‘Driving differentiation’ is something that Relax Gaming strives to achieve, and working within such a competitive and creative industry, it’s an important ethos to live by in order to stay ahead of the game. Formed in 2010 in Finland and now with a head office in Malta, Relax produces slots titles, table games, poker and bingo for the online casino market. This year the team swept the boards at the EGR B2B Awards, taking the top spot in four categories – Best Bingo Supplier, Innovation in Mobile, Poker Supplier of the Year and Casino Software Provider of the Year 2022. With this in mind, we had a chat with Relax Gaming’s Head of Games, Daniel Jonsson, about recent launches, and plans for the future.
AS: This year has been a very positive one for Relax Gaming with several big new title launches. Let’s talk about Money Train 3 that launched in September 2022 and has been very well received by casinos and players alike. What do you think differentiates this series from its competition?
DJ: I’m delighted to agree – it’s been a phenomenal year for Relax, with lots of great games still being released. Content like Beast Mode and Dream Drop Jackpots made a huge splash this year, but Money Train 3 stands apart as the record-breaking slot of 2022.
We believe that the game’s success boils down to a combination of factors, most notably the achievable max win and the numerous ways players can achieve it through different features. Since its launch in September, very few paths to the max win in Money Train 3 have followed the same journey, so each player experiences their own success story. This quality is unique for a slot and thoroughly enjoyed by our audiences. We believe the clarity surrounding one’s route to the max win has also contributed to its high engagement rates.
Another key aspect that differentiates the series is the element of progression. Very often we see that game suppliers look at what they can take from a game series whereas we’re always exploring how to continue building on it. We believe that operators and players have recognised this effort for improvement, which has bolstered the game’s reception.
AS: Relax was founded in 2010 with the aim of becoming a leading provider of top-level gaming solutions. What has been your key to success so far?
DJ: Relax has always been a flexible, reliable, and trustworthy partner. I joined the company in 2017 and have always known our team’s dedication to producing the highest-quality content to be unwavering. I believe that much of the company’s success in this area stems from its ability to attract and retain experienced talent, aggregate content from unique studios, and maintain an approach to delivering outstanding slots, every time.
Amongst this, we cultivate a very open culture where everyone feels they can contribute ideas on any part of the business. This unbeatable combination of experience and passion has been a keystone to our progress in my opinion.
AS: Encouraging safe gambling is hugely important in retaining integrity and balance within the industry – what does the notion of safer gambling mean to you, and how do you ensure you work only regulated operators?
DJ: Safe gambling is a vital aspect for Relax and the ecosystem we form part of. We offer an entertainment product that we are deeply proud of and our games follow local regulations and are certified for each market we are present in. Playing our games should always be first and foremost a leisurely activity.
Responsible gambling and regulation is the only sustainable way for our industry to thrive. If players are not able to enjoy a fulfilling gaming experience from a regulated provider, they are likely to turn to unlicensed brands and be exposed to potentially unsafe products – we must do everything in our power to avoid this taking place by providing above-board, carefully curated content.
AS: Since your earlier days, what do you think has particularly changed within the industry?
DJ: In terms of slot content, a lot of things have changed. Overall, there are a lot more games out there and the quality of production has increased substantially. Staying ahead of the game has meant being innovative and listening to our players’ feedback to deliver upon their needs.
Players are also more knowledgeable and discerning about slots – as a result, they are more selective with the games they return to. Simple games with low-volatility maths models dominated 10 years ago, however, nowadays, more complex and volatile games with massive win potential are far more common in top performance lists.
AS: Aside from Money Train 3, Relax has launched a whole host of new gaming titles these last few months – Dream Drop Diamonds, Great Pigsby Megaways, and Dead Rider’s Trail to name just a few of them. How do you time new releases across the year and how long does it take to produce, from initial idea discussion to launch?
DJ: Indeed, 2022 has been our best year to date and next year looks even more promising! We aim to launch two to three new titles each month, with a constant flow of fresh Dream Drop Jackpot games running through our roadmap. Generally speaking, it takes an average of nine months to build a game, starting from the initial idea to launch, allowing ample time to test, improve and explore.
AS: Of course, Relax doesn’t focus entirely on game creation, and there have been mentions of a new promotional suite of tools, called Relax Rush, that is being offered to operators in a bid to encourage engagement through the creation of unique campaigns. Can you tell us a little more about these tools?
DJ: The suite of promotional tools will benefit not only networks driven by Relax, but also operators, allowing brands to create their own campaigns, which is hugely promising for their engagement potential. We introduced the expanding suite by using it to support a multi-option tournament and daily cash drop system, giving away €1m, which will continue to run throughout December.
Our Daily Rush promotion can see up to €2,000 worth of prizes won, with 50 prizes per day up for grabs. This exciting prospect applies to all days of the week apart from Friday, when things ramp up further. In fact, December’s Friday Rush is a whooping €15,000!
The initiative will also see the introduction of hotspot winners as a unique twist to the tournament functionality, surprising some lucky winners who don’t manage to climb to the top position.
There is no minimum bet required to trigger Relax Rush, and players are eligible to enjoy up to three prizes per day, so it isn’t surprising that the initiative has significantly increased the excitement around our Dream Drop Jackpot games. Moreover, this season also sees a Winter Campaign run into the new year, with tournaments across fan-favourite legacy titles and sequels. A lot is cooking on the campaign front so expect to see more of this in 2023.
AS: Following on from this – have you been surprised at the success of any particular titles this year, or in contrast, have any titles not been as well received as you anticipated?
DJ: The performance levels of our content this year have exceeded all expectations. Ranging from our overnight success, Dream Drop Jackpots, to the highly-anticipated Money Train 3, and our top-performing Midnight Marauder, Dead Riders Trail, and Wild Yield. We’re thrilled and grateful for the content uptake we’ve enjoyed this year; we’re heading into 2023 more motivated than ever.
AS: It’s been a whirlwind 2022 for your team, what’s next for Relax Gaming?
DJ: We’ve got a jam packed roadmap for the new year with new Dream Drop Jackpot games, sequels to popular titles, and innovative surprises. Our gaze remains fixed on delivering outstanding quality content with players at the centre of what we do. Here’s to another year of providing exceptional entertainment.