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Richard Hogg: “Betting on Esports Remains a Niche Product”

22 June 2020, 15:01
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Richard Hogg, CCO at BetGames.TV, told LoginCasino readers about his attitude to AR/VR, the future of social gambling, and the chances of the esports market to grow further. Read more news about gambling topics and experts’ opinions on the website.

Richard Hogg: “Betting on Esports Remains a Niche Product”

Some experts say that cryptocurrency and blockchain are among the main trends for the gambling industry in 2020-2021. Will online casinos fully adopt these technologies in the nearest future?

It’s certainly an area of interest for the industry, and we have several clients who utilize both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. From what we’ve seen, these are usually deployed for specific jurisdictions and have performed as intended.

BetGames.TV is a forward-thinking company, so we’re more than happy to embrace and test new technologies such as these – and we’re here for our partners to deliver our product in such a way for it to be compatible. We’ve already seen a strong take-up rate for our games with our partners who work with cryptocurrency and blockchain, that is why I certainly expect to see us continuing to develop aspects of our products to fit this trend, with online casino likely to do so too.

What is your attitude to AR and VR in betting? Do they have chances to find their place in this sector?

There’s no question about these products having their place, they do. People, and thus bettors all have different preferences and personalities, which is reflected in the diverse tapestry of chance games available on the market.

I’ve been in the industry for a while and have seen various iterations of new technology being integrated, with many having a high failure rate. As we’ve seen from slots, only the best will capture players’ imagination and stand the test of time. For AR and VR to work, the player needs to believe in the games that use it. This doesn’t just mean aesthetics, but also the maths and mechanics behind it too – which determines whether they feel they can win, which is, of course, crucial.

Will betting on esports remain popular? Will it hold the position of the fastest-growing market this and next year?

To be frank, I think we need to take a better look at the numbers. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure that many of our typical sports bettors (who take up so much of the market), actually migrated to esports.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a high growth area, but it’s still a niche product. This means that for now, it’s only going to be a match-winner in certain jurisdictions and with certain player demographics. A good example of this is a recent quote from a well-known tier one operator, claiming esports was its 6th largest betting market, which is still dwarfed by other sports. Percentage increases in small numbers are easy to exaggerate, and we need to treat them with caution if we want to understand what’s taking place behind the hype.  

What could you say about social gambling? Will it be more Facebook-based or cover other social media platforms as well?

To be honest, it is an area we have looked into as a company, but it’s unlikely to be a vertical we will be devoting too much energy. Just like VR and AR technology, I’m sure there’s a player demographic out there who enjoys the experience, but given our product is so live-betting focused, it’s not an area that meets our expectations in terms of what we’re looking to deliver. At the end of the day, we believe people bet to win money, which social casino doesn’t offer.

 In your opinion, what are the three biggest trends in the betting market nowadays?

The three biggest trends we’re seeing right now across the industry are regulation, social responsibility, and content.

We are still in an unprecedented and turbulent period for gaming. With the effects of the pandemic keeping many people in lockdown, it has never been more important to adhere to social responsibility and market products ethically to the players at home. Getting the right balance across these will be paramount to success.

During this turbulent period, social engagement and entertainment should be the priority, as well as retaining and supporting our customers – profit, and any creative attempts to capture market share should come second. The companies that can best capture the public’s imagination during this time will be best positioned after the crisis.

Read more: Predictions about the American iGaming industry

Read more: Online gambling in Europe: how to get a license?

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