Interview with Adrian-Alexandru Sfetcu – Director of International Business Development at LegalBet

Interview with Adrian-Alexandru Sfetcu – Director of International Business Development at LegalBet

Interview with Adrian-Alexandru Sfetcu – Director of International Business Development at LegalBet

AffPapa recently interviewed the Director of International Business Development of LegalBet, Adrian-Alexandru Sfetcu, who shared his insights on which worldwide markets hold the most potential for the gambling industry and talked about how the company chooses its operating jurisdictions to maximize its growth momentum.

Yeva: Let’s begin our interview with a brief introduction to LegalBet. What does the company offer and how does it manage to stand out in the crowded world of online gambling, Alex?

Honest, objective ratings and genuine reviews from real players are at the heart of our project. We guide both novices and experienced players to discover the best fit for their betting and gambling needs.

In essence, Legalbet is a complex platform dedicated to supporting players in making informed decisions by providing well-documented analysis, accurate and verified information. We collaborate only with experts in this field aiming to foster a more informed perspective on betting and gambling in general.

What sets Legalbet apart in this crowded landscape is how we position our brand, how we are in fact…

  • We are user-centric – we’ve crafted valuable ratings to support users in making informed decisions.
  • We are guided by integrity – in our ratings, no one can buy a position.
  • We are transparent – if we have a position that we sell, we mark it as an advertisement.
  • We are regulatory compliant – we collaborate exclusively with legal and licensed operators that advocate for responsible gambling practices and ensure player protection.

We have created a trusted space, a strong community of players, where everyone can make informed decisions.

Yeva: The online gambling market is expanding rapidly all across the globe. In your view, which jurisdictions around the world hold the most potential for the sector’s companies in terms of growth?

I prefer to view the potential more from an inside-out standpoint. With the right teams and the right attitude, potential can be found almost everywhere.

In terms of actual countries, I believe USA holds enormous potential. No one can deny that. The market size alone, however, is not the only criterion that should be factored in. Focusing on Tier 1 countries alone might seem logical, but it doesn’t guarantee success. To draw a parallel with the stock market, it’s very easy to look back and understand the potential earnings from investing in Apple stocks 20 years ago. However, Apple’s potential if you buy stocks today is not the same as it was at the beginning of the 2000s.

Following this logic, I believe emerging markets offer a better risk-reward balance. While in the previous couple of years Africa was widely considered the next big gambling market, now the attention has shifted to the LATAM region. Many companies have already invested in these regions and now they’re waiting to reap the rewards.

From my perspective, local regulation is crucial when assessing a country’s potential. Excessive regulation ultimately leads to the proliferation of the black market. And many Tear 1 countries unfortunately follow the path of excessive regulation.

Yeva: Closely tying into our last question, which markets does LegalBet operate in? What does the company’s decision-making process look like in terms of selecting which jurisdictions to cover around the world?

Our core Legalbet markets currently include CIS countries, Spain, Romania, UK, Colombia, and Mexico. Overall, we operate across more than 30 countries worldwide through our various projects.

When it comes to selecting new markets to promote or to launch from scratch, our decisions are based on comprehensive research that begins with local regulation. Being committed to operating on regulated markets only, a favorable regulatory environment for online gambling is a key screening factor.

Following this, we delve into understanding factors such as competition, market potential, and growth projections. Technological infrastructure is also pivotal, for obvious reasons.

We don’t neglect demographic and economic factors either, and we try to consider socio-behavioral aspects too, such as the perception of gambling – we prioritize societies where gambling is accepted by the population as a form of entertainment.

Yeva: Continuing on the topic of LegalBet’s international presence, how does the company position its brand in each of its operating markets? In your experience, do different jurisdictions around the globe require vastly different business development strategies to achieve success?

The positioning of our brand in the minds of our users, regardless of the market, remains consistent – we offer honest, objective ratings and genuine reviews sourced directly from real players. These elements serve as the foundation of our brand identity. All other tools and information available on our websites contribute towards providing a comprehensive solution for all players. However, Legalbet can’t exist without ratings and reviews, and this is how we position our brand in every market where we operate.

