Adam Lamentowicz: Poland was the first market in which we developed organically
In the Superbet Group, there have been a lot of changes in the management staff in recent weeks. The team was strengthened by such serious industry experts as Stephen Parry (COO), Andrei Dușu (CBDO), and Glyn Hughes (CFO). In turn, Adam Lamentowicz has been promoted VP of Superbet International. We have just talked with Adam Lamentowicz about what these changes mean, as well as about many other topics.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your promotion to the position of VP International. Have you had time to cool down yet?
Thank you. It has not been a long time since the official announcement was provided. Something happens all the time. For the past 2-3 months, the case has been finalized and I have been constantly on the road. I am very happy that we are already formalizing this and that there are big changes coming in Poland as well. Thus, my commitments will not affect the pace of business development in our country in any way.
Even when we had an appointment for this interview, there were obstacles associated with the fact that you would have to come to Vienna.
As I said, a lot is going on. The company is in the process of approving a new strategy and we are trying to act quickly. The pace of action is something that has always distinguished Superbet. That is why, even now, before everyone goes on vacation, we wanted to bring a few things to an end. The situation is very dynamic and indeed, I was in Vienna in the morning, and now, when we are talking, I am already in Malta.
Is your promotion related to move? Or will you still live in Poland?
I do not plan to move at the moment. I feel good in Poland. Our organization is very hybrid, and we have people who live in really remote corners of the world. For sure, I will have to change the car and train for an airplane now, but I do not plan to change the place of residence of myself and my family, and it is not required.
In the press releases, there was also information that you will deal with the group’s activities in current and new markets. Can you tell us which markets these will be?
I would rather not talk about it today. As long as this does not happen, it is better to keep this information to myself. When we start licensing processes, this information will certainly flow out. I can say that we are planning for sure to exploit the synergies we have achieved in the markets in which we are present, in the jurisdictions in which we plan to enter. We look at both European and more distant markets. This is quite an ambitious plan from the point of view of scaling business and expanding structures.
Poland and Serbia are the markets in which we already operate. In Poland, we have experienced rapid growth, a lot has happened, and it gives us a solid benchmark for the markets in which we want to operate.
Serbia is also an interesting case. We entered the market by taking over another company and rebranding to Superbet. At this moment, preparations to launch the first serious campaigns are in progress. The market is in the early stages of adoption, pure e-commerce. Most of the operators count on retail, not online. Entering this market with an online operator is therefore a big challenge for us, but it is also a huge opportunity because the market will grow and change.
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that it’s impossible to translate this exactly, because each market is different, and each requires an appropriate approach.
Was Poland a little such a testing ground for Superbet? Did you think that if you were successful in Poland, you would also succeed in other markets?
Poland was certainly a very difficult testing ground from the point of view of the transparency of regulations, the tax rate, or the level of customer awareness. From the outside, it may seem that we are an unattractive market, poor in innovation. In my opinion, this is not true. There is really strong competition here and everyone is developing their product dynamically, looking for a recipe for how to survive in this difficult market. It is therefore a testing ground and I think that companies that are doing well in Poland would be able to cope successfully in other countries.
For the Superbet Group, Poland was the first market in which we developed organically, not through acquisition. We have certainly drawn a lot of useful conclusions about the strategy of action in demanding markets. It was a good time that taught us a lot.
In Croatia, more than 50% of the market share is held by SuperSport. Do you see similarities to the Polish market which has long been dominated by STS?
The main difference between these markets is the number of available licenses. In Poland, if the Ministry of Finance does not find any reasons not to issue a license, there are no additional restrictions. In Croatia, we have a limited and used number of licenses. In this case, therefore, the licensing process must begin, a certain type of tender for new licenses or there is a possibility of entering the market through acquisition. At the moment, the possibilities of obtaining a license are limited.
From the point of view of market shares, this situation is a bit analogous to Poland a few years ago. However, in my opinion, Croatia is a more attractive market in terms of regulations and available products. For example, in retail, where we have at our disposal not only sports betting but also slot machines, as well as online, where licensed operators can offer casino games.
There is a Croatian lottery on the market, which has its own casino and points of sale and has a simplified product in the area of sports betting. At the same time, Croatia is able to remain a very competitive market in which private operators can find their way.
Is the fact, that the markets in which you are present have different fiscal rules, a big obstacle?
My main focus is to ensure that we, as a group, choose the right jurisdiction, create the appropriate business cases and have a plan on how to compete effectively in each of them.
Each market has to do with the fact that there are different rules related to fiscal issues, advertising, and acquisitions. Every country is different, even if they seem similar.
When it comes to sports betting and casino, players in different countries may be interested in completely different products. In one market football will dominate, while hockey or basketball in another. This requires us to adapt our offer to each market. This is why our industry is so interesting. If there were the same rules in each jurisdiction, it would be boring.
Do you think there will be changes in the tax area in Poland? Can the appearance of Entain in Poland play any role in this?
It all depends on the regulator. It has all the information and all the data. It knows how possible changes could affect the state budget both in the short and long term. However, this is a purely regulatory, political issue. The role of the market is to give arguments and call for changes to the regulator.
