Interview: Partis co-founder and managing partner, Gideon Bierer
Gideon Bierer shares some of his vast experience in the iGaming industry and tells us what he is looking forward to at this year's ICE exhibition.
In the run up to ICE Totally Gaming 2014, we speak to Gideon Bierer, co-founder and managing partner of corporate service provider for the iGaming and gambling industry (and Pentasia partner company) Partis Solutions.
Thanks so much for speaking with us today, Gideon. Please could share with us a bit about your background in the iGaming industry, your experience in consultancy and how this led you to establish Partis Solutions?
I joined the industry 4 years ago when I moved from running Viacom’s international (ex-US) internet business in New York to running IGT’s iGaming business out of San Francisco. At IGT Interactive I had a fascinating ride, we doubled the size of the core casino team, expanded into 5 regulated markets (Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Canada and Mexico), established in Gibraltar, launched mobile, added 30 of the power 50 as customers, and bought both Entraction and Double Down. It was intense, I reached ‘top tier’ status on United airlines frequent flyer program in 12 months - an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone!
Prior to IGT, I had spent a significant proportion of my career in advisory roles, firstly with strategy consulting firm, Marakon Associates, then as head of Strategy and Business Development for Viacom’s international TV business, 10 years in total.
On leaving IGT, I started working on a large number of consulting/advisory projects and found that I was really enjoying the challenges that came with it, the variety, the satisfaction of helping clients and the personal independence that formed a compelling package. I think the combination of my prior consulting experience with my more recent general management experience made me more effective as an advisor to my clients. These positive experiences led me to consider advisory roles on a more permanent basis, which led naturally to Partis since it was clear that the industry lacks a scaled, full-service advisory firm that can help clients with all of their iGaming needs.
And what is your role currently?
I am a co-founder, along with Rob Dowling, and Managing Partner at Partis Solutions. We provide a full range of advisory services to the iGaming industry, including strategic consulting and operational consulting across all iGaming disciplines, products and markets, business development support, and corporate transactions advisory.
We launched in 2013 and have already served over 20 clients including Caesar’s Interactive, Churchill Downs, High 5 Games and GameAccount Network. Our projects have varied widely and include:
US entry strategy and business development support for EU iGaming companies
iGaming market entry straegy and vendor selection for US land operators
iGaming product strategy for land suppliers
Slot game design consulting and training for social casinos
Licensing real money slots for social casinos
Patent licensing for EU iGaming companies to facilitate US entry
EU iGaming market entry for land suppliers
Sell-side M&A advisory for social and wager operators
Venture fund-raising for iGaming suppliers
We have recruited a team of industry superstars that is without a doubt unrivalled in the iGaming industry. We have more than 30 C-level iGaming executives from industry-leading companies, with world-class expertise in all iGaming disciplines, products and key regions.
From your experience, could you tell us what interests you about the iGaming industry?
Many things, but high on the list would be the complexity and variety of the industry, the fascination of seeing the shift from land towards internet-based betting (a transformation I witnessed first hand in the TV industry), and the entrepreneurial, energetic spirit that runs through the industry – it’s infectious!
The industry is also growing rapidly, would you agree? How do you predict the iGaming industry to develop in future years?
Many trends are not specific to iGaming but will affect iGaming nevertheless. There is for example, the issue of changing devices/form factors, starting with mobile but extending beyond into wearable devices and so on.
Specific to iGaming, I see the land and iGaming industries truly coming together. So far the integration between the 2 markets has been fairly limited. The integration of physical and digital has progressed much farther in other industries than in Gaming, but Gaming will catch up. I think that legalization of iGaming in the US will be the biggest driver. Lotteries in particular have a long way to go.
Let's not forget that ICE Totally Gaming is fast approaching! Which seminars are you looking forward to attending this year?
This time I am going to focus most of my time on the “Monetizing Social Gaming” strand, a topic close to my heart! I will be moderating 2 of the panels in this strand.
And finally, Gideon, would you say you were a keen gambler yourself?
I am an ‘equal opportunity gamer’, and enjoy many different games. Growing up in England I started with horse-racing when I was 15, then progressed to other forms of sports betting. I always played fruit machines in pubs and loved arcade games. More recently I’ve spend more time playing slots, blackjack and bingo, both real money and social.