Join episode 153 of the Knup Sports Show as CEO of Carousel Group, Daniel Graetzer, comes on the show to discuss what’s new with MaximBet.

Ryan Knuppel

What’s going on, everybody. Ryan Knuppel here. Episode 153 of the Knup Sports Show. I’m super excited to be here with you once again, excited for everyone tuning into this show. Man, I have a really special guest. I’m so excited for this interview. I’ve done a lot of them, as you can see, 153. I’ve done a lot of them and I don’t know if I’ve been as excited as I am today to talk to our guest. So I’m not going to waste any time. We’re going to jump right into it. And I’m going to bring Daniel Graetzer of MaximBet on. Daniel, how are you?

Daniel Graetzer

Very good, man. How you doing? Great to be here. Prestigious number. Excited to talk to you, too.

Ryan Knuppel

There you go. I’m excited to have you on and super excited to hear what’s going on in your world. I know there’s tons going on. I’m always seeing press releases from MaximBet and sports betting and all of the above. So super excited, but first tell the audience, for those that don’t know you as a person, a little bit about where you’re from, kind of maybe how you came up, what other roles you’ve been doing in your life that got you to where you are today.

Daniel Graetzer

Sure, sounds good. So you’ve probably picked up a bit of a strange accent. I’m from Australia. I actually got started in the sports betting space, in the affiliate space, almost 20 years ago with a little company back then called Sportsbet, which grew to be an absolute giant of a business.

Daniel Graetzer

And from there, I ended up trying to take on the world. I worked in the media industry at a mainstream broadcasting company. I found myself over in the European market, running a company called Mediatech Solutions. We were one of the premier suppliers of B2B gaming platform software. We launched the very first licensed casino in Spain, built the first regulated platform in Spain. So really strong background in regulated sports betting and casino around the world. We did some great deals across South America, Asia, Europe, and ultimately exited that business. And that brought me to start Carousel Group, which is the operator behind MaximBet, which is what we’re here to talk about today.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s amazing. Props to the career and where you’ve been. I know you have tons to go. You said you always trying to tackle the world and man, you are tackling the world now with MaximBet. Like I said, I’m seeing press releases every day.

Ryan Knuppel

Let’s dive right into MaximBet. As I pull it up, the brand, “What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas.” Let’s not tell my wife that quote, but explain a little bit about MaximBet and the goals around what you guys are doing with it.

Daniel Graetzer

Yeah, sounds good. Look, it was born by the premise really of what we saw in the market was kind of a sea of generic sports books, right? Everyone competing on kind of the same principles, a race to the bottom, a lot of spending, spray and pray, very little brand differentiation. And while props to some of our competitors now who are really maturing, and there’s some great stuff happening in some of the tier one operators right now, and some of the deals they’re doing in the media integrations, but at the end of the day, there was so little brand differentiation when we came into the market.

Daniel Graetzer

And we thought what this market needs is really someone to tackle this from a very different perspective, in particular lifestyle marketing. We’ve seen it work so many times in other sectors. Red Bull’s a perfect example. At the end of the day, they’re selling an energy drink, but that’s not the brand, that’s not the marketing. And that’s what we see for MaximBet.

Daniel Graetzer

For us, the future of sports betting is mainstream. It’s impossible to turn on the TV and not see the integration of sports betting and mainstream media, sports broadcasting, celebrities, VIPs, just wild stuff happening. And for us sports betting is obviously our core product, but MaximBet as a brand is so much more than that. We really are targeting that mainstream space. We’re all about loyalty and rewards. There’s plenty to dive into.

Ryan Knuppel

I love that. I love that you’re taking a little different angle than the traditional. So tell us a little bit about, I guess, the momentum that you guys have gotten here in the United States. What states are you in? What states are you moving into that you can talk about? And what kind of momentum have you guys seen here in the United States so far?

Daniel Graetzer

Sure. So we launched MaximBet at the start of the football season 2021. Really incredible numbers. I think we haven’t had a month with less than 50% growth, month over month. Just absolutely smashing it. Players are clearly excited about what we’re offering. The feedback’s incredible, everything from our customer service to our events.

