SBC Digital Summit: Will payments get better because of COVID-19?


The fourth day of the SBC Digital Summit began with a track dedicated to payments, and the opportunities and challenges the gambling industry would see from the COVID-19 crisis in this area. To begin the day, Sam Barrett, Director of Gaming at Trustly, delivered the opening speech.sbc-digital-summit-will-payments-get-better-because-of-covid-19

In a short opening talk, Barrett noted that as the economy enters tough times, jurisdictions are starting to focus on affordability. But as each country figures out how they want to tackle that problem, payments are increasingly going digital, as a way to reduce the tactile spread of the virus through coins and paper bills. “I do believe after the crisis, the need to move away from cash will be even greater,” he said.

Later in the day, in the Banking Crisis panel, moderator Andre McGeachin, CCO of Neosurf spoke with panelists Mickael Marceau, Head of Payments for the Kindred Group, Alfredo Lazcano, Chairman of Lazcano Samano, Olga Golikova, Head of Billing for Parimatch and Tal Itzhak Ron, Chairman and CEO of the Tal Ron, Drihem & Co., Law Firm looked at the continuing headches of payments and finding great banking partners, and how this crisis might change things.

Marceau and Lazcano agreed that there’s a clear lack of understanding towards the gambling industry, relegated to being a black sheep of entertainment. Lazcano suggests the gambling industry needs to invest in educating banks, and the public, that it’s a responsible industry that helps fulfil many important societal responsibilities.

Itzhak Ron suggested the best is to find responsive banks. If a banking partner needs several days or a week to respond to a question, they just won’t do. If they don’t let a payment provider or operator know that a payment is being held up, they aren’t worth having. Lazcano added here that local banks tend to be better for this, rather than large international ones. But regardless of a bank being a big fish or small fish, Marceau insisted they have to be “knowledgeable fish” to be a good partner.

But with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 looming on the horizon, banks and governments might have to come to terms with mounting piles of credit and debt on their balance sheets. Lazcano wondered if a resulting drop in public trust could see a new boom for digital currencies. Golikova doubted this, saying there’s just not enough public education in that area.

There is still a whole day of the SBC Digital Summit to go, but if you’ve missed any of it, all of the talks and panels have been recorded to watch, so it’s not too late. Head over and register and see how the gambling industry will come out of this COVID-19 crisis.