eGaming Review January 2014 - Page 51

2013 : W H A T W E L E A R N E D F E A T U R E 06 BWIN.PARTY’S TRANSITIONARY YEAR A plateau in revenues during 2012 forced CEO Norbert Teufelberger (pictured) into instigating several new strategies which will take time to reap rewards In transition bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger hopes 2014 will bring better news In sports betting, mobile apps have expedited the expansion of in-play and allowed operators to take bets from people wherever they are, instead of just when they’re sat behind a computer screen. Paddy Power now takes 47% of its online revenue from mobile channels, while BetVictor claims its figure is 50%. Major operators have subsequently sought to boost mobile expertise. One feature continues to outshine all the others as the key to unlocking mobile’s full potential: single sign-on allowing users to access their accounts across web and mobile apps using just one log-in. Sky Bet’s revenue soared 20% driven by its strong mobile performance boosted by the addition of a single sign-on feature, and Playtech CEO Mor Weizer referred to the feature as “the future”. penetration share. While the Windows Mobile OS is not expected to rival iOS or Android, the size of the market is rapidly increasing and French operator Winamax recently became the first to release a native Windows poker application. Developing applications for three separate operating systems and a wide variety of mobile and tablet devices, coupled with spiralling CPAs, could see 2014 become the year in which mobile developed into a costly necessity. One area expected to see strong growth is on tablets, with as many as one million new tablets expected to be bought over Christmas in the UK alone. Online operators are looking to tablets to boost the mobile casino sector, which to date has lagged somewhat behind its sportsbook cousin. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT ? WINNERS AND LOSERS Advertising spend is increasing and these costs are only expected to rise further as operators inch closer to cooking the goose that laid the golden egg. The smartphone market is also expected to fragment further in the wake of Microsoft expanding its smartphone 48 William Hill, Paddy Power, Sky Bet and BetVictor have all showed tremendous growth in mobile sportsbook during 2013, while Ladbrokes trailed some way behind. Mobile casino also lagged behind, but is expected to have a transformational year in 2014. WHAT HAPPENED? The first big change was a turnaround on grey market operations, and 2013 saw bwin.party pull out of the likes of Greece and Germany in order to focus almost entirely on regulated or regulating jurisdictions. Whether Teufelberger’s run-in with Belgian police last year, or the company’s increased US play was the catalyst is unclear, however the hit on revenues is obvious. The operator reported Q3 2013 revenues were down 21% to €145.7m in November 2013 with all four verticals in decline. The second has been a tactical shift from “volume to value” which will see it focus on retaining the most lucrative custo