Marc Cheslak, the co-founder of the leading and most dedicated company that makes it possible for affiliates to have demo slots on their websites, Slots Launch, gave us an exclusive interview where we discussed various fascinating topics such as the beginning of Slots Launch, their way of work, challenges, the future, personal matters, and much more.
Make sure you stay tuned and read what we deem one of our most exciting interviews we have conducted to-date!
Slots Launch is a leading platform in the industry dedicated to helping affiliates add and manage demo slots on their websites. Tell us, what inspired you to start Slots Launch?
Simply put, my business partner and I decided to start Slots Launch because we saw a need in the industry that we believed we were uniquely qualified to fulfill, which I suppose is the reason most companies are started (at least to some degree). For us, it has become more and more clear over our time in the industry that a universal solution for managing demo slots has been long overdue.
If you really stop to think about it, just about every single affiliate is doing the same exact work as one another over and over again with regards to adding and managing demo games on their websites. Collectively, this adds up to an incredible amount of resources all being dedicated to doing essentially the same job, so we started Slots Launch to make it a bit more convenient and a bit more automated for affiliates to add and manage demo slots on their websites.
The numbers behind Slots Launch are incredible: more than 13,160 free demo slots, more than 400 game providers, over 60 new slots added weekly, and more than 300 legacy games added monthly. How do you manage to obtain so many new slots so frequently? Do you contact the providers yourself, or do they usually approach you?
This boils down to a combination of experience, relationships, attention to detail, and innovation. Having been in iGaming since 2005, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with a large number of game providers over the years, which has helped immensely in terms of keeping track of all the new slots that come to market. I’ve also been deeply immersed in demo games for many of my years in the industry and this has allowed me to essentially memorize virtually each and every game from nearly all providers. This comes in handy because it allows me to instantly recognize new games to ensure that we continue to provide complete coverage for our existing and future clients.
With regards to innovation, something we’re quite proud of is that we have been giving all game providers direct access to our platform to add/manage their own games, which has been quite helpful for a number of different reasons.
For starters, it has helped to foster a collaborative environment that gets us closer to completing our mission of uniting the iGaming industry. Secondly, it allows us to be amongst the first to make various demo games available to affiliates because providers are often adding games on their own accord the moment the demos are ready. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it helps to demonstrate that we have the support of game providers in our endeavour to create a singular resource for affiliates to find information about each and every new game that comes to market.
Marc, as a co-founder you are one of the key figures behind Slots Launch, and as such, you are directly involved in everything that’s going on in the company. What do you consider the most challenging aspect of your profession?
This is a toss-up between time management and convincing affiliates to let their guard down. In terms of time management, because Slots Launch is a 2-person startup, it can be a challenge to determine where our time can be best spent. We embrace this challenge though, and as long as progress continues to be made, it’ll continue to motivate us to expand our offerings and introduce new features.
With regards to convincing affiliates to let their guard down, this is a challenge we were expecting to a degree, but in some instances, it has taken a bit more convincing than we anticipated for some affiliates to give us a try. Having started in the industry as an affiliate myself, I’m well aware that affiliates are a bit guarded in how they operate and who they choose to work with, but I was expecting that mentality to apply more so to which casino operators affiliates choose to promote and a little less so to which service providers they opt to utilize (such as Slots Launch). We’ve overcome this challenge by being as transparent as possible in how we operate and what we’re hoping to accomplish, which I think has set a lot of affiliates at ease who have had reservations about changing their approach to adding and managing demo games.
When we’ve had these types of discussions with affiliates, we’ve made it very clear that affiliates of all sizes are free to work with game providers directly to add/manage demo games and that we aren’t doing anything that affiliates can’t do themselves. We are simply doing a more comprehensive job, while also adding features that improve the user experience, in a way that’s far more efficient than any single affiliate is able to do on their own. Ultimately, what we are providing is a convenience, which is designed to save affiliates an incredible amount of time and money from the moment they begin using Slots Launch to manage their demo games.
Speaking of challenges, it is no secret that the iGaming industry is under constant scrutiny and subject to frequent legal requirements. Do legal frameworks affect Slots Launch (for example restricted countries, gambling regulators, etc.), and if so how?
Because we aren’t involved in the operator side of the equation, we are not directly impacted by a lot of the requirements that real money operators must abide by, but there are certain things that we have been mindful of in how we’ve developed different features of Slots Launch.
One example relates to geotargeting and our approach to how we handle restricted countries. Although the games we make available to affiliates are true demo games, meaning they are completely free, many game providers still have various country restrictions in place that prevent certain players from accessing their demo games. However, most affiliates aren’t aware of these restrictions or they simply haven’t had an opportunity to implement a solution for handling these restrictions, which unfortunately means their users are often met with a wide variety of demo game errors.
At Slots Launch, we’ve factored in the restricted countries for each game in an effort to provide a better user experience across our affiliate client’s websites by detecting each user’s location and ensuring that they’re able to try each demo game without encountering any errors.
