Ivan Rozić (pictured), SVP of Global Sales and Business Development at NSoft, reflects on the lessons learned during 2020, before predicting a more successful coexistence for online and land-based betting when retail is back to full strength.
In November 1956, Isaac Asimov published a science fiction short story called “The Last Question” which beautifully describes an overlapping relationship between physical and digital eventually leading to the unification of the two in a god-like creature.
Slowly but steadily, we have been following this path. But 2020 has shown us that physical and digital are still two very separate entities.
Betting business in 2020 – a prequel
With huge countries such as Brazil, India and the United States starting to open up and regulate gambling and betting, 2019 was a big morale booster to the entire igaming industry and growth throughout 2020 was inevitable for everybody involved.
But instead of launching all those new projects, operators and suppliers alike were left reinventing their existing solutions for a new world we started living in from the early days of 2020.
With the physical aspect of our lives so abruptly taken from us, each and every person in igaming immediately scratched every retail-oriented project and started working on the digital. Virtual games and esports frenzy set the stage for the following months during which operators tried their best to provide desperately needed content for punters and providers followed suit.
Endless video calls during which we all came to a profound understanding of prof. Robert Kelly and his famous live interview for BBC were all based on digital. NSoft, being a virtual games provider, was going above and beyond in supporting existing and new partners with additional online content.
Not only did we form and dedicate additional teams for all online integrations of our content but we also gave our in-house virtual games completely free of charge during April and May.
2020 – what happened, and what did we learn from it?
At this point, NSoft’s monthly revenues were tarnished as we were heavily dependent on our partners’ retail business. Needless to say, we were able to fully sympathise with all of our partners which lost big chunks of their business due to lockdowns.
Steadily, COVID’s grip on the physical started to loosen in most of the markets and NSoft’s revenues sprung back to life fuelled by our record online numbers. But we at NSoft are very much aware that we are still far from seeing retail business as it once was.
The physical part of our lives is still but a shadow of what it once was and it will take a long time to get back to the pre-COVID world we all long for. So we drew some important lessons which will help us navigate the deep waters we are all in.
Lesson one – online first sportsbook solution
NSoft is one of the few sportsbook solution providers in the market which is able to integrate and adapt to any third-party online platform. Our pre-match and live solutions are running on multiple platforms at the moment attracting new users for our partners who were previously casino-oriented.
During 2020, we decided to heavily invest in the digital aspect of our sportsbook solution by adding cashout, backend AI models and a completely new UI for all of our existing and new partners.
We aim to provide a sportsbook solution that gives the operator ease of mind regardless of its size and ambition. It can be integrated as an iframe solution with customised frontend design done by NSoft or as an API-based solution ideal for UI savvy companies looking to build their own unique frontend.
You can handle your own risk management or put your trust into the industry-leading MTS solution brought to you by NSoft and Sportradar. Either way, you will receive a completely bespoke solution carefully catered to your needs with dedicated teams working on your project.
Lesson two – physical does not become digital on its own
For the last decade, NSoft’s virtual games have revolutionised retail business for our partners across the globe. We have seen NSoft’s virtual games growing retail businesses across Europe, Africa and Latin America regardless of punters’ habits and local specificities.
Game design, the retail platform’s stability and vast experience in handling operational headaches that retail operators go through made our virtual games an essential source of additional revenue.
Unfortunately, the transition of this content into digital was not as successful, mostly due to our previous focus on making the virtual games portfolio perfect for the retail environment.
Throughout 2020 all of our virtual games went back to the drawing board. Our in-house teams of experts worked hard to learn from digital users’ behaviour on our virtual games and incorporate their direct and indirect feedback into a fresh digitally oriented spinoff of our most popular virtual content.
We are now ready to “unleash” them to production with all of our existing and new partners and witness a true digital transformation of revenue-driving powerhouses like Lucky Six, Roulette, Virtual Penalties and many more.
Lesson three – physical will be back
As mentioned earlier in this article, we are still very far from digital and physical unification, which means retail will be back to full strength. It’s hard to predict whether it will take months or years to get there, but we are already working hard to greet everybody back by making our Seven retail platform more flexible than ever.
NSoft’s in-house products already featured in Seven retail platform have already proven themselves on the ground with our pre-match and in-play betting solutions running on tens of thousands of devices across more than 40 markets worldwide.
This includes a vast network of betting terminals which will surely drive retail for years to come. With our in-house products already going from strength to strength over SSBTs, we decided to open our retail and SSBT platform to third-party products.
You can now utilise NSoft’s state-of-the-art hardware peripherals management which cuts years of development and millions in investments needed to support the range of printers, scanners, bill acceptors, card readers and monitors. NSoft already supports it all and keeps adding more.
Finally, 2021 will be all about getting back to business as usual, but the lessons learned throughout 2020 will undoubtedly impact the igaming industry for years to come.