Mattias Stetz, Chief Operating Officer, Rush Street Interactive

Mattias Stetz, originally from Sweden but now residing in Chicago, has had a very interesting career path.

During his days at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden, Stetz worked for a news media outlet where he compiled daily sports statistics from around the world. While many of his university classmates were going to work in the finance and banking world, he was building interest in the gambling industry through his master’s thesis on harness racing, or “trotting,” as it is called in Sweden.

Upon graduating, he traded in the news media for Unibet, an online sports betting and gambling company. Ironically, his work in the European sports betting realm led to his interest in U.S. sports, and he is an NFL fan to this day.

Much like his job at the newspaper, Stetz took on tasks that many of his colleagues usually considered too boring or too challenging. His willingness to roll up his sleeves and “own the problem” made him extremely valuable. Being detail-oriented and numbers-driven allowed him to focus on different solutions to fix any array of problems, a responsibility that he enjoyed very much. Even for someone with a marketing background, he liked the numbers.

“Most people think of marketing as a creative field for creative people,” Stetz says. “I see marketing as a numbers game. In the end, the plus needs to be bigger than the minus, and I think my focus and understanding of numbers has helped me greatly in the marketing field.”

At Unibet, Stetz was quickly promoted from management trainee to upper management, and he even spearheaded the effort to launch poker on the Unibet platform a mere six months after joining the company. Success never came easily, and hard work played a significant role, but Stetz always strived to be transparent and open about his own mistakes, a factor he believes to be a great strength in helping him achieve.

He notes, “Managers knew I wouldn’t try to hide something, so my strategy became to admit a wrong, learn from it and never make the same mistake twice.” This strategy proved successful as he assumed the role of chief commercial officer in 2009.

Challenges aside, he was fascinated by the U.S. and especially by the sports betting aspect of the U.S. online gaming industry. As the opportunity at Rush Street presented itself, Stetz was intrigued with the idea of moving from a company with over 1,000 employees to a department that was essentially a startup. One quote in particular resonated with him: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” With that in mind, he moved with his wife and two kids to Chicago in mid-2016 to become the chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive.

Stetz is looking forward to the growth of online gaming in the U.S. market. The current U.S. online gaming market is still relatively small compared to the land-based market, but the potential is enormous, and the potential growth looks to be rapid.

“Online gaming may be a place within the industry where young professionals can have the largest impact, and it is going to be an exciting time over the next three to five years,” he says. “Opportunities aren’t always handed to you, so you need to make them for yourself by working hard and owning problems. Don’t be afraid of the grunt work. Keep your integrity and be transparent. In the right organization, that will be rewarded.”