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The Industry on the Cusp of Great Innovations: Tal Yogev's View on Virtual Sports Development

This week's spotlight in our interview series is on Leap Gaming COO and Israeli entrepreneur Tal Yogev who takes us through the most recent developments in virtual sport and gaming technology.

Hello, and thank you for joining us for this interview with casinoreviews.net.

What inspired you to start Leap Gaming, and what were the company's goals at the time? Have you deviated from these in any way? If so, how?

Looking at the gaming industry and the way technology and sports are evolving, we wanted to give a better and more advanced experience for players, to bring the level of experience to a level that blurs the boundaries between virtual and live sport, as well as always innovate and allow players to meet with new ideas and concepts. Looking at what we achieved and the way Leap is operating, there were almost no deviations from those goals.

Did the last 2 years have a major impact on your product offering? What differences have you noticed as a company pre- and post-pandemic in the sector?

Virtual sport has seen a great spike in demand since the pandemic started when more sports punters got to experience virtual sports products for the first time. The impact on Leap's offering had been quite positive, and we decided to push harder on branded content and live/in-play betting. Both those routes allow players to have an even more similar experience to sports betting compared to traditional virtual sports offerings.

Leap Gaming virtual sports

How big do you believe that the virtual sports market can grow? What global markets do you see the most potential in?

The virtual sport started as a niche product or a filler when there had been no real sports content available. Since then, it has become a must-have product across most sportsbook operators.

I believe that with the development of technology, together with the new concepts Leap brings to the industry, virtual sports will keep on growing at a fast pace.

The markets for virtual sports are wide and appeal to both real sports bettors and casino players. We spend a lot of effort on optimizing are go to market strategy on an ongoing basis, based on the following main parameters: regulations, localization, the popularity of sports titles, and the nascency of virtual sports.

How has Leap Gaming diversified itself amongst the competition, and what do you think are Leap's stand-out qualities?

We always look at the players and try to give them the best experience possible. We believe that every small detail counts, and we invest heavily in each and every aspect of the products.

One of the ways this approach is manifested is through our attention to innovation: we were the first to introduce in-play betting, on-demand, cashouts, and dynamic odds to the market. We now also offer gamification features around our games which will allow players to stick to our games even more.

Another effort we are pushing hard on is branded content - through working closely with sports federations and our special relationship with IMG Arena, we add branding layers to our games that further differentiate them from the competition and enhance affinity by end-users.

Also, the marketing products we develop, such as the MIYO (Make It Your Own) tool, the Tournament Tool, and the Free Rounds, which also apply to our virtual sports, empower operators to apply their operational expertise and enhance monetization across our product suite.

Last but not least, our technology standards are very high, which ensures that our games will be delivered and supported to the highest possible standard to allow a smooth experience for end-users and VIP service to the operators who work with us.

How do you see the software niche changing in the online gambling industry over the next few years? What changes have you implemented to be on top of your game?

Software is evolving in all aspects, from the 3D capabilities and tools to streaming and devices that need to be supported.

We, at Leap, make sure that we are always on top of the new options and technologies. Our R&D department is always on its feet, keeping an eye on recent tech developments and trends. Some of the techs we use are on the bleeding edge of tech innovations, which allows our product and design teams' unmatched flexibility to pour in their creative juices and build engaging games.

Congratulations on your recent partnership with Playtech! How do you see this cooperation playing out, and what major benefits will this bring both of your companies?

Thank you, yes, we have several major partnerships that we have recently introduced, one of them with Playtech. We are grateful for these integrations, which not only massively enhance our distribution capabilities but are also a strong vote of faith in the quality of our products, and we look forward to more integrations and releases in key markets as the rest of 2022 unfolds.

You've also finished 2021 with a major partnership deal with ComeOn Group in regards to your casino content. Are these partnerships a reflection of what's to come in 2022, or do you have bigger plans?

Indeed, as mentioned, we have several major partnerships that have recently been announced. ComeОn is one of them (and a great one). Our integration team is tasked with a bunch of additional exciting projects, and our pipeline looks strong for the remainder of 2022. We are also working on several additional licenses, which will further expand our footprint and hopefully grow our estate.

Who do you look up to in this industry, and has that influenced your management style and outlook on the industry itself?

Well, there are a lot of professionals in this industry. I try to look at many key executives in the industry, from companies we work with, compete with, and also ones we do not have relationships with, and try to openly learn and absorb. There is also a lot I learn from my colleagues here at Leap, who come from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and schools of thought. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work in such an open, international, fast-growing, and communicative environment.

And there we have it - an in-depth insight into the latest developments in virtual sport from industry right on the cusp of innovation.

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