A review of 2020 so far


When I look back on 2020, I think about what I’ve done most this year. And that is sitting in my home office, writing, working – and using Microsoft Teams.

When I therefore think about something that sums this year up most, I can’t help but think of Teams and my most-used GIF of 2020.

In this GIF, a pug turns away in disgust to say ‘PFFFF’ – something he has become famous for within our virtual office. He looks a little like the pug in our picture (left), with just a bit of added sass.

The fact I am writing about GIFs at all is in itself a reflection of 2020. Never have I sent more than this year, working from home, returning to the virtual environment and speaking all day on Microsoft Teams rather than face to face.

It is natural, too, that this disconcerted, frustrated pug has been my biggest go-to on Teams. It has not been a good year; it has not been a happy one. Indeed, perhaps our hero can sum it up best: PFFFF.

For me personally, 2019 was the best year of my life: I got married and work was full of success, travel and meeting new people. But in 2020, how many couples have had to cancel or postpone their wedding plans, by comparison? How many have been able to travel around the world and how many have met loads of new people?

Of course, the past 12 months have been disastrous on so many greater levels than weddings or simply being forced to work from home – indeed, on levels of life and death. So at least the fact our PFFFF pug is a humorous GIF can comfort us during such difficult times.

As I look back on 2020 to date, for both myself and the gambling industry, so much of it simply felt the same month-on-month. Not January and February, though, which were part of the ‘old times’ – as if it were Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings. We had daily office commutes for the masses back then and we had ICE London, along with other, smaller industry trade shows.

Then March hit: an amalgamation of normal routine, people caught in between two worlds and then finally undisputed lockdowns. This was when the pug GIF was first discovered at Gambling Insider. For the industry, there was panic in some sectors. Sports betting companies wondered when major sport would return after its sudden halt. For retail outlets across the world, it was an unqualified disaster.

As I look back on 2020 to date, for both myself and the gambling industry, so much of it simply felt the same month-on-month. Not January and February, though, which were part of the ‘old times’

As April and May hit, many began getting to grips with working from home. I personally got healthier – long walks and fewer restaurant meals, less trips to the pub and less work lunches in Shoreditch (granted, all bad for the economy). And for the online sector, booming numbers could not be ignored, as online casino operators, esports betting firms and virtual betting companies…



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