This week is an important week in the iGaming calendar. It is Responsible Gambling week, during which the whole industry makes a huge push to promote responsible gambling practices and to remind players that when the fun stops, stop.
As a software supplier to the sector, other than to ensure we provide RG tools for our operators and keep them compliant, technically we don’t need to do as much as the operators themselves for their customers, right? Absolutely wrong.
At Bede, we are acutely aware of the huge responsibility, influence and control we have over protecting gamblers and are absolutely committed to working with our clients to find better ways of keeping our customer’s customers safe.
This year, we announced our new vision to become the “Safest Place to Play”. This was a strategic and passionate decision that has been embraced by all Bede staff. We know that we are not fully there yet but are fully committed to the cause. We set ourselves extremely high standards and understand that despite having some of the strongest RG tools in the market, there is still a lot more that can be done and that we can do both internally and externally to promote, invent and support better responsible gambling practices.
RG Week is, in its essence, about reaching out to players and making them aware of the risks but in house, at Bede, we also recognise the need to look after our staff and engage them with RG as much as possible.
It has taken a few years to come to this realisation. Since our inception six and half years ago, our main focus for staff has always been to look after our people and to give them a great environment within which to work. Generally this has been healthy snacks, free lunches, the latest coffee machine and Friday beers – but as the company has grown and we’ve matured, it became very apparent that it wasn’t just about the freebies and little extras. We also have a duty of care to our staff in terms of both mental and physical health.
Our staff is in the highest risk category for problem gamblers. Not only because of their demographic (males aged 18 – 35, which make up 74% of our workforce) but also because they work in the industry and with so much exposure to gambling practices it can normalise the gambling experience, making it harder to spot problem behaviour. Statistically, someone in our team will have a gambling problem (3-5 gamblers out of every 100 will struggle with some sort of problem gambling or risky behaviour; we employ over 170 people). Staff may not realise that they too are vulnerable. So this year, Bede is getting into action, kick starting our own internal campaign and dealing with it head on.
In line with Bede’s vision of becoming ‘The Safest Place to Play’, we want to engage everyone from QA to finance with active thinking on how we can build the best tools to help players stay safe online. And we aren’t only passionate about the players, we are also passionate about the well being of our staff, so we’re starting the conversation about how to make Bede the safest place to work.
Across the week, our dedicated RG team will be posting all sorts of messages about responsible gambling; educating and raising awareness amongst our staff to not only be mindful of their risk but to also put RG front of mind when creating our amazing business too. We are running a couple of internal competitions to increase engagement, will be making a few announcements and have a brilliant young man coming in to talk about his first hand experience with problem gambling.
These are the beginning steps on this very important journey for Bede, with many more to come. In the same way we transform our clients’ online offerings, we are looking to transform the way the industry is perceived, to put the player first and to ensure that gambling is fun and safe for everyone. Watch this space.
We’re here to help. Let’s talk about Responsible Gambling.
Over the past seven years, Bede Gaming has established itself as one of the first-choice gambling platform options for innovative operators across the globe. As part of its development, the firm sought guidance in areas of corporate governance and, with the support of UNW Strategic Talent, appointed Andrew Marsh as Non-Executive Director in January 2017. The fresh perspective has allowed Bede to continue its successful journey, taking its business to the next level both domestically and overseas.
Bede Gaming is an award-winning software company that offers completely flexible gaming solutions with robust security measures, allowing users to bet online using a single sign-on centralised account. With over 3 million registered players and 200,000 monthly users, the firm now supplies its software to over 30 online casino, bingo and lottery websites in regulated markets.
Established in 2011 by Michael Brady, Dan Smyth and Joseph Saumarez Smith, Bede was born out of the trio’s desire to create a gambling platform that improved the customer facing experience.
Over the next five years, the company emerged from its initial growth phase with a seven-figure revenue stream. Whilst the boardroom contained a wealth of knowledge on the technical and production aspects of the business, it was seeking a fresh perspective on business strategy and expertise.
In late 2016, the decision was made to appoint a Non-Executive Director (NED) and Bede approached UNW Strategic Talent, a niche service that works closely with clients to source and recruit board-level and senior finance candidates to drive and sustain business growth.
