“If you want a Las Vegas wedding, you can’t get that online”— Interview with founder of content marketing agency Content365.me Milena Petrovska
We continue our series of interviews with prominent figures in the world of gambling, and our guest today is Milena Petrovska — founder of a content marketing agency. She kindly agreed to answer our questions and shared plenty of interesting aspects about one of the most important issues in the industry. We will learn why iGaming is a friendly industry for business women, her opinion about the recent scandal involving Evolution, why it is worth buying bonus features in slots, why land-based casinos will always exist and why the ban on the use of VPN for players makes no sense. Learn about this and much more with today’s guest.
— Introduce yourself, please, and tell us about yourself.
— Hello to all your readers. My name is Milena, and I’m the founder of Content365.me, a content marketing agency.
Since I’ve been a kid, I’ve always been into money and writing. I like to believe that I have a creative mind and an entrepreneurial spirit. I chose to study English Language and Literature as an undergrad to improve my writing skills. Then, I continued my formal education and got an MA in Management to build my knowledge in business.
I can say that I’ve been lucky as much as I’ve been dedicated to growing my brand and business, just as I’ve always wanted.
While I’ve worked for various niches throughout my career, most projects have been and still are for iGaming. This industry is so exciting and fast-paced that I never get bored writing and learning about it.
That brings us to this interview, which I’m very excited about.
— Tell us how you got into iGaming. Why did you decide to write about gambling?
— My first full-time job in 2014 was at a local iGaming content company.
Naturally, I knew nothing about it at the time, but I quickly grew fond of the concept. First, iGaming wasn’t a thing in my country at all, so it was interesting to me to write about something unusual for most people here. Second, I immediately noticed the growth potential the industry had and still has. Finally, I think iGaming is progressive and innovative, and I like that a lot.
Naturally, I’m all for responsible gambling, and from day one, I’ve been dedicated to providing accurate information to my readers. Even when ghostwriting, I never give false promises or motivate readers to spend more than they can afford. That’s another thing that inspires me to keep doing what I do.
Online gambling is here to stay — legal or not — so I believe that by providing honest and informative articles, I’m helping people make better choices, reminding them to play responsibly, and ensuring they set their expectations straight.
— What do you like most about the industry?
— Honestly, I like many things about the industry. Since I wrote an eBook about iGaming innovations, I’d say this part is at the top. I’m always fascinated with the creative thinking and problem-solving people working in the industry show year after year.
Some people would wonder what’s so interesting about online gambling, but there’s plenty. For instance, I’m always fascinated by the new slot features and mechanics. And the fact that providers just won’t give up and constantly come up with something new.
iGaming is also open to female entrepreneurs; I must point that out because it’s been very important to me. I’ve had so many clients and managers who are successful businesswomen, and that’s always inspiring. I follow various topics and people from the industry on LinkedIn; there are tons of positive stories about women in all sectors — developers, marketers, content creators, founders, and managers. It’s nice when you feel welcome.
I’m sure not everyone has had the same experience, and I’m sure there’s room for improvement. But, at times, it seems that everyone is so focused on creating, earning, and growing, that the differences (of any type and kind) are minimized, if not overlooked.
— You founded your own agency, Milena Media. Tell us what made you decide to do that. What challenges do you regularly face, and how do you solve them?
— Yes, I have my own agency Milena Media and through it, we — my team and I — work under the Content365.me iGaming content marketing agency brand. Milena Media was the simple solution regarding administrative work, but Content365.me is the brand that sells our message.
Creating a business was a no-brainer for me, honestly. I’ve always wanted to have something I will build and expand. Plus, as a freelancer, I never get employment benefits, which I now have through my company.
As for the challenges, well, the taxes and expenses are much higher when you operate as a business entity compared to being a one-woman show; let me tell you that! I also have a few close collaborators in my team, so the pressure to succeed hits differently when you’re working for yourself versus when there are people dependent on your performance.
Another challenge is dishonest clients, but I’m lucky to say that I’ve dealt with only a few of those. Getting paid what you’re worth is not always easy when you’re based in the Balkans. Many people will ignore all the experience, education, and professional success and offer low rates.
But I’m always open about this segment (the money segment) of my work and rarely accept compromises. In that sense, I can’t complain. Generally, I have several long-term clients and working with all of them is pure joy.
My main issue has always been that I have hundreds of ideas and projects I want to start. Yet, lack of time or resources always prevents me from doing everything I want. I can say, however, that Content365.me is growing, and all the challenges so far have been worth it.
— In the end of 2021, you and GoodLuckMate conducted a survey regarding British Igaming customers. Among all participants, 30.17% (280) were male, 69.72% (647) were female. Doesn’t it surprise you that most of those surveyed were women? I thought more men than women were interested in gambling. Can you comment on that?
