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ibd Gaming sit down with Yury Ermantraut, Chief Executive Director of ATMOSFERA and discuss their immediate growth and success during the COVID period, the progression of Live Casino and how the gambling industry is perceived and how we as an industry can look to change it.

Here's how it went: 

1. As a new company launching in the midst of a global crisis, how have ATMOSFERA been able to overcome factors like lockdown and no physical events and still achieved great success?

This question made me smile and feel emotions that lead to the thoughts of how lucky I am to have such an incredible team. They really care about each other, and it shows. Well-coordinated work, mutual support, patience, professionalism, experience from the past, flexibility and hard work helped us to overcome this tough period.

Throughout this year our partnerships’ development is most of all the result of good teamwork at recent exhibitions. Of course, it was almost impossible to find new partners in the midst of the pandemic, but we managed to do it anyway. Our studio has been working 24/7 nonstop, and this has attracted potential partners.

2. We know Live Casino has been consistently gaining popularity with players over the last few years, so you’ve definitely come into the market at a good time. What do you think the next big game or trend is within Live Casino? And will you be a driving force in the innovation of new ideas?

I’d rather say that Live Casino has been actively developing for the past 10 years. Every year the growth of players number and the revenue indicator have a tendency to increase. When we have just started a year and a half ago, it was a good time to kick off in this sphere. I am sure that the companies that are starting now are also confident in their business ideas. But the market already needs to be surprised with something. For example, new mechanics in classic products or something completely new.

Right now our industry is not a trendsetter, but it’s definitely one of those that wants to integrate them first. In the future, we should expect VR/AR technology usage. The development of 5G is also having a positive effect on us since the availability and quality of the content consumed increases. From what we have already done is a system that allows us to deliver content to any part of the world via satellite services.

3. How is Gambling within the Russian market perceived and do you see it changing in the near future?

Only sports betting, state lottery and totalisator (pari-mutuel betting) are allowed in Russia. Other types of gambling including Live Casino are prohibited by law. Gambling is generally perceived negatively. This is what the industry must confront with creating a new perception of this type of entertainment.

4. Gambling often gets a bit of bad press, why do you think so many publications outside of the industry like to taint it?

I suppose that a negative impact on the gambling market’s reputation have unlicensed companies who do this business illegally and because of such activities the entire market’s reputation suffers. It’s important to develop the overall human culture and perception of gambling in general. Poor work with risk, lack of financial education etc. - lies on the side of each individual person. It’s difficult to call this responsibility one-sided in the gambling industry.

5. Following on from that, why do you think other industries such as finance don’t like to be associated with providers who deal within the gambling sector?

Gambling is considered as a risky area, that’s why the financial sector is very attentive and careful about such partnership. For anybody it is not a secret that gambling is one of the industries through which people are still trying to launder money. There are many jurisdictions on the market with not fully formed regulation of this system. When there are so many ifs and buts, the financial sector is really inspective to cooperation with gambling, as they also risk both their license and reputation.

6. What can we do as an industry to be more socially accepted and develop our perception by other types of businesses?

I think we have to bite the bullet and just continue to do what we are doing - product developing, follow IT trends, improve customer service, foster a responsible attitude to the game among product users, be attentive to the requirements of jurisdiction and work on HR brand. We were and always will be an entertainment industry, where risk and excitement are an integral part of this business.

7. As an industry that’s always innovating and growing, how do you think online casino and betting will look in 10 years’ time?

It would be great if in 10 years all working conditions for each of the market participants in every part of the world become transparent, understandable and interesting to work with.

The global market is regulated, the financial and banking sectors are eager to work with us and government restrictions create an opportunity, not a complication. And of course, I hope that every player finds a product for himself.

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