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The end is nigh! – The latest iGaming doomsday predictions

Posted: Sep 30, 2022 12:00 Category: Events , Online , Regulatory , Posted by Matthew

From regulatory hesitancy in the U.S., to a global pandemic and war in Europe, the past 5 years have been a stress-test for the iGaming industry. As the horizon is not yet clear of tempestuous waters, what does a panel of experts has to say when it comes to doomsday predictions for the industry’s future.

The experts’ doomsday predictions

During iGaming Next‘s second day of panels, thought-leaders from across the globe gathered to discuss the current situation of the industry, and to identify threats on the horizon. Is the industry truly one catastrophic headline away from collapse?

While many of the issues mentioned can be presently felt across the board, it is about time the spotlight falls on a number of issues so-far unaddressed. “We can’t afford to be the boy sat in the corner with our hands slapped while everything unfolds,” argued Gaming Innovation Group Director Martin Collins. The time for proactive acting is now.

Nostradamus was a 16th century French astrologer, reputed for his controversial, poetic, doomsday predictions far into the future.

The challenges of innovation among tech giants

In a rapidly developing world, the iGaming industry needs to stay ahead of its aging audience. It needs to innovate to keep the wheels turning and the activity attractive to younger adults. The solutions are never clear-cut, however. The industry is standing on a major Achille’s heel; its own dependency on technology.

Bet IT Best SE CEO Nico Jansen’s doomsday prediction highlights the danger of tech giants like Apple and Google venturing into the iGaming industry as future operators. With smartphones in the hands of the new generations nearly 24/7, and mobile betting games occupying 65 to 70% of the market, it’s not hard to visualise tech giants carving out their potential share of the market as a possible Nostradamus event.

Naysayers may disregard such claims as improbable, despite rumours circulating of other multinational companies eyeing the industry, such as Amazon. But change is rampant and inevitable. One need only compare the present situation in the U.S. to that of 2019, with over 30 states opening themselves up, to differing extents, to the iGaming industry since then.

The challenges of innovation are not a reason to despair. Tv, film and other entertainment platforms have all made drastic yet necessary changes over the past two decades in the way they create and distribute content. The iGaming industry needs to follow suit. It must adapt if it is to endure, and with tech giants on the horizon, it best get ahead of the curve before time runs out.

Monopolisation of the market by emerging tech

Bitcoin, crypto and blockchain have been innovation-related buzz-words for years. Gambling with Bitcoin is pretty clear-cut and straightforward for novice and expert cryptocurrency gamblers alike. Bitcoin and other digital currencies are purchased, stored, and sold entirely online. More and more physical Bitcoin exchange platforms are opening up globally as well.

Emerging technologies raise issues that tie-in well with the innovation challenges listed above. Since its inception, the crypto market has remained under scrutiny for being unstable and volatile, making it more crucial than ever for crypto gamblers to stay updated about conversion and exchange rates. Despite this, cryptocurrencies have infiltrated and assisted the gambling industry substantially. Major disruptions in the market are highly probable if current operators miss out on the opportunity to incorporate crypto in their business agendas.

“It comes down to a better understanding of the consumer by the operator,” argues Bill Pascrell, Partner of Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc. Personalisation, localisation and player protection must remain at the highest priority for operators, which may set them apart from the aforementioned tech giants threatening to monopolise the industry. If further incorporation of blockchain stands to improve these factors, they definitely should be considered.

The proliferation of black markets through over-regulation

Regulation, responsible gaming and client protection go hand in hand. However, the iGaming industry is not overtly cohesive. Over-regulation at the hands of inexperienced or hysteria-driven politicians threatens the encouragement of black markets, opening up the industry to attacks from within and without.

Bill Pascrell doubled down on the present urgency to educate regulators. Governments need to get enforcement right before striving to regulate. By overtaxing the wrong entity, it might be nipping start ups in the bud and pushing future ones into the black market.

“The government is not to blame for its ignorance,” Pascrell announced. It is in the iGaming industry’s interest to get them to sit down and have a mature discussion on what’s required to establish a safe environment for the gamblers without rupturing profitable ventures for the operators. The industry can begin by providing solutions for the government that assist in disrupting the black markets.

“Regulation does not make the iGaming industry go away,” said Jamison Selby, Senior Vice President at Bspot, “it will make regulated operators go away.” If the current operators do not take the necessary steps, then the question will inevitably be ‘who is coming to replace the operators currently sitting around the table?’

The end is nigh! How do we prevent it?

While many external factors do in fact threaten the industry, the countermotions necessary to preserve the downfall have to come from within. Much like on the first day, education, careful regulation and actively partaking in the big-boy-girl conversation on these serious matters took centre stage as the foremost proponents towards preservation.

As was expertly pointed out, there is almost no question whether the iGaming industry will endure. It is a question of who will be running it further down the line. The responsibility of preservation is entirely in the hands of the present operators. In the wake of tech giants eyeing the industry, the need for careful yet steady innovation has become more crucial than ever.

It also falls on the current operators to encourage regulators to cooperate. “The present is the opportune time for proactivity, not reactivity,” argued Shelley Hannah, Director of Casino Products at Relax Gaming. It is the time for the iGaming industry to strike a balance between being accountable for its actions and ensuring the safest environment for the best customer experience it can offer.

THE 300 SPARTANS:

After triumphing in key locations across Asia and Europe, AGS is flying 300 top affiliates to Malta, for an all inclusive deluxe trip. The event will happen alongside SiGMA, 14-18th November, during SiGMA Europe.

Read more about the 300 Spartans here.

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