SBC Digital Summit: Innovation on hold despite online casino growth – Alex Tomic

Alex Tomic, SlotsMillion CEO, shared his fellow panelists’ view that business for online casino operators has been growing as a result of COVID-19, and the subsequent live sports shutdown, but admitted that it has put a brake on new innovation for the igaming sector.

He was speaking as part of the panel titled ‘Gaming – the industry’s lifeline’, held as part of the second day ‘Leadership in Gaming’ track at the inaugural SBC Digital Summit.

Tomic explained: “Business is growing because people are staying at home. We can do what we used to do before, but we can’t continue like this for months. For me, it’s a maintenance status – we are able to do business as usual, but we are not able to do new things.”

Itai Zak, GoWild Gaming CEO, agreed by saying: “We all understand that this is something temporary, we understand that this is something that is a side-effect of the current situation. I don’t believe anybody is counting on this pattern to be sustained for the very very long-term.”

Ariel Reem, Genesis Group CEO, commented: “We are still growing, we are going into more projects and initiatives. For those who are more focused on casino products – it’s not a big difference apart from how you manage people remotely.” 

Tomic then clarified his comment on innovation, or a current lack of it, by adding: “It’s not that innovation is frozen, but obviously what we’re trying to do is to learn how to all work remotely together. We’re used to doing it but not all at the same time. 

“I believe that for innovation, you need the physical presence. I don’t think that if this (COVID-19 crisis) goes on for six months we will completely stop innovation, but to be honest – for the moment at least – it is completely on the side.”

The conversation, led by moderator Gaming Malta COO Ivan Filletti, later turned to the topic of responsible gambling and protecting customers who now have more time to play. 

This included a discussion about the effectiveness of changes to gaming legislation, for example in Sweden, where new deposit and time limits will come into force from 1 June until the end of the year.

Alexander Stevendahl, Videoslots CEO, shared: “We have seen an increase in business, however we don’t see players spending more. This is still at the same level – in fact some are actually spending less. But we do have more customers.”

Reem noted: “The interesting part for us is the fact that people are making more use of the responsible gambling tools, which shows a maturity level in the industry.

“We saw some countries deciding to limit, or to put more restrictions on, in terms of responsible gambling or regulation. At Genesis, we couldn’t see the need for that.”

The SBC Digital Summit runs from 27 April to 1 May 2020, featuring seven conference tracks, a virtual exhibition and virtual networking lounges. It has attracted an estimated 10,000 delegates from around the world. There is still time to register for the event, with company discounts available HERE.

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