17 March, 2021

Onward & Upward

Trafficology catches up with Thomas Azzopardi, head of affiliates for AFFMore, to discuss new launches, industry changes and how the pandemic has had an impact on daily life

How has AFFMore developed since you joined five years ago?
I saw AFFMore being launched with LuckyDino when it was just a few months old, in a small office with only a few members of staff. Since then, I have seen it evolve into a success story. The number of employees has increased, and the company has grown month after month and year after year, delivering more brands, now totalling four casino sites LuckyDino, CasinoJefe, KalevalaKasino and Olaspill.

We have also recently been acquired by EEG (Esports Entertainment Group), a NASDAQ listed company, running Esports and holding a Maltese, UK, and Ireland casino licence. We have now stepped into the big game, and people should expect to hear about us even more soon.

In the last couple of years, what changes have you seen within the industry?
I have seen a lot of country markets being regulated or implementing strict restrictions or new regulations. For example, the likes of Denmark implementing the NEMID into landing pages was "fun" back when I worked for a previous competitor. Sweden is another example where we had to step out with AFFMore, or more recently Germany where the new restrictions have affected GGR. I have seen companies such as AFFMore, and other smart competitors being agile and able to change focus and localise new markets quickly via affiliates. In brief, I have seen many competitors closing down, and only a few remain serious nowadays.

What would you say has been the biggest positive throughout the pandemic for AFFMore? I have been working remotely for more than seven years, and now working remotely is seen as the new normal for everyone. On a more serious note, the lockdowns and restrictions in our core markets raised our bottom-line numbers significantly. We have had the best months in terms of CRM, deposit levels, net revenues and so on. It mainly highlighted the importance of keeping social links with affiliates, and we are more than ever ready to meet everyone at iGB Affiliate in Amsterdam at the end of September.

On the other hand, what has been the most negative aspect of the pandemic for the company?
No longer being able to socialise and network with our affiliates as we used to. We miss all the conference fun, team dinners or extra team building activities and social events. I employed two more members to my team, and I am yet to even meet Gemma in person, while I rely a lot on Joonas travelling between Finland and Malta to keep up the team morale. I met Henna quickly in LAC before the pandemic, and then everything changed as we are all aware.

Speaking to Trafficology in October, you mentioned that moving into new markets was a key aim going forward. Was this something you managed to achieve, and were there any barriers along the way?

Yes correct, we have managed to start diving into the Canada adventure and hope to scale up soon with more game providers and products. We are also launching in New Zealand and India next, and more to come.

You also spoke of plans to implement more payment methods. How has this progressed?
We have added a few new methods and are still progressing forward to implement and launch new ones, once the acquisition is finalised. We have been lucky that we have been bought by a company which already has additional currencies and payment methods ready to go. They also have the benefit of holding additional licences. We are currently preparing for the New Zealand dollar to be implemented onto our platform.

October also saw the launch of AFFMore 2. What are the main improvements with this new platform? AFFMore was initially built in one hour during a Netrefer meeting, with a smartphone device by our legendary J, head of tech. In my personal opinion, I would have to say this code is a work of art. It was built originally for our flagship Luckydino and a single brand program, whereas, AFFMore Version 2 is completely built for enhanced multi-brand reporting and use. Along the way, we have already made a few improvements with dynamic parameters, pixel tracking, bespoke marketing materials and landers, but AFFMore Version 2 also added a fresh new API system. A better front end was also developed, with more tools and clear information about our brands and promotions.

Has the platform met expectations?
Yes, it is really nice to work with it's slick and useful. We can efficiently access player values and link performance better. We also have better reporting for dynamic parameters. There are a multitude of things we can do now and in the near future, like an automated invoicing system, which is the last to be implemented. There is always room for optimisation and we have seen how much AFFMore Version 2 has already developed in such a short space of time.

We've seen a number of game releases across AFFMore brands recently. Which ones excite you the most?
Personally as an online gambler, John Hunter and the Mayan Gods, I am really looking forward to trying this game. I still enjoy Reactoonz 2, and all the variety of Megaways games that are being produced. Games like Gonzo Quest Megaways or Fruits Shop Megaways are also nice for the turnover numbers and nice games indeed.

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for AFFMore?
Wow, I'd say a lot more than I can even imagine. Esports, sportsbook, new markets, new strategies and stepping up as a serious competitor in the scene. EEG's company value recently went from $100m to $250m in no time. Stay tuned, it seems big things are about to happen at AFFMore.

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