Our series of talks with industry leaders continues this week, as we got to interview David Flynn, CEO of casino games provider Swintt.
With over 16 years of experience, David is a veteran of the gambling industry, servicing and shaping the likes of Microgaming, Ongame, NYX Interactive and JackpotJoy Group.
David is also a strong believer in responsible gaming and CSR among gambling companies, thus the outcome of our chat is a very meaningful interview, with loads of interesting topics worth discussing in future articles.
Here’s our Q&As session with David:
- David, how did your career in the gambling industry begin?
DF: I started out as the Head of Customer Service at Ongame, for the brand Pokerroom.com. This was shortly after moving to Sweden together with my partner. The company required fluent English speakers for the role. I had previously been a Head of Operations for a software company in France, which created solutions for saving people from drowning.
- During your long career, who left the strongest impression on you professionally?
DF: John Coleman, now CEO of Microgaming. He always had his finger on the pulse of the business and wanted to ensure that the company helped the local community to flourish.
- And what has been the biggest challenge so far?
DF: My biggest challenge to date, was the turn-around of NYX Interactive AB, at the time a small IT company from Sweden, which served several of the local Swedish lotteries online including the Swedish National lottery Svenska Spel.
- What would you tell young talents that are thinking to start a career in the industry?
DF: It’s an amazing industry, constantly developing, where no two days are the same and product innovation is key. I graduated with a Masters in Meteorology and used to work as a Meteorologist. I never thought I would enter the gambling industry. However, I wouldn’t change my career choices. I’ve met and worked with some amazingly talented people in my 16 years.
- Is there something that you don’t like about the gambling industry?
DF: The challenge with irresponsible sites, which taints the rest of the industry.
- Talking about operators, do you think companies should do more in the field of Responsible Gaming?
DF: I think that the responsible companies are now taking most of the measures needed to proactively identify players at risk of problem gambling. However, if the regulations continue to become more and more costly to enforce, I fear a rise in the number of irresponsible and unlicensed sites. It’s a fine balance and more emphasis should be put on these irresponsible actors in the market to ensure they become licensed, abide by the regulations or are closed-down.
- Several countries are shifting toward stricter regulations. Do you think the trend will continue?
DF: Yes, this will definitely continue. It is a good process that will enable Internet Gambling to become mainstream entertainment.
- What do you think will be the next big break-through in the industry in the next 5-10 years?
DF: While many are looking at AI and VR solutions, I think a new format of multiplayer gambling that appeals more to the esports communities will have the biggest impact.
- Internet increased exposure to vulnerable individuals. How can we achieve long term sustainability?
DF: Education is the main way of ensuring players understand the risks. Just like investments in stocks, funds can go down as well as up. Once should identify those at risk. Based on research I’ve read, in several cases, gambling addicts have had some kind of previous trauma in their lives. This is the stage that help and advice should be given, about a whole range of topics, not just gambling.
- Do you think gambling ban is a solution for tackling gambling addiction?
DF: Not at all. This will simply drive it underground, where it cannot be tracked and measured. One only needs to look at the history of the prohibition of alcohol to see the likely outcome. For those people that have had a trauma in their lives, if they don’t gamble they may move to more dangerous past-times instead. Everything in life should be taken in moderation.
- What would you tell your teenager child if you notice they start to show excitement toward gambling?
DF: I’d sit them down and talk them through the pro’s and con’s of gambling, just like I do with social gaming or MMOG. Then if they want to continue, (and assuming they are 18+) play together so we can enjoy the experience together. This way, they will learn about the high’s and low’s of playing whilst being in control.
- Give an advice to current gamblers:
DF: Only gamble within your limits. Just like going to the pub on a Friday, you take a set amount of money for your drinks. Do exactly the same for gambling. Decide on how much you want to spend for your entertainment. Once, its spent and you’ve had a good time, call it a night.
- As we close this interview, is there something else you want to add for our readers?
DF: Yes, if the readers have concerns about friends or family and their gambling habits, they should reach out to a professional for help and advice.
- Thank you very much for your time, David!
DF: Thank you!