Sportsbetting: the king of gaming

* Nikolaos Konstakis, Intralot Group Head of Trading, talks to eGaming Review about what it takes to successfully serve the new sportsbetting landscape.

Sportsbetting continuously reconfirms its dominant position within the gaming industry. In an increasingly competitive environment where operators are exploring the dynamics of new games, numbers confirm that sportsbetting remains the king of any gaming product portfolio. Notwithstanding new games taking a piece of the gaming pie, sportsbetting not only maintains its primary position but steadily gains revenue growth.

The potential of sportsbetting to be updated with new markets and events and the unlimited choices and combinations it offers, alongside the public interest in sports events and gaming technology innovations, indicates that betting will continue to grow in the following years and is the must-have within the gaming product portfolio. However, the real reason why sportsbetting will remain the industry king is straightforward and deeply rooted in the nature of man; it utilises the entertainment aspect of spectator sports and combines this with knowledge, individual skills and excitement. This combination comes out naturally and no other game can reproduce it. Thus, one cannot survive within the gaming industry today if sportsbetting is not incorporated in the designated product verticals.

Setting up a contemporary sportsbetting product is not the easiest equation to solve. It is a highly demanding and sophisticated industry which involves risk and requires extended investment in acquiring skills and know-how to manage it. The cost of entering or renovating sportsbetting is relatively high provided that nowadays the environment is highly competitive and the market is very mature. It becomes an extended investment in brains, skills and technology development. Access to sports data, investment in the creation of proprietary mathematical models, platform enhancements, trading and managing liabilities, identifying fraud and betting manipulation, marketing campaigns and promotions to keep the demanding customers satisfied are all basic functions.

Due to all of the above requirements, outsourcing sportsbetting is the wisest move, as it decreases the risks and ensures economies of scale. There are suppliers providing sportsbetting technology and others offering segmented sportsbetting services. However, it is hard to find end-to-end sportsbetting services powered by technology which incorporate years of dot.country operational experience and the agility to integrate and cross-sell with other gaming verticals. Sportsbetting services that are intricately linked to innovative technology that complements them is a preferable direction to take for any modern operator.

Undoubtedly operators find themselves in a maelstrom of changes, driven by the demands of changing technology, newly regulated jurisdictions and an increasingly competitive environment. Regulation is reshaping the industry.

Government regulated, licensed markets are coming to substitute what was an uncontrollable global market driven by offshore operators. Until now the product portfolio was built to serve the needs of a universal market and its success was judged based on a global liquidity pool which was mainly addressing the needs of a specific customer segment: young people Serving dot.country markets does not simply mean offering your product in the local language, sometimes prioritising and promoting the content based on geolocation technologies and that’s where everything stops. It is now evident that the model that almost everybody applied over the last few years did not prove successful enough to meet local aspirations. The industry has reached a point where “I can do anything” platforms and the so-called “full products” exist, but this alone is not a contributing factor to the success of a sportsbetting operation. The message to the industry operators today is clear: they have to revisit the basics. So what are the keys to establishing prominence in the emerging sportsbetting landscape?

Being ready to adapt to local needs

Local regulatory frameworks can bring in constrains that affect the sportsbetting business at the highest level: product strategy. This can come in many forms i.e. taxation, and/or product, and/ or player limitations. Moreover local liquidity pools need a product addressing wider customer segments by offering something exciting, focusing on satisfying local needs but still being easy to adapt.

Service dot.country markets means being able to create a country specific product strategy, by offering a quality product that adopts rules and legal frameworks, complies with country’s instructions for responsible gaming and appeals to all customer segments. Local culture and preferences mean KPIs examined per country, a product complying with specific requirements and managing local expectations.

High quality services

The strategic approach should be to combine centralized operations, taking  advantage of the efficiencies this entails, with local supporting functions, thus  assisting in high quality localisation of the products and services offered. Such a synergistic approach provides additional value since local knowledge from diverse markets can be built in the global product and shared by all operations. A unique carefully designed and locally optimized business strategy ensures a high quality customised product, tailored to each jurisdiction instead of a generic white label service. At the same time, a ‘hybrid’ global/local model ensures that all customers can reap the benefits of a global experience and can be guaranteed the same quality standard for the product and management services they receive.

Algorithmic pricing

Investing in the creation of algorithms is valuable for all kinds of betting products. It allows offering many bet types in the pre-game product and also handling effectively a very dynamic product: live betting. It adds to the product both in terms of quality and quantity. This is defined by offering an unlimited variety of bet types and a high volume of live betting events combined with accurate pricing for hundreds of selections. In-house creation of algorithms is a highly valued asset. Mathematical models created in-house can be constantly evaluated, fine tuned and updated, thus allowing the operator to easily readjust based on his needs. Additionally, the ability to offer new and exciting products is enhanced by an organizational set-up which supports in-house creation of algorithms.

Mobile betting

The contribution of mobile-generated revenue is continuously increasing and there is no question that mobile betting is a continuously growing sales channel. The convenience and relevance provided by mobile betting combined with the unrivalled excitement of sportsbetting, create the perfect mixture. Mobile product development has specific characteristics and thus needs its own individual expertise. Any product being offered should be compact and direct in the sense that customers using mobile devices need to be instantly gratified. A targeted mobile strategy which intensifies the customers’ ability to surf for the right bet among thousands on offer while taking advantage of technologies developed specifically for mobile, will keep the mobile experience easy and convenient. Applying a dual strategy of creating responsive mobile and tablet versions by taking full advantage of HTML 5, along with the visibility gained by native applications is a key for success. Sportsbetting is in a flux of regulatory and technological developments. Continuous investment and innovation is a must to be a pioneer in today’s industry. Sportsbetting as you knew it has ceased to exist since dot.com is gradually being replaced by dot.country. We believe in the huge potential of partnering with sportsbetting customers to create customised products and solutions relevant to their overall strategic goals and enabling them to effectively increase player interest and participation. Our exclusive focus on fully regulated markets has established Intralot as the only sportsbetting operator to successfully run sportsbetting for 18 independent and diversified jurisdiction specific sportsbooks in four different continents. Having said that, who wants to miss the chance of a successful sportsbetting operation?

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