Zohrab Karapetyan, Sportsbook Product Manager at Digitain, says the company’s adoption of the business philosophy of “kaizen” has been a key driver of its success amidst a constantly changing operating environment.
Zohrab Karapetyan joined TotoGaming as a pre-match and live betting trader in 2007, after graduating with a Masters in mathematics. He progressed through various trading roles until promoted to a sportsbook development position for the Digitain sportsbook platform in 2018. Since 2020, Zohrab has been responsible for the sportsbook product roadmap strategy.
“At Digitain, we believe in ‘kaizen’, that is continually improving our sportsbook’s features for the benefits of our partners and their customers’ experiences,” reveals sportsbook product manager Zohrab Karapetyan during a recent interview with IGB.
Kaizen is a Japanese term, meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement”. It’s a business philosophy that encourages any employee of a company to make improvements to the company’s business, product or services, regardless of their function or seniority. It’s a central model that companies such as Toyota, Canon and Nestle have sworn by to get them where they are today.
“In 2020 we re-prioritised our roadmap in order to mitigate any impact from Covid-19 on our partner’s revenues by quickly integrating new products”, says Karapetyan.
These initiatives included an upgrade to the company’s esports product by the integration of three new suppliers, the building of a dedicated esports area and even the launch of its own esports brand, CyberMasters, focused on eFootball and eBasketball. All of this was brought about at a time when the halting of traditional sport tournaments left a gaping hole in the market.
During the pandemic, the company also launched an industry first – its own live Table Football product featuring over 3,000 live events per month with over 60 in-play markets, driven by its own algorithms.
Thus, despite the impact of the pandemic, the number of live events offered by Digitain actually doubled from 35,000 per month to 70,000, thanks to this integration of a fantasy live feed.
But it took many years for Digitain to get where it is today, says Karapetyan. In fact, the company initially established itself as an operator of retail betting shops in the 90s, before making a transition into a sportsbook platform provider a decade later.
“Digitain has a long history in sports betting, as it began life in the 90’s as one of the largest betting shop operators in Armenia. With that experience, technology know-how and with a skilled team of traders, it made sense to expand its business to become a platform and sportsbook provider later in 2000s.
“We believe in working collaboratively with our partners and that their success is our success. One of the challenges that new entrants experience with some sportsbook and platform suppliers is feeling like a small fish in a big pond. With our background as operators, we understand the challenges of building a successful sportsbook operation and we are in a great position to help our new partners develop and flourish.”
Fast forwarding to 2021, Karapetyan says the company aims to continually add value to its sportsbook offering. Recent innovations include its new fast and furious football markets, where customers can bet on what will happen first in the next five minutes or, even more exciting, in the next minute.
“Will there be a free kick, a throw-in, a penalty or even a corner? I think these will be very popular with in-play fans,” he said.
“We’ve also added some great new football bonuses to the platform, already popular with our partners’ customers, including a Best of Both Worlds Accumulator bonus where winning bets get boosted and losing ones benefit from cashback.”
Customisation, adaptability key
For sportsbook operators looking to navigate this unpredictable period, Karapetyan says the key for operators is to ensure that they are getting a flexible, configurable solution, easily integrated, which they can use to stand-out in their marketplace.
They also need to ensure that their subsequent development requirements can be supported by their supplier.
“The sportsbook solution needs to come with a comprehensive set of tools to allow the operator to drive revenues. Marketing tools such as an AI-powered CRM system, that Digitain offers, are extremely useful for retaining and reactivating customers, and managing trading risk. Importantly the CRM solution also is a key tool in identifying potential problem gambling behaviour, enabling early intervention by operators.”
“In terms of customisation of their products, our sportsbook allows our partners to specify their trading strategy and implement the competitiveness of the margins they want to operate at, by sport, event and market.”
“From a marketing point of view, we have a Client Area, which we support with promotional buttons, banners and other assets that operators can download and adapt to use across their channels.”
“Other marketing tools and services available to our partners include our new CRM application, an affiliate system as well as a comprehensive free bets and bonus tool. These three features alone are key for operators to differentiate themselves and to compete. For operators, new to the industry, we also offer marketing support and advice, if required.”
The next step
Over the next 12 to 24 months, Karapetyan says the company will be focusing on growing its geographical footprint and furthering its partner networks in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The company will continue to build on its sportsbook product, adding new content and building up its live betting capabilities whilst engaging in its esports product, Cyber Masters.
“We have a couple of big-ticket developments on our sports roadmap, which I’m sure will delight our partners, but unfortunately, I’ll have to leave you wondering for now… Watch this space!”