Daniel Graetzer

We just ran our second party this week actually, for our VIPs in Denver. We ran an amazing Halloween party at Wings, the aircraft hanger there in Denver, that was just super cool with Fat Joe on stage talking about-

Ryan Knuppel

Wow.

Daniel Graetzer

… his picks. It was just super cool. But, again, we’re taking on the world here, starting with trying to get as much coverage across North America. We’ve got 11 market access deals right now, including Ontario on top of that, so we’re looking to really start ramping things up this year. Expect to see a lot of states going online this year with MaximBet.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. I love that you’re diving into the entertainment side of all of this too, right? Mixing sports betting with entertainment. They go hand in hand and, and I think those types of events where you can really bring people together, have a great time focused around sports betting and entertainment altogether I think’s amazing.

Ryan Knuppel

You spoke of your event that you just had in Denver, but let’s talk a little bit about an event that’s coming up here in February that you guys had a press release about just the other day. Man, I’m going to want to get down to this, I think, but what’s going on in Vegas, or actually it’ll be in LA, right? It’s in LA-

Daniel Graetzer

In LA.

Ryan Knuppel

… in February. So what’s going on? Tell us a bit about what’s going on around the Super Bowl.

Daniel Graetzer

Well, firstly, if you’re not there, I’ll be disappointed, so come on down. Look, Super Bowl’s going to be crazy as always, but nothing’s going to be more exciting than actually the two parties that we’re hosting the weekend leading up to it. There’s going to be a MaximBet party on the Friday night and we’re cosponsoring a Maxim party on the Saturday night. It’s going to be pretty wild. The lineup’s amazing. We’ve got Chainsmokers, 50 Cent’s going to be emceeing, Tiesto’s going to be DJing. It’s going to be pretty crazy.

Daniel Graetzer

So we’re flying down a bunch of our winners from one of the competitions we’ve been running, which is really, really exciting. We’re putting them on a plane. We’re giving them cash. We’re sending them to the Super Bowl. We’re also going to be inviting a ton of VIPs and customers and obviously yourself [crosstalk 00:06:19] that weekend.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, there you go.

Daniel Graetzer

And keep an eye out for something pretty crazy that’s going to be outside the event, maybe in the sky. Maybe something that’s going to be pretty hard for LA to miss. So yeah, it’s going to be pretty cool.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s really cool. Now is this truly an invite-only party or is it something people could pay to come to? I’ve been to the Super Bowl many times. I’ve been to a lot of the parties in the area and a lot of them are you can pay to get into, but I wondered what this one, if there were people that were wanting to go, is that even possible? Or is this a true VIP invite-only party?

Daniel Graetzer

That’s a good question. I’ll come back to you on the open access. At the moment, we’re focusing on sending our VIPs and some of our competition winners there, but they’re going to be some big events. Also on the Saturday, co-sponsored by Maxim, so there’s going to be a couple of VIP tables available to buy.

Daniel Graetzer

But the Maxim parties are known for being pretty exclusive. They’re some of the best parties. Swim Week, Art Basil, Hot 100. Maxim is known for throwing the coolest parties. They’ve gone through an amazing transition over the last couple of years. Gone from print media, into being a digital and culture kind of brand that lives on and is really respected now, especially in that kind of celebrity VIP space. So that’s exactly what we’re tapping into here with the Maxim brand as well. And that’s what we’re offering for our customers at the Super Bowl.

Ryan Knuppel

You got to be having a lot of fun. I know, you being in this industry for so long and now just being in this space even heavier, you got to be just loving life, huh? Are you enjoying your job every day, what you’re doing? Give us a little bit of you. Are you really loving this?

Daniel Graetzer

Look, I love what I do. I always have. I put 110 percent of my, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into it. I’m not going to lie, it is hard, right? Business is tough, but I like the grind. And I’m surrounded by incredible executives and leaders and people in our business that also appreciate what we’re trying to do. The US is a tough business to be in, and anyone’s lying who’s telling you it’s a walk in the park. The tough competition, a lot of money floating around, discerning customers.

