William Morris, Sporting Group: regulatory change, consolidation and plans for 2023
Australia, consolidation and a big orange fox. What do these three things have in common? Well, we’re not sure about unifying factors in the wider world, but all three feature in a recent interview with William Morris, Head of Business Development at Sporting Group, that took place at SBC Summit Barcelona.
Speaking with Ted Menmuir, SBC’s Content Director, Morris began by discussing his new role and the changes that have taken place at Sporting Solutions since the company’s merger with Française des Jeux (FDJ).
Among those changes are the new opportunities for expansion, with the US and Australia identified as exciting markets for the company.
He said: “Despite the various regulatory headwinds we’re seeing in different parts of the world, there’s opportunities available on a domestic level, with our UK and Ireland customer base, but also within the wider market too. There is an opportunity across continental Europe; I think there’s business to be done in Spain, despite the regulatory headwinds that we’re seeing there. We’re doing quite a bit in Italy at the moment, but we feel there is capacity to do more.
“Looking further afield, our CEO Andy Wright and myself have some time planned in Australia where we’re doing quite a bit of business already. But again, this is a market where we believe there is a capacity to do much more.
“Everyone has eyes on the US – a market which is continuing to mature. We’re looking at how we approach those markets as there’s some very good groundwork done there already.”
Discussions soon turned towards Morris’ own experience within the betting and gaming industry and the regulatory developments that have taken place over the last few years.
He added: “Since I started in this industry, I’ve seen a tremendous amount of change. But I think the biggest of those changes relate to regulation – be that the opening up of new markets, or increased regulation in existing markets as they’ve matured. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from that process based on what’s happening in the UK at the moment – especially when we look at the regulation of the US. Obviously each market is different though.
“I think the other big change that has taken place is consolidation, particularly among tier one operators. It’s gone from being a diverse spread of operators doing different things, to people wanting to do global deals at the highest possible level. You’re dealing with monsters now that you weren’t previously, and that’s a challenge for suppliers across the board.
“There’s obviously been some supplier consolidation as well. We’re a part of that with the merger of FDJ Gaming Solutions and Sporting Solutions. More of that is probably on the horizon as we see bigger suppliers dealing with bigger operators. We have to remember though that there are opportunities available for everybody.”