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Interview with Pierre Lindh, Co-founder & Managing Director at NEXT.io

By News

The iGaming market is experiencing a phase of great development and, by its very nature, reflects a sector in perpetual evolution and change due to its receptiveness to technological innovation. Right now, the main obstacle to the further development of the sector, in Italy as in Europe, is excessive regulations that are not aimed at increasing the safety of operators and players. We delved into these issues with Pierre Lindh, co-founder and managing director of NEXT.io, a content-driven events, media and publishing company that delivers news and insight to investors and iGaming professionals.

Mr. Lindh, what do you think are the main trends in online gaming at a European level?

The main trend which is shaping the industry at the moment is the division between operators either choosing to become highly regulated or move towards the grey. This is the result of over regulation in recent years, which is dividing the industry. It puts the industry in a difficult spot, where instead of uniting and fighting for common goals, the industry is becoming more divided.

As you know, Cuiprodest is leading a major campaign to enable shared liquidity in online poker in Italy. As an outside observer, what do you see as the risks and benefits for any country in allowing shared liquidity?

As an old online poker player from the 00’s, shared liquidity was standard across the board. For online poker to thrive, good liquidity is essential. This becomes very difficult to achieve, especially for smaller operators when various geo’s gets ringfenced. I don’t see any reason to ringfence online poker. It’s not good for the players, it’s not good for the operators.

The upcoming Next event in Malta will be held in May. What are your expectations and what will be the main topics covered during the event?

We’ve been blown away from the interest in NEXT: Valletta this year, which is taking place 15-16th May, but really and truly it is a festival week with many events taking place Monday-Friday. We are expanding this year and are expecting a sold out crowd of 5000 delegates, using the entire Mediterranean Center including the rooftop terrace for a chill spring vibe, the La Vallette hall for a cool and futuristic UNconference space including entertainment areas, a new personal development stage because iGaming professionals don’t just only want to hear talks about iGaming, and many more news. It will be the most enjoyable and valuable summit of the industry!

Cuiprodest has launched IGiPA, an initiative that several large gaming operators have already joined, aimed at representing the interests of B2B operators. In your opinion, what is the contribution that B2B operators make to the market in terms of innovation, new games creation and business volume?

When I joined Betsson back in 2011, most things were done in-house. This was before there was an expansive supplier network. Tech was slow and basic, reactivation was suboptimal, the availability of games was limited (we only worked with two suppliers, Microgaming & NetEnt. That was it). Today, there are thousands of suppliers all making the industry better in their own way. They are the backbone of the industry and without them, the industry would not be able to exist, especially in the day and age of more strict compliance and in a time where consumers are demanding less friction and more creative ways to engage with the products.

In your opinion, do new technologies, such as AI and cryptocurrencies, predominantly represent a risk factor or an opportunity for the industry to seize?

Clearly emerging tech like AI & crypto represents a huge opportunity for the industry. Often stigmatised industries by nature are most open to experimentation and innovation and that is certainly true for iGaming. We are never shy to experiment with emerging technologies to find better ways to offer our products to customers. Through experimentation you get an important trial and error process, which eventually lead to break throughs. It is not a surprise to me that the gambling industry is at the forefront of crypto currency innovation and serves as one of the most prominent use cases today. This is one of the reasons why I love the industry, we are never scared of trying new things.