Online gambling industry seemingly thrives on remote working
Online Poker Report

How The Online Gambling Industry Is Reacting To Remote Working During Coronavirus Response

Online gambling remote working

Editor’s note: In this article, the founder of BettingJobs.com provides an analysis of the recruitment landscape in iGaming as well as the impact of shifting to a remote working structure during the current pandemic. 

First things first, we hope this finds you in good health. Naturally, the focus of much current business communication is managing the commercial impact of the current pandemic.

However, it is most important that we first recognize the human aspect of the current situation. The protection of ourselves, our families and each other is our most important personal responsibility. It is heartening to see so many across the global community rise to that challenge. 

As the world continues to turn despite the global coronavirus outbreak, the iGaming and betting industry follows in kind. Our industry faces both short-term challenges and long-term consequences. The challenge of responding to the silence of sportsbook and casino floors from Las Vegas to Macau is for the long term. 

Working from home for iGaming

As for Betting Jobs, the most time-sensitive change in the nature of our work was the quick shift into remote working. Our team of consultants was ready for this switch and adapted quickly. Careful planning allowed us to continue without interruption in servicing our existing clients and their recruitment requirements. 

More and more of our clients are embracing remote working in response to the international race for talent. Naturally, these clients are in the best place to respond quickly and continue in their hiring strategy with minimal disruption. A selection of these vacancies can be found on the home-based section of our site. We also post regular updates to our Linkedin feed

In addition, many clients are keen to continue with business-critical hires in preparation for the current restrictions to be lifted. Clients in London, Malta, Berlin and beyond are adapting and displaying the flexibility needed to hire in. The volume of activity with this attitude is very encouraging. 

We will first look into the remote-working decisions we are seeing from some of our largest and most innovative iGaming clients. In addition, we will consider the methods that can assist in preserving recruitment normality where possible. 

Remote working: Not a huge disruption?

Depending on which survey you believe, as many as 60% of us have some remote aspect to our current jobs. The higher end of this range is certainly possible in such a forward-thinking environment as iGaming.

As an industry that aims to stay ahead of the puck in terms of tech innovation, this is key. We must adapt to the new reality of supporting work from home and allow ourselves to embrace the methods which make it possible. 

A clear trend for Betting Jobs in recent years has been the increasing percentage of our engagements, which call for fully remote working. Also, the proportion of hiring firms offering significant remote working flexibility as an employment benefit is ever-increasing. 

In the year before the term COVID-19 entered any of our vocabularies, Betting Jobs has been engaged in a wide variety of remote placements. These hires cover fields such as software development, sports trading, risk management, marketing, sales, account management and customer services.

The roles range in seniority from first-line customer contact to executive-level appointments and don’t fall into any one product vertical. 

Recruitment benefits for online gambling

The reasons for embracing such an approach are plentiful. Operational and commercial benefits can be found, as well as the ability to attract talent without geographic restriction.

A key client of Betting Jobs in recent years has grown its tech division on a primarily remote basis. Teams of software developers, testers and more are working entirely from home. This decision allows their staffing growth to match the aggressive growth of their business. This, in turn, ensures that they can continue to deliver on ambitious targets and expand into new markets. 

The pace of the process and financial premium can too often drive recruitment in some of the world’s most competitive job locations. The influence of these factors can exist in better balance by allowing the freedom of remote hiring.

We have recently been engaged in the urgent recruitment of a fully-remote iGaming software development team. Hiring top-level talent from locations such as the Netherlands, Greece, Latvia, Malta and the UK has enabled this project to continue at pace while avoiding some of the largest drivers of increased cost. 

Hiring for teams in highly competitive locations and recruitment markets will generally result in an entirely candidate-driven process. A growing percentage of employers recognize the value in offering remote flexibility in order to grow their appeal over the competition.

Acknowledging that your next CRM marketing manager, software developer or data scientist is human and has a broad spectrum of motivations adds value beyond the purely financial. The flexibility to partially work from home can lift time pressures arising from commutes or free up priceless family time. 

These benefits come into sharper focus in the current global circumstances. Firms are faced with adapting quickly or losing ground on those already prepared. As an unfortunate consequence of the quiet on the sporting front, and financial reach of the lockdown, there is a growing pool of valuable talent searching for new work.

This comes at a time when the standard face-to-face interview is out of the question, potentially slowing the path back to work. Reassuringly, there is a steady flow of new roles available. This is largely due to the volume of iGaming businesses that are embracing remote hiring and working.

Already, in the first few weeks of the wider international restrictions on travel and office work, we are placing several key employees with new employers who are facilitating remote working and immediate start dates. 

