“There is nothing in the world that is not in this.”
Mahabharata, the Indian mythological epic
Well, the Hindu epic was certainly not referring to Corona. (In fact, it was referring to itself.)
If there is anything that merits such a claim at the moment, it has to be the COVID-19 virus. There is nothing indeed in the world right now that is not in the Corona-induced-fear-triggered crisis.
Its human toll is immeasurable and still growing. Businesses have been crippled. The betting and gambling industry is not immune to its effects either.
All the sports leagues in the world have been ground to a halt, suspending the entire spectrum of betting activities. Even the Olympics has been postponed. Many land-based casinos have been closed. Even those functioning are offering only limited access.
The economic impact on the gaming industry is going to be severe. Bill Miller, American Gaming Association President and CEO, has already called for government support. He listed the many sections of the gambling vertical that will be affected by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak in a statement:
“An estimated 616,000 casino gaming employees are prevented from working because of the important health and safety decisions made by state governments… The impact on our employees, their families, and communities is staggering, and the implications extend far beyond the casino floor. Leading technology companies that supply the industry, and the nearly 350,000 small business employees that rely on gaming for their livelihood, are also feeling the devastating blow of this unprecedented public health crisis.”
He predicted a grim economic situation if the government remains inactive in the near future:
“The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work…. In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.”
While he was talking about the US scenario, the situation is not much different in European and Asian countries. None of the industry experts would disagree with him on his following assessment of the industry:
“Gaming is an economic engine, employing millions of local residents, generating community investment through vital tax revenue, and supporting small businesses in communities…”
Bloom Amidst Gloom
It is not all one-way traffic of bad news either.
The e-sports sector has seemingly received a boost, with locked-down people flocking to e-sports and betting based on these games in the absence of traditional betting avenues.
Some of the gaming companies have found a sudden surge in traffic. Peter Ivanov, the head of trading at Bulgaria-based UltraPlay, says the customer interest towards its e-sports offerings is growing per day.
He says optimistically:
“We experienced a 30% increased turnover only in the first 5 days after the traditional sports shutdown. This is growing on a day-to-day basis as more people get involved. We expect this to get in 100’s% once all eSports leagues restart playing online.”
Ian Hills, general manager of Blexr, a Malta-based digital marketing and media company catering to the gaming sector, also reports similar trends:
“With the cancellation of much of the world’s sporting calendar we’ve naturally felt the effects in our sports revenues but results in our core competency of casino are holding fast, with our flagship brand recording several all-time highs over the last few weeks.”
How Industry People Are Coping
As there is a renewed buzz around e-gaming, online casinos and other internet-based activities, there cannot be a total shut down of the gaming industry.
Almost all companies have migrated to a work-from-home mode. Blexr’s Hills sums up how his company responded to the pandemic:
“We acted quickly and decisively in the face of growing anxiety about COVID-19, which is why we are entering our second week of being an entirely remote organisation. We wanted to adhere to government advice over social distancing and also we felt our collective responsibility to lessen the impact of the disease.”
Diana Rotaru, co-founder of Vegas Slots, says the best approach is to look for alternate products and support everyone around, especially the employees. She suggests:
“Regarding COVID-19, I understand that we are facing new and uncertain times. However I think people need to remain rational and try to think of the next steps and the best solution for their businesses , employees and the ones around us. It is also very important for companies to remain supportive and understanding with their employees and the people around them.”
It helped that online processes and operations can lend themselves to such quick and flexible transformation from office to home. In fact, the work-from-home option has been in vogue in several companies. Hills adds:
“Blexr has offered unlimited remote working as a flexible option for employees for over a year so we’ve got lots of battle-hardened experience at virtual meetings, VPN connections and maintaining the human interaction necessary for teams to work together.”
How Technology Companies Reacted
The technology service providers, though largely invisible to the public eye, are the rock around which the gaming industry is built. How are they doing?
Igor Markovic, a director board member at NSoft, a technology provider to betting industry based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, says his company has announced an unprecedented rescue package to the partners:
“In order to mitigate this demanding period, we have come up with a rescue package that will help our partners at this very moment and consequently, after all this is over, increase their business operation results. NSoft is ready to provide full support to its partners offering its virtual and draw-based games portfolio completely free of charge from 1 April to 1 June. Having no setup fees, no minimum monthly fees and no monthly revenue share invoices for two months will certainly help our partners to overcome these difficult months.”
Rarely do you find such remarkably generous gestures in the betting and gambling industry, where words like cut-throat and competition are more frequently used than the words like chivalry.
Be sure of that: Corona – another C-word – is bringing in some previously unheard-of positive changes too.
What’s in Store in Future?
The situation at present is such that the future can only be bright. There is no other way. But how bright it is going to be? And for whom it will shine the brightest?
