SBC managing director: Expect a push for online gaming expansion once pandemic ends Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports · April 15, 2020 at 7:10 am COVID-19 is changing behavior and encouraging some gamblers to try online casinos, and once the pandemic ends, there’s likely to be a push for the expansion of online gaming in the U.S., according to Andrew McCarron, managing director of SBC. SBC is hosting a Digital Summit, April 27 to May 1, with panel discussions covering a range of topics over the five days, including sports betting and online casinos and slots. Here is the agenda: https://sbcevents.com/sbc-digital-summit/#schedule. The panel discussions on April 28th will focus on whether poker is the go-to product with limited sports betting options and how online casinos are meeting demand with land-based operations shuttered during the coronavirus shutdowns. New Jersey and Pennsylvania lead the way among states with online casinos, but others could follow now that gaming companies and states are losing out on revenue from online slots and table games. Nevada is among the states that allow online poker, but not online casinos. “I think a lot of (states and gaming companies) will be kicking themselves for opposing it for so long. It could have given them a revenue stream they don’t have now because they didn’t set it up,” McCarron said. “If you have a casino and don’t have an online aspect and your competition does, where are your customers going now? They’re going to your competitor.” For people stuck in states with no online gaming, they’re turning to offshore companies and this will likely be a key moment for the expansion of states allowing online casino play, McCarron said. “I think there will have to be change if we’re going to be sensible,” McCarron said. “There’s nothing to say this won’t happen again or something else won’t happen again. It makes good business practice. If people are stuck in states with no online gaming, they’re going to go offshore.” The pandemic and closure of casinos have prompted people, who weren’t previously interested, to try online gaming for the first time and that could change behaviors going forward, McCarron said. People won’t be reluctant to participate in online gaming once they’ve tried it. “Throughout the world and in every single industry, people’s behaviors are going to change,” he added. “They have been forced to change. An industry that relies on people doing stuff out of habit, you could be in big trouble once this is all finished. If their habit was a weekend trip to the casino, maybe it will be a weekend at home with brewskies (gambling online).” Conference sessions include a look at virtual sports and eSports betting. During a Betting on Sports America Track, there will be a discussion on state legislative updates on sports betting for 2020. That track’s speakers include Jonodev Chaudhuri, former Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Jan Jones Blackhurst, former Las Vegas mayor and a board member at Caesars Entertainment, and Adam Greenblatt, CEO of Roar Digital. With most sports shut down around the globe, except for horse racing at some limited tracks, gamblers have little to bet on. Some sportsbooks are taking bets on eSports and virtual race-car events instead. “Some of the books that haven’t looked at these sports are looking at them very closely and looking for alternatives in the betting market,” McCarron said. “Some of the books that have been successful will share their insights. We have seen that eSports has been big in Europe and not so big in the U.S. This will give the U.S. market the opportunity to talk among each other and find out how each company is adapting and what life might look like once the virus is gone.” McCarron said there’s never been a massive crossover between slot players and sports bettors, but there used to be a correlation between poker and sports betting. A panel discussion on April 28th is titled, “Poker to the Rescue?” “There might be a resurgence of poker,” McCarron said. “If enough operations can be successful offering poker to some of the sports bettors, it may be entertaining to them. The sports bettors have nowhere else to go. People are home and bored and don’t have any entertainment.” The summit will also feature sessions on future opportunities of gaming in Latin America, including Brazil and the expansion of sports betting in the region. The coronavirus might speed up gambling expansion, McCarron said. The conference will also deal with problem gambling and safer gambling during self-isolation. One panel discussion on April 28th will deal with how operators are keeping problem gaming from spiking during the pandemic. McCarron said that there’s been a push around the globe to restrict online-gaming advertising and gambling promotions, so as not to fuel problem gaming. More than 10,000 people are expected to participate in what has been called the world’s largest online-gaming conference. The conference will feature a lineup of more than 140 big-name speakers from the global betting and gaming sector. There will be a virtual networking lounge where delegates can catch up with existing contacts and meet new ones. A virtual exhibition floor will host up to 50 spaces and a virtual media lounge will make available industry digital publications for delegates. How it works: https://sbcevents.com/sbc-digital-summit/#howitworks. Day tickets are $54 and weekly tickets are $105. Group tickets for 10 are $275. It’s $550 for a group of 25 and $1,100 for a group of 100.