The Canadian Gaming Summit got underway yesterday in Toronto however one notable absence from the event is consultant and Kambi board member, Benjie Cherniak.

In lieu of a conference appearance, Cherniak caught up with Steve McAllister on the latest episode of Gaming New Canada to discuss the latest developments and innovations in the gaming industry.

The show starts with Cherniak providing advice for entrepreneurs attending the summit with the aim of networking with people in the industry.

He stresses the importance of having a “plan of action” to maximise time at the event and meet as many people as possible and adds that if possible meetings should be set up beforehand.

However, he warns a strategic approach is needed when approaching people to arrange meetings.

He said: “I might get 30-40 people approaching me on LinkedIn blindly or reaching out via email and you can’t respond to everyone right? The ones that have the maximum chance of being responded to are the ones who have done their homework.

“If you want to meet with person X, do your homework on person X. Know who they are and know about them, know why you want to meet them and what you want from them, know where you can add value and in a very succinct way, put that into your approach.”

The chat then turns to the M&A activity of North American operators in recent times. Last month, DraftKings completed the $750 million acquisition of lottery courier Jackpocket and also acquired odds maker and player prop provider Sports IQ Analytics for an undisclosed fee.

Cherniak describes how B2C operators have turned a corner compared to previous years and are now “building cash flow rather than burning cash flow”.  As a result, companies like DraftKings are acquiring smaller firms to grow into other gaming verticals as a way of continuing to build cash flow. 

He added: “There are different types of M&A. There’s a consolidation of markets, there’s M&A where it’s more of an aqua hire along with some technology and there’s M&A where you’re picking up pieces of a vertical that can help you grow your existing user base into new product lines.

“I think the key thing is, is that the operators and the bigger b2b companies are now open to those conversations and having those conversations in a way that they weren’t a year and a half, two years ago.”

The pair also discuss how operators have changed how they are spending money on marketing campaigns and customer acquisition. Cherniak notes that there has been a shift from spending money on acquiring players to being more “strategic” and focusing on customer retention.

He also talks about how companies such as FanDuel are using their media departments to build brand loyalty and produce a brand that resonates with players and how they “view the world of sports engagement”.

“You look at companies like dabble, they take a very social approach to sports betting out in Australia [and] merge the feel of a social media and an Instagram with the real money betting and their copy bet feature,” he explained. “Others are now beginning to think about how do we replicate that and themselves are now making waves on our side of the pond.”

Bringing the focus back to the Canadian market Cherniak expresses his excitement about the potential of the Canadian gaming landscape as more provinces open up. He says that it is “hard to envision a scenario” in the next ten to 20 years where Ontario is the only regulated market.

Entrepreneurs need a plan of action to maximise networking opportunities