HomeIn-depthMatej Novota: "The range of casino's assessed parameters has expanded to approximately 300"

Matej Novota: "The range of casino's assessed parameters has expanded to approximately 300"

11 min. read
Matej Novota, Casino Guru Insiders interview.

Matej Novota, the Head of Data & Complaints at Casino Guru, leads a dedicated team focused on gathering, assessing, and updating essential casino data. Alongside managing the Complaint Resolution Center, he diligently tackles players' concerns from across the globe, ensuring seamless resolutions of online casino issues.

In this interview, Matej recounts his journey at Casino Guru, sharing insights on forming his 35-member team (and still hiring) – a humble start that has since flourished. He candidly reveals the key ingredients that foster success within his team and sheds light on ongoing improvements.

How did Matej's role evolve over time? What has kept him dedicated to his work? What sets Casino Guru apart in the gambling industry and why does it matter? Let's read into his own words!

Q: Matej, you have been with Casino Guru almost since its foundation. What did Casino Guru look like in the beginning? How did you fit into its structure?

I got into Casino Guru completely by accident and quite simply – in 2016 I answered an ad. It was the only job that offered working remotely and that’s why I chose it. However, what led me to that point is quite interesting. Previously, I had been employed at a large telecommunications company where I gained valuable experience, but I eventually discovered that my work wasn't being noticed or appreciated, and it was frustrating. I wanted to work in a company where I could make a difference, instead of following outdated practices. So, I made the decision to leave.

Fortunately, I received a generous severance package that provided financial security for a few months. In order to clear my mind and address some health issues, I made the decision to assist a friend and took a job in Switzerland. Initially, my responsibilities involved herding cows, but eventually, I transitioned into becoming a cheese producer. During this period, I also held a part-time position at Casino Guru, utilizing my IT background, where I had achieved a minor doctorate.

Q: When and how did you start working at Casino Guru full time?

Eventually, my group of colleagues and friends in Switzerland disbanded, and I was at that time newly married, so it was time for another change. Coincidentally, Casino Guru was also undergoing exciting developments during that time, experiencing gradual growth and prosperity. Recognizing the company's need for expansion, the directors approached me with a full-time job offer, which I accepted. Approximately a year later, we initiated the recruitment process to bring in new team members who required training. We reached an agreement with the directors that I would establish and lead my own team, imparting my knowledge to them. This allowed us to delegate responsibilities and focus on new projects.

Q: What did the aforementioned gradual growth look like?

To begin with, we welcomed two students into our team, and one of them, Jozef Krucay, has grown to become my deputy and right-hand man. In the subsequent round of hiring, we added two more colleagues who remain with us today. This gradual expansion led us to eventually divide the team into two specialized units: the Data Team and the Complaint Team, as Petronela Kontos, our Complaints Team Lead, highlights in her interview.

At that time, we encountered numerous players reaching out to us with specific issues, and we made consistent efforts to assist them. However, we soon realized that without a proper complaint handling system in place, our effectiveness would be compromised. Traditional methods such as email communication and Excel spreadsheets fell short of our needs. Hence, we devised a new structure, which later evolved into the Complaint Resolution Center that exists today.

Q: How did you contribute to the evolution of the Complaint Resolution Center?

The entire Complaint Resolution Center, and consequently my team, is like my brainchild, my major project. I have been instrumental in developing the entire framework and mechanism that we operate on. From handling individual cases and complaints to shaping our comprehensive corporate approach and decision-making processes, I have played a significant role in the entire process. However, I don't want to come across as egocentric, as it's not solely my achievement. There were several other talented and competent individuals who collaborated on this project.

Together, we have created something remarkable within the online gambling industry – a successful complaint system that facilitates direct communication with players. Our system is transparent both internally and externally, and the fact that we currently process around 1,000 complaints each month is a testament to our effectiveness.

Q: How did the team that you now lead gradually form? How many of you are there and what do you do?

Currently, we have a team of approximately 35 members, and we recently welcomed a new addition to our ranks. Whenever we find a suitable candidate, I am thrilled and make every effort to teach them as much as possible in a short span of time. Despite our dedicated efforts, we are still understaffed considering the magnitude of our work, and I am eager to expand my team further. However, we are highly selective in our hiring process, seeking individuals who meet stringent criteria.

On the flip side, we offer our employees a multitude of interesting and unique opportunities, along with an excellent team environment where they can enjoy themselves and receive ample support. Since we work collaboratively as both the Complaint Team and the Data Team, we assist each other in various tasks, with overlapping competencies. The primary focus of the Complaint Team is to resolve player complaints, while the Data Team is responsible for collecting and updating casino information.

