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European Gaming Congress 2024

iGaming Industry

Exclusive Interview with Valery Bollier, co-founder and CEO of OulalaGames

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Valery Bollier interview

Our colleague, Szaló Réka interviewed Valéry Bollier, who has over thirteen years of experience in the iGaming industry. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences and seminars, as well as a contributor to various B2B publications. Equipped with a passion for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and ”Big Data”, Bollier is the co-founder and CEO of Oulala, a revolutionary fantasy football game which was launched four years ago.

I know that OulalaGames is responsible for the launch of the first European Fantasy Football game, is well-known and very successful now, but still I would like you to introduce this innovative football management game briefly and tell us how it works.

Bollier:  Oulala is an award-winning Daily Fantasy Football management game, launched in August 2013. Its highly innovative and advanced scoring system is what makes our game the first real skill game in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sector.


The concept is very simple; you build your own team of football players and when any of those selected play during the real life matches, you will receive points (positives or negatives) based on their actions on the real field.
Oulala is a social game, meaning that customers aim to accumulate as many points as possible to surpass their competition, be it friends or colleagues, and win bragging rights.

DFS is making a simple but solid promise to its customers: when playing, you will be able to prove to your peers and your community that you know the sport better than they do. For this to happen, it was imperative that our game be one of real skill, rather than a game of luck. Our solution was to hire a team of statisticians that put in six good months towards developing a scoring system that would truly make our game a real skill game. Following this, we spent two years running the game as a free version to gather the evidence we needed to back our claims.

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As a European game, playing on Oulala means that instead of only being limited to a choice of players within the Premier League, as is the case in most DFS games, there is also the option to choose players from any of the French, Italian or Spanish league teams. The game becomes considerably more exciting with a pool of over 2800 players and 80 different teams from which to choose.

Moreover, Oulala is the first Daily Fantasy Football real second screen game. The customary process required clients to create their teams prior to the match and then come back when the match ended to see their results. In an effort to generate the closest experience of reality possible, we came up with an original process that enables customers to make live substitutions during the matches.

During Oulala’s team building process, there is also the option to pick six players that will remain on the bench. For instance, if Cristiano Ronaldo is currently playing however his performance after 28 minutes has been disappointing, a quick look at the benched players offers the customer the choice to sub in someone like Harry Kane instead, who will be playing with Tottenham in two hours’ time. Thus, in 2 hours’ time, the system will begin to take Kane’s stats into account from the 29th minute of his match. For this reason, Oulala’s customers tend to be rather active during the matches, constantly accessing their team on our site in order to keep up with the live results of their players and sub players if necessary.

As you can see, innovation is deeply ingrained in Oulala’s DNA and we are constantly finding new ways to optimize our game.

Last year in the 3rd Issue of our magazine, June-September, 2016 we published a rather long and interesting interview with you. I would like to ask you now to tell us about the changes, events, and bits of news that have happened since we last talked.

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Bollier: A number of positive things have happened. At the end of the last year we closed a new funding round of €1.35 million, coming from private investors. The DFS market is currently experiencing a consistent and rapid growth in Europe, which was confirmed by the deep interest from investors during this latest funding round. We are currently in talks with numerous iGaming operators, some of whom, with our help, will begin their own Daily Fantasy Football journey at the beginning of the next football season.

Furthermore, this year we became the first company to acquire the official controlled B2B skill games licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). This was an extremely important step in the right direction as we reached our goal that was set four years ago ‒ to be regulated separately from other iGaming activities. We are incredibly proud to be participating in the development of a licensing framework that regulates skill-based games, fantasy sports included. Malta is leading the way towards regulating DFS in Europe, and our hope is that other European regulators will gradually follow suit.

At this point in time we feel that it is important to talk about DFS and educate people on the different aspects of our sector, to avoid missing the opportunity to speak and spread the word about DFS, not only in Europe, but on other continents too. In fact, Benjamin Carlotti, Managing Director at Oulala, and I have spoken at over thirty conferences in the last eighteen months. For instance, I was recently among the speakers at the gaming events in Moscow and Macao, and was positively surprised when I saw local operators’ hunger for success. Their knowledge of our sector is impressive, and they are very open to new trends and new products.

Since our game is specialized in European football, wherein Oulala allows you to pick players from the English, Italian, Spanish and French leagues to form part of the same team, it will lead to great success worldwide. One has to understand that when it comes to football clubs, Europe is the epicentre of the world, where European teams include even the best Brazilian, Cameroonian, and South Korean players. Therefore, people across the entire globe will soon want to play on a European Fantasy Football platform. Operators should embrace it, and we at Oulala, are more than willing to show them our Turnkey, iFrame or API solution.

We know that in October, 2016 the monetised version of Oulala was launched and you succeeded to break into the UK market. What results and experiences can you share regarding this huge step in the history of the games?

