Aiste Garneviciene: Reflecting on BetGames 2021 milestones
2021 has been filled with several milestones for BetGames, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Aiste Garneviciene told SBC News. But as we edge closer to the new year, it’s full steam ahead for the live games supplier as it seeks to expand into new markets.
Reflecting on the last 12 months, Garneviciene discussed how Lotto Reloaded has been received by partners before explaining why socialising defines her leadership style – more so since the pandemic.
SBC: How has Lotto Reloaded been received so far?
Lotto Reloaded is based on the most successful products in our portfolio – our Lucky lottery series. Back in 2012, when BetGames was first getting started, we launched Lucky7, which has proven to be our flagship product since. Following that, we continued to add unique twists on the game every year, with Lucky5 and Lucky6 continuing with that legacy.
As we constantly strive for excellence and pour that into new products that can engage and excite our players, we’re always looking to evolve what we have to offer. Looking back at the last few years, there’s been plenty of work to update, refurbish and upgrade our world-class games to deliver something unique and new.
Lotto Reloaded was, of course, no exception and for us it was a natural evolution of our continued progression as a company – fantastically received by our friends, partners and players across all global markets we operate in.
Looking back, I’m delighted with the performance, as the outcome has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had these refurbished games running for a few months now and am pleased to say that the KPIs have increased by more than 30%. It has been a thoroughly successful refurbishment of our portfolio.
One area I’m particularly proud of is how we’ve created a reloaded product that can strike the perfect balance across the multiple channels we serve. We’re hugely popular across global markets in both retail and online, particularly in South Africa, so it was essential to create an experience that can match betting trends across both. It was key for us to make the right improvements, such as with draw frequencies, that ensured our partners were able to entertain and engage across each sector.
SBC: Earlier in the year, you opened a new office in Malta. Why is this the perfect location for BetGames? And how do you plan to use this new hub to support existing customers across established territories, as well fuel your expansion plans for new markets?
We had been considering this option for a while, because while BetGames has spread internationally and is now operating as a global company, we only had a local presence in a handful of countries. One area we were keen to address was our lack of a hub in Malta and given our growth, it was something we wanted to change.
Malta has earned the status as one of the world’s key iGaming capitals and most of our customers have representatives based there, so having a presence on the island was a natural decision to make sure we are closer to our partners. Now we can meet them more frequently, and especially taking into account the COVID period, it has reinforced how important it is to have face to face meetings.
The second reason, of course, is because BetGames simply keeps expanding not only in the operational markets, but also in new regions too. Our headquarters are here in Vilnius, Lithuania, where there aren’t that many gaming companies so having a hub in Malta presents us with greater opportunities to leverage the talent pool that resides there.
SBC: I wanted to touch upon the SBC Leader of the Year award which you received back in December 2020. What would you say are the defining characteristics of your leadership style?
For me, it’s all about being pragmatic and establishing a realistic view of the world and the vision we have. I’m a simple person and from a country and culture that values honesty, so I always endeavor to be as authentic as I can be with my team. In my experience, pretending to be something that you’re not will always lead to negative outcomes in the long term. I’m a true believer in encouraging people to be themselves, as that’s where true creativity, and indeed integrity, will always flourish.
Throughout my career, I’ve been faced with different management styles, so, as you can imagine, I have always looked to learn from the best approaches and adopted the elements that I feel work and resonate – and tailored that to myself.
I also believe it’s essential to be approachable and personable with your team. Something that I have tried to make sure happens is that even on my busiest days, if my team comes to knock on my door to chat, I put everything away and spend that time listening to them. I’m a big believer in socialising – as at the end of the day, we are all human beings, we need to be able to speak – and listen – to one another. That not only applies to our team, but also to our customers.
The last 10 years of our success, and indeed, my career development, wouldn’t have been possible without one of my greatest inspirations, and I’m really grateful to our founder Vygerdas Jonikas who has been a perfect leader and mentor for me. I have really learned a lot from him and adopted elements of his management style.
SBC: You mentioned that socialising has been a major part of your leadership style, however face-to-face contact has been limited throughout the pandemic. Has your leadership style changed because of this?
Of course it has! It’s quite easy to solve problems when meeting face to face, right? But that all changes when you’re trying to communicate with people via Zoom, Teams etc. It’s considerably harder to gauge just how someone is truly feeling, how people are reacting to what you’re saying.
We’ve used these online meetings to help iron out any issues and continue that working relationship, but it can be very difficult. I think we have all realised just how important it was to meet in person.
I have probably had to make much more of an effort than ever before to show attention to my team. We have been initiating different arrangements to make sure we are showing that we care – for example, we organised deliveries for employees, and even a remote party too to keep things fun for everyone!
I’m really happy that we’re able to meet face-to-face again, and we have events returning for the gaming industry. We saw that in Barcelona – which was the first main industry event after 18 months – people were just really excited to meet up with each other.
SBC: Finally, what can we expect from BetGames in 2022? Can you give us a sneak peak of any major announcements?
I can’t give too much away, but I promise that we’re going to be delivering something really exciting in 2022! I can tell you that this will be the next big thing for BetGames – we are planning on replicating our success from what we did back in 2012 when we first introduced the company to the industry.
This time, however, I feel like what we have in store is going to be even more groundbreaking. We are all incredibly excited, and I have great confidence in our plans for 2022. I really hope – actually, I expect – that end users will also be very excited, so do watch this space
In addition to our top-secret plan, we also plan on maintaining the successes of our current portfolio. I can say that we are going to be split into different verticals – so there’s BetGames’ current portfolio and then a totally new vertical which we are going to introduce next year. As well as this, we’re also going to spend time improving and simplifying our UX/UI and iFrame accessibility for our end users.
One other thing that we have planned for 2022 is to continue delivering our bespoke solutions to our partners. We’re all about customising what we deliver to each of our operators based on their exact needs, whether that’s bespoke solutions for the Polish market, or indeed any of the other multiple global jurisdictions that we serve. I’m so excited to see just how many tier-one clients are now approaching us for tailored deliveries as the quality of our products are really speaking for themselves.