As the Data Team gets closer to reaching the ideal number of monthly updates, the Complaint Team comes around and snatches up people from the Data Team, who are keen on complaint-solving. This cycle keeps repeating as our Data Team leader, Peter, starts recruiting all over again. It's like a never-ending wave, a sinusoidal ride that everyone else benefits from, except poor Peter [laughter].

Q: What do you like best about this collaboration?

Probably the fact that I have the privilege of leading an incredible team. When I engage with my team members, they often express their appreciation for the positive work environment we have created. Respectful communication is a norm, and we value open discussions and democratic decision-making. While I hold the right of veto for instances where I strongly disagree, our general approach is to decide things collectively. This includes planning our teambuildings, which we always aim to make enjoyable and budget friendly. We want to maximize the number of trips we take together and ensure that everyone has a great time.

Q: What is the current content of your work? And how does it differ from the duties you had at the beginning?

When I initially joined, my role primarily involved entering casinos into our database, which was relatively straightforward. However, as time passed, my responsibilities began to expand. Once I settled into the office with my team, I found myself overseeing their work, providing guidance, and stepping into a leadership position. I delegated certain tasks to other team members, which left me with the more challenging cases due to my experience.

Essentially, I continue to handle the most complex complaints and maintain communication with casinos and partners regarding any irregularities. Additionally, I offer assistance to my colleagues with their cases. As the overall functioning of the Complaint Resolution Center falls under my purview, I make decisions concerning Casino Guru's progress and propose systems to enhance our daily operations.

My position requires significant time and energy, and my thoughts often revolve around work even when I'm not physically present. However, the great news is that I genuinely enjoy my role and I feel appreciated. Unlike before, where implementing ideas was challenging, at Casino Guru, there is space for professional growth. Ideas I propose receive attention and thoughtful consideration. We actively explore and implement ideas, propelling us forward swiftly.

Q: Can you give an example of a complex complaint that you managed to resolve?

One example I often use is when a casino accused a group of more than 30 players of fraud due to their shared IP addresses. The casino's suspicion was triggered by one player's significant winnings. However, upon closer examination, it was clear to me that the players in question had no prior knowledge of each other's existence. Their playing habits were distinct, with no systematic approach, simultaneous gameplay, or shared strategies. They even engaged in different games and held separate accounts. On top of that, these players had actually incurred net losses, making the fraud accusation baseless.

Despite operating under the same IP address, presumably using a VPN, their distinct playing behavior left the casino with insufficient grounds to block them. I meticulously conveyed these findings to the casino through a detailed analysis, emphasizing the disparities and debunking the alleged conspiracy. Eventually, the casino recognized its error and rectified the situation. One player received their rightful winnings, and the accounts of the other participants were unblocked.

Q: You mentioned earlier that your work for Casino Guru started with updating casinos in the database – why is it important to have the largest and most up-to-date database of online casinos?

In contrast to many affiliate sites that selectively promote specific casinos, we have chosen a different approach. Our mission is to thoroughly evaluate as many casinos as possible. As time has passed, the range of parameters we assess has expanded to approximately 300. While not all parameters directly influence the rating, they enable us to conduct retrospective evaluations or reassess a casino's position.

Currently, our primary focus lies in conducting detailed analyses of terms and conditions, a practice we didn't engage in previously. The overarching goal is to provide players with comprehensive and current information about the casinos they consider visiting. Our dedication to offering complete and up-to-date insights sets us apart in the industry.

Q: Why are you currently focusing on terms and conditions when analyzing casinos?

Through our practical experience, we have learned that unfair or ambiguous terms and conditions often lead to issues for players. As a result, our team diligently examines these documents and proactively alerts players about potential pitfalls. For instance, we have come across casinos that include clauses such as "we reserve the right to terminate our operations at any time, seize all funds, and it is deemed acceptable under our rules". We meticulously consider such unfair approaches during our casino evaluations and strive to maintain transparency.

Furthermore, we are actively working on a feature that will display specific unfair conditions directly within each casino review, accompanied by explanations of why these conditions are unjust and what fair terms should entail. Currently, we briefly indicate the presence of unfair conditions in our reviews, and we are in the process of providing concrete examples to supplement this information.

Q: How would you say that working for Casino Guru has enriched you?

Working for Casino Guru is an absolute love affair for me. It's not just a job that fulfills me and where Iexcel – it's a place where I can continuously grow and express myself. The added bonus is the freedom it provides, allowing me to travel extensively while collaborating with truly inspiring individuals. But perhaps the most incredible aspect is that I genuinely enjoy going to work every day. There's no grumbling when my alarm rings; instead, I eagerly anticipate Mondays, excited to hear my colleagues' weekend adventures and to collectively prepare for the week ahead.

This interview is part of Casino Guru Insiders, a series of interviews during which experts from Casino Guru share their unique workflow, reveal insider information, and offer an exclusive overview of experience packed know-how.

22 Jun 2023
11 min. read
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