Minja Bolesnikov, Chief Executive Officer at MaxBet, expressed his opinion about the gambling industry as affected by the pandemic and shared his predictions about its future trends.
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Minja, could you provide a short overview of the betting industry after the resume of sports events. Have betting companies regained their previous revenue?
Things are back on track in the betting business. Obviously, volumes are back, but there is this new feeling all over the global market, and it influences every segment of the trade: offer, risks, and odds, customer-centricity. Gaining revenues back may happen, but it will take more than having sporting events getting back to performance levels before the pandemic.
What good lessons did sports suspension caused by the COVID-19 pandemic teach the betting market?
Although the impact of the pandemic is devastating to entire human society, it has done some great things to businesses that see challenges as their chances.
- Employees are companies’ assets.
- Cash is a king.
- Customer-centric companies didn’t lose much.
Do you agree with the statement that the pandemic has changed the gambling industry? What are the main changes?
The gambling industry will never be the same. Although we all understand that online is a “safe zone”, those who could offer variety in payment and gaming (virtual games, virtual sports, integrated casinos, etc.) made a difference.
We will see a more conservative approach in spending, M&A, the slowdown of financing of tech development, and, finally, we will see companies understanding and accepting that they need turnaround management model change (digital transformation) or they’ll go bust.
What are your predictions about the gambling industry of 2021? What new trends will we see next year?
As in every cyclic industry (where low global demand determines the demand and financial performance of the players in it), after a turmoil, there is a strong performance in time coming after. I expect the same in 2021. Sports will continue, maybe in changed format, but they will continue. Local retail shops have already or are in the process of providing a safe environment for their consumers, and, finally, the entire society will learn how to live in a new reality and adopt changes needed to continue the development process.
What is your opinion about the rise of esports betting? Does it have chances to be on a level with traditional sports?
Obviously, they are here to stay. On the other hand, it will take some time to have them at the level of traditional sports. So, some more mature markets and those with a larger base of technologically conscious youth will become more active with esports. Finally, there is a huge amount of work to be done by providers and operators in onboarding their customers to esports in general.