Dave McDowell Q&A

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FSB were delighted to feature in this week’s GGB Magazine podcast with our CEO Dave McDowell the special guest of Roger Gros. Formed in 2007, we’ve become one of the most established and well-respected sportsbook suppliers in Europe over the last decade.
Let our CEO tell you more about FSB:

Can you tell us where in the States you’re from and how long you’ve been in the UK for?

I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan and first came to the UK in 1993 to enrol in the MBA program at London Business School. I’ve lived in London permanently since 1998.

What were the key factors for you setting up FSB in 2007?

In 2007 I had a unique opportunity to take a step back and analyse where I thought the industry was heading. I loved the idea of building a modern gaming platform (PAM as they are now called) using open source software but didn’t like the idea of trying to launch a PAM without any premium content of our own. That is when we looked at sports betting and saw the perfect storm.

We could see that live data feeds coming from stadia around the world would drive real-time pricing models and that the entire operational model of running a sports betting operation would need to be retooled. The market was dominated by legacy technology suppliers who would try to bolt live betting solutions onto their existing framework and there was a real opportunity for a sports betting supplier to rewrite the rules with a new modern architecture for running a sports betting business.

You’ve made a success of FSB in Europe. Take us through the rise of your operation and the key moments that have illustrated FSB’s growth.

When we first got started the structured data that we needed to run in-play betting just wasn’t available and our first big break came in 2012 when Genting signed our first contract to build and run a full-scale sports book for them. While that sports book was integrated into Genting’s own customer registration platform, in 2015 we introduced our own PAM and introduced our casino aggregation platform in 2016 and the business was exploding. By 2019 we were ranked #13 on the UK Tech Track list of the fastest growing private companies in the UK.

The same year, we received a major investment from Clairvest, a Canadian private equity investor, which gives us the financial backing to expand even further and build on our great reputation in the UK and African markets.

What can FSB offer US operators who want to move into sports betting?

Better control. FSB is a rare beast. We are one of the only companies that set out to deliver B2B sports betting services and we built our systems with seasoned traders sitting next to our developers and explaining what tools they need to do their job better. Because of this heritage our system provides much better control of your trading, much better control of your risk and much better control of your user experience.

How do you see the next few years unravelling in the US when it comes to state by state regulation?

It is never easy to make a call on US politics, but there is some fantastic momentum built on the success of the earlier states to open up and I think this will continue.

One topic, however, that gets less press then the share prices and marketing spend of the public companies is social responsibility. It worries me that the market is still embryonic and one bad actor can undo the great progress we have made over the last few years. Most people of my age will remember the 1989 Pete Rose betting scandal and lifetime ban from MLB that led us directly into PASPA. Regulatory tailwinds can turn into headwinds very quickly.

What do you miss most about living in the States?

My kayak, snowmobile and mountain bike and the outdoor adventures with great friends and family. The US has such amazing geography with the two oceans, several mountain ranges, 3.5 million miles of rivers, 84 million acres of national parks and 10,000 state parks to get lost in.

To hear more from Dave, take a listen to the brand new Global Gaming Magazine podcast.