Ralitsa Zareva on Harnessing AI to Increase Players’ Betting Experience

Ralitsa Zaerva Interview

Our head of casino Ralitsa Zareva explains how the company’s new features and integrations will benefit casino operators, and gives her view of the industry, her vertical, and Delasport.

What does Delasport have in store for Casino operators in 2024?

2024 will be a strong year for Casino. We’re introducing several enhancements and innovations at Delasport. Recently we announced the implementation of the cross-providers jackpot, known as Meta Jackpot. It’s an exciting addition allowing players to win a jackpot while playing even games that don’t have a jackpot natively. Even titles like Aviator now can bring different types of jackpot winnings to their fans.

The major innovation for this year will definitely be ‘My Casino’. This is the logical next step in our effort for advanced personalization. ‘My Casino’ is inspired by ‘My Sportsbook’ – one of Delasport’s flagship features in the sports betting vertical. ‘My Sportsbook’ along with the whole ‘My Era’ suite has proven to be incredibly beneficial in terms of player retention. And in the field of casino, where all operators have access to pretty much the same content, personalization is a key differentiator. Players will now be able to choose the game types and payout wins they prefer, so that they can see only genres and titles interesting to them and not waste time browsing the sea of content.

One more addition is the suite of enhanced smart search and filters based on game tags. Players will be able to find their favorite games through filtering by in-game features, volatility, RTP, genre, and more.

And when I say the innovations are a lot, I mean it! We’ll also soon introduce AI suggestions, based on player selections and gameplay activity. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and it only makes sense that iGaming leaders will take advantage of the limitless opportunities it has to offer. Our AI algorithms will recommend relevant or similar content to what the player has already shown interest in. The world is at the dawn of a massive revolution introduced by AI. It is as big as the internet rising 30 years ago. At Delasport we are investing significant efforts to be at the forefront of AI and not as a buzzword but actually utilizing it.

What makes Delasport’s casino solution stand out among those of other suppliers?

We’re always thinking in terms of innovations. Yes, our casino games catalogue is among the richest in the industry, but that’s not enough for us, at Delasport. We’re determined to never settle and always be a frontrunner in iGaming. This way we can also make sure that our partners and customers stand out in their market with our help.

One such example is the recent implementation of the in-game Booster panel for mobile devices. It allows players to deposit, keep an eye on the Meta Jackpot, and view other important information, without leaving their game and breaking the immersion. The Booster panel, along with other proprietary innovations is designed in a way which allows the player to have everything just a click away.

Another factor that sets us apart is our firm focus on player retention. It is the driver behind most of our efforts. This is what makes us come up with forward-thinking additions like the forementioned Meta Jackpot, My Casino, and Booster Panel.

Another thing I can honestly point out is our flexibility and the understanding of our partners’ business needs. We are very aware that the key to providing the best service and solutions on the market is to draw inspiration from the people that are actually going to use them. This is why we always keep in touch with our partners and customers and make sure to be proactive in requesting feedback and suggestions. I believe this is paying off so far.

What are the priorities that Delasport bases product decisions on in the Casino vertical?

As mentioned, we are driven by innovation and the desire to accommodate our partners’ needs in their effort to grow their business. We consider the current market situation, the latest trends, the feedback we’ve received, and our expert observations.

In short, the main priority is always our partners’ best interest. We take it to heart and utilize our knowledge and experience to produce the best solutions on the market.

Can you share some insights you gathered as part of your work on Delasport’s modern Casino solution during 2023?

Something I would call an insight is the fact that innovation sometimes requires confidence and convincing. If it’s too future facing, even the people that would greatly benefit from it, might not see its potential right away.

Such is the case with the Booster panel. We knew we can make a deposit button and functionality that’s integrated through iFrame and won’t have to take the player out of the game. Our partners were skeptical, but we stayed confident and sure enough – we developed and embedded it. When everyone saw it up and running, they were more than impressed and requested it, so now it’s already available to the players of numerous Casino operators globally.

Let’s talk a bit about you: What makes Delasport the perfect fit for your competencies and experience?

I’m proud that my experience is vast and focused in one general direction. But at Delasport it is really flourishing. What I love here and what really fits my competencies is the freedom to take decisions and action. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be very useful, because my creative drive and expertise are what makes me so valuable.

Another thing that makes Delasport a perfect fit for me is the positive response and understanding my teammates demonstrate towards new ideas. Even if it’s something that’s cutting-edge, they are open-minded and never shut it down without giving it a proper thought or a try.

In my experience, being able to propose and test out wild ideas is key in iGaming, especially online Casino, where innovation is the only way to stand out, regardless of if you’re a supplier, an operator, or a game provider. We always filter ideas by considering the regulation requirements, operators needs and players’ will.

What are your personal core values?

The first one is constant learning. I believe that if we stop learning and developing, we lose our motivation and we become a shadow of our former self. Staying curious and open-minded is an integral part of who I am.

Honesty is definitely another one of my core values. In a way, this is why I like being a part of Delasport. Not only do I see our work as transparent, but I am honest when I say we are innovative and always looking for ways to make positive changes to the industry.

My third core value I’d say is knowledge sharing. You already know how important constant learning is for me. Well, it is also my belief that if we hold on to that knowledge and don’t share it openly, we wouldn’t get anywhere as a species. Progress is achieved through knowledge exchange and collaboration. Human life is rather short and there is no way to read all the books or listen to all the lectures in the world. But if we collaboratively gather knowledge and exchange it in an open and efficient manner, we can achieve anything.

How about interests?

Oh, I’m very big on mountains! I just LOVE them! They make me feel free and peaceful. Another aspect of life and nature I love is sunsets – everything about them. Needless to say, combining mountains with a beautiful sunset is my haven.

I have a few more passions. Some of them are in culinary and mainly baking. Cooking and baking make me feel calm, they bring out the creativity in me that is also so important for my daily work at Delasport.

And last, but not least, I’m a huge fan of beaches and all types of water activities. Swimming, sailing, playing water volley, and everything else related to water recharges me instantly!

How do you see the future of online casino in – let’s say – 3 years from now?

As I already said, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay. In my opinion, AI-based recommendations are the future. Yes, they are already here, but in the years to come, they will improve and perfect immensely. I believe players will stop wasting time altogether looking for a game to play. AI will help them from the get-go, and it will become the most normal thing in the world. One possible direction might be that a player will be able to play Book of Dead but with Wolf Gold symbols and that will happen without the need to change the original game.

This is inevitable, because the sea of content is vast as it is, and as it continues to expand, looking for the right title will become more and more difficult. We know for a fact that among 7000+ games, for example, 50% of all revenue is generated by 50 games only. This means there is a lot of content players aren’t interested in at all.

This is why I’m certain the future is personalization – both in terms of giving players more control over what they see and do and helping them through automation with AI and Machine Learning.

Ralitsa Zareva has served as Delasport’s head of casino since early 2023 and is responsible for managing and implementing many of the company’s innovations in the casino vertical. Before joining the global B2B supplier, she held management positions at several other leading iGaming companies, including head of casino at Anakatech, head of commercial management at Amusnet Interactive, and casino operations team lead at SBTech/DraftKings.