The generation game

18 March 2020

Max Dubossarky has been chief operations officer at Betinvest since July 2019. Previously he was CEO of an international alcohol holding company working in numerous different countries. Over the course of his five-year tenure, he directed global sales, opened offices and organised distribution in the USA.

A key concern for operators worldwide are the changes in consumer expectations as the younger generations become a focus.

We spoke to Max Dubossarsky, COO at Betinvest, to discuss what these changes mean for the industry.

From Dubossarsky’s perspective, operators and providers of sports betting solutions have one main challenge: to understand the wants and needs of the players – and to ensure their products and solutions meet these expectations.

“Only by doing this can we understand whether what we offer is relevant, whether it meets user requirements and whether it will be in high demand,” he says. “Indeed, each generation of players contributes to the development of the industry in its own way.”

Next up to bat

Dubossarsky says it’s no secret there are at least two young generations at the centre of attention in the gambling industry: millennials and their close successors, Generation Z, both of them share traits which set them apart from previous age groups.

Dubossarsky breaks these down as:

  • They adapt quickly and easily to technology.
  • They are spoilt with the variety and range of cutting-edge technology available, leading to high standards in services and solutions.
  • They are rational and careful, despite also having a thirst for excitement and adventure – which the younger generations are happy to spend money on and for which they are prepared to take risks.
  • They have an active presence online and offline, and as a result, they are good at multitasking and have a richer user experience in comparison to previous generations.

As far as Dubossarsky is concerned, then, new generations of players expect secure solutions which are easy to use and adaptable to any device, and which can broaden their user experience. Above all, they want all this to be presented with immersive storylines and innovative technology

Spot the difference

When it comes to anticipating what a generation expects from a betting experience, Dubossarsky says the best way to determine their needs is to look at the time and conditions in which they live. “It pays to look at the parallels between the leisure activities of the generations and the world around them at the time: their economic situation, public attitudes, cultural experiences, etc.

Dubossarsky first reflects on the Silent Generation (born 1925-1945), who grew up during and just after the war, when horse racing was the only legal form of gambling and gambling in general was considered sinful and amoral.

Then came the baby boomers (born 1946- 1954) who lived through the economic golden age, the spirit of rock’n’roll and unprecedented consumerism. With this came the birth of regular casinos, the Vegas culture and the development of the entertainment industry.

He continues by discussing how Generation X (1965-1979) is the generation of future entrepreneurs, who grew up in a time of social mobility and changes amidst economic instability: “Theirs was a time of huge technological progress, a more rational approach to life and the legalisation of many forms of gambling.”

Turning to millennials (1980-1994), who were the first generation to grow up playing video games, Dubossarsky says this has played a role in the evolution of online gambling: “Operators and providers started introducing the first gambling websites. Known as the first ‘internet generation’, and with many day-to- day tasks being aided by technology and no longer requiring physical input, millennials go for affordable entertainment, often including activities that they can do from home.”

And finally, members of Generation Z (born after 1995-1996) were born into a world getting to grips with digital technology, and therefore their demands are high. “Operators and providers were forced to change their approach,” he explains.

Preparing for change

Armed with this historical knowledge and modern technologies, strategising your approach to these younger audiences becomes simpler.

Dubossarsky says when catering to younger generations of players, it’s important to remember that they can’t easily be surprised, and with such a huge number of products on the market, it is extremely hard to get their attention

“Operators and providers are therefore introducing gamification, creating more complex graphics, adapting their games for different devices, and dreaming up bonuses and new ways to draw in players – for example, built-in VR and AR functionality. And we mustn’t forget about reliable transactions and data security – these generations are aware of digital footprints and are therefore more cautious in their activities.”

Innovation also has a big role to play. After all, Dubossarsky says, how many sports betting operators had considered esports as a means of increasing business a few years ago?

“Today, global esports revenues are approaching $1bn, and that’s not including revenues from betting, fantasy leagues, similar cash-payout concepts and revenues generated within games. Now that they understand the opportunities in this area, providers are developing their own esportsbook product lines.”

Beyond this, Dubossarsky feels technological advancements will only continue to push the boundaries of what we know as entertainment.

For instance, he says, it is entirely possible that virtual reality will broaden the opportunities within the gambling industry.

“Tactile sensations will be possible in games. Traditional sports such as boxing and tennis may become popular in VR form, and therefore betting on these VR sports will be possible too.

“Modern technical capabilities and creative thinking could go a long way. That being said, traditional sports and sports betting will continue to be strong because nostalgia has its place and history goes full circle.

“Regardless of what new technology appears, we will always return to what we’re used to and what’s tried and tested. That’s why solutions that have stood the test of time and which continue to be relevant will always be in high demand.”