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Bollier: We spent two years optimizing our game as a free version, which was a critical first step towards adapting an American concept to an international public and gathering evidence proving our game to be a real skill game. In October 2016 we launched Oulala as a monetized version on the UK market to run a beta test of our game for one season. This was crucial for us as it helped us prove that Oulala is robust, efficient, secure and sticky. We were able to gain over 25,000 customers in a just few months, proving that our game can create traction.

This was a necessary first step towards the launch of our real Business Model: becoming the leading B2B network specialized in Daily Fantasy Football.

In our previous interview you mentioned that you began building partnerships with iGaming operators in several countries. Can you name the countries you already have partnerships with?

Bollier: We have begun to develop partnerships with iGaming operators in several countries worldwide. We have a white label with Cardinal House Group, aiming for Australasia and India, and some African countries. We reached an agreement with a prominent partner, Game Interaction Group, who not only serves as our exclusive partner in Italy, but also helps us spread our operations to other European countries.

We will also announce two new deals in the next couples of days and will develop new iGaming partnerships at the start of the football season in August. We are also working towards launching new ones during the season, with partners from Asia, Africa, South America and, of course, Russia, the 2018 World Cup host.

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Are you planning to start partnerships with other countries in Europe as well and which are those?

Bollier: We are currently in discussion with numerous European operators, and we will build partnerships with those who are most convinced that rather than trying to impose their traditional offer on millennials, it is now time to offer the younger generations exactly what they are expecting: a skill and social game.

Will you please speak about the latest news in the DFS industry you consider worth sharing, and how this affects Oulala?

Bollier: In the past year we have seen the advent of new companies jumping onto the DFS bandwagon, particularly in Europe, and we look at it as good news for us since healthy competition is always beneficial for a sector. For instance, two DFS major players, FanDuel and DraftKings, are now both operating in the UK, while the latter was also able to acquire a controlled skill games licence from the MGA and announced their expansion to other countries, starting with Germany. As I have already mentioned, Malta’s regulatory framework for skill games, DFS included, is a game changer. It is a critically important step in creating a virtuous ecosystem for skill activities within Europe.

We are also pleased that sports betting operators are now understanding the true potential of DFS which can be seen in Unibet’s launch of a new DFS platform. More and more operators are joining the DFS train; Paddy Power Betfair, Betclic, SkyBet and dozens of smaller ones have already launched their DFS games. Moreover, even lottery providers and casino operators have begun to express their interest in DFS.

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I would be very interested – and I think our readers would too – to know more about the people who are behind the curtains, who created and have maintained this innovative and very successful fantasy sports platform. Will you please tell us more about them?

Bollier: Oulala’s story began in 2012 when I met Benjamin Carlotti, Co-founder and Managing Director of OulalaGames. He introduced me to the concept of fantasy sports, and soon after we put our heads together to create Oulala.

The entrepreneurial adventure is, above all, a human adventure and therefore the key factor to success is to have partners and collaborators that are passionate, honest and very hard working.

At Oulala we are lucky enough to have an amazing team and I can proudly say that everyone has direct input on our results.

Oulala, as I have already mentioned, is one of the most successful platforms in the market and this fact has been honoured with a lot of prizes. Congratulations for all! Which one do you consider the most important one and why?

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Bollier: Thank you for your kind words. It is always nice to have your hard work and dedication be acknowledged by others. I will never forget last December, when we received the award for the ”Best Fantasy Sports Product” by SBC Awards. We are extremely honoured and grateful to have received such an important award which only goes to show that we are on the right path towards fulfilling our vision of becoming the leading global daily fantasy network for football. This award is also true recognition of our team’s continuous dedication towards offering our B2B partners the very best fantasy football platform possible.

We have also got a ”2017 ICE Prophet” award from this year’s ICE displayed in our office, as well as an award given for the ”Data and Business Intelligence 2016 Idol of the Year” and the ”Tech Ambassadors for Malta” award which was given to Benjamin and me by the Malta Communications Authority. I must not forget to mention that Oulala was also a finalist for an eGaming Review (EGR) B2B Award for the ”Skill Games Supplier”, the ”Best Tech Startup” in the 2016 edition of MCA eBusiness Awards and ”Innovator of the year 2016” at the SiGMA Awards.

Which has been the most successful experience in the history of Oulala?

Bollier: I am certain that in the future, when we look back at Oulala’s first years, we will most certainly say that our most successful key factor was likely our opportune timing to market.

Having been the first to understand the worldwide success that a DFS game based on European football would bring provided us to with enough time to develop the most efficient game possible, without having to deal with any market pressure.

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In the same vein, being so ahead in understanding the desire younger generations hold to play differently enabled us to study them thoroughly and adapt our product to their exact needs.

Additionally, as one of the very first iGaming companies to deliver when it came to the pressing need to adapt and tailor our offer to such new expectations, we were able to position our brand in the sector’s mind as one of the ”millennials specialists”.