UNW’s Peter Neal, working closely with Bede’s Dan Smyth, introduced the firm to Andrew Marsh. The match proved to be a good one and Andrew joined Bede in January 2017.
Andrew’s role is centred around Bede’s governance but, as he explains, has expanded to enable more open and transparent discussions focused on long term strategy: “My role at Bede has enabled the founders and board members to better understand their duties, including scrutiny and decision making. I have been conscious not to overburden the entrepreneurial and creative spirit that got Bede to where it is today but to focus the discussion on items that really matter.
“This shift has allowed the company to substantially increase revenue streams whilst still having the capability to implement its growth agenda and open new international markets.”
Andrew, who is also Group Chair for Executive Peer Group organisation Vistage International, boasts a wealth of experience of creating sustainable growth for businesses in a wide variety of sectors, including technology and IT.
Whilst seemingly an ideal fit on paper, Andrew emphasises that the Strategic Talent team at UNW went beyond this to ensure the appointment was right for both parties: “Peter spent a great deal of time getting to know me not only as a NED, but as a person too. It was a well thought through connection, and the team at UNW really made sure that I was right for the role and wouldn’t impact the culture.
OLG, one of the world’s largest lotteries, selected the digital platform specialists following a fair, open, and transparent procurement process, with a view to transforming the corporation’s digital offering, bringing new products and player experiences to adult Ontarians. The agreement marks Bede’s entry into both the North American and Lottery markets and serves as a testament to the strength of the platform. Bede expects OLG’s new platform to be in place in early 2020.
Bede’s Responsible Gambling (RG) technology will provide the lottery operator with world-leading options to help manage RG in real-time and give players the ability to set fine-grained limits, self-exclusions, and other supports tailored to their needs. These RG tools will comply with requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and uphold OLG’s track record as a world-class responsible operator.
OLG is the third operator to select Bede this year following the signing in early 2018 of Sun International and LeoVegas, who acquired Bede-powered Rocket X.
Michael Brady, Co-Founder, Bede Gaming, said, “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome OLG to Bede and am extremely proud of the team effort involved in bringing this agreement to fruition. It is a huge recognition of the strength of our offering and firm proof of our status as a leading gaming platform in the industry. This is a landmark contract win for Bede and I am sure will be the start of a long and successful relationship with one of the most respected names in the worldwide lottery sector. We are looking forward to supporting OLG in achieving digital excellence.”
Greg McKenzie, OLG’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “We are investing in digital technology and product solutions to improve the customer experience and ensure we are responsive to changing customer expectations. The platform Bede will provide will be a central point of integration for OLG’s products and channels. We are looking forward to developing our relationship with Bede as OLG continues its digital transformation.”
Press announcement can be listened to here: https://www.investis-live.com/bede-gaming/5b9247a07fa26e1000b08f73/bgde (edited to a bite-sizeable 5 minutes).
Bede Gaming, the award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, has strengthened its credentials in sports betting with the integration of the SBTech sportsbook.
The integration will enable Bede Gaming’s operator partners to access one of the leading end-to-end sportsbook services, further strengthening Bede’s comprehensive digital platform proposition.
Rocket X-owned Bet UK is the first operator to go live with SBTech via the Bede platform and coincides with Bet UK’s shirt sponsorship deal with Swansea City AFC this season.
SB Tech becomes Bede’s second major sportsbook integration following a successful launch of Kambi sportsbook last year and to keep up with increasing demand for optionality from operators
The industry-leading Bede platform powers some of the market’s biggest brands, processing hundreds of millions of transactions per month.
Andrew Cochrane, CCO, SBTech said: “Growing our global reach through targeted integrations is central to our growth strategy and we are delighted to have taken our sportsbook live on the Bede platform.
“We have every confidence that our intuitive, expertly modelled sportsbook technology will drive both customer enjoyment and an enhanced bottom line for Bet UK in the first instance and for more Bede customers in the future.”