Indeed, localization is crucial, yet our brand’s fundamental principles remain unchanged across all countries. However, the actual execution is different. Each country possesses its own nuances, and they are in some cases very different.
We’re committed to offering a fully localized solution. For this reason, when we decide to enter a new market, we hire a local manager who can demonstrate a deep understanding of the local specifics.

Failure to align our project with the local specifics basically jeopardizes our positioning – to maintain the integrity of our ratings we must possess an advanced understanding of the local market as a whole.

Yeva: Another important topic for the development of an online gambling business is partner selection. What are the most important things LegalBet looks for in prospecting operator partners, Alex?

In our case, partner selection is quite straightforward. This arises from our aim to include all locally licensed operators on our websites. It’s deeply rooted in our positioning – we offer unbiased ratings and for this reason we must display on our websites all locally licensed operators. Otherwise, our integrity would be questioned. Claiming honesty and objectivity requires us to consider all licensed operators in that specific market, not just the top ones, or those with the highest commercial returns for us.

Of course, we do have premium partners that receive better exposure on our websites. However, we prioritize listening to the voices of our users. If real player reviews for a certain operator are notably negative, we can’t simply ignore them and offer extra exposure to that operator. All paid positions are clearly labeled on our website. We use a “sponsored” icon in all lists where the operators’ order has been determined on a commercial basis. In all other ratings, positions are not for sale.

Throughout our experience, numerous operators attempted to purchase a better position in ratings which are not available for sale, for instance, the odds rating. We clarified to them that those positions are not available for sale and in some cases, they even terminated collaboration with us for this reason. Nevertheless, we stayed committed to our principles, continuing to display those operators in all ratings, even on top positions if applicable, despite having no commercial benefit at all.

Yeva: One of the online gambling industry’s most prominent topics is responsible gambling. How does LegalBet ensure that its reader base can enjoy the pastime in a safe and sustainable manner?

For many years, and unfortunately, it’s still the case in many countries around the world, player protection and responsible gambling policies have often taken a back seat. More and more governments have begun recognizing the importance of local regulation to ensure the safeguarding of players and the industry’s integrity.
We are not operators, and therefore we can’t directly address this issue. Our websites serve a purely informational purpose, aiming to play an educational role.

Nevertheless, we consider it a direct responsibility. This is the reason why we exclusively collaborate with locally licensed entities that align with responsible gambling and player protection policies. Additionally, we constantly publish educational materials on our websites in this regard.

From governments to operators, affiliates, and all entities involved in this phenomenon, we must all take direct responsibility to do whatever we can to maintain a safe environment for players.

Yeva: As the sector continues to grow all around the world, more and more countries and jurisdictions implement regulatory strategies to ensure the safety of their bettors. How does this affect LegalBet’s worldwide expansion strategy?

Regulations are in general well-intentioned and designed to protect players. This is exactly what we look for when deciding which markets to focus on. Therefore, the existence of an effective local regulation is a screening condition for us.

However, in a healthy economy, it’s essential to balance even the positive elements with moderation. Excessive regulations, often hidden under the banner of player protection, can sometimes have unintended consequences. And the most common side effect of excessive regulations is the proliferation of the black market. In such a scenario, it’s the players who are likely to be the most affected.

Yeva: To bring our interview to a close, I’m certain that our readers would be eager to learn a bit more about you, Alex. What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Do you have any hobbies or interests you would like to share?

It all revolves around ensuring that I truly disconnect from work. As trivial as it might seem, we all know it’s not so easy anymore to disconnect from work. For me, it begins with making sure that I really am physically and mentally outside of work. Maintaining a clear boundary between work and personal time has become increasingly challenging. Fortunately, I work in a healthy environment, with people that encourage this separation.

My hobbies have changed throughout time, although 2 of them remained constant – rock music and cooking. Reading, mostly nonfiction books, is also incorporated in my spare time routine. Additionally, for pretty much my entire childhood I enjoyed playing Monopoly, Yahtzee, chess, and rummy – they remained as childhood hobbies unfortunately. They’ve made a comeback, thanks to my son, who seems to enjoy such games as much as I did. At least Monopoly, a version adapted to his age. As for chess, Yahtzee, and rummy, I’ll provide an update in our next interview, since he’s still a bit young for those games.

Company: LegalBet
Interviewee: Adrian-Alexandru Sfetcu
Date: 27.12.2023

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