SBC Digital North America: igaming “an important part of the business model”


As the betting and gambling industry in the United States continues to grow, the focus remains on vertical betting, but igaming continues to play a dominant role.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been identified as one of the main drivers of the growing North American gaming industry due to the closure of retail outlets, as well as an increased need for states to generate additional income – and the video game industry is no exception.

Commenting on changes in technological and innovative developments during coronavirus shutdowns, Ed Andrewes, CEO, Resorts Digital Gaming LLC, argued that these developments are here to stay.

“Technological implementation is all about prioritization,” he said. “Maybe some of the third parties who already had sources of income from the brick and mortar world will focus more on sports betting.

“What COVID has done, and with the opening of new states, it has proven that igaming is a very important part of the overall business model, which is now focusing on the web.

“When third-party vendors change either priority, that’s what accelerates technology development. The case has been proven and there is a good generation of revenue, and third party vendors will remain focused on that. “

While finding common ground with Andrewes regarding the accelerating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. video game industry, Dermot Smurf, CEO, GAN also highlighted the significant challenges posed by the market, in part due to the complicated nature of the interstate system.

“The original accelerator was sports betting,” he began. “The secondary accelerator was COVID, and now you have a third accelerator, which puts more pressure on technology providers for retail casinos, which is Michigan’s pre-market playbook – the idea that regulators could well now allow B2C operators to pre-market several weeks, if not months, before the first legal online bets that have been taken into a US state scheme.

Comparing the current situation in the US market to a “car accident situation in which several states regulate and allow pre-market or actual operations within very similar time frames,” Smurfit went on to say that it is “very difficult ”to provide what consumers want, such as easy access to a single app and a single account.

“All the basic blockages and the fight against the industry here in interstate markets in America are incredibly complicated compared to the 25-year-old industry machinations in Europe,” he continued. “I see nothing but continued increased pressure on technology, whether internal or provided by a third party. Do I see a loosening or a change? Absolutely not.”

When asked about the idea that cannibalization may be happening in the United States, online gaming operators are driving customers away from retail locations, William hornbuckle, CEO and President, MGM Resorts, argued that he and his colleagues “had been fighting this idea for a decade.”

Rather, he argued that the industry will adapt to changing times and consumer trends, and that terrestrial operators will increasingly embrace online verticals as a way to engage their customers at- beyond the doors of their casinos.

He said: “I’ve been around for a while. We’ve heard that with Indian casinos, we’ve heard that with riverboats. All other open markets in the country, in a macro rate, operators continue to do well, and surpass, and develop the industry and expand the business, no different here. We have a living example in Michigan.

“Over time, we absolutely believe that the opportunity to create omnichannel and the ability to talk to 365 customers whether they choose to come to a casino or not is to the net benefit of an organization that does it on a large scale. “

Agree with Hornbuckle’s point of view, Brooks pierce, Chief Operating Officer and President, Inspirational entertainment, remarked, “At the end of the day, consumers are going to drive this, and you see it across all industries.

“There are times when they’ll want to go to the MGM Grand, there are times when they aren’t. They want to have the availability of a product when it suits them and how it suits them.

Pierce also expressed a similar sentiment to Andrewes and Smurfit regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, as he remarked: “We’re in an interesting place because we’re a bit out of the way. crossroads because of the acceleration of technology and I think both on the operator side and the supplier side we had a unique opportunity with COVID to kind of really accentuate the development of some of the products. online. “

However, Smurfit took a different view than Inspired COO when it came to cross-industry cannibalization, stating, “You’re going to see cannibalization online. There is no very well understood cannibalization between social casino and igaming.

“This is a more interesting aspect of cannibalization – as it unfolds in the United States, if you are a major B2C operator and a social casino, it will become more difficult to convince people to spend that much. that they are currently spending on what I would call a “proxy land product”. “

“In America, video games have been banned for the vast majority of residents for such a long period of time.

“This cannibalization is real and will have more impact on stand-alone operators over the next few years, as I believe online retailing is purely incremental in nature.”

The speakers appeared on a GAN Sports-panel sponsored entitled “I-gaming on the rise – making waves in 2022”, and moderated by Katie lever, legal director of, at Digital SBC North America event on June 9 and 10. To display this panel and others, register on

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