Who’s who: Rob Gustafsson

How/when did you first get involved with the gaming industry?
I have to put the blame at Patrik Selin’s door when he was at Ongame / Pokerroom. Before this I barely even knew online gaming existed and certainly not that it was an industry about to explode across the world.

What attracts you to this sector?
It’s always evolving & never sits still; as soon as you’ve created something new you need to be moving on to the next thing, or at least trying to work out what that might be.

What were you doing prior to the gaming industry?
Before this I was in media. We were just a handful of guys with an idea of how to re-invent the newspaper and we came out with what is now the biggest newspaper in the world: The Metro.

What are you responsible for at Bodog88?
As MD I oversee all aspects of the business but the casino is around 80% of the business so obviously we concentrate a lot of resource on that. I am lucky in having a very strong team around me too and that is reflected in our growth

What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in your time?
We’ve changed everything in a very short time – we made plenty of mistakes when we first came into the market but now we have a great product and direction. But to pinpoint one thing it would have to be starting our live dealer studio from scratch to launch

What are the biggest positive factors for your sector right now?
Our growth has been staggering and we will shortly be rolling out our first B2B clients for both poker and casino which is a completely new direction for the brand as a whole. Moving into new markets like Thailand & Vietnam has also been very exciting as you have to adapt your product for each country & not attempt a ‘one size fits all’ as some have done in the past

And the negatives ones – the obstacles to growth?
Legalities are a constant obstacle to our whole industry, for every operator in every part of the world, and Asia is no different. In time I think the industry will be respected in Asia in the same way it currently is in the UK but how long that will take is anybody’s guess

Looking at your entire career, what do you think was your smartest move?
Probably when I sold my Bwin stocks and then – of course – when I joined Bodog.

And dumbest one?
Uprooting my whole family to take on a market I knew very little about and hoping for the best. Turned out OK thankfully!

Where do you hope you’ll be, professionally, in ten years’ time?
Really want to stay in the Bodog family (but not keep on working 80 to 90 hours a week). Might be more in an advisory guise.

If you’d never embarked on this career, what other line(s) of work would you have liked to pursue?
Originally I wanted to be a teacher and then a skateboard pro, but seriously I would have continued in the media industry.