SBC News caught up with Soft2Bet CEO Boris Chaikin to discuss whether the recent spike in online casino activity during the break from live sports events could be sustained as Europe’s biggest football leagues kick back into action.
Chaikin was asked if the traffic for online casino games – beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic (at least relative to sports betting) – would drop significantly with a more ‘normal’ availability of sports to bet on, rubber stamped by this week’s Premier League resumption.
“Yes and no,” he replied. “Casino traffic will be lower but not because of the return of live sports. When people resume their usual lives, they will no longer have the leisure time available during lockdown to enjoy online casino entertainment.
“Budgets could be constrained too, due to the anticipated economic consequences of the pandemic and job pause experienced by a significant proportion of the population.
“That is not to say that we will see a major drop off in volumes, however; since customer acquisition and engagement over the last few weeks has put us on a strong footing.”
Chaikin noted that the Bundesliga, the first of the major football leagues to return, had brought about a significant increase in traffic for sports betting, but not instigated a significant decline in online casino traffic.
He admitted that the Premier League is likely to tilt the global casino-sports betting balance to a greater extent than the Bundesliga, but added that he hoped that sports bettors would “continue to enjoy the products they were introduced to during lockdown alongside betting on sports, albeit less frequently, than abandon them entirely”.
Chaikin also reiterated that the COVID-19 crisis has magnified the need for gambling operators – and white label providers such as Soft2Bet – to diversify their offering in terms of non-mainstream content, casino games and traditional sports betting favourites.
Referring to COVID-19 as a ‘black swan’ that no one expected, he explained: “Navigating the crisis has taught us some valuable lessons that will help shape how the industry moves on, not least the importance of product diversification and versatility.”
He added that while online casino as a sector may appear “less vulnerable” than its sports betting counterpart, these ‘unprecedented times’ – combined with regulatory rumblings in the background – dictate that one vertical is never necessarily more stable than another.
Gazing into his crystal ball for igaming’s short to mid-term future, he predicted: “The appearance of new solutions, not only for cross-selling but in attracting new players to igaming, will continue to develop in the coming months and drive strategies going forward.”