There is a widely held view that e-sports and online casinos will thrive. Rotaru clearly subscribes to that view. She says:
“While live betting and live dealers are affected, there are alternative products that are unaffected by the existing situation, mainly e-sports like Call of Duty, DOTA and online Casinos games like table games and slots.”
Tim Grice, the Chief Executive Officer of Connective3, a UK-based digital marketing agency in the gaming sector, acknowledges the increased traffic towards the igaming platforms:
“We have seen an increased amount of traffic and conversions across igaming (casino/poker/bingo) as well as certain financial products and services … but there is no doubt some serious pain across multiple sectors.”
However, he expects the business to bounce back across all sectors and predicts a growth wave once the crisis is over.
“The best piece of advice I can give is to … have enough in the bank to see your business through 6 months of no revenue … and the funds to invest when the world wakes up. We’re anticipating a huge wave of growth when normality returns and as a business, we want to be in position to take full advantage.”
While COVID-19 is still wrecking its havoc, industry leaders are already planning ahead. They are clearly betting on the crisis to end – sooner rather than later.
Perhaps the real battle of epic, Mahabharata proportions will start in the gaming industry when the Corona outbreak is subsumed. Now is the time to prepare for the battle –mostly from home though.
IGT Earns Top Score in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2023-24 Corporate Equality Index
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) announced that it received a top score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s 2023-24 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality.
The 2023-24 CEI includes 1384 participants and showcases how US-based companies promote LGBTQ+ friendly workplace policies in the US and abroad. The educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights advocacy group, the HRC Foundation rated businesses on detailed criteria across four central pillars:
- Non-discrimination policies across business entities.
- Equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families.
- Supporting an inclusive culture.
- Corporate social responsibility.
“IGT being recognized once again with a top score in HRC’s 2023-2024 Corporate Equality Index demonstrates our commitment to delivering an inclusive workplace culture where LGBTQ+ employees are welcomed and valued. Over the last few years, IGT has implemented a variety of important policies, practices, and benefits to make IGT a more inclusive employer for LGTBQ+ professionals, elevate company-wide allyship, and support IGT’s objective of continuous DEI learning and improvement,” said Brian Blake, IGT Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
“For well over two decades, businesses have played an important role in furthering LGBTQ+ equality by centering employee needs and voices when it comes to workplace inclusion. While there is much more work to be done, year-over-year growth in CEI participation is evidence of a business community that recognizes the responsibility and value in upholding equity and inclusion. Our goal at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is to work in a spirit of partnership with companies, providing educational resources, leading benchmarking, and collaborating on ways for businesses to support the LGBTQ+ community,” said RaShawn “Shawnie” Hawkins, Human Rights Campaign Senior Director of Workplace Equality.
Since 2018, when IGT created the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (now the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), the Company has implemented a range of programmes, policy and systems changes, and leading practices that have promoted all dimensions of diversity to make it a more attractive and inclusive employer. These actions include:
- Implementing more inclusive and equitable hiring processes, including utilising LGBTQ+ job boards to post positions.
- Creation and support of employee-led and executive-sponsored Employee Impact Groups (EIGs) to work cohesively with IGT’s DEI team and support the development of new programming and policies.
- Facilitating mandatory and elective employee training courses that help support IGT’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including training on unconscious bias, cultural awareness and harassment.
- Establishing gender transition guidelines to best support an employee and their manager, human resources business partner, or an employee’s dependent who is transitioning.
- IGT’s commitment to LGBTQ+ employees extends to the Company’s global offices and facilities through its transgender-inclusive restroom/facilities policy and gender-neutral dress code policies.
- The voluntary option for employees to personally select and share their preferred pronouns. Respecting and creating space to recognise gender identity is a core element of DEI at IGT.
Genius Sports Launches FanHub ID, the First Unified Fan Identification Solution for Advertising
Genius Sports, the global leader in sports data and technology, launched an innovative new identification solution, FanHub ID. The privacy-compliant solution uses proprietary online and offline data signals to build fan-based profiles, giving marketers and content owners new opportunities to reach and measure engaged sports audiences at scale.
With an innovative approach to activating sports-based identity signals powered by AI-based technology, Genius Sports will offer its customers the ability to reach audiences on and offline. Leveraging the Genius fan-based identity graph, Genius Sports puts the power back into the hands of the marketer and content owner to reach, engage, measure and capture audiences across channels in an always-on ecosystem. The new FanHub ID revolutionises sports advertising and marketing by offering a single, unified profile for millions of sports fans, enabling customers to find their audience in contextually relevant content across programmatic and digital channels.
