In September industry experts gathered at SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital to discuss The Future Landscape of Sports Betting.

With the extreme challenges brought about in recent months to the sports betting industry, due to the pandemic, operators have been forced to adapt quickly and look at alternative verticals of betting. 

Innovation has been key to the survival of operators during these tumultuous times. Minja Bolesnikov, CEO, MaxBe highlighted this point: “People are looking for new ways to play. I think we are boring as an industry. I think we need to be more proactive.

“Innovate, innovate, innovate, if you have a good product, if you have awesome marketing, it’s all going to go to waste if, for example, you have a horrible process of registration for your player or if you’re not there to support him. So, looking into those side/back office services is as important as the offer itself because we are not going to be dumping each other anymore with margins because there is nothing left.”

The shutdown of the sports betting world challenged operators to explore and expand their offerings in other verticals. This is where esports’ validity as a sustainable betting market became the subject of debate. Alexis Murphy CEO of betFIRST, expressed that it is a crucial sector for operators to invest in if firms wish to access a younger demographic.

“I think the issue with esports is that there’s such a seismic shift between different generations. To say that people who play esports are minors unfortunately is wrong.  

“If you look at the demographics, the 20 to 40 year old generation, they’re absolutely crazy on esports and that’s where a lot of the business drivers are, it’s our generation for whom grew up with it, and for whom it’s a big part of their leisure activities.”

“There’s a huge audience and I think the generation of gamers, the 20 to 40 year olds, they’re going to continue gaming until they’re in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and they’ll keep on gaming. So I think it’s absolutely here to stay although I agree with you that with the nature of esports there’s going to be significant challenges in terms of regulation.”

Stanleybet CEO & Founder Giovanni Garrisi disagreed slightly believing that because esports has a primarily younger target demographic, it may not be marketed for a general customer base right now, with the key issue of regulation also being raised. 

“Don’t forget that video games are played mainly by minors and we are now taking bets on this kind of situation.

“As an industry altogether we have not been able to find a wealthy way for the future. Now everybody is interested and enthusiastic about esports. I’m not and in fact, we offer esports but it’s minimal. But just because I cannot be vigilant every day because if it was for me I will not introduce esports for the moment. However, I can appreciate that this will be the future.

“We need to consider that we need to find the right trade-off between freedom of our wishes and expression and the real need of the players.”

You can watch the whole panel session here.

Sports Betting’s future: Esports