Thus, when the market transformed around the need to adopt a DFS product at the beginning of 2017, Oulala was perfectly positioned and benefited fully from its perfect timing on the market.

Please tell us about your future plans regarding Oulala.

Bollier: We are now working on gaining more traction in the B2B landscape so that we can solidify our chief position as the first DFS network specialised in European football.

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The post Exclusive Interview with Valery Bollier, co-founder and CEO of OulalaGames appeared first on Eastern European Gaming – News – Interviews – Legal Market Updates – Premium Reports – Events – Directory.


Source: EEGaming.

4Play

Fast Track Enters into Partnership with 4Play

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Fast Track, the leading player engagement platform built specifically for the iGaming industry, has partnered with 4Play, a dynamic and innovative gaming operator renowned for its exceptional player experiences in both casino and sports betting.

Launched in 2023, 4Play has rapidly gained recognition in the industry, primarily targeting the burgeoning Brazilian market. With a commitment to delivering unparalleled entertainment, 4Play offers its players a seamless experience in Portuguese, featuring popular gaming verticals such as casino and sports betting.

4Play’s decision to integrate Fast Track CRM comes as part of its strategic initiative to bolster player retention and streamline operations through advanced automation. Fast Track’s robust platform will enable 4Play to automate complex player journeys, ensuring each interaction is personalised and timely.

“We are excited to partner with Fast Track to elevate our player engagement strategies. Their innovative approach to CRM and their commitment to creating individualised player experiences align perfectly with our vision for 4Play. We look forward to leveraging their platform to enhance our player retention and operational efficiency,” Mateus Ihering, Chief Operating Officer of 4Play, said.

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Fast Track’s CRM platform, recognised for its real-time data capabilities and comprehensive automation suite, will support 4Play in achieving its business goals. By automating player communications and optimising the registration journey, 4Play aims to significantly increase its number of depositors while maintaining a high level of engagement among its 148,000 monthly active users.

Simon Lidzén, Co-Founder and CEO of Fast Track, said: “We are delighted to welcome 4Play into the Fast Track family. Their innovative spirit and dedication to providing top-tier player experiences make them an ideal partner. Together, we will set new standards in player engagement and retention, ensuring that 4Play continues to thrive in the competitive iGaming landscape.”

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Andrés Tamayo

Pragmatic Play Enhances FullReto Partnership with Virtual Sports Addition

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Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, has reinforced its commitment to Latin American expansion by strengthening its existing relationship with Colombian operator FullReto.

The latest agreement will see FullReto offer its players a broad selection of Pragmatic Play’s unique Virtual Sports titles, building on an already extensive offering of over 300 Slots and Live Casino games.

Fantastic League, Greyhound Racing, and the thrilling motor racing-themed Force 1 are among the games now available to FullReto customers as the operator looks to capitalise on the rapidly increasing popularity of Virtual Sports to consolidate its position as a leading platform in Colombia.

The multi-product partnership reaffirms Pragmatic Play’s intentions to expand its offering in the LatAm markets, with FullReto now offering a vast catalogue of Pragmatic’s award-winning games across three verticals.

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Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “Pragmatic Play is delighted to reinforce its partnership with FullReto by providing its players with access to its renowned Virtual Sports games. The deal not only emphasises Pragmatic Play’s desire to provide Colombian players with an exciting online gaming experience, but also demonstrates the supplier’s dedication to furthering its Latin American expansion.”

Andrés Tamayo, General Manager at FullReto, said: “FullReto’s continued collaboration with Pragmatic Play highlights our main objective of supplying the optimal player experience. The addition of Pragmatic Play’s Virtual Sports offering, on top of its Slots and Live Casino games, will ensure FullReto players have access to hundreds of fan-favourite games across a variety of verticals.”

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Alonso Huiman

Pragmatic Play Launches Live Casino Offer at Atlantic City

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Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, has expanded its Live Casino footprint across Peru after going live with major local operator, Atlantic City.

The partnership sees Pragmatic Play’s full Live Casino portfolio integrated with the operator, enabling players in Peru to enjoy market-leading titles such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat from the supplier’s award-winning portfolio.

This latest agreement showcases Pragmatic Play’s plans for growth in LatAm, exhibiting an array of its verticals across multiple territories in recent months. It is the latest deal signed by Pragmatic Play with a Peruvian operator, following a comprehensive growth strategy in the country.

Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “Atlantic City is one of Peru’s most reputable operators and offers another opportunity to showcase the Pragmatic Play Live Casino portfolio in Peru. With an offering that will deliver exceptional gaming experiences to players, this partnership promises to cement Pragmatic Play’s position at the forefront of the Peruvian iGaming industry.”

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Alonso Huiman, Chief of Online Casino at Atlantic City, said: “This landmark agreement with Pragmatic Play is a pivotal moment for us. Its vast selection of table and card games will resonate seamlessly with our player base and we are confident that this will propel our brand to new heights.”

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