“Sports fans make up the world’s most passionate audiences, but marketers and content owners still struggle to identify, measure, and engage their fan personas. FanHub ID gives them the ability to activate fan data to enable long-term loyalty,” Manny Puentes, GM of Advertising at Genius Sports, said.
The new technology will be rolled out and made available to all existing Genius Sports customers. The key benefits of FanHub ID include:
- Sports content owners can better understand and engage their fans to generate incremental sponsorship dollars.
- Fanbases can finally be found across multiple marketing channels and reached with privacy-compliant personalised messaging.
- A single, unified profile for millions of sports fans enables brands to run relevant ad campaigns to specific sports audiences based on their individual interactions and preferences.
“FanHub ID drives immediate impact to current Genius Sports customers by helping them better understand their audience and extend their sponsorship dollars beyond their owned and operated content. Sports content owners will finally have the insights they need to drive deeper engagement and find the most valuable fans of the future,” Josh Linforth, Chief Revenue Officer at Genius Sports, said.
Experts from Las Vegas and Macau to Appear at Arabian Business Casino Countdown Conference
Some of the world’s biggest casino bosses from Las Vegas and Macau have been confirmed to speak at “Casino Countdown,” the first-ever Arabian Business Conference to focus entirely on gaming. The event will take place at The Atlantis, Royal on January 25 next year, from 9 am.
The stellar line up is being led by Debra Nutton, an industry legend with experience working at MGM, Bellagio and Wynn Resorts. She will deliver a keynote on the opportunities and challenges the industry faces, along with revealing the best practices and innovations the ecosystem will need to keep in mind.
Also confirmed to speak is Alex Dixon, the President and CEO of Q Casino and DRA. Another industry legend who worked in Las Vegas, Dixon has previously held senior leadership roles at MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp, and Goldman Sachs & Co. Dixon will delve into the financial intricacies of the gaming landscape, while outlining the investment model and prospects for potential operators, including the positive economic impact on local communities.
The UAE announced this year the appointment of its first-ever gaming regulator – the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) – and regulations are set to play a key part in any growth of the industry.
One of the world’s most renowned lawyers in gaming, Antonio Lobo Vilela, is flying in from Macau to speak on the topic. He previously played a key role as the senior legal adviser to the Macau Gaming Commission, where he oversaw the first gaming concessions in the special administrative region. Vilela will deliver insights into successful regulatory models and best practices, while touching on the trends of gaming regulations worldwide.
The event will also have a special focus on technology including the opportunities in the thriving world of Web 3.0. The UAE is a global pioneer in this field, with Dubai already unveiling a plan to become a hub for metaverse development. One leading firm in this arena, metaverse-focused specialist Megavrse, will showcase how consumers will be able to experience gaming virtually, and the impact this could have for the ecosystem both in the region and further abroad.
Other key speakers will be announced in the coming days.
Expanse Studios Forges Super Prospective Media Partnership with SlotsOnlineCanada.com
NRM Group restructures and rebrands as Boomerang Digital
BOS rejects the government’s proposal to raise the gambling tax
UNITED KINGDOM TO HOST 2024 PUBG MOBILE GLOBAL CHAMPIONSHIP
FSB strengthens leadership team with Craig Artley appointment
Week 49/2023 slot games releases
Stretch Network: Online Cash Fest Vol 2 Launch
Stats Perform Extends Exclusive Official Rights Partnership with WTA to Distribute Enriched Data and Live Streams of its Recently-Enhanced Tour to Sportsbooks
EGT Installs its Gaming Equipments at Grand Palace Casino in Cameroon
Smartsoft has officially stepped into the digital sponsorship role for the Argentine football team
Wazdan Thrives at SBC Latinoamerica: A Remarkable Journey of Networking and Innovation
Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – November 6-12
Nordcurrent Acquires River End Games from Amplifier Game Invest
Genome Partners with Gamingtec to Enhance iGaming Financial Services
HungryBear – real-money Slot Masters Q&A
Exclusive Q&A w/ Ivan Trancik, CEO and Founder of SuperScale
Eastern Europe5 days ago
7777 gaming goes live on Superbet, Romania’s premier online operator
Compliance Updates4 days ago
Videoslots awarded Swedish licence extension
Gaming Awards5 days ago
SOFTSWISS Becomes iGaming Brand IDOL 2023
Balkans4 days ago
EGT Digital’s Jackpot Top Seller Clover Chance is Live on Everbet
Industry News3 days ago
ANJ Publishes a Study to Evaluate the Illegal Online Gambling in France and Gain a Better Understanding of Consumer Practices
Central Europe4 days ago
CT Interactive’s Content Goes Live with Fortuna Slovakia
Baltics5 days ago
PopOK Gaming games are now certified for Lithuania
Gambling in the USA4 days ago
Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – November 27-December 3