In the first part of our CasinoBeats 100 Club, we took a trip down 2020 and asked our members what they’ve learnt, both professionally and personally, over the course of a challenging year.
A majority of our members expressed their initial struggles in finding a balance between their work and home lifestyles while professionally yearning for the return of physical events and face-to-face interactions with people within the industry.
Moving forward into the second part of our CasinoBeats 100 Club responses, we have cast our eye towards the next 12 months and asked our members:
What are your hopes and expectations for the online gaming sector in 2021?
James Myles, an analyst at Etadelta, believes that the regulatory environment will ‘continue to pose an increased challenge’. Explaining his prediction, Myles commented: “This is due to a combination of intention to protect the vulnerable, political pressures, and varying levels of regulator and government competence.
“My hope is that regulated operators will be able to stay competitive, and by extension prevent a drift for consumers towards the perils of illegal operators.
“I hope that the regulators and governments will work with the industry to ensure that the regulated product is safe, while reputable operators are allowed to continue to provide the types of products and experiences consumers choose to spend their disposable income on.”
This was a point echoed by Mark Knighton, CEO at Obsidian Consultancy, who expects to see more countries amending their gambling framework.
“I expect that there will be more countries regulating or re-regulating their gambling frameworks with increased focus on channelisation and consumer protection.” noted Knighton. “Monopoly driven regions like Norway and Finland will start to move towards an open gaming market and a few more surprising acquisitions to come.”
Glen Bullen, chief commercial officer at DAOGroup, expressed both his ‘hope’ and ‘expectation’ that digital events will continue to improve in 2021.
“They’ve been a bit hit and miss so far.” said Bullen. “I think even with the return of live events, digital will now play a major part in the way the industry interacts.
“So improvements not just to the technology or programmes from the organisers side, but as well an improvement from the industry itself in attendance levels and interaction efforts will be of benefit to everyone.
“They’ll never fully replace the benefits of a face to face event, but with a little effort they’ll be a close substitute.”
Expressing a similar belief, Philip Parry, CEO at Iforium, hoped for the ‘safe return of physical industry events’ at some point during 2021.
He continued: “The opportunity to reconnect in person with our valued network of operators and content partners would be welcomed.
“As for our expectations, we enter 2021 with optimism that our regulation first and responsible approach to aggregation positions us well for the year ahead.”
Laszlo Pados, brand manager at Funtage, would like to see a more ‘productive, eye-level’ discussion take place between regulators and operators which, he hopes, will result in: “Firstly, rules and regulations that really benefit the player and not the communication strategies or political agendas of some.
“Secondly, not making rash decisions and changes in the rules of the game for operators while expecting them to implement month-long projects in a timeframe of weeks. This would result in better planning on all sides, also.”
Tim Parker, COO at superseven.com, believes the sector will be ‘very different’ to what it has been used to over the previous years. He said: “I think from a customer point of view, online habits will have changed for good plus this has brought a different type of player and exposed them to us as an industry, they will interact with us and find us in different ways to the ‘traditional’ players.
“We need to understand what this new player dynamic is, how to service it and will require some different interaction points and understandings.”
“Secondly, I think meeting time will be much more productive and focussed as travel becomes more accepted.
“I think people within the industry will realise how valuable face to face time is and there will be more productive meetings rather than just “press the flesh” catch ups as people no longer take their ability to travel freely for granted.”
JAMCO Capital President, Christopher Kape, stated his hopes and expectations are ‘two-fold’. He explained: “Firstly, on a more philosophical note, that we all try to remember in future difficult times to always bet on humanity – it wins out every time and only requires patience.
“Secondly, as it pertains specifically to the online gaming sector, and as a Canadian, I am very excited to see the new legislation to legalise sports betting in Canada – ending a prohibition that is decades old. It will certainly be a very exciting 2021 to finally see legalised online sports betting in my own backyard.”