This week has been an incredibly productive week for the entire gaming industry. With the coronavirus upending gaming operations around the world, anyone even remotely tied to the industry has had to scramble to adapt. The SBC Digital Summit helped give everyone an opportunity to see how the space is dealing with the current situation and what lies ahead when the recovery begins. Attendance for all the seminars during the summit was incredible, and everyone has come away with a new appreciation of how resilient the gaming community is. There’s little doubt that this summit will go down in history as one of the most productive gaming conferences ever held.
Getting things started on Day 1, April 27, was a look at sports gambling and how it will weather the COVID-19 storm. Sports have been temporarily forced out of commission, which means sports gambling has taken a nosedive, as well. Next up was a dive into how gambling, in general, will be able to bounce back from the coronavirus. It’s obvious that the hill will be challenging to climb, but not impossible.
Just because casinos and sportsbooks are essentially offline right now, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t gambling options available. This was evidenced by a panel on Day 1 that looked at the various options that have been available. Options may be limited, but there has still been some activity, and things are slowly beginning to pick up. Wrapping the day up was a look at eSports, as well as how the coronavirus has impacted Spain’s gaming scene.
Day 2 started with a keynote address by Jesper Kärrbrink, the chairman and creative director of Green Jade Games before moving into online casino and poker in light of the global pandemic. One of the hottest topics of the day was global regulation, which is almost certainly going to find itself the center of attention for a long time to come. Regulators are going to be busy discussing a lot of different aspects of the gaming industry for a while, including live casinos and slot offerings, two topics that were also discussed on Day 2.
Spanish operations made a return on Day 3 when they were brought up in conjunction with the Latin American (LatAm) gaming market. The LatAm region has been extremely active, even before COVID-19, and is working even harder now. Separately, a look at how lotteries are dealing with the current situation provided a great deal of insight into one of the most common forms of gambling in the world.
With a lot more time available to gaming businesses than normal, they are able to dedicate resources to topics such as ethics and integrity, which also came up on Day 3. With sports gambling becoming more prevalent, now is the perfect opportunity to address the segment and help establish a stronger global foundation that will allow it to grow and mature responsibly.
Day 4 was packed full of action. Yesterday’s events spent a lot of time looking at different payment options and opportunities, including a panel dedicated strictly to how blockchain is able to improve payment processing. There was also attention given once again to regulations, and how companies can ensure they remain compliant as the gaming industry evolves. That evolutionary process was brought up several times, including in a panel that explored how legislation across the US is currently seeing a lot of movement. Just as commercial gaming operators are facing a lot of challenges right now, so are tribal operators, a few of which got together to discuss what they’re witnessing.
With so much ground to cover in such a short amount of time, circling back to sports gambling, one of the hottest topics for the gaming space everywhere, was inevitable. Today saw the subject come up again and, tied into that, was a panel on how industry players can keep their traffic levels running during the coronavirus made for an interesting discussion. Affiliates are in desperate need of capturing as much traffic as possible, and several joined in a panel to discuss how the affiliate space is adapting to the new gaming industry.
This was an incredibly productive, insightful gaming conference. While networking may have been made more of a challenge due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, there is no doubt that everyone involved has walked away with substantially more knowledge and understanding than they could have hoped to gather if the summit hadn’t taken place. The entire gaming community is already looking forward to the next big SBC gaming event.