Fresh from winning the gong for Best Proprietary Bingo Site at last week’s BingoPort Awards, MrQ Managing Director Savvas Fellas catches up with AI CEO Lee-Ann Johnstone to talk about the firm’s first few months in operation, the future of the bingo market and plans for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.
Lee-Ann Johnstone: Why is winning a BingoPort award after just seven months in operation so important for your brand?
Savvas Fellas: We spent four long years building a platform, so it was great to see acknowledgement, unexpectedly and pretty soon after launching it. We’re still relatively unknown, still growing and learning and tweeking, so it was a nice surprise but also a nice validation of the work we’ve all put into creating this platform.
LJ: You say that you’re relatively unknown, but actually you’re affiliate business is fairly well known. Your experience in affiliate marketing is quite extensive, Lindar Media’s been going for quite a few years, how did that impact your decision to go out and launch your own platform?
SF: I think that’s relevant because there’s a natural progression when you go from being a bedroom affiliate to thinking ‘okay, I’m a bedroom affiliate, I’m driving players here, what happens when I drive them to a white label site?’ Then you go down that route and you learn and grow. Then the next route is ‘okay, what if we actually try and grow this thing and develop it? And that’s the kind of evolution we were aiming for with our product, MrQ.
LJ: Tell us a little bit about why MrQ is so different from other bingo operators in the marketplace.
SF: The bingo marketplace is an overcrowded space, but it’s artificially overcrowded. So we thought let’s build the platform with a modern view in mind. Let’s have a seamless journey on tablet, mobile or desktop. Let’s put the player first and then the rest should fall into place.
LJ: And in terms of compliance, talk us through how you and your business have structured that.
SF: If you have an affiliate at one end of the spectrum, in the middle a white label and on the far end an operator, an affiliate doesn’t really have to care that much about compliance in the same way an operator really does. Sure they need to be marketing responsibly and according to the CPA and AGS codes but the depth of compliance required as an operator is a lot higher. As a white label, you become a little bit more aware of it, but again you’re still operating using someone else’s content and license so it’s their risk. And then all of a sudden you go from a white label to an operator where you are fully accountable and fully liable. You have to become stricter and know exactly what’s out there.
LJ: Where do you think the bingo market heading in the next three to five years?
SF: I’d like to see more focus on the product. No one’s really focused on the product development as they’ve written bingo off as a lost cause, not realising that bingo is actually a great revenue generator as well. It’s been a few years since the standard product was really developed and customised for new player requirements and hopefully we’ll see a little bit more product innovation in years to come to help drive the growth of this sector forward, as opposed to just drooling over new slots games which sit alongside in most bingo platforms.
LJ: Looking ahead to the future, what exciting MrQ developments are on the horizon that you can share with us?
SF: We are very much on the ascendancy. There will be proper releases on our bingo site, there will be features with affiliates – even quirky little features for players and features that benefit the affiliates too. There will be new slot content added all the time, new and of course a big focus on engaging bingo content. The future looks bright for the development of the bingo market and we’re really excited to be part of it.
Social media platform Instagram is currently testing a new feature named Affiliate Shops. It is designed to encourage and