Casinos, gambling and betting companies are facing unprecedented shifts in consumer behavior. The pandemic has forced all incumbents to accelerate their path to becoming digital players. However, the rules of the digital realm are very different from the analog world.
Digital business models can change very quickly, and nowhere is this more apparent than the betting and iGaming space. Entirely new industry segments, like eSports, are rapidly gaining steam. Free-to-play games are becoming the primary channel for engaging and acquiring consumers. Fantasy sports are a prominent example, where FanDuel and DraftKings were able to quickly establish leading positions that have enabled them to compete with traditional players.
What’s more, traditional gambling business models are increasingly becoming indistinguishable from the broader gaming industry. Freemium mobile and console games have adopted casino-like models for engaging users. In many cases their consumer engagement strategies look a lot like digital updates on the old casino playbook. However, barriers to entry are much lower in the digital world and the rate of change is much faster. Competitors will continue to come from unexpected places, even beyond free-to-play betting, eSports, mobile and console gaming.