Paul Petrie, co-founder of Scottish online bookmaker McBookie, takes a look at how the industry developed this year.
SBC: What industry development caught your eye this year?
I find that amazing as despite it only being around for a while it now seems cemented into the psyche of punters. Elsewhere the decision by Racing to introduce the ABP scheme is interesting to say the least and one I will watch with interest
SBC: What was your favourite industry event this year?
Paul: Definitely the Betting On Football Conference. Football is our biggest sport and it is always great to find out the latest initiatives.
SBC: Where will Chelsea finish in the league at the end of the season now they don’t have Jose?
Paul: I would still fancy them for a top half finish and I wouldn’t rule out qualifying for the Champions League. I thought they might stick with Jose if I’m honest, but it seems that something had to change in the dressing room.
SBC: eSports – is there true potential in this market or is it over-hyped?
Paul: It isn’t something that we have offered yet so I wouldn’t be able to talk with any real experience. Personally, it isn’t something I would ever be interested in and I doubt many of our existing customers would be. Therefore if it is a success then it could be good for attracting a new type of customer.
SBC: Will there be any more major mergers next year? In which areas do you believe consolidation is still likely/necessary?
Paul: I think some of the bigger brands like William Hill and 888 may wait to see how the other mergers go before moving too quickly. However, I think some of the European firms looking for entry in the UK may look at joining up in a similar deal to Unibet/Stan James.
SBC: What are your expectations for the Euros? Which team will win it? Which domestic team will advance furthest?
Paul: Ha Ha. Stick the knife in why don’t you. It is a nightmare that Scotland have ended up being the only home nations team not to have qualified. Thankfully it shouldn’t have a major impact on turnover, although it will make customer acquisition a lot harder.
I think Spain will win the competition and, between the home nations sides it has to be England but ideally it’ll be a final defeat on penalties!
SBC: What’s your hope for the industry in 2016?
Paul: I would like to see the betting industry get less of a kicking from the media. For many it is still a dirty industry and it would be good to see it get more respect.