Daniel Graetzer

But what makes it really exciting is the fact that we are delivering something different. We are creating a different space, the blue ocean strategy that we’re playing, and it makes it really fun. The fact that we get to play with some really cool concepts. People want to come work with us because they’re excited by us doing something different. It’s not like we’re sending all of our staff to the party so they can go hang out there. Unfortunately we have to work, and while the party’s going on, hopefully there’s a lot of betting action happening, so our traders are busy, our customer support agents are busy, our IT guys are there trying to keep everything running smoothly.

Daniel Graetzer

So these things, while they’re really exciting, but also there’s… Imagine, we’ve got 160 people behind the scenes trying to keep everything online and keeping all the bets going through and putting up all of our props and all of our boosted odds, and handing out crazy first deposit rewards and all kinds of stuff. So yes, I love my job. I love what we’re doing, but I’m not going to lie, this is a challenge. We’re up against some big boys in this market. I think we’re going to do really, really well, but we’ve got to keep grinding.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, I think you’re going to do well as well. So what’s the future look like? Is it just much of the same? Is it just continuing to gain market access? And I’m specifically speaking about the United States here when I say the future. Are you just trying to get more market access and continue to put on great events and continue to just deliver a great product? Or is there something specific that you guys have kind of on the docket that you’re looking for in the future?

Daniel Graetzer

Look, for us with this brand, we see sports betting being so mainstream that our brand needs a wider audience. We know in the US, it’s probably only about 30%, right now, of the US has access to sports betting. It’s only about 10% have access to iGaming, right? And so with our brand strategies and some of the deals we’re looking at doing now, ambassadors and media deals and podcast deals, we want a broad audience and that’s where MaximBet belongs, with a broad audience. So for us having that broader footprint is really, really critical to our success.

Daniel Graetzer

But at the same time we treat each state individually. We’ve put so much effort and love into Colorado. Like that’s our home state, and we keep showing it. Like even just the event that we had this week in a local venue in Colorado shows we care about it. We’re not here just to blanket a brand across the states. We’re going to love every state that we go into.

Daniel Graetzer

But that said, some of these deals that we’re planning, we want a broad audience. We want people everywhere to be able to get access to our competitions. We everyone to be able to come to our parties, even if it’s not in their home state. So for us, broader market access is our goal, but at the same time, so is delivering exceptional product and exceptional customer service to every state that we’re in.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Because you guys, just to piggyback on your point, that you guys are treating Colorado like your baby, like your home. You’re putting a lot of love and effort into that. I’ve seen things like you guys even offering NIL deals to college female athletes there in Colorado or in Denver.

Daniel Graetzer

Yep. First of its kind.

Ryan Knuppel

I thought that was super… Very first thing. I mean, that’s just a really… It’s such a cutting edge thing that’s going on in college sports, and for you guys, being in iGaming, being in sports betting, to kind of take leadership and do something like that is amazing. A specific question about that. What was the response like? Have you gotten some good response from that?

Daniel Graetzer

Yeah, I think so. We had a really good response, and the students that got involved, they’re really engaged. They really like working with us and the brand. But for us, a lot of these things that we do, they’re not necessarily about marketing tactics. Like we just raised a ton of cash. I think we donated 13 plus grand to the Colorado fires.

Daniel Graetzer

For us, again, it’s part of being in a state, you’re seeing where we have an opportunity to do something. Our business, we’re a modern business. We’re kind of young guys and girls. We’re all about in inclusivity and diversity. And for us, we look for any opportunity, a, to treat us staff really well, to treat our customers really well, and to take care of the world around us. And for us, that’s looking for opportunities in Colorado where we can actually make a difference.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, Daniel, I’m not going to keep you very much longer. I know you’re a super busy guy. You said you’re actually at a wedding here that’s taking place here soon, so I’m not going to keep you much longer, but I really appreciate your time. Any last words for anyone that may be watching? Anything we didn’t touch on? Anything you want to say before we get off here?

