´At Zitro we have invested a lot of effort, material and human, to continue creating incredible products´
(Spain, SoloAzar Exclusive) .- "In these months we have managed to look for creative commercial and financial formulas," said Sebastián Salat, CEO of Zitro, in an exclusive interview with SoloAzar, in which he highlighted the actions that the company took to help operators in these times of pandemic.
What assessment can you make a year after the start of the pandemic, in terms of the current situation of the sector?
The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has undoubtedly generated a very difficult situation for all of us in the gaming industry, both for the operators who are seeing their revenues plummet, and for the providers that depend on our customers. However, the current situation is very different, since we finally have effective vaccines, so now it is only a matter of overcoming the logistical challenge of their distribution to vaccinate the majority of the population and thus achieve a massive immunization that we will allow you to return to a certain normality.
At Zitro we have invested a lot of effort, material and human, to continue creating incredible products that, we are convinced, will be key to accelerating the recovery of the industry, and that we are eager to be able to show the world in the very near future. On the other hand, in all these months we have not stopped looking for creative commercial and financial formulas, doing the impossible, to help operators in these difficult times that we have had to live through.
What challenges have you had to face as a company?
The unexpected closure of face-to-face gaming operations, as well as the total confinement of our employees for a long season last year, has pushed us to accelerate the implementation of measures, either internally through improved processes, policy adaptations internal, implementations of new technologies, as well as for our clients, offering appropriate services to the situation in each market.
We have been at a very high growth rate for several years, so we know what it is like to have to adapt very quickly to a new situation. I couldn't be more proud of how all of our people have aligned themselves with the company's strategy, especially in these times of extremely high uncertainty for everyone. Thanks to their efforts, we have been able to maintain our pace of creating new and groundbreaking products, while maintaining the company's activity to recover from the difficult situation caused by the health crisis.
In what subject could the firm have results above their expectations within the current situation? Did you have any unexpected opportunities?
In many countries, there have been intermittent openings and closings of gaming establishments, as well as capacity restrictions and distance requirements between machines, which have resulted in operators having to significantly reduce the number of gaming positions they offer. One metric that has confirmed the excellent performance of our products has been that, without exception, our machines have always been chosen by the operators to be part of the reduced offer available in the casino for players. This, without a doubt, is a huge success that is well above our expectations of a year ago when the pandemic began.
On the other hand, we have also used our time to accelerate our entry into new jurisdictions that have functioned with a higher degree of normality, such as the US, where our games have been enthusiastically received.
Finally, the pandemic has pushed operators to accelerate projects in the field of online gambling that, although they were already on their strategic path as a possible long-term business, have been advanced due to the closure of the rooms and the consequent lack of income . To this is added that specialized online casino operators have seen their demand grow. All of them have asked us for our quality games to offer the best entertainment to their players. That is why we have intensified our efforts in the online field, providing greater resources to our Zitro Digital division that deals with this distribution channel.
How would you describe the profile of the average gamer today? What are his or her tastes and demands?
The player remains the same, although perhaps we can highlight three aspects that have modified their behavior: first, consumers, after having maintained a notable social distancing between the gaming stands, have become accustomed to a greater living space, which that will condition the ergonomic design of the physical offer of the games. Second, I believe that the sense of backward consumption has made our customers more eager than ever to experience new emotions and socialize, and finally, the pandemic has accelerated the technological skills of players, leading to a spectacular growth of the digital game, making the digital channel a very important pillar for the growth of gaming operations.
What are the latest trends in technology, games and habits that you think are here to stay in 2021?
As I said earlier, the post-pandemic consumer is hungry for new experiences and is technologically wiser. This means that it will be crucial for operators to be able to offer new games in their casinos that satisfy this hunger for new emotions, with the advantage that players will be technologically more mature to interpret and enjoy richer games in terms of new functionalities and bonus to access a wide variety of prizes. At Zitro we have made a great investment in the last year in the development of games that can respond to the aspirations of this new consumer. The post-pandemic casino will be more brilliant, exciting, fun and digital than the casino we have known before.
What are the most important markets for the company at the moment?
At this time when all the markets in the world have to be rebuilt, all markets are important to Zitro, and all markets need Zitro. Of course there are markets where we have a more than solid presence, and other markets in which we have just started, but our philosophy is to treat customers from each and every one of these markets with the utmost care and proximity.
Do you think that the legislation on gambling is accompanying the present moment? Which are the countries that have best adapted their laws during 2020 and so far in 2021?
The pandemic has served so that many jurisdictions, in which online gambling was not regulated, have decided to regulate it. These include quite a few states in the US, as well as jurisdictions in Argentina, such as the Autonomous City and the Province of Buenos Aires, Panama, and, more recently, European jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands. The pandemic has also accelerated the regulation of face-to-face gambling, in addition to online gambling, in countries like Ukraine, and I harbor the hope that very important jurisdictions for the industry, such as Brazil, will also follow these steps.