Justin Cosnett, Head of Solution Architecture at Continent 8 Technologies, speaks with Owain Flanders of Gaming America Magazine about the rapidly-growing United States market in the G2E 2019 Preview Issue, published September 29, 2019.
Can you explain a bit about what a Continent 8 data center network can do for potential clients?
We have 20 years of experience with clients helping them set up in locations they have limited experience with or existing contacts in. We’ve generally done a lot of exploring in locations to find suitable data centers for other clients. We always make sure we deliver a resilient, private network connection to every single location, so that allows us to run a resilient global network around the globe on top of lots of individual private connections.
Continent 8 recently partnered with New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). Can you explain a bit about this partnership and what it means?
New Jersey has historically been focused on a licensing and registering regime based on casino facilities. Casinos may have quite a good standard of data hosting halls, but they’re not independent custom-built data centers. Initial regulation meant those who wanted to provide online gaming had to partner with a casino and have their server infrastructure within that casino premise. The main result of the partnership was independence. It is a data center without a brand, so you could host with us, and service all casinos.
The convention center facilities, combined with the network and data center, can potentially support events benefitting from such an environment, like esports events.
It led to a rapid escalation in activity. We already had partnerships with a couple of casinos in in Atlantic City, because New Jersey was at the forefront of preparing for legalization. A lot of other states started to regulate very rapidly and many of our existing customer base and new customers came to us needing support for their operating infrastructure.
A build takes a significant amount of time. Even taking residence in existing facilities tends to take two to three months, or maybe even more, especially bringing in private connectivity to a location. We sometimes had to do these things in less than four weeks, because every one of our customers is looking to go to market first after the regulation is approved. That’s where the pressure is.
Did you come across any challenges expanding into new states so rapidly?
It was more trying to determine how many customers would be going to a state and when. We look at where the market is going ad think if there is going to be significant operator activity in a state, it’s probably an area we should prioritize and start setting up. If there is a big potential customer base for an operator, then they’re more likely to go swiftly, and if the license is going to be available in two months, we have to be ready to go. We have had to learn a lot about the legislative process.
That being said, do you feel you are making progress in the US and Asia? What more needs to be done to establish yourselves in these markets in the same way you have in Europe?
I think we have had a considerable change in our marketing activity, especially in the US. We have a new-found ability to let people know who we are. In the US, we are definitely establishing ourselves as one of the people to go to, the same as we have with Europe.
Asia is a different challenge. We’ve tried to support a reseller channel instead of doing direct sales in Asia because there is such a big cultural and language difference. We’ve probably been more successful at getting our name out there in the US, but Asia is doing well.
What is the focus for the rest of 2019? What is Continent 8 working on?
There is a big focus on our existing customer base and making sure we are ready for wherever they’re going next. A lot of our customers are multi-regional as well, so they will be facing different challenges in the US, Latin America, Asia and Europe at the same time. We need to be there to help them through that.