Rootz LTD is an online casino like no other; in just four years, the company has been fast-tracking achievements: winning awards and opening new brands, as well as successfully entering the complex world of regulated gaming markets. CEO Lasse Rantala shares his thoughts on basketball, gaming and hot chicken wings, each one forming part of a winning recipe that has inspired his teams to up their game at every turn.
“Sports, technology - the link is logical thinking”. - Lasse Rantala
Lasse’s first experiences with gaming came in the form of sports betting based on his passion for basketball: with his height, it’s easy to see how he’d enjoy playing the sport, which he did, as an avid contributor to the Finnish leagues. Building on his success, he went on to coach teams for many years, allowing him to enjoy this passion alongside his other fascination: technology.
From University to Hot Wings
Having successfully completed a Master of Technology degree, Lasse found a position that suited his curiosity, working in mobile technology, a primary industry in Finland. During his leisure time, he enjoyed sports betting for fun, and this gave him the idea of approaching a gaming company with an idea: since he knew the ins and outs of the Finnish basketball league, he could set up a sports betting programme that encompassed this popular sport.
DID YOU KNOW? Lasse’s success with sports betting inspired him to club together with friends and open a chicken restaurant named Hot Wings with their winnings. This restaurant still exists, 17 years on, selling hot wings, of course!
This duality of passions seems to be a hallmark of his life so far, so much so that he opted to work as a consultant for many years so that he could keep coaching, working with Nordicbet for over a decade at the height of the birth of online and then mobile gaming.
When asked what fascinates him about sport, he ventures that he enjoys the logical thinking required in sport to improve performance, which makes sense: training isn’t just a physical activity, it’s a mental one, too. This philosophy is something that has served him well, since he has become a respected leader in business. He insists that individuals and teams are part of this success and that having exceptional people handling the wider global activities of Rootz and its online casino brands is what works, especially when there are mutually-shared goals.
Rootz, Lasse says, has its foundation in technology: indeed, the company’s payoff line is “Automate the Game”. From the use of business intelligence to reporting tools and, of course, AI-driven gaming technology that provides a more seamless and enjoyable user experience, Rootz is all about combining marketing and technology to enhance the business and player experience.
It works. The company is renowned for its use of the latest innovations in gaming technology as much as it is for its recognition of the roles people play in its success. Employees are actively encouraged to nurture their physical, emotional and professional wellbeing with equal vigour, with Rootz offering more than “perks”; there are ongoing opportunities for personal development that recognise the scope of human potential as well as the need for fulfillment.
Maintaining identity across brands and markets
When it comes to working in multiple global markets that include regulated markets in Ontario and Germany as well as Malta Gaming Authority-licenced sites, Lasse has cultivated local teams and specialists as well as consultants whose combined efforts boost the different casino brands. Rootz is the parent brand platform to Wildz (the first casino brand, featuring the world’s coolest Granny), Wheelz (the super-cool, Hofftastic brand), Spinz (the ultra-trendy Live Streaming casino), Caxino (the brand that’s impossible to ignore) and Chipz (the Pay N Play casino with lots to offer the casual player). Each one comes with its own set of strengths, so together, this is almost a league of casinos.
It’s easy to see how coaching translates into management when Lasse’s in full swing: he specialises in bringing out the best in each member of the team for the benefit of the whole. This, in turn, contributes to what he terms a sense of ownership to the achievements made by Rootz.
“I prefer team sports to individual sports - if you win, the whole team wins”.
What’s next? As Lasse says, the goal is to grow Rootz' regulated markets, and to always keep an eye on new markets and opportunities. You’re most likely to come across him while he’s running, listening to an inspiring audiobook. One thing’s for certain, Rootz has demonstrated its capacity for pioneering in iGaming, with its roots firmly in skills development and in embracing the latest in technology.
Thinking of getting into gaming? “From the Malta perspective, there are so many opportunities in the industry. It is an exciting space with plenty of room to grow, and we’ve found that people willing to relocate to the island all share that experience in common; there is a wide community of people working in igaming. The industry is growing at a great pace, so you should be able to develop a healthy career in Malta, especially in a company like Rootz that encourages professional development”. - Lasse Rantala