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Interview for Oranje and Kroon with Emiel Dunning – A Series of Posts about our Team Leaders

Failure is success if we learn from it. With the acquisition of Oranje Casino and Kroon Casino in March of this year, Emiel Dunning joined the Betsson family, having previously worked for 7 years in the privately owned group of companies that ran the 2 big casino brands in the Dutch market. His current role has him continue to see to the day to day operations for both Dutch brands whilst preparing for bigger things in the future.

Emiel Dunning

Emiel Dunning - Oranje & Kroon

The Team ‘We have a relatively small organisation - directly and indirectly we employ around 25 people - currently working from four different locations. Our organisation was to a large extent dependant on decision making from its previous owners, work usually happened in an informal way with many procedures being implicit and unstated. This kind of structure was good for the setting in which we were operating and reflected the development of the companies,’ explains Emiel. ‘Betsson, being a company listed on the stock exchange, works in a more demanding setting and also the size of the company requires a different organisation structure from what we were used to. Currently we are in the process of re-shaping our teams and structure in a way that is focused on functional expertise and where people understand their accountabilities. This is an inevitable process and necessary to meet certain industry challenges in the medium and long term. The biggest challenge in this process will be not to lose the elements that made us the successful organisation we are at the moment.’ 5 year Strategy ‘The 5 year strategy is aiming to deliver growth. Over the last

5 years we have managed to achieve this however looking at the future it’s clear that our products can improve in several areas using resources from the Betsson group that were previously not available in our organisation, especially new product offerings and increased customer insights which can contribute to growing our current revenue base. In addition, the regulation of the Dutch market will provide us with broader marketing channels and allow us to increase the market penetration.

In the coming years we will be operating in a complex market; regulation will most likely mean greater competitive pressure, making the delivery of the strategy a real challenge,’ continues Emiel.

‘Over the years we have always believed that our ability to deliver the best customer experience and as well as set ourselves apart from the competition was through strong local brands in combination with excellent customer service. We have proven our ability to execute this strategy successfully for a number of years now.

Having said that, building a local brand and having good customer support is not going to be good enough forever. The social stigma surrounding online casinos is gradually disappearing and the industry is slowly but surely being regulated in a number of countries. The situation we are currently facing shows similarities with that of online dating sites during the early 2000’s. Whereas customers used to feel reluctant to share their experiences with others, nowadays the customer becomes one of the biggest advocates. The future of online gaming will also see an increased number of customers sharing their experiences / reviews with others. We have to make sure that customers visiting the casino have such a good experience that they will spread the word.’

Achievements and the next step

‘Whilst running the business we have always focused on having low churn rates from our players. The reason is simple; you can’t move forward if you are losing your players through the backdoor. In an environment where switching costs for customers are almost non-existent, low churn rates are a good indicator of customer satisfaction.

In addition we have had a strong focus on conversion rates; marketing is not so much about getting the traffic to your website but more about what you do next with it.

We have always kept a strong focus on the ROI for all our marketing activities and we have minimized conversion leaks.

The business intelligence systems from Betsson should enable us to take the necessary steps that will improve customer experience and this in turn will lead to an improved ROI on our marketing efforts.’

Passion and Drive

‘The thing I’m most passionate about is being confronted with a problem (as diverse as they come) and then figuring out a way to solve it. These things can range from changing a light bulb to creating a complex formula in an excel sheet.

Doing a job and being passionate about the work that you do are two different things. Sometimes a job is merely a way to pay the bills, when I started working on a tulip farm at the age of 16, I wasn’t particularly interested in tulips, but with the money I could buy a cd or go out and drink some beers!’ smiles Emiel.

‘Passion for a job is something that is often built over a period time and can only be created under the right conditions. I think some of these conditions can be influenced by the company and its leaders; making sure that people are being held accountable for their jobs for instance, as well as recognising success. Creating a workplace where people like to spend time, always being respectful in communication, and making it an intellectually stimulating place for everyone.’