SBC Summit Barcelona – Day Three Review

Our friends at Dam Mad Media Limited have put together a handy round up which covers the third day of the SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital which you can read below

 

After an 11-hour day at SBC Summit Barcelona on Wednesday, I decided to recreate the conference experience by walking until my feet hurt and then kicking back with a few beers.

I put on some loud music and kept flicking my bedroom light on and off, but without face-to-face interaction, I couldn’t recreate the late-night conference networking experience. Sadly, a taxi then refused to drive me straight to my front door from my own home so I had to satisfy myself with an early night instead.

Thursday’s Day Three of the SBC Summit Barcelona focused primarily on the role of content and marketing in the iGaming industry – a topic very close to home for Dam Mad Media.

The opening session highlighted the growing importance of social media and was particularly enlightening, with Thomas Ash from Twitter, Google’s Chris Harrison and John Cole from LADBible all adding unique perspectives.

Ash said that COVID had pulled brands into a more sympathetic people-first marketing position, with Harrison linking this to the importance of iGaming companies delivering a safer gambling message while trying to engage with customers at the same time.

The discussion then segued into the forthcoming regulatory requirements concerning ‘age-gating’ betting advertising content, with Ben Jeffries, CEO and Co-founder of Influencer, stressing that it will be the tech giants who will likely decide how the regulations will be implemented.

Jefferies also talked about how influencers are becoming increasingly important to brands and how they can be utilized in iGaming, citing the example of fans of Chelsea FC being a unique ecosystem where engaging relevant content can be micro-targeted with minimal spend.

The importance of responsible gambling has been a recurring theme this week and this was the cornerstone of the CIS Networking event. Following on from Wednesday’s ‘CIS & The Balkans: The Next Big Thing?’ panel chaired by Lasha Machavariani of Setanta Sports Media, Thursday’s talk expanded on the themes raised.

Ukraine and Uzbekistan are both set to open their markets in early 2021, while Russia has been amending its gambling laws to include more responsible gaming provision. Part of this relates to only permitting bets on official sports events, although this will not affect esports. This prompted Ilya Machavariani of Denton’s to highlight the ‘international best practices’ which these CIS markets are now following.

The Ukrainian market of 42 million people is certainly interesting a number of operators, with Irakli Davarashvili saying Adjarabet is looking to expand outside of Georgia and Armenia, citing Ukraine as ‘interesting’.

However, it is the forthcoming liberalization of the Uzbek market, containing 33 million people, that Dam Mad found most exciting, not least because it seems to have completely slipped under the radar.

With the specific regulatory infrastructure still unclear in Ukraine and the Uzbek authorities interested in attracting international operators, it could be argued that the Central Asian state offers the greater opportunity. One thing that is clear is that the whole CIS region should be on the radar of established Western sportsbooks.

Speaking of regulation, the clear overview of the global gaming market provided by James Kilsby, Joe Ewens and Kristal Rovira from VIXIO GamblingCompliance was incredibly useful. Some of this was a paired down version of content from previous panels we had attended – specifically on Ukraine, Germany and the Netherlands – but the opening of the Greek market to international operators is welcome while up-to-date coverage on the US regulatory landscape was invaluable. We are particularly looking forward to seeing Tennessee, Michigan and Virginia go live soon, with Massachusetts set to be the next big state to legalize.

Much of the final third of the day was dedicated to the United States, with Pinnacle duo Marco Blume and Ben Cronin giving their thoughts on the potential of esports there. Appearing alongside Moritz Maurer of GRID Esports and Mik Attisani of FACEIT, the consensus was that there is high potential in esports but there is more revenue to be made in traditional sports right now.

Despite this, operators do need to consider esports, although an authentic offering is vital. Esports fans are the most demanding of all sportsbook customers and are looking for a more interactive and immediate experience than general sports fans. They are also digital natives and content needs to be tailored accordingly.

The rise of in-play esports betting is therefore likely to be a game changer, but this can only be delivered with high quality official data. Furthermore, the sheer amount of data available, as well as the dedication of esports fans to their specific titles, means bookmakers are going to have to offer far more than just ‘To Win’ and ‘First Blood’ markets.

However, the nature of popular esports like League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 sees players take calculated risks based on informed decisions, the exact same process involved in placing a bet. With the demographic being younger, the potential long-term gains are therefore huge if these customers can be acquired and retained by operators.

Content is going to be key here, and this was mentioned frequently during the final panel of the day, which focused on the future of sports betting in the US.

Led by Lloyd Danzig and bringing together Rush Street’s Richard Schwarz, David Isaacson of Spectrum Gaming Capital and Jeffries LLC’s Andrew Zarnett, the importance of the media was raised, with PointsBet’s recent NBCUniversal tie-up and of course Barstool Sports both cited.

However, leveraging the right content and delivering it to the right audience at the right time is incredibly important too, and this was one of the main take away messages.

It has been an incredible third day at SBC Summit Barcelona and here at Dam Mad Media we are looking forward to tomorrow’s fourth and final outing.

 

Andrew Morgan

Director of Commercial Growth & Product Strategy at Dam Mad Media Limited
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