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  • Writer's pictureKevin Jones

"CTO in Focus" Guy Gani, BtoBet

In the latest instalment of the "CTO in Focus" interview series, Guy Gani, Chief Technology Officer at BtoBet, delves into the strategic blend of innovation and compliance that defines the company's approach in the sports betting industry. Gani elucidates how BtoBet achieves technological agility while adhering to diverse global regulations, and highlights the integration of advanced technologies such as AI and IoT to enhance betting platforms. The discussion also explores emerging trends and the specific challenges faced in adapting technology across different markets. This interview is essential reading for those keen to understand technology leadership in the highly competitive and regulated world of sports betting.

GE) With BtoBet being at the forefront of sports betting software solutions, how do you balance the drive for innovation with the stringent regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions? Specifically, what are the biggest technological challenges you face when adapting your platform for new markets, and how do you address these challenges to ensure compliance and competitive edge?

GG) I'd say BtoBet’s competitive edge lies in its innovation. For some, this advantage can sometimes be hindered by regulatory requirements, which may impose limitations on the development of new features in specific ways. At BtoBet, we have developed a streamlined process that involves including the compliance team right from the outset of a feature development. This collaborative approach ensures that new features are groomed together, with the compliance team providing valuable insights on how these features align with various regulations. By involving compliance early, we've sped up development and reduced the need for major changes during compliance certification for various regulations.

Operating across four continents means we encounter diverse and sometimes contradictory regulatory requirements. The main technical challenge lies in maintaining agility to meet these varied demands. To address this, we've developed cutting-edge technology that offers solutions for a range of regulations. We strive to include regulation requirements at the code level, and this should ensure that as regulatory bodies can track compliance effortlessly without side effects from other regulations.

On the infrastructure side, hosting requirements are different as well. Certain US state regulations require in-state hosting, while in others, cloud providers are unavailable. Consequently, we must strive to offer on-premises or co-location hosting solutions. To address this, we utilize Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to enable deployment of our solution and be provider-agnostic, ensuring flexibility and compatibility regardless of the hosting environment.

GE) As a seasoned technology leader, how do you see emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) shaping the future of the gambling industry, particularly in sports betting? Could you share insights into any research or initiatives BtoBet is undertaking to integrate these technologies into its offerings?

GG) Across our firm we are investing a lot in new technologies, focusing especially on AI. Those new technologies should set new standards in sports betting platforms in various areas.

In my opinion AI should support sports betting in two main areas and I would like to mention a few examples.

Generative AI is where content can be provided, AI-generated. Starting with virtual games where we can utilize AI not only to create game statistics and mechanics, but also avatars of competitors and teams to create a real experience for the player.

Odds models are another area where machine learning (ML) can be utilised. Image a model that can proactively analyze sports news and apply changes to odds models based on that news. This is a whole new level of odds models that will gain from those new technologies.

Machine Learning (and deep learning) can help us develop models for risk management. We can train models or even federated models on multiple companies, utilising big data technologies to train models based on historical data. Final decisions will have to involve human traders, however the insight we would be able to provide the trader and the instantaneous alerting would play a significant role.

IoT could provide insights that might open the opportunity to develop new markets that do not currently exist. Have you ever had the experience of playing at TopGolf? Just imagine having metrics insight similar to that at TopGolf on top sports events. That could lead us to develop additional markets and enhance the player experience to a new level.

GE) Looking ahead, what are the most significant trends or technologies you believe will transform the sports betting industry over the next five years? How is BtoBet preparing to not only adapt to these changes but also lead the innovation within this space?

GG) There are a few trends over the horizon that we believe will make a significant impact on sports betting. I would like to mention a few of them.

Traditional sports betting is mostly gathered around teams. Over the last few years, fans are tending more to bet on leading sports figures. An example would be Leo Messi, who attracts fans as well as sports betting players around the world. People will bet on Messi regardless of the team he is playing for or would bet on the team Messi is playing for.

Then, eSports and fast games are getting more and more popular. We noticed a generational change from traditional sports betting players to a younger generation where eSports and fast games are gaining more popularity. We expect ESports events to definitely expand over the next few years. This also poses a technological challenge to adapt the user experience to eSports, which requires different features than traditional sports.

Lastly, fast events such as ping-pong, MMA and others are also gaining in popularity. Different from traditional major league events, fast events provide players with a live betting offering around the clock, with results occurring within a few minutes.

GE) BtoBet has a diverse footprint across continents with varying regulatory landscapes. From your perspective as CTO, what are the unique challenges and opportunities presented by emerging markets, such as Africa and Latin America, in terms of technological deployment and adaptation?

GG) Footprint diversification is a technological challenge as well as an opportunity. I would like to focus on two areas -

Content (offering) is different between jurisdictions. Favourite leagues in North America are totally different to Europe, while favourite tournaments in Latin America and Brazil in particular are very different and more localised as well. This diverse content requires our platform to integrate with various content (feed) providers to provide relevant content to different jurisdictions. Markets are diverse as well. The same-game parlay introduced in North America does not exist in other jurisdictions.

The technological solution we have developed allows our customers to cherry-pick their preferred hybrid of content providers, depending on jurisdiction and their offering preferences. It also provides our customers with an edge over their competitors, through a unique offering tailor-made for their player’s needs.

Scale and player value pose another challenge. African clients are characterized by extreme high volume and a lower player value. Comparing a similar GGR of African clients to a European or a North American client, an African client’s scale (bets volume) is sometimes 1000-fold larger.

The scale challenge here is first to support millions of bets daily. As the player value is lower, the processing cost is another challenge to take into consideration. Processing optimisation is the key here, to be able to scale and process millions of transactions together with keeping hosting expenses at a reasonable level.

About our contributor

Guy Gani is a seasoned professional in the gaming and sports betting industry, currently serving as the Chief Technology Officer at BtoBet. With a focus on innovative technology solutions, Gani plays a pivotal role in shaping the company's technological strategy and driving forward its software offerings in the gaming market. His expertise in software development and IT management underscores his ability to lead complex projects and enhance BtoBet's competitive edge in the industry.


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