Insider Q&A: Win COO Yaniv Leven

Image via Win
Image via Win
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When Win COO Yaniv Leven looks at the social casino space, he sees plenty of competition in the slots and bingo games his company produces, but he also sees a huge opening in the lucrative world of sports betting.

Leven and Win hope to jump into this space in early 2014, looking for fans who talk trash about each other’s favorite soccer clubs to put their virtual money where their mouths are, tracking results as you bet on the biggest games each week in the real world, even enabling gamers to bet their fake currency in simulated match-ups when there are no real games to be played.

I sat down with Leven in New York last week after he spoke at the Inside Mobile Apps conference to get the dirt on his new betting game, the rise of social casinos, and Win’s proprietary analytics platform, Winsight.

Inside Mobile Apps: Where do you see Win’s place in the social casino landscape?

Yaniv Leven: Win was formed about a year and a half ago by bwin.party. Bwin.party is the largest online gambling company, but they were late to social gaming. They really saw social gaming as a growth opportunity, but because they came into it so late, when they came out, they wanted to come strong since a lot of companies like Caesars were already there. So they made a a very aggressive $50M investment with us, giving Win the authority and capabilities to build every one of the social gambling genres. Part of that investment was the acquisition of a development company from the Ukraine called Omeon, who had worked on online gambling tools before. In the past year we’ve built an application for each one of the gambling verticals, except for poker, as poker is the only niche that we haven’t touched yet. All of our applications are showing steady improvement in KPI, and at this point we have our retention where we want it to be in both slots and bingo. Our sports application is coming out in Q1 2014, is a big one for us. No one in the social space has conquered sports betting yet.

[contextly_sidebar id=”065b87fc09dec80f70e597bfdd0963b4″]IMA: Sports betting is such a huge piece of the Vegas puzzle, why do you think nobody has done it right in social yet?

YL: It’s huge, but there are a couple of other places that haven’t been conquered yet as well. Horse racing is huge and is over a billion dollar market in France alone, but nobody has attempted to touch it. I think these kinds of applications, with the industry they’re in, they suffer from a liquidity of items. There aren’t enough sports events throughout the day to keep the users coming back all the time. In a social gaming application, you need users inside the game all the time in order to be able to convert and to be able to keep them engaged because every moment they’re not in your game and they’re online, they’re in another game. So what we’ve done in the sports application is we’ve partnered with Top Eleven, utilizing our betting engine and the Top Eleven simulation engine to create a sports app initially around soccer. What we do is, aside from real matches that you can see online live, and bet whatever you can bet in regular betting events, we’ve also adding a simulated betting engine to simulate matches so all the time there will be matches inside the game. At any point in time, you can come into our game and bet whatever you want in simulated matches. We’ve also made the application social so you can bet against your friends and see the progress. This kind of application is tailored directly to the Top Eleven soccer fanatics.