2020 was a year of great change and recognition in numerous industries globally including the gaming industry. We had to realize the importance and value of the online portion of the gambling business. Despite performing outstandingly in many states and sectors, so far it has always been treated as the red-headed stepchild of the land-based industry.
2020 has been the year these online businesses proved their value and surpassed their traditional land-based competitors who faced great losses last year due to strict lockdown restrictions. We still do not know the long-term effects of COVID-19 pandemic, but it might accelerate the move from land-based to online gambling, especially if several land-based venues close forever. 2020 validated the proverb ’Necessity is the mother of invention.’
The coronavirus has completely transformed our everyday lives, the way we live, think, socialise and work. We had to adapt and find new ways to connect. From one moment to the next we were locked in our homes, we had to study and work from home office. We were kept away from our old hobbies so we had to find new free time activities. Many people started to play video games to have some fun. Even those who did not gamble online before, discovered its fun and convenience. 2020 was a record year for igaming and sports betting revenue and this will continue.
All signs show that 2021 will be the year of online sports betting and mobile gaming. Several sport event was cancelled due to Covid-19 including the Summer Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 that also contributed to the growing popularity of esports. Entertainments and larger promotions and events will be slower to return to pre-Covid levels. Playing for real money has never been this easy at FairGO, Uptown Pokies or Planet 7 Oz just to name a few.
Virtual events will probably become more engaging and interactive. Companies will focus on live interactions, augmented reality and digital content to connect with clients. Strong brands, excellent products, rich content and creative marketing communications will be the key factors of winners.
Vaccines are becoming widely available, but it will take time for the gaming industry to bounce back to what it was pre-Covid-19. Many changes are here to stay such as the distance work culture, which is a major shift in gaming. Another key change is that online consumption doubled in 2020 since consumers watched a record amount of digital content from social media and streaming platforms.
Digital, igaming, esports and interactive will remain the most important marketing tool to reach future customers. Large leading online casino operators should make steps to regulate themselves and the market to provide responsible gaming and safe gambling environment. Looking back at 2020, we can see a significant ’keep calm and carry on’ mentality accross the industry, but unfortunatley it caused massive damages to a lot of businesses with enormous jobb losses affecting a great number of people.
Social and digital media are the most effective and sustainable channels to reach potential and existing clients. Gambling companies challenge themselves to meet the needs and desires of their customers, when, where and how they want to be reached.
They focus on social and digital analytics and listening tools to understand customer and brand sentiment, market trends and future opportunuties. In order to build brands, TV remains hard to beat, and it is worth time and cash investment in the long term. We do hope that land-based gaming industry can get back to normal as soon as possible.