Mark Allison is the Chief Commercial Officer at Extreme Live Gaming, a live casino provider whose distinct X branding may be familiar to you. Founded by Darwyn Palenzuela in 2013, this company’s innovative enhancements to the classic table games you know and love make it stand out.
I spoke with Mark at SiGMA 2017, in Malta, where we got a behind the lens look at Extreme Live Gaming and his thoughts on how affiliates and operators should build better relationships for their mutual benefit as well as that of players.
Can you tell us about your role at Extreme Live Gaming and how it fits in with the company’s wider goals?
My title is Chief Commercial Officer, and I look after three different teams – account management/marketing, sales and business development. As we continue to grow, our focus is to expand our distribution and increase development. We’ll be adding new products by working with partners and sister companies to make our games more available, more attractive and ultimately drive revenue.
Do you think dedicated affiliate sites such as LiveCasino.com offer any benefits to providers?
I believe affiliates have strong and in-depth knowledge on how players view the games and what their strengths are. However, this information is not necessarily coming back to us, the provider. It’s difficult to say whether that is because of the user journey or the current commercial model but it’s something that should be explored. We have identified this, but have yet to devise the mechanisms to develop a two-way relationship that fosters knowledge-sharing. It’s certainly something I have on my agenda and will begin discussing with affiliates in the near future.
Which part(s) of your live casino offering would you say makes Extreme Live Gaming stand out over other providers?
In short, it’s the extra in-game features, beyond Extreme’s exceptional quality, that makes us unique, be it through slots add-ons, leaderboards or others. There are three areas I’m most pleased with.
The first one that comes to mind is Reel King Roulette, a Novomatic product, where players can place roulette side bets on slot symbols and play a mini game simultaneously. The second is Golden Ball Roulette, our signature product. It is an engaging, presenter-style offering with an in-game leaderboard that enters top players to a free draw for prizes after a certain number of rounds. This table also pioneered green screen technology with its customisable 360° background. Last but not least is our one-of-a-kind, configurable leaderboard product that is an operator favourite. It’s completely customisable, so an online casino can set it to run based on turnover, profit, a point system – their options are almost endless.
What would you say is the most rewarding and challenging part of creating a live casino product?
Having previously worked in similar roles with slots and RNG games, I’ve found that the most rewarding thing about live casino is working in a dynamic environment with real people. In the slots business, developers create say 10 to 12 slots per year. Once a game is complete, it’s tested, put out and that’s it.
But a live dealer offering is never really finished. The delivery is always fresh – every minute, every hour and every day. It’s what a croupier can give players through their personality, knowledge and interactions that sets each round apart. And then matching that with what’s happening in the wider gaming world, whether it’s the use of land-based streaming or speedier roulette products, is also crucial. And you’ve got to get everything right – it’s live after all. Essentially bringing all these concepts I’ve mentioned together with real people is the very best thing. And as far as challenges go, when you’re working with people, you’re always dealing with aspects that both enrich and test you.
Is there anything that you would like to see from affiliates like us or anything you think we could do to support you?
At this point we don’t have all the insight we need to make our product as good as it can be. Affiliates have more knowledge of the live dealer product at their disposal and I’m really keen to explore that. The operator-affiliate relationship is well-defined and I’d like to see the provider-affiliate relationship on the same par.