexibility. And that should be your answer too.
Bede Gaming, the award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, has had its commitment to diversity and wellbeing recognised with six nominations at this year’s Women in Gaming Diversity Awards 2019.
Bede is a finalist in the ‘Best Place to Work’ and ‘Employee Wellbeing’ categories, underlining its commitment to delivering a truly open and supportive environment for its employees.
Four members of the Bede Gaming team were also nominated in individual categories:
Having been named in Gaming Intelligence’s annual Hot 50, a list of the industry’s most influential executives, Sarah Hitchcock also played an integral role in Bede’s selection as the new digital partner of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in 2018. Bede’s biggest commercial deal to date.
The nominations come hot on the heels of Bede’s victory in the “Great Place to Work – Supplier” category at the International Gaming Awards 2019.
Alex Butcher, Managing Director, Bede Gaming, said: “We’ve worked hard to establish Bede as an inclusive employer, and have managed to attract some of the most talented experts in the industry. Putting people at the heart of what we do is fundamental to the ethos of the company. Our goal has always been to create a balance of challenge and support for our staff, whilst ensuring Bede is a fun place to work.
“It is fantastic that so many members of our team have been recognised with well-deserved nominations at this year’s Women in Gaming Diversity Awards, and we wish them the best of luck on the night.”
Bede Chairman, Joe Saumarez Smith, talks to SBC News ahead of Betting on Football about legalising sports betting in India.
With India on the brink of legalising sports betting, and a number of other countries around the world also mulling the idea, this year’s Betting on Football will be hosting a track focused upon the Global Markets that are considering liberalisation as well as looking at those that have legalised recently.
One of the panel discussions on the track that will take place is ‘India – On the cusp of regulation?’ where some of the expert speakers will be discussing the challenges that India may face, and the changing attitudes of legislators.
Among the panellists is Joe Saumerez Smith, Chairman at Bede Gaming, who spoke to SBC about how he believes that the liberalisation of the Indian market will largely be driven by Cricket, but the growing football and tennis markets may play a role in engaging with newer audiences.
SBC: Are attitudes changing in India with regards to sports betting legalisation?
Joe Saumarez Smith: Among the more enlightened politicians and sports administrators in India there is tacit acceptance that legalising and taxing sports betting is the only way forward. There is such a huge level of illegal sports betting within India and as we are seeing in Sri Lanka, match fixing and spot fixing is far more likely to happen in a market where gambling is not regulated.
However there aren’t many votes to be had in licensing sports betting and that is where the problem lies…
Read the rest of the article here:
It’s no secret that 2018 was one of the best years yet for Bede and there’s no way it could’ve happened without the wonderful people who make up our workforce.
So we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back at 2018 and give you a snapshot into our makeup and what the everyday world of staff at Bede looks like.
We Give Up Our Time
As a general rule, Beders like to give back. Whether it be mentoring students, championing tech or teaching skills, our people give up a lot of their time to things that are important to them. So as a company we like to make sure our staff are given the right environment to be themselves and enjoy what they do, whether that’s working hard or playing hard.
Last year, as well as hosting three hackathons, two awesome parties and numerous socials, we also made sure we supported an array of local charities and causes close to our hearts. We help young athletes work towards their dreams of being world champions through Sport Newcastle and over the course of the year we raised over £3000 from our tuck shop sales, and our seasonal initiatives such as St Paddy’s Day, Easter, Back 2 School and Christmas fun saw us add a whopping £2500 to that total.
None of this could have happened without our staff giving up their time and knowledge so a big thank you to all at Bede for eating cakes, quizzing and supporting these fantastic causes.
We Love To Eat
It seems without our snacks we might not be where we are today… over the course of the year, over both offices we’ve been fuelled by:
We Love Our Stash
We Love Bede
And if you’re not based in one of our offices then you certainly won’t miss out. To make sure remote workers know that out of sight certainly doesn’t mean out of mind, they receive a monthly care package – filled with seasonal treats, swag and beer!
Not ones to rest on our laurels, we have a lot things planned in 2019 for all Beders to enjoy so keep your eyes peeled – new year, new opportunities!
So, 2019, what else is in store?
We’re refurbing our peer-to-peer recognition reward scheme! This year we’re introducing the Bede Lotto. Same principle to our previous reward practices but new drawing system. Each month, employees are nominated by their peers for going above and beyond, and entered into our lottery, giving them the chance to win some huge prizes. The rewards for excellent work and extreme efforts range from top of the range headphones to holiday vouchers to Bede socks (yes, they exist!)
New year, new you? As well as top quality hardware devices for work, we also have some great health and wellbeing benefits at Bede, for all to take advantage of.
