Ahead of the final day of the SBC Digital Summit, we caught up with a few of the sponsors to talk through how they’ve adapted to working amidst the current pandemic, their experience of this week’s event, and whether conferences such as these are set to become the norm moving forward.

CasinoBeats: How much of a dent has the Coronavirus pandemic had on your business development plans? Has it had an adverse effect, or has it focused the mind of your potential clients?

Richard Hogg, CCO at BetGames.TV: We have seen a concerted effort from all our teams to deliver projects as planned prior to the pandemic. The fact that we’ve been able to ensure that each has been fully realised and delivered on schedule is testament to the teams involved and their ability to diversify in a new working environment.

When it comes to business development – we haven’t seen a reduction in workload, quite the opposite in fact. The nature of our product attracts a wide-ranging demographic that spans sports betting, casino and poker players.

Brandon Walker, head of business development at Amelco: I think it is safe to say that the pandemic has had an impact on everyone’s commercial plans, with negotiations facing delay, but our outlook at Amelco remains bullish.

For many, the consensus has been one of ‘hibernation mode’ – in that many opportunities are effectively on ice for the next few months. However, as a company we have been relatively fortunate. We have an extensive global network, and the majority of our new business introductions come via personal recommendation, which means we have plenty to be working on.

Simon Westbury, head of sales at Digitain: As the world’s foremost sportsbook provider, we were always going to feel some impact from the cancellation of sporting events. However, the circumstances have also expedited our product diversification pipeline, and we recently unveiled a revamped esports offering alongside an industry-leading virtuals package. Throw in an enhanced casino platform, including an award-winning in-house gaming suite, and proud we’re very proud as to how we’ve equipped our partners with an impressive diversity of revenue streams.

CB: What coping strategies and tools have you put in place following the postponement of industry conferences?

BW: The innovation we have seen from the likes of SBC in adapting to a problematic situation is something to be applauded. Pushing ahead with the Summit by proactively creating the industry’s first virtual conference demonstrates the innovation necessary to persevere through a difficult period.

As for Amelco, although we have not experienced the adverse effects faced by certain other
companies given our network, it is inevitably going to become more difficult to develop new
business leads in the absence of face-to-face networking. Of course, we fully support the
government’s social distancing guidelines and look forward to meeting new and existing partners in person when it is safe to do so.

SW: We have proactively released a whole range of quality products designed to fill the gap left by disruption to live events. The SBC Digital Summit has seen us promote the pioneering table football offering we launched earlier on in the year.

We’re the first to bring table football into real-time betting markets – and given its burgeoning global popularity, we’re very excited to see its progress in the coming months. Delegates looking to explore the sport’s strong commercial prospects are encouraged to visit the Digitain stand, where a member of staff will be on hand to talk through our diverse range of revenue boosting products.

RH: The majority of our sales staff and key account managers are remote workers. The other staff who support our stands at events have a variety of tasks and duties that they carry out daily. We take our team’s morale very seriously and have regular Skype meetings to ensure staff don’t feel alone or lonely, as well as providing as much time as we can to offer additional support. They in turn have regular online meetings with our clients to ensure that are kept abreast of any developments so we can fully support their needs.

CB: How important are the likes of the SBC Digital Summit, and do you think these online events will become part of the new norm in the longer term?

BW: For the next few months, I’m sure they’ll prove key as a platform for bringing the brightest minds in the industry together. There’s no substitute for face-to-face networking, but virtual summits such as SBC’s are the best way of cultivating existing commercial relationships as well as starting new ones while social distancing rules are in place.

As for the future, advances in technology have opened up a whole host of possibilities that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Virtual platforms certainly hold potential, particularly for younger companies looking to explore as many new prospects as possible.

RH: The SBC Digital Summit is probably the first real online event of its kind so we are only just understanding its effectiveness and how best we can extract value. What I’ve noticed is that the auditorium is well attended, and the speakers are being well received. SBC has done an exceptional job in presenting the event and personally I have been very impressed by the ease of us and the quality so far. There have been some interesting discussions taking place and it is good to see friends and colleagues face to face.

SW: We certainly applaud the innovation shown by our friends at SBC in creating the industry’s first virtual conference. The Summit offers an excellent opportunity to discuss a whole range of topics, including the recovery of retail markets, continued growth in verticals such as esports and the industry’s preparedness for a potential second wave.

Of course, it is disappointing that we are unable to meet in person with new and existing partners. Health and safety, however, must come first and the new format also has its advantages: by allowing individuals to participate from home, it reduces the likelihood that speakers will drop out.