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director, Bede Gaming, added: “We are committed to providing a compelling product mix to our operators, and sports is no exception. Our ethos is to be supplier agnostic and being able to offer unlimited optionality is at the heart of what we do. I am therefore delighted to welcome SBTech onto our platform and what that gives us going forward. As Bede continue to grow and support some of the biggest and best in our industry it is important that we are able to meet the exacting needs of our operators and SBTech and Bede are perfectly aligned in that regard.
Bede Gaming is delighted to announce Alex Butcher as its new Managing Director. Alex brings a wealth of executive experience and a proven track record of scaling software businesses.
Alex assumes control of the leadership team at Bede and is charged with the development and growth of the business and its people. At the heart of Alex’s strategy is cultivating an open culture and using Bede’s values to drive innovation.
The change at the top of Bede has come about as co-founders Michael Brady and Dan Smyth take on more strategic roles at board level following the sale of Intellectual Property & Software Ltd and Rocket X (formerly known as Rocket 9).
Brady, former CEO of Bede, said, “We’re absolutely delighted that Alex has accepted this position. His laser-like focus and experience in the industry make him the ideal person for the role. We are confident that he will lead Bede into its next stage of growth with clarity and integrity. We are looking forward to working closely with him to ensure Bede’s global transformation.”
Alex is also a founder of Bede and previously the company’s CTO. He brings a new aspect to the role of MD, prioritising software security as paramount to Bede’s future success. He is also a strong advocate of responsible gaming and aims to ensure these principals run through all aspects of Bede’s technology, values and culture.
Alex added: “Bede’s initial growth phase, where we built the team into a 160 strong workforce and conducted the largest migration in the history of the industry, has provided a firm foundation for growth. Our products and team are tried and tested, forging great potential for expansion into new markets. My primary concern will be to ensure we preserve the fantastic culture that lies at the heart of what makes Bede unique.”
South African Casino Group Goes Live For World Cup Glory
Bede Gaming, an award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry is pleased to announce that The Sun International Group has last week re-launched its Sunbet site (www.sunbet.co.za) on the Bede Platform. Signed at the end of 2017, Sun and Bede have been working tirelessly together to support the group’s new digital strategy with Bede as its exclusive platform partner.
The partnership sees Sun International capitalise on Bede’s industry leading tools to bring their Kambi sportsbook offering to life. Using the platform specialists’ multiple open APIs, Sun International have been able to create a truly bespoke offering to their customers, which perfectly matches the high standards of the retail experience their players have come to expect.
The new territory launch is timed to coincide with the FIFA World Cup, which starts tomorrow, to provide Sun International with a digital platform from which to create new opportunities surrounding this global event and momentum beyond it.
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director, Bede Gaming said, “We’re delighted to be working with Sun International to support their digital ambitions in South Africa and the relaunch of Sunbet on our platform is a really exciting offer. At Bede we recognise the importance of being a dependable technology partner and we’re proud to have that underlined by a global resort like Sun. This is the start of many great things to come and we look forward to continuing working together to maximise what can really be achieved online.”
Martin Sack, Group Manager for Online Business Development, Sun International, commented, “This partnership is exactly what we were looking for – collaborative, inspiring and solution-focused, where we work together to find the best solution for our objectives. We’re excited to be part of the Bede family and are looking forward to growing our business to its maximum potential, using the innovative technology stack that Bede provides.”
Tech Talent is an annual event hosted by Sunderland Software City, to attract some of the NE’s undiscovered tech talent. Last Thursday, 25th May, we exhibited at Newcastle’s Crowne Plaza to talk with local talent and to ensure they know who we are and what we’re about.
The North East is a pretty great region for tech, so we were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tombola, Scott Logic, Leighton and Opencast. It was great to see what other companies have on offer, chat about their efforts in the region and share knowledge in the tech community.
We spoke to a real mix of potential candidates, from students through to industry professionals and those who wanted a complete career change. Our goody bags and drone footage certainly drew in the masses and we spoke with some really promising talent who will hopefully be applying for some of our current vacancies. It was also inspiring to see what other companies in the region are doing to attract and retain talent, boost employee engagement and how we’re all working to get the North East firmly on the map as leaders in tech.
What did we learn?
