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PROFILE WHO’S WHO | Benedict McDonagh This month: Green Jade Games’ Managing Director


How did you first get involved with the gaming industry?


Growing up in England, gambling and iGaming is an integrated form of entertainment. From home games of poker to bingo in the local Church hall and Saturday afternoons in the bookies. I’ve always enjoyed gambling and when a friend invited me to interview with Betfair in 2005, I leapt at the chance.


Favourite…


What attracted you to this sector? I felt that even though gambling as an activity is thousands of years old, there was still such an opportunity to deliver brand new entertainment and experiences to players. Talking to customers in my early years educated me on the strength of passion held for gambling and iGaming, reinforcing my opinion.


Food: Big fan of food. Favourite meal is Kedgeree, favourite chocolate bar is the humble Snickers and favourite snack is a crisp sandwhich. However, I try and live by some of Mark Sisson’s principals of his Primal Blueprint lifestyle so my food profile is more like courgettes spiralled into pasta shapes, dark chocolate so bitter your tongue contracts and ‘bread’ that is actually spinach compacted into an oven dish and cut into ‘slices’.


What were you doing prior to the gaming industry?


Before I found my home in iGaming, I spent a little time living and working in Melbourne, delivering furniture to show homes and before that, I was managing retail outlets selling aftermarket car body parts and accessories in the South East of England.


What are you responsible for in your current position?


“I loved that forklift”


My responsibilities include the development of our game intellectual property from concept to live, the defining and managing of our strategy, the fiscal governance of all operations and everything in between. We’re a small outfit here so everyone gets involved with nearly all elements of the business which is great as the fruits of our labour taste all the better knowing what went into the development.


What have been the biggest industry changes you’ve seen in your time?


I’ve been blessed with a successful career at industry transformative companies such as Betfair (now PaddyPower-Betfair) and PokerStars (now The Stars Group). Being part of the betting exchange revolution provided me with an education I couldn’t have had elsewhere. It taught me that success doesn’t have to come from copying someone else’s blueprint. You can carve out a niche that moves mainstream through it being a better solution than existing options. It’s hard to remember a time before mobile almost now, but I was in the industry well before mobile was delivering any significant revenues. These along with improved regulation and player protection initiatives are the major changes.


What are the biggest positive factors for your sector right now?


I’m hugely excited about the fringes of our sector. We know that there is an unfathomably large audience of customers not being catered to right now, due to the limitation of game genres and styles, and these customers are ready to have their attention captured through the development of the right product. I’m talking about the social game players who already play lottery and buy scratch cards but aren’t interested in ‘casino’, and the ever growing eSports audience that have yet to be efficiently monetised.


And what are the negatives ones – the obstacles to growth?


I would say that competition for player attention has never been as great as it is now. I know from my own behaviour and that of my peers and friends, that we have all changed our relationship to content and entertainment on demand. The gambling industry


68 APRIL 2019 CIO


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