Sara Leka

Legal Associate, E&S Group

Which is the impact of the pandemic situation in relation to the iGaming sector?

Sunday 07th June 2020

The iGaming sector is constantly developing due to diverse technological developments and new trends that offer innovative betting experiences. The iGaming industry is able to experiment and adopt new technologies which seem to dominate the markets progressively. Therefore, as the turn of the new decade, it was predicted that there would be an expansion of the gaming industry and operators were preparing for the opportunities and challenges to succeed with their growth. Little did we all know that the entire global economy was going to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak changed and affected the way in which most businesses could operate around the world.

The iGaming industry is not immune to the downturn effects of the virus and is also one of the sectors being affected. One of the most affected sectors within the gaming industry is the area of esports. Due to the cancellation of practically all sporting events, these companies have been heavily impacted. Cancellation and postponement of sporting events has had a negative impact on the revenues of the sport betting segment. With this in mind, it has been very difficult for these companies to adapt during the pandemic. While sport betting had financial and operational difficulties, the iGaming sector has seen an overall increase of revenues due to the situation.

As a result of the nature of the iGaming industry, it was much easier for this sector to adapt to the new situation since its focus is already an online-based one. Due to the lockdown measures in different countries, individuals at home looked for social interaction and focused a lot of their attention to online casinos and different iGaming options. Since there was an increased turnover for the iGaming companies, a lot of the online casinos and other iGaming businesses also tried to provide mobile apps to enhance their customers’ experience. However, due to the remote working of their own employees, these industries were also affected regarding the production and maintenance of software. Moreover, to an extent, game developers also lost some efficiency in production since most of their employees have been working remotely and this has impacted the usual processes.

During this difficult time, the iGaming industry has shown promising sings. Nevertheless, it will continue to be affected in the future. The iGaming sector would need to take advantage of the current opportunities and find new streams to enhance their users’ experience. It will also be necessary for them to intensify their partnerships with different entertainment sectors and widen their monetization avenues such as embracing as soon as possible the blockchain technology within their platforms.

One of the key success factors of the iGaming industry has always been the ability to adapt. Therefore, despite of the big challenges ahead for the sector in 2020, there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and there may even be potential positive outcomes.