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The Online Gaming Industry in 2015

By: Joan Peppin, Friday October 22nd 2010
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The European iGaming Congress and Expo (EiG) just got over in Copenhagen. It had brought together the leaders of the online gaming industry for discussions on a variety of subjects. One of the discussions on the second day of the conference was to predict the state of the industry after five years in 2015. The general consensus among the members of the panel was that there will be consolidations over the next five years resulting in fewer online gaming operators. However there were differences in detail.

Gigi Levy, the CEO of 888, said that the era of small deals was fading away. He predicted "bigger transformational deals" like the Bwin and PartyGaming merger would be the order of the day. Levy pointed out that right now there are too many small operators and not enough buyers. Therefore the small operators who are unable to sell out would have to close down. In either case the business would go the larger operators who would continue to grow. Another major change according to Levy would be the role played by social networking. The focus of the Internet was shifting from Google to social networking sites like Facebook. The technology was becoming more diverse and more complicated. The changes that Levy envisioned were Facebook allowing real money gaming, live streaming becoming more important and more players wagering on smart phones than personal computers.

Nicolas Beraud, the CEO of Mangas Gaming, also spoke during the discussion. He agreed with Levy that there would be fewer but larger operators five years down the line. He outlined some of the consequences of this. The environment would become more competitive and gross revenues would decline. The quality of the products on offer would improve considerably because of the intense competition. Another factor that would aid this scenario according to Beraud would be regulation. He predicted that by 2015 "most European countries would be regulated, as well as others outside Europe".

Another industry leader who spoke at the conference was Mor Weiser, the CEO of Playtech, the leading software provider. Taking up the topic of regulation he envisaged operators moving from their core jurisdictions into other jurisdictions. PMU of France would move to other markets, Italian operators would head into the French market and Spanish operators would head to Italy. He agreed with Beraud that the industry would become more innovative. Pontus Lindwall, the CEO of Betsson, pointed out that expansion into newly regulated markets was important. But he felt that the regulators had to provide a level playing field, referring to the high taxation in France. Henrik Tjarnstrom, the CEO of Unibet, countered this stand by claiming that his company had applied for a French licence and was hoping that it would come through.

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