We’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the online gaming industry to adapt to the changing business conditions overnight. Betsson was in a strong position before the pandemic began and our own Becky Liggero Fontana spoke with Pontus Lindwall, CEO of Betsson Group, to gauge how major operators were adapting to the changing conditions.
Lindwall was happy to discuss how Betsson was adapted their strategy overnight to the lockdown conditions:
“COVID came from nowhere and we were not prepared. We closed all our offices pretty early in the process and that has been working out really fine. Then looking at our business we were doing quite well and we had a good profit margin in the company, so even with the loss of sports betting which accounts for 30% of our revenues we managed to keep the company profitable.”
When talking about the day-to-day operations of Betsson, Lindwall felt that the company was in a position to continue normal operations despite working from home. “We decided early we will not stop any initiatives we will move on with different developments, investments, M&A scouting, and everything so that I think put all the staff in a comfortable position that they don’t notice they get informed that we were strong and that we were moving ahead just as before with the only difference that we were both working from home,” he said.
Lindwell noted that the company adapted well to the leap into the online video conferencing, given the size of its global operation. “We were used to doing a lot of video conferencing before because we were spread out in many offices but this period has taught us to be more professional on video conferences.”
Even though the lockdown restrictions were enforced, Lindwell said that this hadn’t stopped Betsson from actively pursuing new merger and acquisitions opportunities in the market. “It’s a little bit hard when you can’t travel and sit in the company but we have not stopped, we do a lot of analysis, we scout the market for potential targets so that part we can do. Then we hope travel restrictions will end soon so that we can go a little bit more back to normal.”
The pandemic lockdown has forced players to change their behaviour and Lindwall commented that he was seeing different types of player behaviour over the lockdown. “Sports betting disappeared, some of those customers moved to casino and we are also operational in some jurisdictions where there is a lot of land-based gaming going on and that was stopped and those customers moved to casinos online,” he said. “You can say that the pandemic has increased the pace of digitisation for the industry.”
In the full interview, Lindwall goes more in-depth on some of the issues surrounding regulation and how Betsson is approaching these issues. You can hear more from our Becky Liggero Fontana today, as she’ll be hosting an iGaming NEXT Power Hour. Lindwall is also a featured guest; he’ll be Pierre Lindh for a fireside chat.
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