COVID & LIVE CASINO COVID and live casino

 Richard Hogg talks to GIO about the impact of COVID on the live casino vertical

GIO: What were the immediate effects of Covid-19 on the Live Casino vertical and how has the initial impact evolved in the last few months? Do you expect shifts in player behaviour will have long term influence? Richard Hogg: For all of us, I think the experience in general has been a real wake-up call for the industry. It’s hard to even comprehend the situation the world is currently facing. However, we must continue to move forward and BetGames.TV is no different to anyone else. The bittersweet side of this is that because there is little sports activity, our product is now helping to fill the void for gamblers still wanting to get in on the action. What we have noticed is that that gamblers are now looking at new verticals with sport events on hiatus, and from January we saw an increase of over 30% in our online bets. Retail unsurprisingly has been less fortunate since South Africa entered its lock down, but as soon as that happened, we saw a migratory increase to online. We are now receiving multiple enquires each week from new partners and are signing between three and four new contracts on a weekly basis.

Since announcing our launch on Microgaming Quickfire and SB Tech we expect to see further enquiries in the coming weeks. Once our integrations with Amelco and a number of other leading platform providers are also concluded we’re expecting to see a significant increase in top-tier operator interest, so we certainly do not expect a long-term impact.

GIO: Has the spike in retail players moving online experienced when social distancing measures were introduced sustained? How have online operators/ suppliers re-targeted content to attract and retain the retail player and other new customer profiles that have emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic? RH: While we did see an increase in online when our retail partners closed down, it wasn’t a full replacement as such. We also noted people were spending less but betting more often. Since we are a supplier and not an operator, there is only a certain level of data available to us, but we believe that people are betting smaller but hoping to win bigger by betting on accumulators and similar options. The shut down in South Africa for example was very quick and operators had merely a few hours to prepare for the situation. How retail players transition back from online to retail remains to be seen, but I do predict that the majority of players will return to what they prefer.

GIO: Is appealing to the retail player centred on making Live Casino as close to the land-based experience as possible? What other features help to attract this segment?

RH: Our games have their own unique selling points aside from being set in a live environment. We are taking familiar games and providing our customers with fixed odds betting opportunities – which makes them far more akin to sports betting than your typical online gaming proposition. As a result, we tend to see a different type of gambler from the usual casino player looking to play established slot games and the familiar casino offering. In line with this, we have looked to develop additional features such as jackpots and tournaments to ensure we have all the tools ready to attract and retain players unaccustomed to the world of online.

GIO: What steps are being taken to create a VIP player experience in the Live Casino environment? RH: We leave the player segmentation down to our clients. Some of them request dedicated studios or unique games, but all our products are designed to deliver the same excitement to every level of player. Since our average game spend is minimal, we certainly don’t attract the same type of VIP player that other live offerings do. Although having said that, we’re certainly delighted to have established our own niche in the market and have no plans to change!

GIO AUGUST 2020 37

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