The Asian gaming market is filled with opportunity but for some it can be a tough nut to crack, something which hasn’t stopped the newly launched King Gaming from making its mark in the region. In lieu of its recent successful licensing bid, Mark Robson, the Isle of Man’s former head of eGaming who now leads the Asia-facing operator, explains the company’s unique heritage, how technology has helped them with ‘being the best’ for all stakeholders, and why the Isle of Man will always be home.
How quickly has the vision behind King Gaming become a reality and what have been the key landmarks on that journey?
Our project started approximately 18 months ago and landmarks can be quite subjective, but for me the first real milestone came in April last year when I started working on it full time. Since then we’ve secured our licence, moved into some great office space and integrated with some of the best B2B providers in the industry. For us it’s never been about doing things quickly – it’s about doing them right.
What’s your customer profile?
Whilst our team is made-up of a diverse combination of nationalities and backgrounds, our primary expertise is in the Asian market. An understanding of players and their culture is critical in ensuring an authentic personalisation of the customer experience, so this is where our efforts are currently focussed. As our business grows and the industry continues to evolve, we will no doubt see changes to the way we do things, but we won’t ever be a ‘one size fits all’ kind of company.
Personally, how have you found the transition from regulator to commercial operator. Has it required a big cultural shift for example and what’s been the hardest part of the transition?
I’ve been in the industry as a player most of my life and prior to becoming ‘Head of e-Gaming’ for the Isle of Man Government, I was fortunate enough to spend almost 15-years working for, and with, some of the biggest names in both online and offline gambling sectors. As such, the move back to the other side of the desk was a natural transition for me.
What investment have you made in the IOM so far and what are the scale of the plans moving forward over the mid and long terms?
I think it’s fair to say our investment so far has been significant! For the time being, the B2C side of our business will be occupying the largest share of the limelight, but our tech teams are forging ahead with the development of our B2B and P2P product suite. We actively encourage ideas and innovation within the teams too, so there are always seeds of possibility being sown. One thing we won’t do is stand still!
Your strapline is about ‘being the best’: how do you live up to that philosophy and how is it manifest in the King Gaming operation?
First and foremost, by providing a fun, secure and reliable environment for our players. Technology can provide a framework for that, but it’s ‘us’ that makes it happen and that’s why we invest heavily into the environment, well-being and culture for our team. They are the personification of our brand so to ensure our players to feel at home with us, we strive to be the best employer we can be.
Silly question, but why the Isle of Man – did you explore the possibilities of being licensed in any other gaming jurisdictions and if not, why not?
The IoM has great infrastructure, a cooperative government, and a regulator of substantial experience and unequalled reputation in this sector. Many of the industry’s leading companies are headquartered here, so locating here was an obvious choice. That decision was also partnered with ensuring we also invested in our team. Giving them an environment where they can grow and achieve their professional goals as well as personal aspirations is very important to us. Due to the nature of the industry, we are already establishing a diverse global footprint and wider portfolio of licenses, but the Isle of Man is our home.
In other jurisdictions the relationship between regulator and gaming company can appear difficult or strained. Compare that with the IOM where the dynamic appears more progressive – is that an accurate or fair summary?
I would say so, yes. Regulation can be viewed as an overhead (and even an inhibitor) to business, but it is also a fantastic asset. I’ve lived and worked in many other licensing jurisdictions, but nowhere else in my experience is there such a pragmatic approach to the business environment. It’s brilliantly refreshing to work with a regulator that takes the ‘partnership’ approach to businesses working with them.
To discover more about King Gaming’s growing offering, visit: www.kgaming.com