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Helen Walton: «We call ourselves the only hippies in gambling»

Chief Commercial Officer of Gamevy Helen Walton talked about story of brand and shared his plans for the future.

How did it all start? Tell please to our readers how the story of Gamevy began!

– We began with a simple insight – that the games people played on their phones seemed way more fun than gambling games, whether they were playing immersive action games, social games or simple puzzles. And yet it wasn’t as if people don’t like winning money! We all love dreaming about what to do with imaginary millions, we love watching gameshows or even just reading about winners. It seemed to us that there was an opportunity to build real money games that appealed to our love of exciting and engaging play, but with massive jackpots… as time has passed we’ve made plenty of mistakes, but also had several hits. We’re more sure than ever that there’s a huge opportunity to help reinvent gambling for a broader demographic of people who don’t associate themselves with casinos or betting shops, but who love playing games and trying to win cash.

The three Gamevy founders had previously worked together in a start-up helping organisations deliver big software projects. We were frustrated by how often people seemed to make the same mistakes or be blocked by their own organizational culture. We decided that our next business would set out to solve the problems we were observing. That’s how we’ve ended up being a company with a flat structure, no job titles or bosses and practising radical transparency and freedom. We sometimes call ourselves the only hippies in gambling!

If we talk about the popularity of the resource – are you satisfied with the current state of things, or do you have more optimistic expectations?

– We plan world domination, of course! Seriously, we think there’s a huge opportunity for state lotteries to reinvent themselves to appeal to younger audiences, to offer a sense of purpose, community and social connection and to be light-hearted and fun as well. We think that for those interested in challenging them, there’s a way to create innovative products and experiences that appeal to players far beyond the traditional gambling market. And our eyes are firmly fixed on that big, disruptive future – while also surviving and thriving in the present, of course!

This year Gamevy signed deals with Bede Gaming and Sun Bets. Tell us more about these deals and the benefits they’ve brought.

– We’re bringing so many operators online that we no longer remember to announce all of the deals. We really love partnering with companies with an innovative outlook who are prepared to try new things and who are always looking to appeal to new people in new ways. Both Bede and SunBets have a real focus on the broader demographic – whether it’s through lottery, bingo or sports – so they make natural partners for us.

We have a very positive partnership with Norsk Tipping and with The Health Lottery in the UK, several state lotteries due to launch soon, and a host of other customers coming online for our sports conversion games. Watch this space!

What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced so far?

– Honestly – surviving the first few years! The obstacles to launch, from regulation to initial length of time to market, were far harder than we’d predicted. Things gather pace very quickly once you have launched, but it takes so long to get there and you need deeper pockets than you’d bargained for! As founders, we were exhausted just as we needed to really pour energy into the business to help it take off. I know everyone says this, but at times like that, the thing that keeps you going is the whole team – the sense that you are working with brilliant people you respect and whom you can’t let down.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given, and how are you applying that advice specifically to Gamevy?

– The founder of Lottoland once said to us in the early days – “you’re in the best time, before any politics or arguments or fuss or being too grown up – just enjoy it”. Of course, we didn’t really believe him – and now I realise how right he was! So now I try hard to end each day – even in the most stressful times – reminding myself of all the things I love about Gamevy and reminding myself why I don’t want to ever have a ‘normal’ job again.

– What’s next for Gamevy?

– Our world cup pachinko product launches this week – it’s the world’s first football game where your skill makes a real difference as you score goals to win cash. Football fans love it! It’s authentic – the opposite of the usual gambling game which just sticks a badge on a slots or a scratch.  Check it out on Leo Vegas, William Hill, Bwin, Sunbets and MarathonBet to name just a few of our partners!

We have even more exciting games coming with skill, competition and multiplayer. We have some big lotteries coming online and we hope to have more soon as we develop further our brand-enhancing lottery games. Then we’re also moving into new markets and testing out new commercial models. It is a very exciting time…

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