— As stated in the survey, it was conducted by SmartSurvey on GoodLuckMate’s behalf. I can’t really comment on the reasons for having more female participants than male ones. Maybe women are more open to answering questions about their gambling habits. Perhaps the control group included more women than men in the first place.
In any case, the survey also includes information by gender and by age group. So, even though about two-thirds of the participants were female, you can also get insights into the answers from male players only. That’s how we ensured the figures gave an objective representation of favorite games, preferred payment methods, etc.
— In the same survey, you found that 67.24% said they preferred online casinos over land-based casinos. What is the future of land-based casinos? Will online casinos displace them or will they continue to exist? If so, in what way?
— I don’t believe that land-based casinos will disappear. These facilities go beyond the gambling experience, and that gives them an advantage; at least among people who want more than playing slots or table games.
If you want a Las Vegas wedding, you can’t get that online. If you want to visit a Celine Dion show while having access to a packed casino floor and other kinds of amenities, you can’t get that online. And even if the focus shifts to small, neighbourhood-style casinos, I think they are safe, too. Some consumers will always prefer the atmosphere you get in a brick-and-mortar casino for whatever reason.
I think that land-based casinos will just have to work hard to stay relevant and keep up with all the changes introduced by online casinos. For example, they’ll have to offer more gaming options, which they already work on as far as I’ve noticed.
Previously, you’d had one mechanic slot machine. Now, I’ve seen machines with several different games inside. Let’s not forget about all those branded slot machines that provide a truly immersive experience. The same will apply to all other games. Who knows, maybe the live game shows will find their way to land-based casino facilities too.
Land-based casino operators will also have to work on their game regarding bonuses, promotions, and loyalty perks. In fact, many US operators have merged their land-based and online rewards, thus doubling their potential customer base.
My final answer is — land-based casinos are here to stay but will have to step up their game using creativity and innovation.
— In your article “Is Bonus Buy Worth It — Test Rounds and Analysis” you criticized the bonus buy feature, concluding that it wasn’t worth the money. Can you tell us why?
— I wouldn’t say I criticized it as much as I tried to set players’ expectations straight.
In the conclusion of that article, you’ll see that during my testing rounds, I made a profit in 3 out of 7 sessions, which was in about 43% of the cases. I ended up with more credits than I invested, though. But only one of the sessions was really worth it — winnings-wise — and without it, I would’ve been in the negative.
The point of that article was to show consumers that purchasing the bonus features (which sometimes cost 100x and even 700x your stake) doesn’t guarantee a profit. Bonus rounds are awesome and generous — but not every single time. Many players refuse to accept this last part, and I hope my article will help them in that regard.
To me, this feature feels dangerous without the proper information about it. If we put the costs aside, bonus buy is an excellent addition to any game and a very innovative one.
— Which features in the slots do you like the most?
— Hmm, this is a hard one, considering all the features available at the moment. I’ve always liked the cascading reels and cluster pays. I also like any progressive elements, like collecting symbols or items that later trigger something. They keep me engaged all the time.
I like unusual things, and I’m a huge fan of Evoplay’s Immortal Evil and Star Guardians. The entire concept of these two is impressive to me, from the manual play to the shooting part.
I feel like I have to mention the Megaways mechanic. It’s been so huge and affected so many new and established games.
— On your Linkedin page, you wrote about Evoplay’s Star Guardians slot with features like a first-person shooter, manual mode, and character selection. Can you name the games that have impressed you the most and why?
— Yes, I love Evoplay; they’re so creative. As I mentioned in the previous answer, both Immortal Evil and Star Guardians have left a huge impression on me when it comes to gameplay. Whenever I show them to friends who aren’t familiar with slots that much, they’re fascinated.
I also like Book of 99 by Relax Gaming. It has a fantastic RTP of 99% and a cool progressive feature where you collect books to trigger free spins. Thor Infinity Reels by the same provider is awesome. The Reactoonz series of slots by Play’n GO is attractive to me, too; from features to animations, they’re just impressive.
Some players will remember Aliens by NetEnt, it’s no longer available. I liked that slot a lot, it was so cool and innovative for its time and paved the way for some popular features we see today.
I like Aviator, but then who doesn’t?
Finally, I must give credit to live game shows, they’ve changed the game completely. For example, Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt and Sweet Bonanza CandyLand are two innovative options. The first is even available in VR; how cool is that?
— Slots today are very different from the first classic one-armed bandits, developers are releasing amazing games with new features and functions. What do you think the games will be like in 20 years?
— Honestly, I have no idea. On one hand, the options seem limited because they are just RNG games based on luck. On the other hand, the possibilities are endless for that exact reason.
One thing I think will happen eventually is the mix of games of luck with games of skill.
While bonus rounds are now random, in the future, we may have skill-based bonus rounds, where the player will maybe have to shoot at monsters to win prizes or guess words Wordle-style. This will obviously need appropriate regulation as it will completely change games of chance as we know them.
