Simon Westbury, Head of Sales at Digitain, writes about the first SBC Digital Summit, the industry’s exemplary resilience through the coronavirus pandemic – and Digitain’s own determination to harness new technologies and meet the challenges of the day.
As business across the world continue to feel the effects of COVID-19, companies are adapting. In challenging commercial circumstances, versatility and innovation take on a renewed importance. It’s no exaggeration to say that the global economy has been drastically reshaped by recent events – and our industry has certainly experienced its share of the impact.
Virtual conferences form a key facet of the gambling community’s response. Given how coronavirus has heightened the imperative for businesses to demonstrate flexibility, we applaud the initiative taken by the organisers.
Indeed, SBC’s pioneering work in delivering the industry’s first digital conference was a great success. As well as providing a welcome opportunity to hear from an impressive lineup of seasoned experts – the week offered a fascinating range of topics on the agenda.
A particular highlight for me was moderating the panel discussion on omnichannel products. I was impressed by the speakers’ determination to try something new during these testing circumstances. Indeed, the crisis may well prove the be the wake-up call our industry needs to go beyond the same, proven content.
Snaitech’s CEO Fabio Schiavolin put it particularly well; “the big lesson is that digital is not an enemy … digital could be an opportunity.” There is so much fantastic technology out there ready to be brought into our industry, and now is the time to be bold and do so. However, despite SBC’s success, admittedly there’s nothing quite like face-to-face networking and I look forward to catching up in person with colleagues from across the industry when it becomes safe to do so.
It is self-evident that, given the unavoidable cancellation of live sport across the board, the gambling community will need to adjust. However, with a wealth of action-packed betting alternatives out there, our industry will be resilient.
Prior to the outbreak, esports was already primed to become one of the planet’s fastest-growing product verticals. Disruption to live sporting fixtures has enhanced its popularity, with virtuals also plugging the gap in entertainment for sports fans in need of alternatives.
Elsewhere, sports betting markets that lie outside the mainstream are another promising alternative revenue source for sportsbooks still reeling from the disruption.
We are proud to be taking ownership of innovating in this space with our world-first table football betting markets. Garnering a fantastic amount of interest already from our global partners, we’re very excited to be rolling it out this year.
Launched to great acclaim in March and an industry first, it makes us the world’s first supplier available to offer live odds and streaming for table football to an international audience. We are already live on more than 70 of our partner’s websites, with 400 weekly games broadcast from our in-house studio.
However, to stand out, betting content alone isn’t enough. You also need the right tools to present it to customers. I expect AI and deep data analytics to feature prominently in our industry’s plans for the coming year.
As we’ve seen in the music industry, as competition between suppliers continues to increase, the capability of distribution systems – and in particular their machine-learning programmes – are set to prove a telling factor for the way in which operators impact and sustain the player lifetime cycle.
Harnessing prediction logic, which is powered by similar automated-curation algorithms to Spotify, is now the attainable reality for extending customer retention rates.
It distils users’ habits, identifying their favourite betting content, and recommend others which will likely prove right up their street for format, content and entertainment.
Clearly, personalised marketing campaigns have been around for some time, but today’s capabilities take things to a whole new level. That said, technical innovation needs to be coupled with an unwavering commitment to player protection.
Recent circumstances have intensified media scrutiny, and the importance of acting responsibly has never been greater. Regulators, the press and the public are keeping a close eye on our industry. Let’s put our best foot forward.