CasinoBeats welcomed the latest addition to its 100 Club, namely Raph Di Guisto, SVP of GAN’s Silverback Gaming, who talked about his initiation into the industry and the subsequent acquisition of SIlverback by GAN.
Having pursued his interest in finance, Di Guisto was first working in a hedge fund where he dealt with algorithmic trading and other similar matters. When in 2008 he saw “everyone losing their jobs” however, he looked for a career elsewhere.
“I kind of started to look at different industries and that made me transition into gambling. What allowed me to do this transition was my friend who at the time was starting this website, which was essentially exotic financial options wrapped up as bets for people within the financial industry who wanted to bet for example on the price of oil.
“For me it was the same thing that we were doing in finance. Bets are obviously tax free so it provides an incentive for gamblers to use those products instead of other financial options.”
From there, Di Guisto discovered the world of slot games, which he took a liking for because of how similar they were to his previous ventures.
“We moved from financial bets to slot games and what I found really interesting is that essentially, slot games are being priced the same way people would price financial options, which from a mathematical perspective are extremely similar. That was my personal progression from financial mathematics to betting and into slot games.”
A natural progression to his career, Di Guisto then went on to open his first game studio and recalls the healthy investment interest in it just 18 months after its start.
“After 18 months from starting the company, buyers began knocking on the door. Our first offer was from a big operator. We had a huge amount of financial power once we sold the studio and we grew the team to almost a 100 people within a year. We also had this playground to use this big operator as a place to try all our ideas out.”
After the successful sale of the company he co-founded,, Di Guisto then opened his own Silverback Gaming studio at the best time possible – although for him it might’ve not seemed like it back then.
“With COVID and how it happened, essentially the US market started opening because Vegas was closed down and only a few states were open at the time.
“What happened is that some of these big US players started looking into acquiring smaller studios. There were however a lot of M&A acquisitions already happening so that’s why they started looking at us.
“This is when the acquisition conversations started coming and where we decided that GAN is the perfect partner who were right in the middle of this US expansion.”