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Last week, iGaming NEXT introduced a new feature, Conor’s Corner, where my colleague Conor shared his wit and insight, which left me feeling like the straight one in a comedy duo.

While I may not be as quick as Conor (I am German…so it’s not really my fault), I do still have some valuable thoughts and perspectives to share with you.

In my monthly column “Sonja’s Standpoint”, I will be offering my two cents on the iGaming industry.

This week, I want to talk about the oh-so-important topic of good corporate behaviour, especially during crisis situations.

You see, I recently reported on the downfall of Genesis Global and, boy oh boy, that was a mess!

The company’s owner went silent as the business became insolvent, leaving employees, creditors, and journalists hanging.

I guess we all agree that’s just poor crisis management.

Wrong ways

Now, I know letting employees go is never a picnic. It’s even more difficult when the entire business has failed.

I won’t provide a list on how to dismiss employees, but there are certainly wrong ways of doing it.

Letting employees work until there are no funds left to pay their salaries is certainly the worst choice a company can make in such a situation.

Even though I risk stating the obvious, losing a job is a profound experience that goes beyond a loss of income.

It can shake a person’s sense of identity, purpose, and community, causing personal and financial hardship.

iGaming NEXT understands there were women on maternity leave while employed by Genesis Global who never even received their maternity pay.

But with that said, letting employees go is sometimes a part of doing business and there are acceptable reasons. For example, if someone was simply not cutting it, or was breaking the rules, or if you simply can’t afford to keep them on.

How you do it is what matters, especially in an industry where investors already have ESG and corporate responsibility concerns.

Hiring and firing

Unfortunately, Genesis Global isn’t the only culprit. I’ve heard whispers about sketchy hiring and firing practices at other companies, too.

I am not talking about the recent big tech layoffs at Google, Meta, Amazon or Twitter. I am referring to HR practices in the iGaming industry.

Stretching out probation periods by a further three months after the initial three months appears to have become a pretty common practice.

“It’s crucial to maintain a good reputation, especially in this industry, where bad news spreads like wildfire.”

Sure, it’s all good legally speaking, but when it’s the norm and not the exception, it leaves a sour taste and can tarnish the company’s reputation.

Future candidates might read all about it on Glassdoor and who could blame them for thinking twice about applying for a vacancy?

And let’s not forget, the way a company handles lay-offs says a lot about them.

It’s crucial to maintain a good reputation, especially in this industry, where bad news spreads like wildfire.

Email notice

While writing this piece, I heard a rumour that DraftKings had just informed around 140 employees via email that they’re going to be laid off. I mean come on…

Some people who support this practice say it’s just too hard to handle big lay-offs in any other way, but in my opinion that’s a weak excuse.

Lay-offs do not need to happen simultaneously, and if managers can talk to their workers on a regular basis, there’s no reason for this to change, even when they are bringing bad news.

Champagne and pizza

Some of the biggest companies in the industry do not shine with glory when it comes to this topic.

We all remember what happened in Malta when Evolution acquired NetEnt in 2020.

Back then, some 300 employees were sacked, just one day after Evolution took over NetEnt in a move staff say came as a “great shock”.

NetEnt’s live casino employees recalled how they were escorted by security and told to pack up their belongings while representatives from the company’s new owners drank champagne and ate pizza.

Examples like this make it painfully clear that the industry can still lack maturity, professionalism and above all, empathy.

The iGaming industry sometimes falls short in living up to basic standards and expectations, and that must change.

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