Pressing all the right buttons

PressEnter Group’s head of affiliates Hannes Thunberg discusses the company’s rebrand and expounds on the why the industry needs affiliates now more than ever

INTERGAMINGi: Could you give us a bit of background on PressEnter Group and the company’s rebrand?

PressEnter Group recently rebranded from Betpoint Group, which was established in 2018 when the team behind 21.com took over the running of the business. The rebrand marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the organisation as we continue to establish the business as a tier-one operator in the global online gambling industry.

The company has come a very long way in a short space of time, going from a single brand operator to a sizeable business running six online casino assets today.

What do you think have been the key elements to the company’s success?

The people behind the business are undoubtedly a major factor in the success PressEnter Group has enjoyed. Without this highly talented, skilled and passionate team we simply would not have been able to grow at the pace and to the scale that we have. I also believe we excel in all areas, from our casino brands and the player experience they offer to our corporate culture.

Could you tell us about your brands, in which markets you operate, and what the challenges were when rebranding from 21 Partners to PressEnter Partners?

Today we operate six online casino assets including 21.com, JustSpin, NeonVegas, NitroCasino, UltraCasino and the most recent addition to our portfolio, RapidCasino. We currently operate in all Malta Gaming Authority markets but are also in the process of securing licences in key regulated markets. The rebrand from 21 Partners to PressEnter Partners was incredibly smooth. Over the years, we have assembled a network of the best affiliate in the industry and have very strong relationships with them all. Of course, we made sure to make our affiliate partners aware of the rebrand and that they would be dealing with the same team as before. This made for a seamless transition for everyone involved.

Change is always complex but what have been the most enjoyable aspects?

I had the honour of seeing the first customer arrive at 21.com via an affiliate partner and have been a part of the company’s incredible journey ever since. We have encountered some challenges along the way but have always been able to overcome them and learn from them. Today we have six online casino brands and it has been hugely enjoyable to watch the business grow over the years.

As PressEnter Group and PressEnter Partners, we are now entering the next chapter of our story where we intend to become a tier-one operator and true market leader.

Could you explain why affiliates are so important in the sector?

Affiliates are a bridge between the operatorͬ online casino brand and the player. They are very much on top of player expectations and preferences in each market and have a comprehensive understanding of their end user. We work closely with our affiliates partners to leverage this knowledge and experience to localise our brands for each market.

This ensures they deliver the experience that players are seeking when they click through from an affiliates partner and land at the digital doors of our casinos for the first time.

“WE WILL CERTAINLY SEE MORE MARKETS EMBRACE REGULATION AND LICENSING, PUTTING EVEN GREATER DEMANDS ON OPERATORS”

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you made the head of affiliates role at PressEnter Partners your own?

I always had a foot in marketing roles for different industries and also had some very fun years in the music sector. I then got a phone call
to discuss the idea of 21.com and to see whether I would be interested in joining the founding team. This was new ground for me and I was excited by the opportunity and the challenge it presented.

I have been with 21.com since day one and alongside my colleagues have been able to build out the affiliates division based on our vision and goals. Under PressEnter Partners, I believe we are now one of the best affiliates programmes in the industry.

How has Covid-19 affected the market and has the company had to change to combat the knock-on effects of the global pandemic?

The biggest impact was internal and specifically managing a team of people working remotely. We quickly found our stride and have been operating dynamically and efficiently ever since, regardless of whether working remotely, from the once or a combination of the two. Another challenge has been the lack of conferences. Strong affiliate partnerships come down to personal relationships, so it has been difficult forming and building these during the pandemic years. Thankfully, we are starting to see conferences return and myself and the entire team are looking forward to meeting face to face with our partners once again.

What do you feel are the issues some companies face that can turn potentially successful products into ones that don’t succeed?

It all comes down to the bottomline and this applies to affiliates programmes as it would any other part of the business. Programmes need to deliver the desired return on investment otherwise they are simply not worth running in the first place. This means having control over bonuses, managing deals, etc, to ensure that the numbers add up at the end of the day.

How has the role of an affiliate manager evolved over the years?

The affiliate industry is definitely becoming more professional and corporate – some of the biggest affiliates are now publicly listed companies, for example. The use of data is also on the rise and affiliates and operators are now much more number driven with KPIs that are constantly monitored and analysed. Despite these changes, personal relationships still play a crucial role.

What are the most interesting trends you’ve noticed in the industry?

Operators and as a result affliates are now much more focused on regulated markets. We are also seeing more specialised affliates emerge, whether that be affiliates focusing on specific markets, verticals, or even specific elements within verticals – no wagering requirements, free bets, etc. I also believe the barrier to entry is much higher than it used to be and will continue to rise.

Where do you see the industry headed in the next year?

We will certainly see more markets embrace regulations and licensing, putting even greater demands on operators. I believe this is good for the wider industry as it helps to flush out the bad actors and ensure only reputable, best in class operators can enter these markets. For PressEnter, this will see us enter more regulated markets over the coming 12 months.

And Finally, what exciting news is on the horizon for the company in the near future?

As mentioned above, we will be entering more regulated markets and are pushing hard into Latin America and in particular in Chile and Peru. We are also closing in on the launch of our first sportsbook brand. It’s going to be a big year, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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