Shahar Attias is a globally recognized iGaming expert with more than 15 years of industry experience. Attias is the founder and CEO of Hybrid Interaction Ltd., the much-in-demand online gambling consulting firm.
His involvement in the gaming industry happened almost accidentally when his wife was offered a job in Antigua with 888. After she passed all the tests and was offered the job, 888 said they might as well see what kind of work they could have her husband do. After a few months of leading a variety of projects, Attias noticed a spike in activity whenever 888 sent out their bi-weekly newsletter.
“I approached the board and asked permission to pick three employees and launch a player marketing department, and that’s how I established the first-ever customer relationship management (CRM) team in iGaming history, simply going on a hunch,” he says.
While in Antigua, Attias met the head of customer service at 888, Vahe Baloulian, an “Armenian, ex-Russian military, self-made internet entrepreneur, support strategist and one of the wisest people I have met,” says Attias.
“I knew nothing about gambling at the time, and after a week in the position, (Baloulian) came to my office and asked my opinion on a certain game. When I said I didn’t know enough to say, he told me, ‘Well, go and learn.’”
After about a month, Attias became the gaming expert in the company, and started training all the new employees. “(Baloulian) kept doing this with me—always pushing me to my limits not only during my time with 888, but afterwards as we’ve continued our friendship,” Attias says.
Today, Baloulian is the CEO of BetConstruct, which is now one of Attias’ clients.
Attias finds the most challenging aspect of the industry is keeping up with the rapid changes. For the number of years he has been in the gaming industry, he finds nothing that worked even two years ago is relevant anymore.
“Much like fashion, iGaming trends from 2014 are considered so last year,” Attias playfully mentions. “There’s nothing like this crazy industry—every other line of business seems to be standing still in comparison to the dynamic evolution of iGaming.”
He believes even land-based gambling, which itself is ultra-challenging and action-packed, is relatively stable in comparison. “As someone once put it, our industry is like land-based gambling, only in dog years,” he says.
Attias is a frequent speaker at events such as G2E, ICE Totally Gaming, iGamingAsia and others. He is the blogger behind iGamingCRM.com, and began his career in gaming operations and marketing in 2001 with 888. In the subsequent years, he served as vice president of casino operations for EuroPartners and was one of the founders of this leading Playtech licensee. Attias became the director of player relationship marketing for PokerStars in 2006, where he established and ran the CRM department. Starting in 2008, Attias opened his own consulting firm, providing customized solutions for such organizations as bwin.party, GVC Holdings, William Hill Online, Virgin Gaming, EZtrader and other online casinos.
He also has extensive experience in assisting state-owned operators, such as the Austrian Lotteries and the Israel Sports Betting Board. Additionally, Attias provides customized solutions for organizations like Churchill Downs, SG Interactive’s B2C activity, Gioco Digitale and SkillOnNet’s B2B platform as well as the migration of the largest casino in Georgia to an online platform.
The best advice Attias can offer is to be an expert in whatever you do and always be networking. He says it’s very important in such a small industry.
“As Vahe told me in my first week, go and learn.”