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The ambitious plans of Novibet to reach global goals

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Even the most successful businessmen in the world may have been surprised at how busy George Athanasopoulos , CEO of Novibet was over the past two years.

His to-do lists include attempting to be a publicly traded company, entering new markets, resigning from major jurisdictions, as well as driving growth on established markets. Athanasopoulos’s teams have had a very busy time in Athens, but also a highly successful period.

Athanasopoulos, reflecting on the recent events, said that “2023 has so far been a significant year for Novibet in terms both of our expansion in global operations and growth across all markets.”

Novibet faced a challenge with limited brand awareness and intense competition across the Atlantic. They took on this challenge head-on, creating a fantastic international 360deg campaign that captivates audiences in Brazil, Ecuador Chile and Mexico. Novibet faced a challenge of limited brand recognition and fierce competition on both sides of the Atlantic. They took the initiative and created a 360deg international campaign which captivated audiences in Brazil, Ecuador Chile, and Mexico.

In addition to partnering with Memo Ochoa, the legendary goalkeeper in Mexico, and sponsoring 4 football clubs throughout South America as part of this campaign.

Novibet’s success in Latin America is not limited to its emerging markets. The operator has strengthened its market position on its own home turf of Greece. NBA player Giannis Antietokounmpo, and Premier League Footballer Kostas Tsimikas have joined forces with Novibet as CSR Ambassadors.

We hope the market will shift in favor of healthy competition among operators.

Athanasopoulos said that the Greek market was a testing ground for Novibet. In the past few years, we have managed to surpass global operators with products and brands which were once household names.

It takes time for Novibet to achieve the level of maturity that it offers. Only after investing heavily in technology and enhancing our CRM recipe, did we accelerate to the podium. “We have room for growth in this market and we expect it to happen as the momentum is on our behalf.”

Athanasopoulos, the CEO of Novibet, described Ireland as a long-term market for his operator. The situation is much more complicated in the third European market.

Italy presents a different situation. Athanasopoulos said that the advertising ban came very near to our launch. “We were forced into a difficult decision: cancel our plans or plan for a small share of market.”

We did not quit. We decided that, given the return on investment we received in this market and the other possibilities available to us, it was best to use a third party platform. “We hope the market will shift in favor of healthy competition among operators.”

Novibet was also present in the most competitive and largest gambling market in Europe, yet it chose to return its UK Gambling Commission license in 2022. Athanasopoulos, 18 months later, is still satisfied with the decision but hints that it hasn’t yet been the end of the story for the UK-based company.

Before we surrendered the license, our growth rate was more than doubled every year, which is typical for Novibet. While our business was going according to plan, the CEO noted two long-term concerns: regulatory issues and a growing black market.

The SPAC Market has declined, and this is due to factors beyond our control.

We have made the difficult decision to concentrate our investments and efforts in other markets that are more promising, but not completely write off the UK market. “We are watching changes and will consider reapplying if more favorable conditions become most likely.”

Is it Private or Public?

In the life of any private company that has achieved success, there comes a time when they must seriously consider whether or not the appeal of the stock exchange is the best path for their long-term plans.

The leadership of Novibet decided in 2022 that they were ready to go public and announced their plans via the merger between Artemis Strategic Investment Corporation, a company formed for special purposes, with Nasdaq. The deal, however, was cancelled in 2023 leaving GameTech still under private ownership.

Athanasopoulos, despite the fact that the result was not as expected, believes the strategy adopted was the right one.

The decision to make Novibet a public company at the wrong moment was right. He said that the announced SPAC deal would have given us growth capital as well as a chance to be listed on the largest exchange in the world.

Unfortunately, and beyond our control the SPAC market degraded until it became a negative return to target companies. This journey has taught us many things, some of which are still too recent to share publicly.

We changed corporate governance, group structure, went through audits and multiple rounds of due diligence, presented our successes to top analysts in the sector and to funds around the world. “While most of the achievements we have made are not tangible, they show that our organization has matured.”

“… our view is that industry experts are not leading the current consolidations taking place on an international level”

Going global

Novibet has not been deterred by the cancellation of SPAC’s deal. It has already plans to expand its operations in Cyprus, and to explore new opportunities in Oceania.

This strategy will put the company in a greater level of competition with world-class operators. As the total legal market has grown due to increased regulation, multinationals have been more aggressive in their M&A strategies.

Is this a problem for Athanasopoulos then? Not particularly.

He said that the founders of Novibet and their top management have worked in this industry for over 20 years. “We have seen many rise and fall,” he added. The fragmentation of the global industry and its expanding regulations favor companies with experience in multi-jurisdictional operations, and those that can deploy technologies that are scalable when entering new markets.

In addition, with the number of illegal operators on the market today, having a licence in good standing and an impeccable track record are a must for all operators. Novibet’s focus has always been on markets that are regulated or soon to be regulated.

We welcome local initiatives and are looking forward to working with regulators, as was the case in Brazil, to create a safer environment for the users and to protect the most vulnerable.

The CEO added that if operators do not initiate M&A deals, they will fail.

Novibet has considered becoming a buyer, but the opportunities are limited. The market offers very few options that would justify the buy or build dilemma. This is especially true for companies with high organic growth rates.

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