Careers: big opportunities in the igaming industry in 2020

3 January 2020

Pentasia’s Will Sawney says after a busy 2019, this year is set to be even bigger for the igaming industry, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for those with strong skill sets.

Last year was a pretty good year for igaming. The industry grew quickly, bolstered by disruptive technologies in AI and payments, the growth in demand from emerging markets and regulatory reform, most notably the impact of the repeal of PASPA in the US.

Here are what we see as some of the main trends influencing career opportunities:

North America is growing (fast)
Since the 2018 repeal of the infamous Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which effectively banned sports betting in the US, the doors have opened for American states to legalise sportbooks and 10 states have done just that. As a result, many operators have ramped up operations in the US, creating plenty of new roles for those with the right skills. It’s expected that by 2023, North America will be the largest sports betting market in the world.

All change in Europe
It’s not just the US that’s experiencing regulatory change. The Netherlands, Spain, Scandinavia and Portugal all saw significant legislation pass in 2019, so it’s imperative that operators stay ahead of the game. While many regulations involved tightening restrictions to protect consumers from fraud and problem gambling, there was liberalisation too, for example, Czech Republic lifted the restrictions on foreign operators. Europe is a hugely dynamic market right now, resulting in career opportunities for those with the right knowledge.

Leadership continues to expand
At the leadership level, salaries are increasing (in the US, C-suite roles are commanding packages of up to $500k) and there are big roles for the taking, with the highest demand in new products and emerging markets. The landscape is so competitive that businesses are willing to pay above the odds to secure the right talent to take their business forward, meaning that talented candidates can secure career advancement, with international relocation also on offer at some firms.

Due to the above developments, there is huge potential across a number of business areas. 

Design and tech
Those in technical roles are in high demand. As demand for candidates with niche technical skills far exceeds supply, qualified professionals can command high salaries and benefits. It’s not uncommon for highly experienced software candidates to secure £200k-plus salaries, even below the C-suite level. There are also plenty of options for remote work as igaming companies attempt to access talent in other locations and make jobs more attractive. Since half of all candidates in design and tech are open to working remotely, this can only be good news.

Product and project
Product roles are pivotal in the online gambling sector, allowing fast-moving operators to turn plans into reality and deliver rapidly in new markets. Therefore, there are plenty of opportunities in this area and we’ve seen significant salary increases (up to 35%) being offered to job-movers with the right vision and skills. If you’ve got a track record in launching innovative new products in igaming, you’ll be attractive to ambitious companies in the sector.

Sales and account management
It’s a great time to be a sales or account manager in the igaming space, with salaries up 5-10% year-on-year and many companies offering lucrative bonus and commission packages for top performers.  While UK opportunities tend to be the best paid, there’s also significant demand in emerging markets such as LatAm and Africa. In the US, while the industry is dynamic and fast-growing, opportunities may be harder to access for non-US citizens. 

Marketing
Marketing in the igaming sector requires specialised skills and knowledge, which is why sector experience is always a bonus. Marketing teams are under pressure to devise new and innovative bonuses to attract and retain customers, while also remaining compliant. We’ve also seen some evidence of gambling companies looking to combine roles recently, for example, recruiting one person to fulfil both CRM and content creation responsibilities, so a diverse skillset may stand you in good stead.

Operations and finance
The backbone of any company, finance and operations play a crucial role in keeping businesses running at the pace required to stay competitive. Therefore, many companies are unwilling to compromise on talent, often looking for people with the right commercial acumen and project management skills to drive growth. If you’ve got experience in operations, HR and payments within the online gambling sector, you’ll likely find significant opportunities across the industry.

Will Sawney is head of marketing at Pentasia