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Kevin Smith

IQ Ludorum: The Brains Behind the Games

19 June 2001

Among a handful of leading gambling software companies, IQ-Ludorum of Great Britain has an impressive resume. Of the 10 largest online sportsbooks, nine are operating with IQ software, according to the firm. Plus the company has recently further diversified itself by breaking into the online casino business.

The four-year-old firm planted roots in the Caribbean and eventually went public in the United Kingdom--a move that coincided with a name change from Essex Technologies to IQ-Ludorum. (a good idea, considering that "Essex" has connotations in England of cheap and nasty and women of ill repute). "Ludorom," Latin for "of the games," seemed like a much better fit. "'IQ,' of course, relates to intelligence," Managing Director Richard Brightling pointed out, "and it became the brains behind the games."

It is this slogan, "The Brains Behind the Games," that has helped IQ Ludorum supplant itself as a leading software developer. Brightling says it's no coincidence that his company has been able to dominate the sportsbook business without becoming an operator.

"We don't have a sports business ourselves," Brightling said. "We don't have any online casinos unlike many other competitors. We believe that it is a marketing and database business and we are better suited for the software business."

Staying away from the operational side of things isn't the only thing that makes IQ unique. While the company does offer suites which help licensees handle their peripheral operations, such as operations and call centers, it stays away from developing software designed for other services. IQ's clients (74 sportsbooks and 36 casinos), says Brightling, do their own marketing, hosting and customer service. And now, of course, they're wanting to take charge of the online casino business.

"We are the only ones in the business that have both the sportsbook and the casinos integrated but don't operate either a sportsbook or a casino." Brightling said. "I think that is important because by operating a casino and selling the software, there has to be a conflict of interest."

As part of its continuing growth, IQ is hoping to achieve a truly global presence and has subsequently opened satellite offices all over the world.

"We are entering our third year for our casino software; we just released version 3.0," Brightling said. "We have got a lot of traditional bricks-and-mortar casinos signing up with us. Because of that we just opened up a U.K. office and that was after opening up offices both in Australia and the U.S."

Theories seem to vary from person to person on how the land-based industry will effect the online gaming sector upon entering that market. Like many, Brightling believes that Las Vegas operators will benefit greatly from the strength of their brands online.

"The land-based operators have a great deal of credibility because everyone knows they have had to adhere to very strict gaming rules to maintain their licenses," he said. "There is a trust factor in there, and I think that will transfer when they develop their business online."

But unlike many, Brightling isn't ready to concede that only land-based operators will dominate online gambling.

"How successful they will be as brands outside of North America remains to be seen," he said. "The big question will be if they can transform their brand strength outside of North America."

Trying to strengthen their brand outside their traditional strongholds is only half the battle for the land-based operators, according to Brightling.

"There are a lot of brands that are already established on the Net," he said. "There are some juggernauts that aren't going to be displaced overnight just because MGM or Caesars Palace go online."

Still, IQ realizes the potential gains from aligning with the right Vegas-based properties. Brightling says the company has already helped develop play-for-free sites for Las Vegas operators.

After releasing SportsTech 4.0 nearly a month ago, the company tested the suite at the Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo in Toronto last week. The suite is designed to help operators with call centers and manage the online sportsbook.

"The back end of these software systems are the most important things," Brightling explained. "I think we have made a lot of significant advances with this new release."

The Toronto event served as more than just a testing ground for a new suite of software for IQ. It was the first show the company had ever exhibited at, despite being in business for so long.

Brightling is not only optimistic about his company's future; he also has an interesting perspective on where the online gaming industry is headed.

"I think there will be technology eventually that will localize the Internet," he said. "You will be able to bet on the local school team or the local hockey team. It is one of those media vehicles that started international and will become local. Most businesses start local and go international."

IQ plans on taking advantage of this regionalization of the Internet.

"We have seen a great deal of interest in South and Latin America where grassroots soccer is very, very big," he said. "They get big crowds out to see the local team and we think there is more than just interest in the sport."

IQ has lofty goals for both itself and interactive technology. If the firm is able to harness the regionalization of the Internet and apply it to sports betting , it will once again prove to be the brains behind the games.

IQ Ludorum: The Brains Behind the Games is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith