The Fifa World Cup is truly a worldwide phenomenon for all spectators. When the thrill of football’s biggest international competition returns to our screens every four years, it is often a great chance for not only fans to sit and enjoy, but for bookmakers to use new tools designed for sports-betting purposes.
This year, sports-betting supplier Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) launched a new sportsbook that gives operators the freedom to choose their odds for every sporting event and market.
Now that the World Cup has come to an end, Gambling Insider had a chance to speak to Endre Nesset, Director of GiG’s sports betting services, about why this year’s World Cup was so important and how the company plans to use its new sportsbook product to stay ahead of the curve.
How did your new sportsbook perform during the World Cup? How much revenue did this generate and how does that compare to what you predict will happen in the coming months?
The World Cup is a time when traffic and online activity increases across the industry. We’ve seen quite a lot of upsets and surprises in this tournament, which is normally very positive for the margins for all bookmakers. We’ve seen the largest number of unique players going online during this period as football is the most engaging sector in sports betting. We cannot comment on revenues specifically and we don’t yet offer the new sportsbook to any external operators, but the new sportsbook we launched with our internal brand Rizk just before the start of the World Cup has performed to our expectations.
How do you plan to market your sportsbook for upcoming sporting events?
The next big thing will be the start of the European football leagues. A benchmark event will be the start of the English Premier League in mid-August, as it’s the biggest league in the world. We're excited to be offering the end users our new state-of-the-art sportsbook for these events and the sportsbook service will also be sold to external operators, available from August.
What was the reason for introducing a new sportsbook into such a highly competitive market?
It is a competitive market, but the whole sportsbook market is based on just a few providers. We think there’s room for improvements in the market. There is also room for innovation with a scalable product that can really drive revenues for the operators and offer an exciting and relevant user experience for the players. Our sportsbook is a B2B product and we have focused on the opportunity for the operators to have the freedom they want and they deserve in order to tailor their offerings to suit their individual needs. We don’t want to tie anyone’s hands, and we want to give the operators the opportunity to differentiate themselves and personalise their offering.
How does GiG Goal, your middleware and front-end service,enhance mobile users experience?
It’s not even ‘mobile first’ anymore; it’s just ‘mobile’. We regularly see up to 70% usage on mobile and that makes sense. Technology is getting better all the time and availability of network coverage is better. You could be on top of a mountain and still be able to place a bet. With Rizk.com, we essentially created a mobile site, so the platform is centred around the mobile offering. It’s all about having the possibilities to build your own front-end and push mobile usage.
Why would you recommend your sportsbook platform to both sports betting and casino operators ahead of other sportsbook platforms?
It’s all about innovation and making everything possible. Our sportsbook gives the operators all the opportunities to offer a betting experience unique to its players and its brand and they can then focus on marketing and retention.
Can you explain in more detail how the GiG Sports Connect module provides operators with the freedom to choose odds for any event and market?
GiG Sports Connect is an odds aggregator too, so we can integrate multiple odds feeds and then we map them together through our system. Then we have a set up where the operator can subscribe all the way down to market level to whichever feed it would like to use. We’re currently working with a third-party provider and launched our own outright feed for the World Cup. It’s all about flexibility.
What makes GiG’s trading tool more responsive than other offerings?
Firstly, it’s built from scratch. GiG’s sports-betting service is built from the first line of code upwards, which is very rare these days. We used all the in-house knowledge that we have. The traders have played a major part in describing and designing the new trading tools, so they get it exactly how they want it. We have some really neat solutions which will significantly improve the user experience for the traders and will effectively result in a better all-round performance. Obviously, it’s also more responsive because it’s built on newer, quicker technology.
Your website says you are planning to release a range of games for customers and operators in Q3 2018. What games or services can your customers and clients look forward to in the coming months?
GiG Games is our proprietary casino games studio. We have developed a games engine and a remote gaming server, which allows us to rapidly produce innovative casino games such as table games and slots. These games will be distributed and sold using the RGS to any operator in the industry. There are currently a few games under development, with launch starting before the end of Q3 until the end of the year.
What trends will affect your relationship with your customers and clients in the future?
Mobile first is already beyond a trend - it’s now just best practice that GiG follows with sites like Rizk.com, which are reverse responsive - built for mobile, but responsive to desktop mode. There will also be more and more emphasis on compliance and responsible gaming in the market in general, together with the worldwide trend of re-regulation. GiG has put compliance at the heart of the business and it’s a cornerstone of our strategy. We are investing in offering a compliant service where we work closely together with our partners to help and support our customers and their end users.
What are you doing to make sure that you maintain a strong relationship with your clients?
For the sportsbook, they will get full flexibility and as an operator, you can’t really ask for more than that. This level of flexibility is something that isn’t yet an industry standard, but GiG hopes to lead the way in this respect, so operators will have the opportunity to go whichever direction they want with their sportsbook offerings, and smaller operators won’t have to follow what the larger guys do. Everyone can approach this with their own preferences in mind.
How do you plan to improve your overall position in the market?
We just launched our new sportsbook, so we’re confident we are already ahead of the curve, but of course there are always things we can improve, and we’ll be adding functionality both to the trading tools and to the frontend as we learn from the results following the World Cup. Again, it’s all about flexibility and level of differentiation to create an outstanding user experience. These are the key pillars of what GiG’s sports-betting service has been built on.
Find out more about GiG's sports-betting services: www.gig.com