Education around tech subjects is increasing rapidly within the region, and there are lots of exciting ways we can grasp and help to cultivate this. The prospect of degree apprenticeships is really exciting, especially as tech is becoming a lot more specific within companies – it’s a such a good way to grow talent within our company and nurture a fantastic workforce. Our Summer Placement Initiative is a great example of supporting development and growth within a thriving business.
We also learned that we’ve got it pretty good here at Bede, many of the exhibitors and candidates were inspired by our work environment, ethics and culture …we may have even had a few converts from some employer competitors!
Here we go, another document / note / word on the most talked about piece of legislation for decades I hear you say.
Well, sort of yes and no.
Yes, this is another note on GDPR and yes there has been a lot of commentary and sales pitches about it, a lot of emails, details and prompts to keep in contact but, and crucially there is a but, it’s actually a very good thing.
GDPR is a massive overhaul of European data protection legislation and will have an impact on everyone. Whether you’re a business and having to have a greater understanding of exactly what happens with the data you’re responsible for or a consumer who’ll be given the greatest level of data transparency we’ve ever seen.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the biggest shake-up of both UK and EU data privacy legislation for 20 years. It creates a single set of rules designed to better protect personal information for people across the EU. All organisations must review how they manage all personal data, such as customer addresses and staff details, to ensure they meet GDPR requirements.
It comes into force tomorrow, 25th May 2018 and everyone must be ready.
GDPR is forcing businesses to be more open with their customers and is increasing business accountability. It puts shared responsibility on both the data controller and the data processor, meaning both are now liable.
There is a two tier fine system for a breach of GDPR regulations. The first is up to 2% of global annual turnover or €10 million. The second is up to 4% of global annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher.
If you’re still not sure, have a look here at the hundreds of third parties Paypal share data (your data) with. GDPR is driving this transparency.
So what is Bede doing to ensure compliance?
Well, true to Bede form, we are going above and beyond the requirements to ensure the highest quality data protection and security.
In May last year we certified to ISO 27001:2013 and this has given us the framework to build on in support of our GDPR work. We have also have expanded our Information Security, Compliance and Legal functions to ensure we have dedicated people in roles which are entirely responsible for these particular areas.
We have been undertaking a number of key tasks, such as reviewing the key suppliers we use, e.g. Microsoft Azure, to make sure they are fit for the purposes of GDPR and to make sure the services we offer customers are of the highest quality. Microsoft Azure as as committed to security and privacy requirements as we are and it’s this commitment to which we hold all our suppliers.
GDPR brings into force several new rights for data subjects, such as the Right to Be Forgotten. When it comes to clients’ customer data it is our clients, as the controller to our processor, who will make the decision on acceptance of this type of request. However, once a decision has been made we have the processes in place to erase personal data. An operation that is immediate and irreversible.
In short, Bede puts privacy and security at the heart of our thinking in order to assure operators that our technology, and particularly our role as data processor are equipped with the most stringent measures to ensure compliance at the highest level. We are ready, are you?.
If you have any questions or would like further information on how we are Supporting Operator GDPR Compliance’ we have created a document of the same name which has been shared with our existing customers, please get in touch using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Saumarez Smith, chairman of Bede Gaming, was a guest and roundtable chair at EGaming Review’s Power 50 conference in Marbella, Spain. He reviews the two day conference.
The Power 50 is one of my favourite online gaming conferences and not just because it is held in sunny Spain. The relatively small number of attendees and the fact most are the major decision makers within their companies is a big plus. It also means that in discussions people are more willing to share their experiences and admit what is going badly for them, as well as what is going superbly.
Unsurprisingly, the two main themes of this year’s Power 50 were what is happening to online gaming regulation and the potential opening up of the US market.
Regulation and in particular the need to ensure that Responsible Gambling measures are put in place by all operators was a particular theme across almost every panel and roundtable. The recent UK Gambling Commission fines were widely discussed and there was a general surprise that no operator had yet lost their licence. Over a couple of drinks later in the evening I heard that there is a £10 million plus fine for a household name in the offing, which will certainly cause some big problems for the overall industry.
