All this week, the SBC Digital Summit is being held, bringing together gaming leaders and insiders from around the world to discuss a number of issues facing their collective industries. The coronavirus has been one of the major components of all the topics, and a panel held yesterday on sports gambling showed how much the current pandemic has impacted the market. Participating in the panel alongside executives from Apuesta Total, Vivagol and BtoBet was Betcris CEO JD Duarte, providing invaluable insight into the current state of affairs, and what will happen once the recovery process can begin.
The panel, titled “The future of Latin American sports betting,” was moderated by Kristal Rovira, Legal Director and Head of Research for Vixio GamblingCompliance. It was part of the massive gaming calendar that includes 140 expert speakers and more than 30 CEOs of the leading companies in the gaming sector in Europe, Latin America and the United States. The summit leaders and the participants have been actively analyzing the challenges and opportunities that have arisen from the coronavirus crisis, and preparing for a new order of business once gaming activity resumes.
In many ways, as Duarte pointed out, the sports gambling market has been hit the hardest by the global pandemic. The entire sports world was essentially forced to call delays to their activity, which has had a significant impact not only on athletes, stadium personnel and the leagues, but on sportsbooks, as well. With no athletic competitions to provide odds for, sportsbooks have been forced to become more creative in order to remain afloat.
However, it hasn’t all been bad news for the market. Duarte points out how the current situation has allowed Betcris to implement internal procedures, such as remote offices, that are working extremely well, and which will stay in place once business operations return to normal levels. The company’s headquarters, located in Escazu, Costa Rica, was under construction when the pandemic arrived in the country. The realization that remote work is feasible has allowed Betcris to keep its staffing levels intact and allowed it to redesign the office to accommodate a workforce that is structured differently, providing more open spaces and permanent social distancing protocols that still favor a unified workplace.
Duarte, who has also subscribed to the stakeholder theory in conducting operations, understands the importance of social responsibility, which spans across the workforce, the community and society. He also understands the important role COVID-19 has had in shaping business operations, explaining that, just as people need antibodies to fight the virus, businesses must have them, as well. Companies need to implement “antibodies” that will allow them to fight off the financial and personnel impacts that global disasters like the coronavirus may bring, and better prepare themselves for any situation that may arise.