Today we are joined by Adam Roebuck, Director of Studies, Founder, and CEO of Gaming Operations Academy.
Together we talk about the inception of GO-Academy, its current offer and plans for the future, and the role continuing education can and should play within the industry.
Gaming Operations Academy is a CPD accredited learning center providing continuing education for professionals in the gaming industry. With 16 coaches and over 700 client companies worldwide, Gaming Operations Academy is the go-to training and consultancy agency for both land-based and online operators.
Slotegrator: Hello Adam, thank you for taking the time to join us today. To start, tell us a bit about your career path. How did you get into the gaming industry? What were the steps that led to the creation of the Gaming Operations Academy?
Adam Roebuck: Like most people in this industry, I entered it by accident. I'm an events guy. I used to work in Australia and Asia, organising conferences and events for sectors like oil & gas, mining, health care, finance, government… basically every sector you could think of other than gaming.
On the way back from Asia to my home in Spain, I stopped by in London where Kate Chambers (who was at Clarion at the time) got me hooked into helping out with ICE — and I enjoyed it so much I decided to stay in the industry. I ended up looking after the Totally Gaming Academy; once TGA was closed down, the key figures behind it decided to create the Gaming Operations Academy.
S: Can you give a brief overview of GO-Academy and its mission for the readers that aren’t familiar with it?
AR: GO-Academy is a privately owned training and consultancy business, and an independently accredited CPD learning centre.
We create live training courses for the industry. Our training is designed to be more consultative and intimate, offering a deep dive into key areas of clients’ businesses. Our ultimate goal is to help drive sustainable growth for their companies.
All of our courses are live — nothing is prerecorded or e-learning, as we want to really ensure each attendee gets the training and answers they need.
Due to covid, all of our courses are currently delivered via Zoom; however, once the restrictions are lifted, we will offer a hybrid of online and in person — classroom-style — learning if we are sure that we can offer a quality product.
S: What were the highlights of 2021 for GO-Academy?
AR: 2021 was a huge year for the Gaming Operations Academy, led by the brand transformation: we became a CPD-accredited learning centre, we welcomed several new coaches, and added various course topics to our portfolio, such as:
- Anti-Money laundering in Gaming
- Responsible Gaming Academy
- Gamification in Gaming
- Sportsbook Management, Tools, Trading & Promotions
Our customers highlighted that the market needed more indepth RG & AML training, so we decided to separate our combined RG & AML course and create two in depth training sessions – covering the points the market needs.
The same can be said with the addition of a more advanced Sportsbook course which will benefit those already in this space and looking for that extra knowledge to supercharge their department.
We also began our thought leadership programmes and started offering free sample workshops, so, all in all, it was a very busy year amidst the chaos of Covid.
S: GO-Academy has an impressive line-up of coaches. How difficult was it to get so many exceptionally skilled individuals to participate in your project?
AR: It was very difficult. The main challenge is to remember how crucial it is to our customers and audience to have a coach with the right industry knowledge.
We are approached daily by self-proclaimed experts, and yes, they may have been in the industry for a fair amount of time, but to be honest they may not be as good as someone who has only been in the sector for a short while. Practice doesn't make perfect — perfect practice makes perfect.
S: How important is it to have the classes taught by specialists that are currently active in the industry?
AR: This isn't even up for discussion - all of our trainers are currently active within the industry on a day to day basis. Some are embedded within operators and others with vendors — most are consulting to both and even regulators worldwide.
Each of our trainers must have experience working on both the operator and vendor side.
S: Providing leads with advanced coaching, expecting knowledge to trickle down from them, or training entire teams to an intermediate level to ensure a solid shared base: in your experience as an education provider, which is the most effective approach to raise the bar in an Gaming company?
AR: Leaders not managers — leaders that are well trained and not scared to roll up their sleeves and have their whole teams trained to a minimum standard first is key. It's like a Six Sigma production line focused on tweaking and improvement.
A good approach would be basic training followed by tailored training focused on getting that next level improvement out of the team.
We have had huge success with casinos, lotteries, and sports betting companies increasing their market share, improving efficiency, and creating a better work environment for their employees. When they have a consistent approach to training, good results happen on a regular basis.
S: GO-Academy offers classes in both Responsible Gaming and VIP Management. We have seen operators struggling to bring the two together, resulting in some high-profile investigations. Do you think that education providers can play a part in rectifying this?
AR: Absolutely. However, the main challenge is organisations’ resistance to use third party training providers. All of our trainers have real life, real time experience of global gaming operations and are constantly improving their knowledge and sharing it within our courses.
Rather than having a sustainable healthy attitude towards RG and CRM engagement, many organisations just look at the fine that could be levied, then compare it with the revenue that would be generated.
S: Browsing the lists of coaches and courses on offer, one can tell that GO-Academy has a particular eye of regard for Latin America. Do you get a lot of interest in your products from LatAm operators and investors? What’s your take on the future of this region from an iGaming perspective?
AR: We have always played a key role in the education and development of gaming individuals within LatAm. It's a growth area, and the sector is keen to learn from the mistakes of established markets.
S: We know that GO-Academy also organises live events across Europe and Latin America — care to tell us more about those?
AR: We are keeping an eye on Covid-related restrictions globally, and we will be collaborating with established events over the next year. The last thing the industry needs right now is yet another round of conferences and events to pop up.
S: What can we expect from GO-Academy in 2022?
AR: BIGGER and BETTER. Even better customer engagement and services. More topics, more trainers, more thought leadership partners, more free stuff, more content.