EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Atari CEO Fred Chesnais

Thank you for taking the time to speak to CryptoGamblingNews.com about the Atari Casino and launch of the Atari Token. I’d first like to ask about your broad vision for the crypto casino and why you feel now is the right time to launch it?

Firstly, I’d like to say that for Atari, going into casino operation is not something new for us. We’re prominent in Africa, where we offer real money games and we’ve continued to develop concepts for the crypto launch on the back of this.

We first announced this venture about 18 months ago and early 2020 was always our aim to launch a more tangible concept despite the current crisis. Saying that, there are many reasons for why this is the right time, with the fact that more people are currently at home with more leisure time being one of them.

We’re seeing more and more people connected online and we’re going to see an explosion in the number of digitally connected people. I expect that within two to three years the global number will rise from the current four billion to potentially seven billion worldwide.

Finally, this new wave of connected people are unlikely to have a Mastercard or Amex and may only have access to cryptocurrencies as a form of digital payment. This is why it makes a lot of sense to form this Atari token asset to service our casino and connect those who do not fit the traditional mould.

In terms of the Atari token, what was the thought process behind launching your own?

We want to be very open in terms of cryptocurrency usage and make sure people can gamble with any form of digital currency they want. The most important thing is to have fun, to feel the thrill of gambling and the excitement that comes with it, and we want to make sure that our players can do that with their choice of currency, whether crypto or fiat.

First and foremost, what we’re launching is a casino, secondly you can gamble with cryptocurrency. If it’s not in that order it won’t be the best gambling experience.

Players will be able to play with Bitcoin and Ethereum and the likes, but we have announcements coming out in the near future on the specifics of the token, so we’ll wait until then to say more.

Can we expect a heavily Atari-branded casino to appeal to the existing fan base or will it be more subtle?

With this not being our first casino venture – we have Atari Lotto and various Atari casinos already live – we’ve found that the current formula works and there isn’t a need to do something completely different.

The homepage will be Atari branded as you’d expect, and it will feature our games. However, we understand that players want a broader variety of games which would inevitably feature third-party offerings, with the majority of real money casinos offering upwards of hundreds of titles.

We also know there’s a significant audience who love Atari and what it stands for, but we’re aware that just going solely down that route wouldn’t appease everyone and that we therefore need a mix. For our existing fans, I think the look and feel will make them feel comfortable and part of the Atari community, but we need to ensure we also go beyond this.

We’ve seen Atari talk about producing skill and luck games, as well as a hybrid of the two. Is there anything more you can say about what you’ve been working on behind the scenes?

I’m a big believer in hybrid skill-based games. Games of luck are cool, and we know what they’re all about. Skill games on the other hand are a very complex thing to get just right.

With hybrid games, what I enjoy is building on the foundation of luck-based games with the opportunity to double down for bonuses using some element of skill.

At the end of the day though, we have no rules so let’s do some AB testing and we’ll know more in a few months about what works and what doesn’t.

And beyond casino games, are you looking to other verticals such as esports or sportsbook, for example?

We do currently hold licences for real money sports betting in certain markets so it’s not a stretch to say that they may be on the horizon. Initially though, for this crypto launch, we’ll be looking at luck, then hybrid, and before any entrance into esports, we’ll go towards sports betting.

The key difference between the latter two is that with sports betting you play alone and against the news, whereas in esports you require mass participation with major tournaments and games. So, working as a crypto casino, it’s quite challenging to offer a quality esports offering which is already a subset of the market.

What would your approach be to regulation in crypto gambling compared to the real money market which has more clarity at present?

We want to apply the same rules. KYC and AML are key. At the end of the day, we just want to be safe and to protect our players. Tell me who you are, where you’re coming from, and we’ll do the checks and pass you as we normally would or delve deeper should it be required. If you fail our checks, you can’t play. It’s as simple as that and if we do that, we’ll sleep well at night.

On that, you talked earlier of the sense of fun as opposed to, say, a heavy gambling spirit. What is the audience you’ll be looking to target?

At the end of the day, you need to have some whales and a broad mix of player type. My experience of high rollers is that they often also seek the same element of fun that a more casual player might, so there’s no reason why they should be catered to in different ways and with different games.

What whales want more than the average gambler is privacy, as well as the VIP treatment of course! And that’s what we’ll be able to offer with our crypto solution.

What’s your current outlook on the crypto gambling space? Is it set to rival the traditional sector or will it always be comfortable in its own niche?

I mentioned previously about more people becoming connected online that do not and likely will not have the usual means of verification with Mastercard or Visa or even home addresses. Therefore, I foresee a long-term trend in crypto casino’s servicing this audience who will never be able to hold a US dollar account.

How is everything looking when it comes to your ongoing private token sale and the upcoming public sale?

We’ll be making more announcements on this over the coming weeks so no comment at the moment.

And finally, is there anything else you’d like to add that we may not have covered?

These days are challenging for everybody. In the online gambling business, we’re preparing as best we can in the current climate of confinement and the coronavirus, but we’re staying safe, working hard and looking forward to what’s to come with our crypto casino and token launch, all of that in order to bring our fans the best experience possible.

Looking for your next crypto casino? Check out: Bitcasino or FortuneJack.

Written by David


David is co-founder of CryptoGamblingNews.com, and has worked in the crypto gambling space since 2015.

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