Remote recruitment processes

Our iGaming clients able to respond quickly and continue in their hiring of the best available talent have been those already embracing remote recruitment methods. 

Our work in the industry engages us across multiple continents. Remote recruitment methods have long been vital to ensuring that we maintain our thorough qualification process.

Of course, the traditional face-to-face meeting remains for many the preferred final stage before hiring. However, even prior to the current restrictions, many clients are now conducting fully remote processes. 

Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are only a few of the video conferencing tools taking prominence, thus far. This variety of methods helps to ensure that we remain closely connected, regardless of our actual proximity.

Coupling face-to-face online interviews with the ability to screen share and deliver presentations are key. When complimenting these interview methods with the time we invest in our initial search and qualification process of all candidates before application, the results are reassuring.

Indeed, even the “meet the team” closing stage of many processes has found a home with multi-participant video conferencing. In the current situation, this mirrors our communications with friends and family. 

Confidence in hiring

On our more technical and creative hires, the conventional stages of the process have largely continued as normal. Coding tests are being completed and shared via Github and other repositories. Candidates are finding time to commit to personal development. In particular, creative professionals are taking the opportunity to build additional portfolio work. Use of this time productively to build evidence of talent helps our clients in their initial vetting, and is very welcome. 

Confidence in hiring is essential in such circumstances. In theory, this can be harder to gain without the opportunity to shake the hand of those you are soon to invest in as employees. The converse is equally applicable. Candidates perhaps require more reassurance than before in choosing to commit to a new project. This is particularly true when opting to move on from existing employment. 

Our experience, thus far, has been that this confidence is entirely possible to secure with the appropriate effort and sincerity from both sides. We must make full use of the resources available, take practical steps for due diligence and continue to move processes at the right pace. In combination, these factors allow sensible hiring decisions to continue. 

Esports and virtual sports

After consideration of the recruitment methods being implemented in the current situation, it follows that we should then examine the hiring patterns that are emerging. The landscape, for many, has shifted beyond any reasonable expectations. Despite this, we continue to see consistent recruitment in many of our key markets and locations. 

Naturally, the gap left in global attention while the sporting calendar has fallen provides opportunity. The esports community continues to justify their seat at the table in most major sportsbooks and grows in prevalence. We have seen considerable growth in this vertical spanning a number of years.

Indeed, we have previously emphasized the importance of its convergence with online sports betting (more details can be found on our site). Earlier in April, Luke Cotton (an agent within esports and former betting marketing & data professional) spoke with The Business Post. In the piece, he describes encouraging detail on the rising audiences for esports events proceeding in the current climate. Seizing this opportunity is boosting the already upwards trajectory of the niche. 

In addition, the increasing prominence and advances in the quality of virtual sports also offer several opportunities for qualified candidates. The broadcasting of Inspired Gaming’s Virtual Grand National drew upwards of 4.8 million viewers in the UK. The promotion of this existing event capitalized on-demand as consumers sought a competitive alternative to the canceled event. Indeed, The Times reported that the audience vastly exceeded the previous figures for either the Gold Cup or Derby. 

The generous commitment of several bookmakers in donating profits on the event to healthcare charities is also worthy of note. It is broadly encouraging to see the industry gain positive national media coverage in sources ranging from both industry sources as well as the BBC, The Guardian and The Times

During the sporting downtime, there is naturally a relative strength in online casino, bingo and iGaming products. This, coupled with the areas highlighted above, form the majority of the most immediate hiring decisions.

Also, as previously discussed, many long-term recruitment priorities have been able to continue. A wide variety of our international client base is in a position to plan for their return to the previous scope of business and on launching new projects. 

The ever-growing iGaming conference calendar has also felt the far-reaching consequences of the global response. Events spanning most continents are rescheduling for later in the year.

Opportunity and resilience have been found in crisis by some, and a range of virtual conference events have been turned around quickly by several industry figures. As an example, Smile-Expo organized a COVID-19 response event as a virtual conference. It took place on April 17, bringing together a range of relevant iGaming speakers.

This online forum is a welcome solution. Discussion of the likely implications and opportunities for rebuilding that will arise as we come through to the other side of the crisis is essential.

With the SBC Digital Summit also due to take place next week, there is evidence of adaptation to be found from many sources. 

A way forward for the gambling industry

For those willing and able to embrace change in the face of unprecedented external challenges to the industry, there has been a way forward. There are certainly opportunities to allow key talent to continue in delivering as they have been employed to do.

The switch to the remote working structure as an immediate, temporary response has been unavoidable. We may now see an acceleration in the movement towards a more flexible working norm in the longer term. 

David Copeland
- David Copeland has a 20 year igaming career as an affiliate, operator and founder of the leading igaming recruiter Bettingjobs.com.
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