interview with dermot smurfit

GameAccount Network CEO Dermot Smurfit

The English supplier of gaming software and content GameAccount Network is now providing operators with a choice of slot machines from some of the industry's leading games creators, including major names like IGT, Bally, SHFL, Aristocrat, NetEnt, Ainsworth, SG Gaming and now also Novomatic, building up a very impressive portfolio of over 200 slots.

We have published our review of GameAccount nearly six months ago, but many announcements have been made since, and it's quite time to get some fresh insight into what is happening in the company. Dermot Smurfit GameAccount Chief Executive Officer, has been kind enough to answer the questions asked by our Italian editor Romeo; and as you will see the company has a very clear vision of where the eGaming market is heading.

VegasMaster: The last months have witnessed some important developments at GameAccount: the company has been in the news several times with quite impressive announcements. What is the company's vision and objectives behind such an active stance in the market?

Game Account Network has a heritage in skill gaming which goes back over a decade: in June we won another award for our skill games. But in addition to this, Game Account has developed into a very powerful, innovative force in the eGaming industry. We gained a New Jersey license in 2013 which allowed us to be present in that market on day one where we power . Our Simulated Gaming product is a best of breed innovation and we have recently announced some important business wins with two significant land based casino operators in the US.

As we have clearly demonstrated over the last 12 months or so, content is absolutely king for us. We have successfully partnered with the markets’ most prominent land based slot manufacturers, and we are continuously adding more relevant content to this portfolio. This makes it possible for us to offer a customised product portfolio to fit our clients’ needs, regardless if they are searching for a provider for Simulated or fully monetised eGaming solutions. This also means that we are the company of choice for a large variety of games developers who want to get their content into the online space in a cost efficient and timely manner.

GameAccount has ongoing distribution agreements with some of the best gaming developers in our industry. Which one of these partnerships is giving the best business results to date?

We have a wide range of collaborations when it comes to both local deployments and integrated gaming solutions and we are proud of every one, but it would be unfair and commercially insensitive to pass on game performance and revenue generation details.

GameAccount gives much importance to regulated online gaming markets like Italy and it has received certification by AAMS. How is it to deal with the Italian regulator and what do you think the Italian government should do to improve the Internet gaming business here?

We serve content into over 65% of the regulated Italian market with partners such as Lottomatica, Sisal, Snai, PaddyPower , Intralot, Eurobet and Cogetech, so the Italian market is obviously very important to us. However, it’s not our position to comment on how the Italian Regulator works although, as a leading provider of content into that market we can say that the regulatory environment is robust to work within and we are very detail oriented in all our processes. It’s of course important to have a comprehensive legislative framework to stay at the forefront of regulated online gaming which ensures integrity of the product and protects players.

Since we are talking about Italy, we can't ignore our defeating England in the Football World Cup this week in Brazil. I hope you are not too mad at us...

Not at all, since Italy is such an important market for us we are happy for our partners there. But it would have been nice to see some points for the English team as well of course. Unfortunately Italy’s participation in the competition also ended abruptly!

Our readers know already about your Simulated Gaming initiative. The natural question which comes to one's mind is: what is the US government's take on that project, which seems to break the barriers of space to enable all US residents to play online, regardless of their State's legislation?

I can’t comment on how the US government is going to act and potentially regulate Social Gaming; the fact is that Social gaming is growing so much and in fact a lot of land based manufacturers are actually starting to compete with their customers in this space. Our Simulated Gaming product allows land based casino operators to get into the online space ahead of monetized regulations and is merely a front runner. We are very satisfied with the position we already have taken when it comes to Freemium type Gaming.

Is the fate of all land-based casinos to go online? What added value can they bring to the already complex and saturated online gaming market?

To answer this question in brief is yes! Land-based casinos need to offer online casinos themselves to compete against purely online only Social Casino operators. One of the advantages a land-based casino has compared to a Social Casino Operator is that they can create an already known casino experience for their players providing they run the same games in their offline venues; it’s about offering a seamless gaming experience for their players no matter where they choose to play.

Is GameAccount going to continue its string of important announcements in the coming months? Can you surprise our readers with any interesting upcoming news?

After a successful listing on the London Stock Exchange (AIM; GAME.L) in November 2013 the company has taken several important steps forwards, both when it comes to increasing our headcount (in fact we grew out of our office in Soho in February 2014 and moved to new offices in Central London) but also with developing our products. The trend is very positive and we are convinced that we will continue to distribute a consistent stream of news going forward. I’m afraid I can’t reveal anything to your readers right now however!