BLOG The Challenge for Online Sportsbooks04 March 2013
Andrew Cox, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Opta recently spoke to iGaming Business about the challenges for Online Sportsbooks.
With competition among online sportsbooks for share of market now more fierce than ever before, from where or what can they expect to find growth in the next 12 months or so?
Sportsbook operators need to continue to recognise technological advancement as much as anything else - both in terms of how this impacts the consumption of sport and the behaviours of a punter.
We have moved from the era of sports betting being driven from the desktop. In fact, no sooner have sportsbooks optimised their mobile internet platform, smartphone app, or both, than they have been forced to think about their tablet varients or their strategy for connected TVs. The myriad of new devices are all opportunities to differentiate, steal a march on the competition and ultimately grow market share.
Bookmakers are increasingly devising their digital presence around what are effectively second screen propositions. In play sports betting is already regarded as a stimulus for watching what might otherwise have just been any other football match, and vice versa. The integration of contextual and suggestive sports content from companies like Opta into bookmaker applications is helping in this process, with intelligent placement of relevant information able to turn a passive experience into a transactional one.
Habitual dual screen usage is starting to be acknowledged as a phenomenon that can be proactively encouraged and harnessed, rather than merely allowed to evolve. The creation of a genuinely valued betting focused companion app really could be a game changer for someone.
Behaviourally the notion of betting being a solitary activity is also changing and it will be interesting to monitor the evolution of social sports gaming concepts, though this may be more likely to drive new customer acquisition than have a serious impact on sportsbook revenues any time soon.
In-play betting is what will continue to drive significant revenue growth. With operators struggling to bring meaningful innovation to their already popular but saturated football and tennis products, a shift towards the next tier of sports should be accelerated.
Sports such as cricket, particularly Twenty20, provide scope for significant volume and turnover. With its global appeal and a shift towards a less litigious regulatory landscape in territories where cricket is at its most popular, it might be expected that this format of the game is the next sport that operators will strategically be vying to "own".
Posted by Andrew Cox at 09:35