HomeIn-depthRelax Gaming CEO Simon Hammon: Suppliers need to up their NA game to be considered Tier 1

Relax Gaming CEO Simon Hammon: Suppliers need to up their NA game to be considered Tier 1

7 min. read
Simon Hammon, SBC Summit Barcelona 2022

Casino Guru News was very happy to catch up with one of the industry’s biggest names during the SBC Summit Barcelona 2022. We had the opportunity to speak with Simon Hammon, Relax Gaming’s CEO, and talked about how he was settling into his new job and what his immediate thoughts about the industry were.

He offered insight into how Relax Gaming manages to balance between aggregating third-party content and pushing its own brand of excellent games. Simon offered a few insights into the dynamics of the industry and how some suppliers may struggle in the coming months. As to Relax Gaming, Simon was confident that the company is in a very strong position.

Q: You stepped in as company CEO in July, what have been some of your priorities at Relax Gaming?

I have been involved with Relax for five years - it’s been a busy start! I think the bulk of my duties have surrounded the new markets we have been entering and keeping the roadmap on track; in a nutshell, trying to capitalise on what we do well, and get my head around all the other parts of the business.

Q:There has been so much going on this year with Relax Gaming. Is there really a limit to how far Silver Bullet and Powered By Relax can go in terms of content aggregation?

Our aggregation programmes have been growing fast. We now have numerous partners live and there are still several suppliers that I would like us to team up with. Of course, there is the acknowledgment that operators also have a cap in terms of how much content they want, but for the moment I think we are keen to continue adding more companies to our portfolio. There are a lot of new localised suppliers, innovation, and well, there is nothing to really stop growth right now.

Q: With so many partnerships with third parties, how has Relax Gaming’s own signature development process been going?

We keep our business streamlined. We’re often asked how our own development arm is impacted when we promote other studios. Our business model supports the expansion of both parties and despite the competitiveness of today’s market, our own content is doing very well. I would confidently say that our games are some of the best-performing in the industry today, so the fact we are also an aggregation company hasn’t changed our focus or how we build successful products. We have some big titles coming through just like Money Train 3, which has enjoyed phenomenal success since launch, and we hope to see our partners succeed as well.

Q: What remains to be done throughout 2022 in terms of fulfilling your strategic goals for the year?

There are two main goals that we are pushing to complete by the end of the year. We really want to achieve new market entries – an area we focused on heavily this year. The second is the launch of a new product that we are launching very soon. All in all, those are the big signature items for the rest of the year.

Q: Can you highlight some of the biggest achievements for the company this year?

The creation of Dream Drop Jackpots and Money Train 3 stand out as two landmark achievements for 2022. Both these projects were a labour of love and we’re so pleased with how our audiences have received them. Expanding our global footprint to the extent we have this year is also a highlight for Relax and we’ll continue on this journey of rapid market expansion for years to come.

Q: You entered the Italian market with PokerStars in April. Can you tell us a little more about your operations there?

Since entering the market, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring our options and getting to know our audience. We’re looking to sign more partnerships in the region and target the area effectively, but we will be dedicating more time to analysing this new jurisdiction before sharing our plans.

Q: How have you been enjoying the regulated gambling market in Ontario so far?

The market is doing very well so far and we have already signed over 20 of the operators that are there. I can say that we have a good share of pocket in that market right now and it serves as a good baseline for the North American entry strategy that we have in place. In a way, we use it to gauge further North American success, but Ontario itself is proving to be a strong market in its own right. However, it’s early days to make any predictions and a lot still remains to be seen.

Q: What is your general outlook for iGaming in Ontario, Canada, and North America in general?

Everyone is talking about the North American market and a lot of European suppliers, including ourselves, are looking at it aggressively. I think in the next 18 months we’ll see that if a supplier isn’t in the US, it won’t be regarded as a Tier 1 or a viable supplier. We are pushing hard in the market, and we think that the prospects of joining are starting to become feasible. There is a lot of opportunity to be had there and we’re excited to go and make ourselves known doing what we do best.

Q: What markets do you want to explore in the coming months?

Greece is another jurisdiction that we are looking at quite aggressively. We are keen to expand in Latin America, but it’s still quite early to take any major steps. In the coming months, we will continue to build on our most recent focal points, such as Spain, and continue driving the Latin American model. There is a lot to be done here, so it’s unlikely that we’ll be making any landmark entries in other areas for the time being.

Q: Can you make one bold prediction about the industry in the coming months and your place in it?

Unfortunately, my answer is not the most optimistic. I believe that we will see a lot of suppliers struggling in the coming months, and a few businesses actually collapsing. Competition is only getting tougher and there are a lot of suppliers who are struggling with how fierce the landscape has become. Some will find that the market is no longer viable for them. Relax Gaming is in a strong position as a top-tier supplier, but others may not find it easy in the coming months.

30 Sep 2022
7 min. read
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