What lessons and opportunities can the industry take from this pandemic?
Whilst on one hand, the pandemic has had a significant impact, especially on the sportsbook industry, the novel coronavirus pandemic has been an eye opener for the whole industry, primarily for the land-based bookmakers and casino operators. Retail is still the predominant channel in the iGaming industry, and without any form of doubt, it is the land-based betting businesses that have had to shoulder the major burden of the situation. Nonetheless, the measures that came into effect to mitigate the spread of the virus have pinpointed the need for operators to diversify their business models and capitalize on the online solutions. It is evident that, nowadays, going online is not merely an option, but a necessity in order to crisis-proofing any business. I truly believe that in the expansion to the digital channels to complement the retail offer resides a big opportunity, with operators diversifying their revenue stream whilst also being better placed to retain their current fold of players, and acquire new customers through targeted marketing campaigns.
During last three months, what were the main requests BtoBet received from operators and how is your company helping them to meet their clients’ demands?
Since the start of the pandemic, we have had various requests from operators to assist them in mitigating the sudden repercussions that the pandemic brought about, mainly from a content perspective, and providing the technological assistance to shift towards the online. From a content point of view, operators were keen to add other content to their offerings, especially in terms of activating alternate verticals to the sportsbook. Having greatly invested during the months prior to the pandemic in terms of content natively available on our Neuron 3 gaming and betting platform, we were in the ideal position to assist our current and new partners in activating the widest selection of content for all verticals in the minimum time-to-market. I make specific reference to our online casino content aggregator, which comprises over 8,000 games from over 100 different providers, by far, the largest portfolio currently available on the market. Even from a sportsbook perspective, our trading team have compensated for the lack of live events by adding new contents, including live simulated Tennis games based on a vast historical Tennis database, FIFA e-soccer with a selection of pre-match and in-play offers, a vast selection of special bets covering a wide array of topics, extended racing content, and a virtual league that includes the top leagues which have been suspended and an accumulative jackpot based on these matches. All this without leaving out the expanded virtuals’ content, with 24 different games running uninterruptedly, and a wide selection of Esports and lottery content, with the latter specifically localized for different market scenarios, including LatAm. On the other hand, and I dare to say this is an important indication of where the industry is heading in the short to medium term, we have had a lot of requests from land-based sportsbook and casino operators to assist them in their diversification towards an online approach. Operators are now more aware of the benefits of having an online presence, especially when it comes to player acquisition and retention.
How has this situation given LatAm regulatory authorities a sign of the urgency of moving ahead with the approval of online gambling in various territories in that region?
The post COVID-19 situation could result in an aggressive shift towards mass regulation, especially from those countries who have until now been staunch opponents of the industry and whose economy has been brought to a standstill for the past months. Governments are already gauging how they can weather the economic fallout brought about by the pandemic. Undoubtedly, the iGaming industry will be seen as a resource not only in terms of tax revenue, but also as a source for job opportunities during these trying times.
Once the crisis caused by COVID-19 is left behind, how do you see next year 2021 in terms of challenges to overcome and growth prospects for your company?
I wouldn’t speak of challenges, but more of opportunities that the evolving industry will keep in hold, especially in terms of those countries regulating the iGaming industry. So from this point of view, I foresee a lot of work in terms of getting the Neuron 3 platform compliant in more new markets. I also expect our growth prospects to maintain the same momentum that we have registered in the past years, where we have emerged as market leaders, with focus on Latin America and Africa. A lot of partnerships are in the pipeline, and I am greatly satisfied by the way that our partner portfolio has grown steadily across all markets.