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IN-DEPTH 8 June 2016
The drive towards business growth
Euro 2016 is the perfect opportunity to activate interest in online sports betting if you push the right markets, says SB Tech Vice President of Business Development Tom Light
By Tom Light

During renowned sports events, such as the anticipated UEFA European Championship, seeing numerous ‘non-punters’ (players who usually do not bet on sports) sign up and place bets on a sportsbook has become a common trend. The vast exposure of various sportsbook TV commercials and advertisements, specifically published around the dates of the matches across the same channels, correlates to the tremendous growth among first-timers.

Major worldwide sports events give operators leverage to acquire ‘non-punters’, as well as traditional punters who occasionally bet on sports. For example, multi-product operators can efficiently cross-sell sports-betting products to casino and poker players by utilising the overall ‘noise’ made during the Euros as a free marketing tool for their sports product.

Big events can be a revenue booster in other ways as well. While this is somewhat controversial, it is evident that a wider and more exciting offering will attract both more punters and more bets, surely increasing turnover.

However, in many cases the revenue will drastically drop during these big events, as they tend to be more result-driven; this is a big risk for the operator as they can lose millions.

A smart way to mediate this risk, while providing an exceptional user experience, is through fast markets; as betting on time intervals such as “what will happen in the next one minute” is entirely independent from the overall result.

Fast markets, also known as micro markets, are today’s most exciting bet markets, delivering a new kind of thrill for punters minute-by-minute. Fast markets create an enhanced betting experience, as punters can bet on what will happen in the next one or five minutes and see the results settled immediately.

The fast-paced immediate action attracts traditional punters and ‘non-punters’ alike, increasing both the punters betting patterns and loyalty. Players today do not want to wait until the end of the game to see if they have won or lost, they want the option to bet on any available event.

The way in which people bet has notably changed over time, especially when we compare past events with the current Euro 2016 tournament. Cash-out, throughout 2015, performed over-the-top expectation-wise and will continue to get the biggest boost during the Euros, as it will be exposed to a broader audience. The cash-out feature is beneficial for the operator and the punter in numerous ways.

Cash-out, in all its variations, is important mainly due to the fact that it simply increases turnover as it multiplies the amount of time the same funds are being "rolled". However, they are equally important for the punter, because cash-out can act as a stop loss for the potential of losing bets. The punter has the ability to change his betting strategy, depending on developments, or cash out his winnings in order to cut the risk. This allows the punter to feel more comfortable when placing bets.

Since cash-out is mainly activated when winning, it creates an additional margin to the operator by eliminating a portion of potential player winnings. On the other hand, the operator can create cross-selling tools for losing cash-outs.

For example, on a €100 bet and a losing option to cash-out for only €20, an operator can offer €50 (half the original stake) in "Casino Money" to be wagered X amount of times.

The average punter usually focuses on one match during big events, when attracting new players it is essential to offer relevant features with this in mind. Operators can differentiate their offerings with features such as live streaming and fast markets − allowing the punter to bet on the same match throughout the entire 90 minute match. Additional derivative markets, the ability to combine bet markets within the same events (so that the ‘combo’ lovers are able to create an accumulator while focused on one event) and strong mobile and tablet products enhance the experience even further.

SBTech expects to see more than 70% of the Euros turnover on mobile. Undoubtedly advanced mobile technology developments have had a tremendous impact on the evolution of in-play betting. Mobile and tablet solutions allow players to "live the live game" − just one click on any second screen device and their bet is placed.

In-play betting has also certainly helped specific sports gain more recognition and has successfully provided more access to new customer segments as well. For example, since table tennis has been offered for in-play betting the turnover has grown more than tenfold; making table tennis now super-exciting for the average punter.

The more information provided to the punter, the more enhanced the experience will be. Proper data that matches statistics, correlating with rich scoreboard content, allows the punter to easily enter any in-play match at any point, immediately getting all the relevant page information. Furthermore, an extensive visualisation centre with live streaming has proven to increase turnover per match by over 30%, as well as strengthening acquisition.

Big tournaments, in particular the upcoming 2016 UEFA European Championship, are an enormous drive for the operators’ business for both acquiring new players and generating higher profits. Double surges in numbers can be expected, if the operator has the right tools.

It is evident that if players are provided a one-of-a-kind gaming experience, maximum value is guaranteed.

Tom Light was born and presently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel. He has been working in the gaming industry for many years with a focus on casino operations and sports betting. Currently Tom acts as vice president of business development at SBTech. He is renowned for his role as vice president of business development at FashionTV. Additionally Tom has successfully served as CEO for several online gaming companies such as 7Red Casino and 1King Casino
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