There are a fantastic range of socials to look forward to, from the theatre, to escape rooms to Halloween fright paths and even Bongo’s Bingo. We’ll also be keeping you fuelled with snacks throughout the working day and even throw in a free lunch every now and again!
Our flexible working policy ensures we are supporting you to perform at your best, whether you’re working from home or a desert island! And with our expanding list of international clients and offices, there are opportunities to travel to Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, South Africa and beyond!
Our focus on health & wellbeing remains paramount at Bede, and we’re continuously cultivating an open and supportive environment. In the last year, we’ve put a real focus on gambling awareness, not just for our industry, but also for the welfare of our staff – our workforce is made up by a majority of 18-35 year olds (74%), the highest risk group for problem gambling so it’s important to us to ensure all staff can work safely and know the signs, as well as who to talk to, should they need to.
Problem gambling and mental health are intrinsically linked so we also continue to develop a really open, supportive and understanding culture regarding Mental Health. Providing training for all our staff to better equip them on recognising signs of problems, and creating a health and wellbeing committee to cultivate collaboration on initiatives. It’s become a key part of our culture at Bede, not just an HR initiative, all managers take part in mental health training and actively normalise it throughout their teams. It’s a collaborative effort from all of us.
All our staff are provided with private healthcare, which can be extended to family members. We also offer discounted gym memberships and in-house sports teams (which get highly competitive!)
You’ll be hearing a lot more about our new initiative, the BU Programme, over the next few months. This exciting concept encapsulates all of our opportunities for young people and career switchers. Launched on 24th January, the BU programme offers bespoke and diverse opportunities for those with the drive and determination to succeed at any stage of their career – keep your eyes peeled!
To top it off, we’re thrilled to have won the ‘Best Place to Work Award’ at the International Gaming Awards in February. This is a fantastic achievement for us as both as an employer and as staff members, who all take responsibility for making Bede a great place to work.
We hope you’ll join us this year as we continue to work towards an even better 2019! Keep in touch.
Provider is building on established market presence with fully-licensed and scalable platform
Bede Gaming, the award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, is to kick-start 2019 with a concerted expansion in Spain.
The Bede platform is fully-licensed by the DGOJ, the Spanish gaming authority, and features a wide range of cutting-edge, proactive marketing tools alongside a portfolio of more than 3,000 games and two direct sportsbooks with Kambi and SBTech live on the platform.
Responsible gambling is central to the Bede platform, with deposit limits and automated flagging of players displaying signs of problem gambling behaviour setting it apart as the safest place to play.
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director, Bede Gaming, said: “Spain is a core target market for Bede as we look to capitalise on the significant commercial momentum of our platform. Spanish operator groups are well placed to take advantage of the transformative impact our vast range of high-quality content and powerful automated marketing tools can have, and we are enthused by the possibilities as we push further into the market.”
“We are seeing more and more operators that are looking to expand their footprint but find themselves crippled by the resources required to service new markets while maintaining performance in their core markets. By offering a direct and single route into the Spanish market, we’re predicting significant growth for Bede and our partners in the months to come.”
The growth opportunity in the Spanish market is clear, with online GGR rising 30% year-on-year during Q3 2018 according to the DGOJ.
The provider’s technology is already live in the Spanish market with leading operator Enracha.
Bede has enjoyed a strong period of commercial growth, having been selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in September 2018 to provide the lottery’s new enterprise-wide digital platform.
This agreement came alongside a series of recent content integrations with leading providers including Play’n GO and SBTech.
With ICE over and the year turning into a gallop we take the opportunity to look back at 2018. Staying true to our values, we’re opening up Bede and sharing our findings – from the highs and lows, to the lessons learned and changes made – and what it all means for Bede in 2019.
Partnerships, Progression and Production
The three Ps for Bede in 2018 meant we were focused on collaboration and innovation. A shift in leadership saw our former CTO take the helm, with co-founders Michael Brady and Dan Smyth moving to strategic board positions. Alex Butcher immediately set about ensuring our technology and security not only remained centre stage but were intrinsic to our success. Under the Butcher era, introspectives and kaizen are being built into staff psyche as we strive towards our mission of becoming the Safest Place to Play.
If innovation is what drives us, it is collaboration that makes things happen. You would be hard pushed to find a project or pitch that hasn’t had input from every department across the business. Some may have had bigger roles to play than others but every contribution is as significant. It is this togetherness that truly makes Bede great – treating everyone as a partner whether that be supplier, client or colleague.
So, how has this focus translated in 2018? What did we achieve and what did we learn?
