Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How online businesses are being affected by COVID19: an iGaming case study.

While the online gambling market in the UK may currently find itself in the eye of a regulatory and legislative storm, for now this remains one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors around. But for how long?

Not only does iGaming currently account for around 37% of the total GGY in the gambling industry, for example, but it also produced revenue of £5.3 billion in the year ending March 2019.

However, amidst the global coronavirus crisis that has impacted every aspect of the economy and even before the pandemic, many of the media companies in particular were also feeling the hit.

There were also reports of job losses for many firms in Malta throughout 2019 as a result of increasing regulation across the UK and other markets.

Save for the potential opening up of the US market, there seems to be no obvious silver lining in the short to medium term to the kind of growth the industry has until very recently become accustomed to.

But what exactly is driving this growth, and how is this impacting on employment opportunities in the marketplace? Let’s find out.

What’s Driving Growth in the iGaming Market?

The latest figures showcased a marginal decline in the UK’s iGaming market, with both regulators and the legislature proposing crackdowns that could impact on both turnover and profitability.

The sector was still expected to grow incrementally over the course of the next few years, while the global iGaming space before the crisis was also projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.77%.

But what should we make of the situation now in light of the global pandemic?

With consumer wallets tightened the world over, many in the industry are no doubt expecting contractions as players hold on to their disposable income amidst the uncertainty.

The 55 to 64 demographic continues to gamble most prolifically in this space, with customers of this age boasting higher spending power on average and capable of spending considerably more time online.

The rising number of iGaming participants in the UK can also be attributed to a significant boom in mobile penetration, with an estimated 55% of players gambling regularly through their smartphone in the year ending December 2017.

This has undoubtedly made a competitive and thriving marketplace more accessible to players across the length and breadth of the UK, while also enabling individuals to access their favourite games at any time and even during the daily commute.

Creating Employment Opportunities in the iGaming Market

As demand for iGaming verticals has boomed and the market has become increasingly accessible this past decade, it’s little wonder that the sector’s GGY has also increased exponentially until now.

This has also created significant employment opportunities in the iGaming sector, both in terms of the number of job roles available and the diversity of skills required.

Software developers are in particular demand in the market, with suppliers like Microgaming and NetEnt constantly competing to develop new and engaging titles for casino platforms.  

Microgaming already has more than 800 games in its ever-expanding library, and software houses are constantly on the hunt for developers who can conceive, create and deliver on collaborative iGaming products.

Microgaming Casinos Land list all the latest casinos and news of this iGaming giant, and, at the time of writing, they (Microgaming) are one of the few companies to publicly speak out about the global health and economic crisis.

In an increasingly competitive space, operators also live and die by the quality of the customer service that they’re able to provide.

With this in mind, operators are continuing to employ experienced and talented customer service representatives who can apply transferable skills in the industry.

Employees who are multilingual offer particular value in this type of job role, particularly as the vast majority of licensed UK operators accept players from all over the world.

With players now accessing iGaming platforms from a host of different devices (and across various public and private networks), operators are often in the market for cybersecurity experts.

More specifically, there’s a high level of demand for security analysts who can help to successfully encrypt websites and safeguard financial transactions.

This is central to each platform’s reputation and long-term reliability, which is why security analysts can usually command a huge salary in the iGaming market.

The Last Word - What Should We Expect in 2020?

The recruitment landscape within the industry looks set to change massively since last year

Prior to the pandemic, there was no doubt that Brexit uncertainty and increasingly tough legislation is beginning to squeeze operator margins.

Exiting the EU without a trade deal could also hit the UK market hard, especially if tax-friendly locations such as Malta and Spain are able to encourage operators to relocate overseas over the course of the next 12 months or so.

This may not only impact on the growth of the UK market, but it could also create a scenario where existing employees and those who aspire to work in online gambling space have to relocate overseas.

Needless to say, this is a very big question mark in these times of global uncertainty.