In the second episode of our SlotBeats Spotlight series, we asked our experts to summarise how the slots market performed over the last 12 months and how it has handled the pandemic.
SlotBeats: How would you summarise the slots’ market’s performance through last year, have we weathered the storm well?
Albert Pesca, Pragmatic Play: It has been a challenging year for our industry and many others, but also one that saw agile, resilient companies come out of the other side with a positive outlook. The slots market will have been able to attract sports bettors who were looking for alternative content, through innovative acquisition and cross-sell methods.
This year has seen exciting industry trends, the development of thrilling mechanics and yet more progression of the vertical as a whole. While it certainly had its challenges, the industry can look upon the last 12 months with pride.
Peter Causley, Lightning Box: It has been the best of times and the worst of times, as someone once said. There was a definite spike in online gameplay during lockdown, particularly during the early months when sports and sports betting was wiped out. But land-based casinos and retail venues in general have been hit very hard.
If there’s a positive to be taken from that, it’s that many brands have accelerated their plans to find a balanced online strategy. That’s not going to happen over-night, however, and we’ll have to see who emerges from the storm.
Tamas Kusztos, Kalamba Games: Overall, I would say yes. Certainly for us, it’s been a good year but that’s more a result of the team’s hard work and ability rather than weathering the external storm.
Also, it is fair to say that the industry’s financial performance was not the most challenging part, rather than working out the most effective way to cooperate under the circumstances.
Arcangelo Lonoce, Habanero: The online slot market has certainly persevered well. That’s largely because it did not feel the sharp end of the coronavirus crisis anywhere near as acutely as other parts of our industry.
When the land-based and sports betting sectors practically shut down, there was a lot of discussion about a mass-migration of players to the online space. That was premature, but it’s undoubtedly fair to say that the online slots market has survived the unprecedented situation in strong shape.
In terms of weathering the storm well, we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. The increased M&A activity we’ve seen over this year is likely a good indicator of things to come, and I anticipate plenty of major players to be looking to lessen their exposure to certain markets over the coming year.
Marina Ostrovtsova, BGaming: I think that slot providers and online casino operators have weathered the storm very well due to COVID-19 players spending more time at home and this offered an great opportunity to attract new players and retain our players.