European gambling operators more afraid of politicians than recessions


With the SBC Summit Barcelona Digital wrapping up, the final day had a panel of heavy hitters. A c-level panel took a look at the global effects the Covid-19 pandemic will have, and how that specifically relates to the gambling industry.

After discussing how each panelist’s respective business and country pulled through the pandemic, moderator Scott Longley, Founder of Clear Concise Media, asked just how well anyone did cross selling sports bettors to other channels when the sporting world shut down. The answer was not that well. “The profile of the sports bettor is obviously different, specially the sports enthusiast. In some ways, it’s a completely different industry,” said Avigail Nir, COO of Mansion Casino. When they logged on and saw their favorite markets weren’t available, many punters simply logged back off, rather than sticking around to see what promotions were being offered for other sports or casinos.

But when sports did return, it returned big. With a packed sports schedule and pent up demand, Pontus Lindwall, CEO of Betsson Group, suggested the action was as good as ever. “They were not missing one chance to get back to sports betting.”

With some markets increasing their regulation, with Sweden as a notable example, the panel discussed what they could expect to see in the future from politicians. Lindwall noted that the regulations put in place didn’t really make sense in the end, as the assumptions made by politicians ended up being total guesses, and usually wrong ones. He went on to suggest that bad regulations could be a bigger problem than the upcoming recession. “The unemployment rate will go up in some markets, but I think from the business perspective, I don’t think we’ll suffer a lot from actual business, but rather from regulators and politicians.”

Erik Olders, CEO of JVH Gaming, and Tim de Borle, CEO of Napoleon Sports & Casino, agreed with this sentiment, suggesting that over regulation and over taxation is making it harder to be a locally regulated operator, giving internationally licensed sites a leg up.

The SBC Summit Barcelona Digital is wrapping up, but we still have lots of great interviews coming from our very own Becky Liggero Fontana. Make sure you’re subscribed to the YouTube channel so you stay up to date with all the latest videos we publish.