Another example of how industry requirements have impacted how we do things at Slots Launch relates to age verification for UK players. Even for free demo games, it’s a requirement for affiliates who are promoting UK-licensed casinos to verify the age of the player. This is easier said than done though because there are only a handful of fully compliant age verification companies out there and integrating their solutions can often be far too technical for a lot of affiliates. As a result, many of the most popular UK-facing affiliate websites have yet to embrace the idea of making demo games available to their users.
However, we’ve recently partnered with an established age verification company to make a fully compliant age verification solution for UK players available as an add-on for any of our clients who want or need it. In doing so, we’re eliminating any technical roadblocks that affiliates have been facing and we’re excited for UK-facing affiliates to see just how powerful of a tool demo slots can be when it comes to player conversions.
Given the unique nature of Slots Launch, we can make the conclusion that your services are in high demand. What does it take for an affiliate website to become a partner of Slots Launch? Are there any particular requirements?
We’ve made it incredibly easy for affiliates of all sizes to begin using Slots Launch to add and manage demo games on their websites. We offer a very generous free plan with no requirements whatsoever to allow affiliates to experience firsthand everything that we have to offer. We also have several paid subscription plans with different features that are very fairly priced to accommodate affiliates of any size.
As we said earlier, Slots Launch gives access to nearly 13,000 free demo slots. Are there any particular slot types that are more requested than others, or do affiliates order in bulk?
Although it’s our goal to make every single demo game available to affiliates, we have seen a demand for new game releases in particular, which makes sense because a lot of buzz/hype in the industry is centered around new slot launches. That’s why we strive to make new demo slots available to affiliates as quickly as possible so that they have ample time to prepare reviews and other materials on their websites in order to deliver relevant information to their users.
It’s worth noting that one of our most popular products is our WordPress plugin, which allows affiliates to add all of our demo slots quickly and easily to any WordPress website. As a result, not only do affiliates get immediate access to all new and legacy demo games, but all future new game releases will be automatically imported to ensure that our affiliate clients will always be amongst the first to showcase the latest game creations from all of the industry’s most popular game providers.
The iGaming industry is constantly evolving, and as such, it is inevitable for everyone involved in this line of work to follow all the latest trends and emerging technologies. One good example is AI such as ChatGPT, to be exact. Do you think that AI can help a business such as Slots Launch, and if so, how?
Honestly, we are probably going to be late to the AI party and we might not show up at all! I don’t really see a direct need for AI as it relates to Slots Launch, but we’ll always be open to the idea if there’s a proper use for it that would help us to deliver a better product to our clients. On the flip side, we have seen several of our clients utilizing various AI platforms to automate some of the work that they’re doing with regards to building out their websites around the demo games.
It remains to be seen whether or not this approach will be beneficial in the long run, but it’s a great example of how the iGaming industry has always been evolving by embracing new ideas and technologies.
Similar to AI, there is crypto, which we all know is the go-to solution for most iGaming operators in the industry. What is your stance on crypto? Do you see it as a temporary craze or as something that is essential and here to stay for years to come?
I don’t see crypto being a widespread solution in regulated markets, but I can see it being an optional solution in both regulated and unregulated markets for the foreseeable future. I think operators in general stand to benefit by making a variety of payment solutions available to their players, which has always been the case as is evident by the various e-wallets that have come and gone over the years.
Another topic regarding the future is virtual reality, with many tech giants such as Mark Zuckerberg predicting a complete shift in this virtual universe. There are even several online slots that can be played in augmented reality as we speak. What is the stance of Slots Launch on virtual reality slots? Can we expect something like this in the future?
I think there’s a place for innovation in the iGaming industry, but I think it’s fair to say that many innovations will not be widely adopted or utilized. Personally, I think a lot of players are actually looking for a bit of a disconnect from reality when they choose to play slots. In my experience, a lot of slot players don’t necessarily like the idea of unwanted distractions while they play and most certainly aren’t interested in making any complex decisions over the course of their play.
So while there will certainly always be a segment of players who are willing to try and perhaps even crave something new and innovative, it may not always be something that’s going to appeal to the masses.
Lastly, could you tell us a bit about yourself, Marc? For example, about your favorite hobby, favorite book, favorite movie, favorite quote, etc?
Absolutely! I’m based in the US (Minnesota), which seems to always come as a surprise to the people I connect with in the industry (most seem to assume I’m based somewhere in Europe). In terms of hobbies, I’ve been a lifelong golfer and when I have the patience for it, I’m a pretty decent poker player. However, as I alluded to earlier, I very much fall into the category of a slots player who appreciates the disconnect and I suppose that’s why starting Slots Launch was a good fit for me.
One of my favorite books that I never hesitate to recommend to a friend or a complete stranger is called Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang (buy it immediately and thank me later). Recently, my family and I went to see the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid and we all absolutely loved it! As for quotes, I suppose it’s fitting to borrow a line for the one and only Porky Pig and end this interview with a That’s All Folks!