• Post published:March 31, 2024
  • Post category:Blog

Anders Hauberg Nielsen Kaizen Gaming’s Director of Trading sits down with Sports Betting Operator. By Andrew Behan

How would you describe your current position within Kaizen Gaming? Please tell us a bit about your typical day at the office.

In the Kaizen Gaming trading department, we have a team of 230 traders, data analysts, platform technicians, a data/streaming operations team and sportsbook integrity agents. As you can imagine, we keep ourselves busy since we run an operation which is open 24-7, 365 days a year and which is currently available in 15 countries. I have a great team however, which always helps! As the director of trading, my overall responsibility is the sportsbook’s P&L and ensuring that the offer to our clients is top notch across all our brands.

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We operate our own platform, have our own in-house algorithms – which we are constantly optimizing – and we compile our own odds on a wide range of leagues and markets. I am responsible for our trading strategy and, together with my team, I ensure that we follow the procedures we have in place in order to execute on this strategy. I also spend a lot of time on business analytics, and I work closely with the business-intelligence department to extract valuable and actionable insights.

What makes life at Kaizen Gaming special?

Working in a team that redefines GameTech globally, for sure. Working alongside a group of extremely bright people, with passion for gaming and sports. Being all focused on delivering an unmatched customer experience through our premium Betano and Stoiximan platforms. Having an innovative mindset and a thirst to do better every day. The list can go on. Kaizen Gaming has been named as one of the best workplaces in Europe by its own people scoring high in terms of caring, respect, collaboration, equity, innovation and more. I get to experience all of that in my day-to-day life, where challenges inspire the team to bring its ‘A’ game. We work hard, getting involved in some really cool projects around the world’s top sporting events like the UEFA Euro 2024 or the Paris Olympics, and play hard too. We move fast and make things happen.

What notable projects has Kaizen Gaming been involved with recently?

We have a culture of showcasing our commitment to innovation and collaboration within the GameTech industry. One significant achievement is the company’s historic partnership with UEFA this year, where Kaizen Gaming proudly stands as the first-ever official betting partner for EURO. This collaboration not only highlights our company’s global reach but also underscores our dedication to sports entertainment at the highest levels. This deal follows another groundbreaking one, our partnership with FIFA. In an industry first, we became the first sports betting company in the world to sponsor a World Cup, the one in Qatar in 2022.

Besides that, Kaizen Gaming has extended its influence beyond gaming through its extensive social-responsibility activations in every country we operate in. The philanthropic initiatives highlight the company’s commitment to making a positive impact in local communities, showcasing a well-rounded approach that goes beyond traditional gaming.

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Anders Nielsen Kaizen Gaming’s Director of Trading

Kaizen Gaming has had a couple of busy years. What can we expect next from 2024 and onwards?

Our recent years have been marked by dynamic growth and strategic initiatives, setting the stage for exciting developments in 2024, and beyond. The company’s plan for geographical expansion is underpinned by our appetite to enter new markets and strengthen our global presence. This expansion not only proves Kaizen Gaming’s ambition but also positions the company to tap into diverse gaming demographics around the world.

Our customer-experience obsession across the board has been vital to the company’s success until now, and it only intensifies as we grow bigger and expand. Our teams are constantly working on providing an even more tailored and thrilling gaming experience to cater to the evolving preferences of players across the globe.

What have been key milestones for Kaizen Gaming that have been achieved so far?

Kaizen Gaming has managed to transform itself from a local player to a global GameTech powerhouse. The progression, marked by a shift from “humble” beginnings to significant success, underscores the company’s resilience, strategic vision and adept navigation of the competitive GameTech landscape.

One of our defining milestones is the company’s strategic shift to proprietary technology. Kaizen Gaming’s investment in developing its own technology reflects a commitment to innovation and staying ahead of the technological curve. This move not only enhances our capabilities but also positions us as a technological leader within the industry.

We continue on the path of international expansion, cracking open new markets every year. We are committed to growth and efficiency across our footprint and are ready to take on the next opportunity that comes up that will strengthen our position.

What do you consider to be your biggest success so far?

Maybe “success” is not the right word, but I would say that I am very content with having lived and worked in many different countries and “succeeded” in all of them, both professionally as well as personally. I have taken on challenges and started from scratch in new countries, without knowing anyone, several times. Along the way, I have worked in great companies, most of them market leaders, I have met many interesting and bright people, and I have learned a lot from these experiences. I consider this a success, because it’s been a goal of mine since I left Denmark 17 years ago.