It seems to me that no one can remain deaf to these demands. At some point, there is a need to take into account the market arguments and make changes. Perhaps I am a bit naive optimist, but it seems to me that everything speaks for changes in fiscal policy.
I remember that when the amendment to the gambling act came into force in 2017, the regulator announced that in about 5 years the regulations of that time will be reviewed to find out what worked well, and what did not.
Now the parliamentary elections are ahead, and it’s probably hard to expect radical changes. For me, however, it is important that the regulator and the rulers, whoever they may be, understand our market and create conditions for healthy competition.
There have been more personnel changes in the Group recently. Stephen Parry became COO, Andrei Dușu became CBDO, and Glyn Hughes became CFO. Is this a signal of bigger changes in the Superbet Group?
I think that in every company, every now and then, such moments of major change come. The organization develops and prepares to the implementation of a specific strategy. Stephen Parry gradually learns about the organization and begins to fulfill his duties. He will deal with all the operations that are to support multi-jurisdictionality and group development on many levels.
We are happy that he is joining us and will help the group move on to the next stage. It is crucial to do business not only in terms of the jurisdictions in which we already are but also in the jurisdictions in which we would like to be.
Andrei Dușu is also a very talented man who spent years at Google or OLX. Now, as CBDO, he will support development processes, analytics, and preparation of models of entry into new markets, as well as the overall scaling of the organization.
Indeed, there are quite a few changes, but it seems to me that it’s definitely better to act this way than to make small changes from time to time and regularly create confusion. Now we can safely go through the process of changes and adapting to them, and then get to work with full force.
It may also be a signal that Superbet is preparing for a wider expansion into new markets.
Indeed, it is such preparation of our troops to attack the next targets, as well as regrouping the squadrons so that they can be even more effective. Certainly, these changes are not caused by unspecified aspects, but by the stage in which the entire organization is currently entering.
I think this is good information for you. It’s no secret that you’ve always been drawn toward foreign markets.
I have been involved in the activity of many markets for years. I mentioned that our business is interesting because it varies so much from country to country. This is something that is keeping me in the industry for so many years. I like it when a lot happens, and I like complicated topics, so I look forward to changes and new challenges.
Due to these changes, you have been appointed to the Supervisory Board of Superbet Polska. Is this a sign that you will still be present on the Polish market?
Poland remains the country where I live and a place that is close to me. It is also a jurisdiction that I feel good in, so I would like to continue to support its development. It is also among the countries for which I am responsible. Our status provides for seats on the Supervisory board, so I think that it is also a good time to move, make a place in the Management Board for Katarzyna Gawlik, and make way for Łukasz Seweryniak at the head of Superbet Polska.
I will be present all the time. I am going to support the business with my ideas and advice. However, I am glad that along with my promotion, a large part of the Polish organization can also count on the promotion. The team is very strong, committed and active, so I have no doubt that they will be able to continue their success so far.
Is there something you are most proud of when it comes to building a business in Poland, and is there also something you would do differently now?
In general, I am very proud of what we managed to achieve, because it is not easy to build a bookmaker in Poland, and it was certainly a big challenge. I am most proud of the team we have created here. Every day I saw the involvement of more than 80 people in this project and it was very satisfying.
There is also a lot of things I would do differently. Some things I would do faster and more aggressively, some things we wouldn’t wait so long for. However, it is behind us. Our organizational culture is based on the fact that we test new solutions, draw conclusions, and on the basis of these conclusions we act better and more precisely in the future.
I think that we could have acted more courageously with SuperScore, but it is impossible to work successfully on every front. It is also difficult to clearly state from the perspective of time what could work sooner, and what could not.
If you acted even more aggressively, then the competition in Poland would probably hate you at all.
There is competition that likes us less, and competition that likes us more. For me, competition is something normal and healthy. If it does not exist, we fall into lethargy and stop being creative. The fact that large igaming groups are entering the Polish market is a good sign for the Polish player and for the entire Polish industry. We are entering a stage of transformation, for example through Entain. This will be a signal to other large companies that there may be something interesting in the Polish market. This is a good change for smaller companies as well.
What do you think Entain will do with the license for Poland acquired from Totolotek?
It is difficult to say, although such a natural direction could be to focus on STS and launch bwin as a smaller sister brand.
Perhaps it could be aimed at a younger player who will be looking for novelty. But everything depends on the resources and investment opportunities. On the one hand, bwin is a brand that is recognizable in Poland, and on the other hand, its launch would also involve some costs. Therefore, a specific decision must be made here on the basis of the available information.
Entain will probably be such a major competitor for you now. After all, SuperSport in Croatia is also in their hands.
As I said, competition is a natural thing and I’m not afraid of it. In many countries, we compete with other strong brands, such as Betano and Betsson. I think that the biggest mistake is underestimating the strength of the opponent, so we treat each competitor with respect, regardless of whether his aim is a different target group and how he wants to position himself.
What to wish for you?
First of all, health, and energy, because it is such a good that is necessary to achieve our goals. I think that I will also need some luck, because I used to say that business is, of course, primarily work, but also luck.