“Bet Builder has also been a huge focus for us and still represents a massive opportunity”
In an interview with Group Head of Sportsbook Product Performance and Trading Strategy at FEG, Aidan Barry, we talk about the beginnings of working at FEG, or life in Prague. The focus, however, is primarily on product development, including apps, or features such as Bet Builder. However, there is also a thread in which we mention Aidan’s work at Paddy Power, or Poker Stars, which brought him a lot of experience and inspiration.
You are currently working at FEG as Group Head of Sportsbook Product Performance and Trading Strategy. You have been in Fortuna for less than a year. Are you happy with where you are now?
It’s been a busy but immensely enjoyable 9 months. The Fortuna family were very welcoming to me when I joined in late 2022 and made what could have been a very complicated onboarding for me, as it involved relocation etc. very smooth. Prague is a wonderful city to live and raise children in and our office in Churchill is an incredible facility with amazing views of Prague, what’s not to like!
FEG is an incredible business with a presence in growing markets all around Central Europe. The opportunity for growth is still massive and Victor Corcoran our CEO has put together an ambitious strategy to capitalise on the opportunity, and that’s what ultimately attracted me to the company.
What have you already managed to do in less than a year?
Our main focus on the product side over the last number of months has been a complete redesign of our native applications. Providing a modern shop window, improving customer betting journeys and solving some of the main customer pain points were amongst our aims with this new app. We are now live in Croatia and Romania with the app and the rest of our regions will follow later in the year. We’ve involved our customer in every step of this project and we are really encouraged by its performance since it’s introduction.
Bet Builder has also been a huge focus for us and still represents a massive opportunity. Migration to the product has accelerated but we still have plenty of headroom to grow. Most of our regions are relatively new adopters to the product and our marketing teams have done a great job in educating our customers about the product.
You have previously worked in various sectors of the industry, such as Paddy Power, Matchbook Betting Exchange and Poker Stars. What experiences do you draw from those companies in your current job?
There’s genuinely things I learned or experienced in Paddy Power 15 years ago that I still draw on or pass down to my teams on a daily basis. Customer centricity is probably somewhere in every sportsbook’s strategy in the world these days but Paddy Power was pretty much built on this value and that mindset was evident in everything that they did. I had great mentors in the likes of Eoin George, Ben Reilly, Carole o Rourke, Cian Keating and Kevin Hough who I’m still in touch with today, hopefully it’s become more a two-way street when it comes to advice these days!
My time at Matchbook was also really enjoyable and beneficial for my development. I was part of the Senior leadership team there so had exposure to all facets of the business which has been of huge benefit to me since moving on.
Flutter in later years became masters of focus and Disney’s Bob Iger’s quote describes it perfectly. “Avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil….the world only consumes a few quarts of trombone oil a year!” In other words, don’t put a lot of energy and time into projects that won’t give much back.
In your opinion, what will be the trends this year or next year when it comes to the development of the betting product?
Betting apps globally are finally migrating away from just being a long list of things, I think you’ll see a lot of operators continue to “socialize” their front ends to improve the experience for younger/social media age customers.
As I said earlier, Bet Builder adoption is definitely behind in these regions when you compare to UK or the US and is a product that will grow exponentially in the next few years. Likewise, stats and props are starting to grow in popularity here and when data collection improves especially in our local European leagues I think we’ll see huge growth in that area.