“Slots should provide great entertainment above everything else” — Interview With Sales Manager – Southern Europe & LatAm at Play’n GO Michele Stefanelli
We continue our series of interviews with prominent figures in the world of gambling, and our guest today is Sales Manager – Southern Europe & LatAm at Play’n GO Michele Stefanelli. We will discuss his role at the company, the studio’s latest blockbuster release, and why he is so excited about online gaming development in Latin America. We will talk about the most famous series of the company’s games Book of Dead, and how to keep players’ interest in new slots. We also find out how the company adapts its games for other markets and its plans for the future. Our readers will learn about this and many other exciting topics in today’s interview.
— Introduce yourself, please, and tell us about yourself. Tell us how your career developed and how you got into iGaming.
— I’m Michele Stefanelli, the Sales Manager for Southern Europe & LatAm at Play’n GO. I’ve been working in the iGaming industry for around eight years now, based in Malta, where I moved from Turin in 2014.
I got my start in the iGaming industry through pure luck and coincidence. My first job in Malta wasn’t related to gaming at all, but after talking to friends who were working in the sector, my interest began to grow.
Since that initial fire was lit, I’ve been lucky to work on the B2C and B2B sides of things, starting in customer support. I love how there is always more to learn in this industry, whether that be new products or new markets. Keeping up to date in this fast-moving world is a challenge, but one that I enjoy taking on every day.
Since joining Play’n GO last year, I’m now responsible for sales in the Southern Europe and Latin America regions. It’s a fantastic role, even when I find myself needing to switch between multiple languages each day!
— How optimistic are you for the future of iGaming in Latin America?
We’ve been bringing Play’n GO games to online casino fans in Latin America for longer than most. Over the past couple of years, the excitement around the region has grown. Many are surprised at how advanced it is in terms of digital banking, payments, and other areas.
But Latin America has been a priority region for Play’n GO for some time now; we’ve been certified in Colombia’s regulated market for more than five years, and in 2021 we added the Buenos Aires City and Province to our list of licensed territories. We’ve enjoyed something of a first-mover advantage in LatAm, but we’re not complacent. There’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re watching developments in Brazil closely, where we’re hopeful that a new online gaming framework will be in place soon. Without a doubt, Latin America is one of the most exciting places to be right now.
-— Tell us about a Play’n GO game that every player should try.
Right now, there’s a huge buzz around Pilgrim of Dead, the latest game in our incredibly successful Dead series, which needs little introduction. Book of Dead is the world’s most popular online slot and continues to gain fans across the globe years after its initial release.
We work really hard to keep the series fresh. Every new game needs to both tap into the narrative and the fandom around Dead games while also bringing something new to the table. With Pilgrim of Dead, we’ve added another layer of lore to the series, with players following a lone pilgrim through the underworld in search of the Book of Life. The game also sees the return of our iconic expanding symbols feature, albeit in a slightly different way we know fans are going to love. It’s early days for the launch, but it is already performing really strongly in Italy, LatAm, and other core markets.
— How does Play’n GO undertake the process of developing a new slot?
— I think what sets us apart from other studios is the level of care and detail that goes into each and every one of our titles. We have what I firmly believe to be the most creative team in the industry, so everything from the music to the graphics to the game mechanics is always designed to create that wow factor. We’re also going the extra mile when it comes to developing slots with responsible gaming in mind. Play’n GO has always been vocal around the idea that slots should provide great entertainment above everything else; it means we’re building genuinely sustainable titles that are ready for regulated markets. On top of this, we deliver them on the most robust technology in the industry, so there’s no downtime, and we never miss a release deadline. It’s this unique combination of creativity, sustainability, and reliability that’s been behind our success.
— How do Southern European markets differ from those in LatAm? Are players demanding different things, or does a good game perform well everywhere?
— It’s becoming increasingly important to tailor a portfolio of games to specific markets. We work in more than 25 regulated jurisdictions around the world, and while there are certainly common trends that run throughout all of them, we need to pay attention to local details. This covers a few different areas, from regulation to player preferences. Over the past few months, we’ve been building market-specific teams at Play’n GO to better serve our customers in each territory.
In terms of the games themselves, obviously, many of our titles are global hits, but every so often, a particular game resonates in a specific market. For instance, Rocco Gallo, which follows a cockerel living on a small farm, has been a big success in Italy in no small part because it is set in the country.
We’re generally trying to build for global audiences, but sometimes that means focusing on something very local.