In this month's #ChiefsClash, Pierre Lindh- the Kaiser of the iGamingNEXT kingdom, Director of Trendiness for Online Gamblers - Catie Di Stefano and the Grand Wizard of Traffic - Levon Nikoghosyan from AffPapa, will share their 2023 mid-year summaries, as well as their predictions for the next 6 months.
1) If you are to recap the first half of 2023, what is the single major event that would register as pivotal during that time?
Catie: A very important moment for me was when The New York Times started criticizing the iGaming in February. They mentioned some good things about the industry as well as some things I didn't know or don't agree with. Mainly they criticized us for trying to self-regulate, which I think is a good thing. I don't think casinos should wait for regulations to be imposed on them but rather arrange things for responsible gambling before that.
Pierre: So, I asked ChatGPT what is the most crucial moment in this year, and it said ChatGPT. And I agree with that, even though it is not directly iGaming industry related. Maybe we do not see it know, because it is a part of a bigger process, but ChatGPT and AI revolution itself has taken a big way up.
Levon: I would recap Pierre's answer and also say ChatGPT since it is in the process of happening. From the market perspective, we see a lot companies entering new rooms, and one example is Latin America becoming interesting for this industry. Other than that there are new innovations such as AR, VR, or Apple's new product.
Shahar: I was blown away by the fact that the biggest release of the year Funkytime by Evolution simply failed. Everyone was very excited to conduct a game that was not simplistic straightforward and where there are more options of winning. Eventually we saw it did not generate the interest level we were expecting and the players who tried it did not return. Maybe it is too soon to tell anything, but on the product level this is potentially quite significant going forward.
2) What can we expect in the 2nd half of the year? (from the following aspects: Product / M&A / Regulation)
Levon: Since we talked about new markets, there has been a tendency for last years where we see operators entering B2B areas, or trying to acquire affiliates of their own. There is also the reverse process, where affiliates are giving up their brand s for GEOs in order to step into new markets. In the second half we will see much more similar cases.
Pierre: We are in a strange situation right now, where certain operator ar becoming white and white while other are turning grey and grey. I expect that we will see this divide more clearly, we will see the operators and suppliers that choose regulated path and the ones choosing nonregulated or reregulated environments.
Catie: I don't think US will continue legalizing iGaming in more states. There is a lot of action taking place in the Sports Betting part. I think on the second half of the year we will see a lot of M&A activity from American companies trying to acquire in sports betting.
3) The 2023 deal that would change iGaming is…
Pierre: UKGC acquiring ENTAIN using all the money raised from fines.
Catie: Las Vegas Sands entering online gambling.
Levon: The combination on AffPapa and iGamingNEXT.
Shahar: Ex-Entain old brass taking over 888.