While casinos are largely creatures of habit, effected by seasonality when people go on vacation or when monthly pay packets arrive, their steady stream of income tends to be otherwise secure. For the betting industry now, the current situation has created an almost dead-drop, leaving platforms and providers in a freefall scrambling for ways to shore up additional revenue to survive what will be an indeterminate amount of time.
In the UK this has led to a many bookmakers furloughing staff and asking for rent reductions, whilst online bookies have swivelled their marketing efforts towards esports, gaming platforms and online casino games – for those firms lucky enough to have them. This has also come at a time when credit cards have been banned, meaning customer bases were already being stripped by those who were no longer able to play with disposable income in their banks. The situation around the world and certainly Europe appears to be no different, with major competitions like the Euro 2020’s, Olympics and Motor Racing events all suspended indefinitely – leaving bookies in the same predicament as their UK counterparts; albeit a few countries like France are looking to re-open horse racing as long as they can sustain correct social distancing protocols.
So perhaps the SBC event happening next week couldn’t have come at a better time, as 140 speakers, multi-national corporate CEO’s and many more join the digital seminar to discuss their best foot forwards through this hard time. While conversations around growth areas, legislation and more would normally have taken the forecourt, now it appears survival is the word on everyone’s lips, as bigger companies look to protect long-term revenue streams and smaller companies look to stay afloat. With so many great minds coming together – if a solution can be found then surely it will be at a platform like this. However, there are missing pieces in the puzzle that must be contended with.
Horse racing may be able to open without spectators bringing back a chunk of revenue, but football, being one of the largest streams of income, seems to be on an indefinite pause and no matter the brilliance in conversation – there are still two problems to be overcome. Firstly, ensuring the survival of the teams, top-flight especially, that make up the leagues to keep them running and to help them keep their players (ensuring teams like PSG from France, Manchester United from England or Real Madrid from Spain don’t gain a monopoly in their leagues), secondly understanding how to recoup sponsorships when viewing rights might be limited to solely television (nobody is going to allow 50,000+ people in a stadium together in this environment). The answer isn’t obvious and next week will be a challenge to overcome questions that, right now, seem impossible to answer. That being said, at least there are no plans to abandon football completely and spend the next few years doomed to watch e-sport versions of the matches