During last month’s SBC Summit North America, Wondr Nation – a Connecticut-based online casino and sports betting company – and its CEO and President Anika Howard, spoke to SBC News on creating an inclusive gaming industry.
Launched last May by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Wondr Nation aims to expand its digital footprint beyond its residence in Connecticut by partnering with Native American tribes and entertainment firms to build gaming entertainment experience ‘reimagined’.
Howard said: “A lot of work that we’re doing is really focused around creating training programmes so that tribal members and other Native Americans can be part of this industry and we’re very proud of that.
“The other part is to really introduce young people to the industry. We have several partnerships that we’re working on with local universities in the state of Connecticut to educate but also create opportunities and to explain all the things that this industry has to offer.
“Finally, it is really about reimagining gaming entertainment. What are some of the things that we can have lessons learned from the post four years and, as a new tech art is emerging, what are some of the things that we can do to create a deeper, more engaging player experience as we roll out new products into the market?”
Howard also delved into how she viewed the work Wondr Nation delivers on, primarily sports betting and online casino gaming, and what other interests the company sees itself embarking on in the near future.
“One of the things that we’re looking at are, for example, esports. What are the opportunities to create this online and on property kind of integrated experience for esports, so that you have some experience to have on property but then there are things that you can do online and how can we do it from an entertainment standpoint, not just from a pure sports component.
“We find a lot of these opportunities to not just focus on the gambling piece but more on the experiential piece. What are things you can do? How you layer on things like VR and AI to create a richer and more engaging experience for the player.
“Our goal is to work with partners, because we can’t do it in the vacuum, and then to reach out to upstart and start-up companies that have creative ways to think about things and give them a platform and an opportunity.”
Howard also shared some key insight into African-Americans within the gaming industry, the performance of the Connecticut market since its launch last October and expanding plans into other states for the future.