What in your opinion has been or is the biggest challenge that you’re facing to improve your Player’s UX experience?

Since we operate in different countries, some with very different cultures and ideas of what constitutes a good UX, one challenge is to localize the experience as much as possible, and tailor it both on demographic and individual level.

What are the biggest challenges when entering and investing in other countries or territories?

Actually the challenge begins long before entering a market, as we have to plan and research meticulously each potential candidate country or region to make sure we are fully aware of its prospects and potential. This includes fully understanding the regulatory framework, competition and products, payments, as well as the marketing requirements that will enable us to be competitive in a market.

Our goal is to utilize our experience from our presence in multiple markets and explore potential synergies which, coupled with a fully localized approach, will ensure a smooth customer journey in line with our vision for a premium experience for all Betano users.

I understand you have a background that includes teaching. Does this help you in your current role and how?

Yes! It was a long time ago, but I would say that the experience helped me in various ways. I was just 19 years old when my sister, who is still a teacher, recommended me to the school director because there was a need for substitute teachers. Whenever a teacher called in sick, they would ask me to replace them and basically cover any of the topics they were planning for the day. I worked quite a lot but it was a great part-time job, where I learned to face daily challenges at an early age. I covered all age groups, with the oldest students being 16 years old! As you can imagine, some would test my authority, being only three years older and pretty much looking like them. It was a very enlightening experience. As a director of trading I have to tackle new challenges every day, but luckily I am used to doing that since an early age.

How does your expertise in mathematics apply to the betting industry?

Understanding mathematics and probabilities is super-important in trading, and it was my entry point to the industry as I would often challenge the opinion of the operators. Equally important is having your own platform and price algorithms to communicate with the quants team, and ensure that your pricing models are as accurate as they can possibly be! That said, there is always work to do and with more than one million events offered annually — many of which offer betting markets in the hundreds — sharpening our pricing models remains an ongoing process.

How does Kaizen Gaming approach responsible gambling?

Responsible gaming is our most valued principle that we hold at the core of our operations. We understand that the product we provide is exciting and makes for a great pastime activity but we also understand the risk that is associated with immoderate gambling. That is why we have a robust responsible-gaming policy, and multiple tools that assist our customers to enjoy a risk-free and enjoyable experience. Our Responsible Gaming Ambassadors provide players with advice on an individual basis, including tips and best practices for staying in control while ensuring that they know when to stop. We have also developed an AI solution to predict which player could develop excessive and problematic betting behavior, in order to reach out to them proactively.

How does your organization contribute to society?

Corporate responsibility has been an integral part of our business model, right from the very beginning. Under this scope, in all markets we operate, we analyzed our areas of action and identified those where our positive footprint can be maximized. Our global CSR strategy can be described in a twofold direction: We implemented flagship, long-term, social-impact projects in Greece, Portugal and Brazil in collaboration with NGOs, institutions, and the public sector. At the same time, we are undertaking individual CSR activations in collaboration with our sponsored teams and National Leagues worldwide in order to address and raise awareness about some critical social issues.

What challenges do you foresee (if any) for the gaming and betting industry going forward?

Our industry has not been shy of challenges historically and I do not expect this to change anytime soon. The ever-changing regulatory environment across geographies will take a central role in the industry’s challenging future, adding complexity and affecting roadmaps. However, I believe that even if it will bring operational challenges in the short term, regulation cultivates a healthy environment for trusted operators and businesses to offer their entertainment services, ultimately benefiting the customers, and the industry. In a nutshell, it will be challenging yet a step towards the right direction and, through Kaizen Gaming’s strategy, we heavily support such moves in regulated or soon-to-be regulated markets.

Additional challenges may come up from the commercial standpoint, due to market saturation and increased competition, making it challenging to position and differentiate. At the same time, potential macroeconomic challenges could pose a threat as they usually do. The list could also include points varying from cybersecurity issues to the enhancement of responsible gaming practices, that Kaizen Gaming is also focusing efforts on. However, I believe that a challenging environment sets up for development and growth, and if we positively react to it we can benefit in various ways. But yes, it will never be boring.

What one thing have you not yet done that you want to do both professionally and personally?

There is an abundance of things that I would like to do and haven’t done yet, but it’s difficult to choose one. What I can say is, that as a person and professional, I want to keep on growing, adding new experiences and meeting new, interesting people along the way.

*** This exclusive interview with Anders Hauberg Nielsen, Kaizen Gaming’s Director of Trading was originally published in the February 2024 edition of Sports Betting Operator Magazine***