With the COVID-19 pandemic putting countries in lockdown and halting or cancelling most major sporting events around the world, companies are trying to financially ensure it survives the crisis with its staff are safe and secure.
Since the outbreak began the sporting sector has seen a rise in esports viewership and betting, with sportsbook suppliers hastily aiming to utilise the sector’s markets. Betby are one such example which, at the start of April, announced it had expanded its platform offering with the addition of more than 1,000 live daily esports events.
Additionally, it agreed a ‘significant’ extension to its agreement with Pomadorro, which will see the online gambling firm offer Betby’s new esports offering with its new portfolio, including a variety of FIFA esports fixtures, CS:GO tournaments as well as a CyberSport package.
Chris Nikolopoulos, CCO of Betby, spoke to CasinoBeats on the struggles currently facing the sports betting industry and how we can rise above any uncertainty with calm heads.
Chris Nikolopoulos: It is well known that across the globe, from all major US sports to European football leagues to golf and tennis worldwide, sporting events and competitions have been cancelled or postponed at an unprecedented rate. To add to the uncertainty, nobody is quite sure when and if they will start again, or how big the knock-on effect will be.
The escalation of cancellations and postponements happened extremely quickly and at the Do you worst time for a lot of sportsbooks, as the European football leagues headed into its climax and several US sports were all set to get the ball rolling.
With such a limited amount of live sport to sate public appetite, it is inevitable that interest will turn to any other sporting products available, such as virtual sports, esports and fantasy sports, among others.
While these verticals may not necessarily appeal to all sports fans, we’re likely to see an uptick in revenue, despite turnover dropping as a whole for sports betting.
While it is undoubtedly a stressful time for all businesses in our sector, we believe as a provider we have a good idea what is expected to come over the next few weeks, and have tweaked our offering accordingly.
Our aim is still to provide the widest possible coverage of sports, including a big selection of virtual sports and an enhanced esports experience. Already, we have seen significant traction in FIFA video game esports battles with over 7,500 games from professional esports players streamed, offering more than 12 betting markets and a 24/7 service.
The gambling industry is incredibly resilient and strong and although the current crisis is significant, it will provide yet another opportunity for us to reinvent what we believe is possible and create new experiences for customers. It is a time for companies to be proactive rather than reactive, and to become stronger and wiser when the period is over.
Above all else, it’s incredibly important to keep an eye on the well-being of our staff during what is undoubtedly a difficult time. We have a home-working protocol in place across the business, as we take social responsibility very seriously. However, allowing flexibility for employees to get adjusted to home working should be encouraged.
This is a strange and concerning period for the gambling industry, however it is also a time of significant introspection and possibilities. Sport will restart at some point soon and when it does as an industry it is our duty to be ready to continue delivering exciting experiences to operator partners and consumers alike.