New markets, new regulation and new technology, the opportunities for growth in 2021 are abundant but how can we ensure our industry’s true potential is realised?
We caught up with Josh Tromans-Jones, CTO for Salsa Technology as he spoke about what we can expect from our industry in the ‘New Normal’, where the real opportunities for growth are and the role new technology will play in it all.
Recently, some of the biggest operators in our industry officially, including 888 and Bet365, entered new, exciting LatAm markets such as Argentina. What are your opinions on the future growth opportunities in LatAm and how can we make the most out of it going forward?
“Latin America represents a huge opportunity for operators and it’s no surprise to see some of the biggest players enter the picture. Regulation is unlocking the region to make it a true powerhouse within the global market, but only those with the right approach will succeed as LatAm is a complex beast.
Brazil is a market that has piqued interest as it is the largest with a nation of over 211 million people. That itself represents a hurdle to negotiate and anyone wishing to expand into the Brazilian market must implement a truly localized strategy. A dedicated strategy for each country is vital given behaviours, culture, regulation and infrastructure differ considerably across the region.
Argentina’s largest province, Buenos Aires, is ahead of most others and has issued seven online gambling licenses and operations will commence in due course. BA’s population stands at around 16m, slightly more than one-third of Argentina’s total headcount, making it a popular target. The federal system opens up opportunities for smaller operators to target parts of the country that may be less enticing to the bigger operators.”
There’s been a lot of industry discussion about the ‘new normal’ in the iGaming market due to the impact of Covid-19. What does your version of the ‘new normal’ look like and what do you think the long-term effects of the pandemic will be on the market?
“For the industry, the ‘new normal’ will be a further shift from retail to online as people wish to access content from anywhere, anytime. With that comes a greater commitment and dedication to security and ensuring our clients are protected from cyber-attacks. Salsa Technology continues to put vast resources into protection for both our clients and the players who love the games.
When COVID hit, the core Salsa business adapted quickly to protect the team with a work from home policy. Conversations with our staff have revealed a departure from the standardised 9 to 5 has been well received and there has been no drop off in productivity and plenty of cases of improvements.
We’re constantly evaluating the situation as we’d like to re-establish the office environment to a degree as there are some irreplaceable benefits of face-to-face communication – but only when employees feel comfortable. This expanded online environment also means companies can have an increased global presence as talent can work from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.”
Amongst other things, one thing for sure that will be affected long-term is the way we work. We’re all experiencing the start of the ‘work from home era’. How can we ensure teams stay connected and motivated during this period?
“Motivation comes from the very top by making the right team hires to help drive the company to the next level. Employees perform at their optimum when sharing a company’s philosophy and feel proud of the successes. Regular email communications from C-level about company growth, developments and appointments nurture a sense of belonging and keeps people in the loop.
This approach doesn’t get off the ground if employees don’t have the right tools to flourish and chat services like Teams and Slack are vital in this new era. These programmes also give companies an opportunity to stay connected, ensure clear communication and conduct regular check-ins to evaluate staff wellbeing.”
Responsible gambling is high on the industry agenda especially now because of the increased risk that the lockdowns cause. How do you expect approaches to this issue to change moving forward?
“Responsible gaming has never been more important as the growth of online gaming continues unabated. Salsa prides itself on its commitment to social responsibility and making sure we are offering a safe environment for players to enjoy gaming. The importance of really understanding customer behaviour has risen, something that Salsa has long done, to help provide a supportive service. Monitoring player behaviour is an integral element to identify problems before they develop into more concerning traits.
Part of that is addressing the key industry issues and moving forward there will likely be restrictions of bonuses or even total removal in regulated markets. Source of funds and affordability checks will add another layer of protection while capping marketing approaches around times, channels and phrasing will help.
Kindred has taken an inspiring approach by reporting revenues generated from at risk players as a sign of transparency. Ultimately, it’s up to us as companies to provide an entertaining and safe experience – those that excel at doing so set an example and should be proud.”
Editor’s Note: From speaking with Josh, it seems clear that new markets such as LatAm are a great target to achieve real online market growth. Due to the impact of Covid-19, markets globally, are shifting to online creating a larger demand for content. Josh believes that in order for us to take advantage of these opportunities sustainably we must, as an industry, take a more proactive approach to social responsibility and make sure we are offering a safe environment for players to enjoy gaming. Collaborating with forward-thinking tech services that can facilitate this approach, such as Salsa Technology is a trend we hope to see continue in the future.