Commercial highlights this year include:
And it’s not just the external success we’re celebrating, internally we had significant achievements as well:
Kaizen: Continuous Improvement
The fail fast mantra has long been entrenched in the tech industry. Striving for openness throughout all our dealings, Bede continue to look for new methods of working and better ways of solving problems. Through the BFFs* we set up last year for direct client feedback and encouraging daily feedback from our colleagues we are opening two-way communication channels, which enable us to update our procedures and processes across the board.
Internally this has led to us facing some home truths, conducting team restructuring and process improvement. It can be hard but it is always worth it.
Start up to scale up to small medium business in a relatively short space of time is always a difficult time for leaders and workers alike. Processes need to be formalised and visibility is more challenging but the hardest part is channelling that startup mentality, which harnesses motivation, innovation and drive into a well oiled machine. Mentality in Bede is strong but the teams have not always been optimised.
Team Fabric: Operations Overhaul
Historically, our operations staff have been part of our Service Delivery team, this meant their time was split between performing BAU platform work, Tier 3 support and project work. While this has previously worked well for us, as we scaled it was identified as a potential roadblock in the long term.
So we took the initiative to create a new department, we call Fabric, which takes responsibility for a wide range of areas of operational excellence, with much focus on installing learnings from the wider industry, particularly around Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps.
If 2017 was the year of scaling and restructuring our development teams then 2018 was the equivalent for Operations.
We now have a defined site reliability roadmap and 3 dedicated teams to execute on it.
Over the course of 2018, Fabric has grown and developed a wide range of processes, knowledge bases and articles to help our Feature Teams autonomously deliver work into production. Fabric also delivered a large amount of strategic project work that will ensure Bede, and our customers, continue to grow into 2019 and beyond in the most efficient manner possible.
Addressing The System
It can be easy in a tech company to fall into the trap of solving the perception of problems but not understanding what the actual problem is, so we did some introspective work.
The outcome was the realisation that where the restructuring of the delivery team brokedown knowledge silos and enabled laser focused resource, it also lacked a system framework.
There was no clearly defined process of how work gets into Bede, how it is prioritised and how it is delivered as an end product.
So in 2018 we set about organising it. Enter The Bede Machine.
The Bede Machine is the collective noun for the 7 stages of delivery. It allows for planning, managing and monitoring from concept to support and has transformed the production line. Communications and visibility is the key. Work now aligns with strategy and business priorities through the complete process and key stakeholders fully understand expectations, responsibilities, progress and performance at each stage. Seems obvious but these things need to be executed correctly. The machine works.
SLAs, SLIs, SLOs: From An Agreement To An Objective
Every company, no matter what industry, is familiar with SLAs – the contracted minimum service expected, signed and agreed at the time of a deal meaning each party understands what is required. What some are not aware of are SLIs (Service Level Indicators) and SLOs (Service Level Objectives). SLAs are frequently mistaken for SLOs but as previously stated, SLAs are a minimum service level.
On our journey to produce a Platform as a Service, it is important that the service we provide also undergoes an improvement process and that as well as striving for excellence in our products, we also apply the same to our services.
So this year we are bringing SLOs and their SLIs to the forefront. This is a process we will be honing in 2019 and beyond. It will be a key part of business analysis and performance marking.
Be sure to ask about it when you see us next!
Looking to 2019
As we continue our mission to become the safest place to play, there will be further developments to responsible gambling tools and the security of our platform, clients, players and staff.
A big part of our 2019 will be delivering on the Ontario Lottery & Gaming project, which we don’t expect to take more than 50% of our capacity. More quality content partners will be added to the platform, with particular attention to sportsbooks and more talent added to our workforce across our offices, including Canada. We are also looking forward to expanding in Spain, Latam and within the US and Lottery sectors and, of course, working with our current clients to take their digital offerings to new heights as they continue to grow with us.
In 2018 we optimised our engineering teams for velocity, in 2019 we will focus on sustainability with an emphasis on monitoring, performance and security testing, defining SLOs, and striving for excellence across the board and many more adventures!
Why not join us on our epic journey?
You can catch us at most of the big events and awards of the year including,
To name a few – be sure to book a meeting!
Wishing you all a prosperous and educational 2019.
*Bede Feedback Forums – do contact us for more information on those or anything else you have read in this blog today: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaming Intelligence kicked off their 2019 ICE campaign with their annual awards and Hot 50 list announcement and one of our very own was featured. Product Director, Sarah Hitchcock was singled out as one of the top gambling execs in the industry. See below for GI’s write up on the woman behind our products.
2018 was a transformative year for Bede Gaming, which landed its biggest commercial deal to date with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Bede has always backed itself on its tech, safe in the knowledge its platform is in good hands with product director, Sarah Hitchcock at the helm.
Hitchcock has been instrumental in defining Bede’s product roadmap during her six years at the company – and has been rewarded with Bede’s emergence as a major player in platform provision.