With restrictions ending and a summer of sport ahead of us – we caught up with the MGA’s latest licensee, R Franco Digital, to talk through CCO Mario Benito’s vision for the coming months – with the Spanish supplier now poised for some very exciting expansion plans.
Congratulations on R Franco Digital’s recent MGA Licence! Can you tell us what it means for the company and your plans for the next 12 months?
For R Franco, the acquisition of the Critical Gaming Supply Licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) represents a major step forwards for the business, capping a period of growth the extends right across Europe and beyond. We are now currently licensed to operate in Spain, Colombia, Portugal, Belgium and now, Malta. Our plans for the next 12 months will be focused on this new market for us, which provides us with enormous opportunities to expand our business.
What key European markets does R Franco Digital see as holding major growth potential?
Not only is Spain a market that is close to our heart, given that it is our home and where the business originated in 1965, but it is also one that contains real potential for online growth going froward. We have significant experience in capturing the interest of land-based players – and offering them online as a channel, as well as a world-class digital offering to keep them there. The Netherlands is very much an established market in many ways, where local players already spend more money on gambling activities than in many other regulated markets in Europe, ahead of the new regulations that are set to come into being later this year. After that, you also have the German and Portuguese markets, where we also see significant growth possibilities.
How have the last year’s events shaped the gaming landscape in terms of player behaviour? Are players looking for different types of games?
The online gaming market around the world is very volatile – with plenty of variables at play. All of our competitors are innovating every day to create new, entertaining experiences for players and no supplier can afford to be left behind in that race. With players expecting more than ever from casino games, the market in turn is providing them with new possibilities. One example is the purchase of Free Spins, which was included as an option some time ago; now, there are very few slots in certain jurisdictions that do not integrate this feature.
How is R Franco Digital look to adjust its development pipeline to suit the new environment?
It is fair to say that our in-house development team is improving in leaps and bounds and the proof of that lies in the games themselves, which are getting better and better in order to serve the entertainment needs of players. We are specialists in the Spanish market – because that is where we have been present for the longest period – but our games have also proven to be popular in many other international markets including Portugal and Colombia, and we’re looking forward to building on that this year with our MGA licence.
Looking to your home market of Spain – how has this year shaped up so far – do you see the Spanish operators on track for recovery and a return of land-based?
It has indeed been a difficult year for Spanish operators. New regulations meant increased advertising restrictions and new rules around bonusing and this had the double impact of making it more difficult to attract new players and also to keep them. At the same time, this is a very versatile market and there is still plenty of room for manouevre, so we are sure that there will be a recovery. As one of the market’s leading players we look forward to helping drive that recovery – and we see plenty of potential for activity returning once the conditions are right.
Last but not least, what are your expectations for betting and casino this summer with the upcoming Euros?
It has been a year in the waiting, and we are sure that the delayed European Championships will prove to be successful in every way, with both betting and casino being part of that success. While domestic football leagues are not yet concluded, it will not be long before operators are able to reveal the special promotions they have been working on for so long, in order to capture the attention of their customers. Without a doubt, this summer will prove to be one to remember – and casino has plenty of opportunity to capture the interest of not only sports betting fans, but also traditional land-based players who want to join in this summer’s action online while indoor restrictions are still in place.