I expect even better graphics and animations. Probably VR options, too. If you remember, SlotsMillion used to have a VR casino, but it doesn’t seem available anymore. Still, I’m sure that as the talks about the Metaverse intensify, there will be VR slots in VR environments.
Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to connect our static bikes to online casinos and spin the reels by riding the bike. With touchscreens everywhere, perhaps we’ll be able to spin things by swiping screens instead of clicking on buttons.
But I also wouldn’t exclude the option for online games to find their way to land-based casinos. I would totally play Dream Catcher or any game show in real life if that were an option. Slot cabinets with additional options besides spinning reels could appear too. Again, you could trigger a bonus round and then maybe participate in a car race using a steering wheel attached to the cabinet.
Or there could be jackpots that you could win by beating other players in a skill-based game or get a payout in accordance with your performance. Imagine you trigger the Mega Moolah jackpot, but instead of a pick-and-win game, you get to race, shoot, solve riddles or whatever. That would be extra engaging and exciting!
— Do you test slots and new features only in demo mode? Why?
— Unless the client provides a budget for testing out games in real money mode, I do the work in demo mode. Of course, when I do that, I make sure to inform the readers so they get accurate information.
There are two main issues. First, it would be costly to bet real money on everything I test out weekly and monthly. Second, unfortunately, my country has limited access to online casinos and online casino games. So, sometimes it’s not possible for me to play some titles for real money. The same applies when I travel to jurisdictions where real money gambling isn’t allowed or limited.
When I have the chance to play for real money, I do that. Yet, in many situations, I have to stick to demo mode.
— In another article, you wrote your thoughts about the Evolution scandal, when an unidentified person reported Evolution of accepting illegal wagers from unregulated and banned markets to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Do you think that the company would not do that, it was a competitor’s trick? Why?
— Evolution immediately denied such claims and explained that any manipulations that took place were through an operator using an aggregator, including Evolution games. The company claimed it was dedicated to operating in licensed markets only, and it took all measures in its power to do so.
I believe that was the case because it seems very unwise for a huge brand to risk massive penalties and reputation damage. One can never know for sure, though.
If you remember, their stock tanked around that time, as well. Now it’s recovered. So, maybe it was money play. Again, I can’t say anything for sure, and there haven’t been any newer reports on the issue as far as I know.
Since the report was made to the New Jersey DGE, one could think it was a competitor’s trick. The US market is opening to online gambling one state at a time, and it’s a huge market. If brands avoid Evolution due to the scandal but want to offer live dealer games, they’ll turn to another supplier, right?
— You also wrote about progressive jackpots, that we shouldn’t forget that the opportunity to hit huge payouts is first of all due to the players. After all, a percentage is deducted from each bet made to the prize fund. Do you think this state of affairs is fair? How should it all be implemented in an ideal world?
— Yes, I did write about that in another of my opinion pieces for GoodLuckMate. I understand the operators’ point, as huge prizes are always attractive to players. It’s good that they exist, and the way they work has proven successful. Yet, I generally dislike it when they take it as their personal win.
In random conversations with my friends, I’ve discovered that not many people understand how progressive jackpots work. Usually, they think the casino is taking the payout out of their bank account. That’s not entirely fair, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, I don’t see a way how consumers could get the glory they deserve when a multimillion prize is hit. Unless progressive jackpots get renamed to player-funded jackpots, which I don’t think would happen. However, I hope to see more casino operators and game providers give players credit when they boast about such wins.
— Do you think that players in some jurisdictions should be forbidden to use VPNs so that they can’t bet? What should players who want to play their favorite slots do in that case? Look for alternatives?
— People will always find a way to get what they want. If someone wants to play online slots, they’ll do it. That’s why countries need to step up and introduce appropriate legislation that will enable consumers to play what they want in a safe and regulated environment.
I can’t imagine the alternative for leading online slots like Starburst or Immortal Romance, or any of the favorite titles in the industry. I guess users can enjoy them in demo mode, but we all know that’s not the full experience if you’re hoping to hit a prize or a jackpot. Alternatively, consumers can play real money slots available in land-based casinos. I know it’s not ideal or as simple, but it’s a solution.
In any case, regulated online casinos should probably restrict VPN gambling if that means getting traffic from forbidden territories. Right or wrong, the law is the law, and it needs to be respected.
— Do you bet? If yes, what do you play?
— I really don’t. The last time I placed a bet was in 2020 when Honeyland (2019) — a Macedonian documentary — got nominated for an Oscar. I used to be into sports in my 20s but now lost interest.
I like slots, though. In Macedonia, the real-money offer is quite limited online, so I sometimes play slots in land-based casinos when I travel. Naturally, my job needs me to stay up to date with new games, so I try to test as many new releases as possible.
If I had to choose, I’d say video and 3D slots are my favorite option.