How Playtech Got Its Start
When Playtech was born in 1999 in a four-room flat of a shabby-looking Soviet-era apartment building near the city centre of Tartu, Estonia nobody besides the founders could see it becoming a 1 billion euro company and on its way to being listed on the London Stock Exchange only 7 years after the company was established. What was the key to Playtech’s success? It’s a simple formula, but so very hard to get right - find the right people and then make something at the right place, for the right market, and at the right time. The right people were savvy businessmen and Estonian developers. The right place was Tartu where the costs of getting a startup going were attractive and there was a lot of fresh-out-of-university developer and designer talent looking for jobs. The right market was the fast-growing online gambling market, and the right time was 1999 which was when the industry hit close to one billion dollar revenues only five years after the first online casino was opened.
Today, Playtech has offices in 24 countries and 6400 employees. We operate in over 30 regulated markets and work hand-in-hand with governments to make sure our entertainment is safe and responsible. Playtech’s product portfolio has grown from online casino games to also include online live casino games, sports betting, virtual sports betting, poker, bingo, and retail gaming cabinets. All these products need a lot of common functionality that would be unnecessary duplication and waste of resources if every product had to create their own.
What is IMS?
This is where award-winning IMS, short for Information Management System, steps into the picture. The job of IMS is to provide every product offered via Playtech - be they Playtech’s own or developed by 3rd parties - with the most advanced and best possible platform services they need for daily functioning: player management, bonusing, risk management, responsible gaming, communications, payments, wallet, and reporting to name the major ones. The IMS platform is what ties all of our products into a single, unified offering working in harmony. It is unique in the whole industry due to the breadth of choice and flexibility it offers to our customers and it has become the benchmark by which other’s efforts are measured. Quoting the words of Playtech CEO Mor Weizer, “IMS is the beating heart of Playtech.”
How Does IMS Work in Real Life?
Imagine for a moment that you just finished the development of your mobile igaming app. It works, it looks good, it is fun. But it lacks a lot of functionality that is needed for it to really function - players have to be able to create their accounts, log in, verify themselves, deposit money, receive welcome bonuses, establish direct communications with support, have a transparent accounting of all their gaming history and transactions, have the ability to set responsible limits for their entertainment budgets, and so on. This is what the powerful IMS platform offers via superbly easy integration methods. Instead of developing it yourself over a course of months or years, you integrate with IMS and boom! - you just got the most advanced versions of all these services in the whole industry behind your game. The IMS platform is a true force multiplier.
What is the Scale of IMS?
Let’s talk about the people first. . There are 160 people working in the IMS unit, spread between three offices - Tartu (133+), Tallinn (14) and Sofia, Bulgaria (12) and 6 product areas. Inside the IMS unit there are about 35 various roles in 25 teams. The average time people have been working in IMS is impressively long for the fast-paced IT industry - 6.3 years. We chalk that down to friendly, professional, honest and trusting colleagues, a lot of interesting challenges, and the opportunities to develop your skills and work on very large-scale projects. How large-scale can you take things with 160 people? Glad you asked!
In 2021, 28 million new player accounts were added to IMS, while the number of total active player accounts reached 39 million. Last year, we handled 152 million incoming deposits via more than 20 different payment services and processed more than 193 billion wallet transactions within our systems. IMS maintains over 2100 database tables and offers 700 reports to make sense of this data. All this is managed via more than 600 back-office interfaces and by 13 000 admins at our partner companies. Our Event Streaming platform processes 28 million events on average every minute across all IMS sites, of which there are 57 across the world. If you want your efforts to have scale, there are few better places than IMS and Playtech to make it happen.
What is the Scale of IMS Based on 2021 Data?
New player accounts added to IMS - 28 million
Total active players in 2021 – 39 million
Deposits made to IMS by players - 152 million
Internal wallet transactions processed - over 193 billion
Events processed by our Event Stream platform per year - 14.7 trillion (or 28 million every minute)
Physical server farms deployed across the world - 57