For many UK citizens, sports betting and fantasy football are popular pastimes.
At least four million people in the UK play fantasy sport games, according to London-based entrepreneur David Galan, who has fused the football and betting industries with his gaming company, Picklive.
Whilst other fantasy football games last the whole season, Picklive users bet on their selected players per match.
“This is ‘one night stand’ football,” says chief executive Galan, who took control of Picklive last year and claims to have increased player numbers and revenue by 150 per cent.
“The mainstream sports betting industry in the UK is still quite dry, so we’ve introduced social features such as in-game chat with other players to make the experience more engaging.”
The technology is developed at the company’s Tel Aviv office, led by Israeli chairman Kfir Kugler — who bought Galan’s first online gambling company, Soccer Millionaire, in 2009.
“Picklive’s technology team was originally based in London, [but] there are world class software development resources in Israel and there is a particular specialism in online gaming,” says Galan.
“Tel Aviv is a centre of excellence for online gaming software development.”
Mill Hill-based Galan says the popularity of online gaming in the UK has made it one of the “most competitive markets in the world”.
As a result, the ambitious 39-year-old has begun to expand overseas to lucrative markets in the United States and India.
“We recently announced a joint venture with a company called Sportec in America and will launch a new baseball game with them in March 2014,” he adds.
The financial rewards of conquering the US are massive. Galan estimates that the American fantasy sports industry is worth around $2 billion — and he intends to be part of the market’s growth.
Galan also claims that his company is to sign a “major deal” with an Indian conglomerate, which will introduce fantasy cricket games designed for Indian fans.
India, an emerging market with a growing middle class, could provide vast commercial opportunities for the gaming company — despite the nation’s low use of credit cards, compared to UK and US consumers.
The Leeds University-graduate, a chartered accountant, adds: “It’s a new product in a new market, so it’s always going to be a challenge.
“The partnership with one of India’s largest state lottery operators is expected to drive revenues and take the risk out of the marketing strategy. We are confident we can succeed.”