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State of Online Gambling 2021 survey results: Pandemic reshapes industry

7th May 2021 10:18 am GMT

The working lives of everyone have been turned upside down during the past year and many of you are thankful for it, according to the results of our first State of Online Gambling survey, conducted in association with data scientists Future Anthem.

Only 8 per cent of you want to return full-time to the office. An overwhelming majority would prefer to work flexibly, with 74 per cent of respondents would like to work two or three days from home.

“From an employers’ point of view, there has been a really significant change of attitude towards flexible working,” says Bettingjobs.com founder David Copeland. “It is a total flip from 18 months ago, when maybe only 20 per cent of our clients were willing to offer flexible working.”

Copeland says that some employers are still unwilling to bend to the new status quo but that means they are losing out.

“Candidates have choice. There is a huge volume of jobs out there and if you are not able to offer flexible working, you are not competitive as an employer,” says Copeland.

The main reason that people have taken to flexible working with such relish is the improved life-work balance it offers. Forty-nine per cent of our respondents claimed they have a better work-life balance because of working from home during the past year. However, 40 per cent also said they find it isolating.

That explains the overwhelming support for flexible working, however the number of survey respondents who would prefer to work from home permanently (18 per cent) is not insignificant and far outweighs the number who would like to work in the office full-time. There is a benefit for employers too. Fifty-six per cent said they were more productive working from home.

While the effect on everyone’s working lives is clear. The effect on the industry as a whole presents a more nuanced picture. The impact of the pandemic on companies’ revenue during 2020 is a perfect split. Twenty five per cent claimed the pandemic impacted revenue in a somewhat positive manner and an equal amount said it was somewhat negative. Meanwhile, 13 per cent said it was very positive and 13 per cent claimed it was very negative. In the middle, 23 per cent said the impact was neutral.

How has the pandemic affect your revenue in 2020?

The split can easily be explained by the fact that many of our readers have land-based operations, but it is interesting nevertheless that the split is so perfect.

Despite the obvious struggles of the retail sector, the betting and gaming industry has proved itself remarkably resilient during the pandemic. The switch to working from home was a challenge but it was accomplished with very little upheaval to operations.

Indeed 47 per cent of our respondents said the pandemic has made their operations more flexible. Of course, many have cut costs (36 per cent) and the biggest effect on suppliers was perhaps the inability to meet clients (38 per cent).

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that nearly one in five respondents believe that player protection is more important since the pandemic.

The impact of responsible gambling on the industry can no longer be ignored, with 73 per cent of those surveyed confident that their organisation has a clear responsible gambling strategy. A more surprising 40 per cent of respondents claimed to consider RG for "every" commercial decision they make. In total, 70 per cent consider responsible gambling for every or “most” decisions.

Future Anthem chief executive officer Leigh Nissim comments: “It is encouraging how prominently responsible gambling features in the survey responses. There is always more to do, particularly with reference to the use of new technologies in areas such as AI and risk management to improve existing processes. The online gambling industry clearly is very focused on this important area with continued progression across the board.”

It might be of slightly more concern to regulators that 9 per cent said their organisation does not have a clear responsible gambling strategy, and possibly even more concerning that 17 per cent of respondents were unsure whether their company had a clear strategy on RG. While those working in finance could be forgiven some hesitation, it is more worrying that some of those in management were unsure.

The survey also shed some light on the responsible gambling technologies that people are using at the moment. Fifty per cent of respondents use rule-based triggers, 33 per cent use daily or weekly predictive analytics and 20 per cent use real time predictive analytics. Another 26.5 per cent do the process manually.

Despite the fact that lockdowns were reinforced in many countries for the duration of Q1 this year and many were still in lockdown when the survey was filled out, the pandemic did not feature highly on people’s concerns for 2021. Of those who were most concerned about revenue declines in 2021, the majority attributed that to the competition or regulatory concerns.

In general though, the industry is feeling confident with 87 per cent predicting their company to increase revenue this year. Business development activities are very much based on the Americas with 42 per cent of respondents planning a new launch in North America this year, and 31 per cent plotting to expand in Latin America.

Those planning a new launch in Western Europe are not far behind (28 per cent), and Africa (14 per cent), Asia (21 per cent) and Central & Eastern Europe (17 per cent) also on people’s radars.

The State of Online Gambling in 2021 looks healthy.

For more, visit http://www.futureanthem.com/SOOG21

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