Daniel Graetzer

What can I say? My parting words. Look, I think in general, I am super excited about where the market’s going. I think it’s still early days. Couldn’t be more excited about MaximBet and its prospects in the business. And again, just to recap, look, for me, this is my blood, sweat, and tears, but so are all of our staff here. For us, the hard grind here, it’s paying off. We’re going to focus all of our efforts on incredible science-driven marketing here. We’re all about great economics. We’re about sustainable growth. We’re about giving back wherever possible.

Daniel Graetzer

Look, in general, just super excited about the market in general. We want to see more action. We want to see more states regulate sports betting. We want to see more states regulate iGaming. We want to be involved in the conversations. I want to come back and have a longer chat with you next time, and I want to see you in LA.

Ryan Knuppel

How about down in Florida when we can legalize Florida, you can come down to Miami or Orlando and we’ll hang. We need to legalize that state though.

Daniel Graetzer

I’m in. Vote for Florida.

Ryan Knuppel

Vote for Florida, that’s for sure. Hey, one last thing. People listening to this are probably other business owners in iGaming, other executives in the sports betting space. I know a company of your size, sometimes people just think, “Man, they got it all together. They don’t need anything,” right? “They don’t need anything.” Maybe what is something that you guys could use? What kind of help can we give you, the audience that I have give you? Is it as just little as supporting MaximBet from a social media side? Something as little as that, or maybe there’s a bigger ask that you have on your mind? Anything on your mind in that space?

Daniel Graetzer

Look, I think in general, companies or people or the public that support operators that are doing the right thing, that care about responsible gaming, that care about giving back, that care about providing a great user experience, that care about creating a great workforce with diversity and inclusion, I think people should reward that. It’s not just a commodity. People shouldn’t be chasing the biggest deposit bonus. They should be looking at brands that actually make a difference. Like when you go out shopping, like when you buy a car, you’re not just looking for the cheapest deal or the one that’s closest to your house.

Daniel Graetzer

People research companies. Then they look for something that really matches what they want, and I see the same thing in our space. Find an operator that really suits your desires, your lifestyle. And I think, again, this is where MaximBet’s really strong. We’re a great team of people. We really do care. You can see it in our promotions and our customer service, and you can see it in our approach to Colorado. So make those decisions when you’re looking for a sports book. Have a think about who you’re really partnering with.

Ryan Knuppel

All right, my friend. Well, that’s all I got for you today, Daniel. Like you said, I’ll be looking forward to the day I can have you on. We can talk a little bit longer. Maybe we can sit down in person and talk a little bit about Florida when it gets live. But hey, good luck. Have some fun with LA and the Super Bowl. Will you be out there yourself?

Daniel Graetzer

A hundred percent. I’ll be there all weekend.

Ryan Knuppel

A hundred percent. There you go. That’s going to be amazing event and I hope that goes great. And who knows who will be in the Super Bowl yet, but I think it’s always a great game and it can’t get better than at SoFi stadium out there. I mean, what an amazing just venue and everything about it out there.

Daniel Graetzer

I’ve never seen a stadium quite like it. I was there for the Rams/Bucs game and I was just blown away. It’s like being at a party.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Yeah. We went to the Chargers and Browns game and man, it was just super cool. It’s just a monstrosity, right? It’s so crazy.

Daniel Graetzer

Incredible.

Ryan Knuppel

So you guys will enjoy that. Hey, MaximBet, Daniel Graetzer. Thank you so much for being here Daniel. Until next time, thank you.

Daniel Graetzer

Thank you so much for having me. Talk to you soon.

Ryan Knuppel

All right. Hey, that was Daniel Graetzer of MaximBet. Hey, we’ll put links to MaximBet, we’ll put links to how you can contact people and everything out in the show notes of this. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you have any questions for me, Ryan Knuppel, if you have any questions for Daniel, shoot them over to me and I can get them over to him and he can hopefully chime in on those. [inaudible 00:16:24] one of the great guys in the industry. I always love seeing Daniel at events and just chatting with him. So until next time, please take care, stay safe. We’ll talk to you soon. Have a great day. Bye-bye.

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Knup Sports Show - 153 - Daniel Graetzer of MaximBet Talks About Mixing Entertainment With Sports Betting (rectangle)