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As the COVID-19 situation continues to impact gaming operators and lives worldwide, we are here to support you as best as possible. We understand that different operators are facing different situations at the moment and we want to support however we can.
Greg Goldstein, Gaming Strategy Manager, offers his opinions and thoughts about what’s happening in the industry, the immediate impact and potential long-term consequences. As the COVID-19 situation changes, we will create new content in-line with what we see across the industry.
Q1. As a result of the pandemic, the impact on land-based casinos and sportsbooks is large. What are we seeing in the industry now for online gaming? How does this differ for the key gaming markets, such as casino, lottery, sports betting?
In the sports betting market, the lack of football and horse racing (which accounts for over 75% of the UK market) has had a large impact – that being said, we're starting to see customers switch to traditional online casino and poker in the absence of sport, with one operator seeing a 25% revenue uplift in online casino and poker. This has also brought innovation to the industry, with the inaugural “Virtual Grand National”, a unique take on one of the British sporting calendars' most famed events at Aintree. Nearly 5 million people watched the event, with all profits going to charitable causes.
In the US, with large sports betting events such as March Madness and the start of the MLB season postponed, operators and customers alike are reacting quickly; for example, eSports daily fantasy has spiked in the absence of traditional daily fantasy sports wagering.
Q2. We know that the US has a very strong land-based casino audience, whereas online gaming is the dominant channel in many other regions. What are the key regional trends and impacts in global gaming right now?
Although the pandemic impacts different regions in different ways, global gambling revenues are widely expected to dip, with H2 Gambling Capital predicting an 11% decrease in forecasted global gambling revenues in 2020. How governments react to this in loosening any lockdowns and restrictions will play a key role in determining which regions will be more heavily impacted. In the sports betting market, decisions around when various leagues are going to resume, if at all, will have a profound impact on the gambling market – though out of the control of operators, preparation for this event will be key in determining expected impact.
Q3. What could be the long-term impacts of this once the lockdowns and restrictions are lifted? Do we think that there will be a paradigm shift in the habits of players?
It will be interesting to see whether the long-term habits of players change, in light of recent events. We could see a sustained increase in online casino and poker alongside a rapid rise in sports betting, when leagues around the globe return to action. Looking at channels of choice, with the vast majority of players currently only able to wager online, the dominance of this channel could be cemented post-lockdown, with players enjoying the ease and convenience of online betting. The wide-scale closure of land-based betting outlets, such as retail sportsbooks and casinos, could lead to a sharp and sustained rise in online betting, in which having the latest payments technology and innovation is crucial to long-term success.
Q4. This pandemic highlights the importance of having a payments partner who truly understands the global gaming landscape and ecosystem. How can Worldpay from FIS help operators in navigating these challenging times?
We know that this is a challenging time for every industry, and every company is working hard to find their way through this pandemic. The entire Worldpay From FIS is here to help and work with companies to find the best way to proceed both in the short term and the future. Please do reach out to your Account Manager or wider Worldpay From FIS team to discuss what’s happening in your company and how we can support.
MERCHANT SERVICES SCAM ALERT
We have received reports of businesses being contacted by callers claiming to be representatives of a merchant services provider. These callers are telling merchants that their current provider is shutting down due to the COVID-19 situation. They proceed to tell the merchant they need to switch processors to continue accepting electronic payments.
If your business is targeted, please know that this is part of a scam and not legitimate. Worldpay will continue to be your trusted partner and support your payment processing needs.