The imminent announcements around PASPA – which at the time of the conference had not been announced but of course is now the main topic of all conversations – was something that was widely discussed. While most operators were excited about the prospect – especially those who already had businesses operating in New Jersey or Nevada – there was also a feeling that if PASPA was repealed that it wouldn’t be as simple to make money in the US as many commentators would be expecting. Some of the more experienced (or should I say cynical or realistic?) operators were concerned about the potential high levels of protectionism against European operators coming into the market but their greatest concern was the likely level of taxation. Most states seem to be expecting an enormous payday from sports betting and have very little idea about what the correct level of tax should be to allow for a competitive product. Talk was of multi million dollar licence fees, $20 million security bonds and tax rates similar to land-based casinos (mid 30% and upwards) which would make sports betting economically unviable. Add in the sports leagues’ desires for an integrity fee and it starts to get hard to see how anyone is either going to have a decent product or make any money.
I chaired two sessions of roundtable discussions about how the online gambling industry could improve its public image. Surprisingly they were two very different sessions. The first group agreed that the industry has a massive problem with society’s general perception of online gambling (and gambling altogether) while the second was more bullish, saying that the industry was going through a bad patch but that society needs to accept that gambling is a legal activity that pays high taxes and that it is better that it exists in full view rather than as a black market. There was a bit more of nuance to the arguments than that but the opinions did strike me as being quite different, depending on the individuals in the room. It would be pushing it to say that we agreed on a way to radically improve the industry’s public image but there was a feeling that in the UK in particular there is not a single person to whom the media can come to who represents the industry in a credible way. That person could acknowledge that gambling is a ‘sin’ industry but that it is better that it is taxed and highly regulated and that for a large percentage of customers gambling is a fun pastime which does not negatively impact them. However for the small number of people who have problem gambling then the industry should be showing that we support addiction programmes and that we do everything we can to stop them from developing those problems further and to stop gambling. How the industry finds and funds that person was not something we tackled in the hour long sessions but there did seem to be an acknowledgement that it would help a lot to have that person in place to represent the industry.
As ever, the Power 50 was brilliantly organised and I regret that I was not able to represent Bede Gaming better in the Annual Online Gambling Hill Climb Cycling Challenge over a 11km course, where I could only manage second place, 12 seconds behind David Shapton of Akur Capital.
Bede Gaming, an award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, continues to prove its commercial credentials by adding Rocket X to its growing list of prestigious clients.
Following the acquisition of intellectual and Property Software (IPS) Ltd in January in January 2018, LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group (STO:LEO), chose to keep its sites, including top brands 21.co.uk, Slotboss, Bet UK and UK Casino on the Bede Platform. The multi-year agreement between the platform specialists and the leading Swedish gametech company, sees the operator join the likes of The Rank Group (LSE:RNK) and Sun International (JSE: SUI) on Bede’s award winning gaming platform.
Rocket X, will take full advantage of Bede’s suite of industry-leading marketing tools and premium content from first class gaming suppliers, such as Yggdrasil, NETENT, Evolution and IGT.
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director of Bede Gaming, said: “LeoVegas is an innovative, mobile-focused operator at the cutting edge of the online sector. They now have the market’s most effective customer acquisition models through Rocket X and a culture that aligns well with Bede and we are thrilled to be supplying them with our unparalleled platform services.
“I would personally like to thank the whole team from both sides who worked tirelessly to bring this partnership to fruition, and offer our congratulations to IPS founders, Joe Saumarez-Smith, Dan Smyth and Michael Brady.
The growth on our platform has been phenomenal, and we are confident that, under the LeoVegas umbrella, Rocket X will build on this success in the UK and beyond as they continue to enhance their outstanding online casino offering.”
Mark Good, CEO of Rocket X, said: “We are committed to building the industry’s most intuitive and comprehensive online gaming experience, and have started 2018 strongly with a series of important agreements.
“The flexibility and solidity of Bede’s platform is an important factor for our growth and we are delighted to be working closely with such a highly regarded provider. We are looking forward to the strengthening and successful relationship between all three companies.”
Platform specialists, Bede Gaming, offers completely flexible gaming solutions with robust security measures, and is fast establishing itself as the first-choice option for innovative operators globally.
Founded in 2012, Bede employs the latest in modern technology to provide operators with high performing software used to create world class gaming experiences.