18 October, 2022

The gold standard

Gambling Insider Editor Tim Poole looks at five key ways to stand out in the ultra-competitive UK sports betting market.

Product is almost everything when dealing with online technology and software. That’s especially so in a market that offers a homogenous product. Online sports bettingis one such sector – it doesn’t get much morehomogenous than dozens of recognisablebrands offering the same markets on the same events, with marginally different odds. So when it comes to choosing between these multiple sports betting brands, it’s the best product that usually wins out.

In the ultra-competitive UK market,two brands do this exceptionally well. But we’renot an affiliate looking to generate leads for these two operators – nor is this a piece of advertorial. Instead, we’re interested inexploring why they are so successful, and how others can try and emulate it. While a series of sportsbook suppliers, many of which gracethe pages of this publication, are not to beunderestimated for their UK-based products,there are certain market leaders that truly produce the gold standard.

Naturally, these brands have major financial backing. They can therefore afford to go big on welcome offers, bonuses and free bets. Yet it is the simpler things these two operators do that the rest of the market should aspire to. Many of the factors that make them the UK’s go-to sportsbooks do not rely on greater resources, but rather a shrewder use of the resources available to everyone. A huge part of standing out, meanwhile, involves retention – something the industry at large has been accused of focusing too little on, instead devoting large portions of its resources to new customer acquisitions...



On the best-performing sports sites in the UK, it’s striking how obvious the biggest events to bet on – and biggest offers currently available – are. Presentation-wise, an effective homepage is simple yet memorable; something as simple as the colour will forever be associated with the brand and, if there is a big horseracing meet or football match, it’s sure to be front and centre. If it’s the Champions League final, moreover, and there’s a super boost or free bet special on offer, it’s guaranteed to be either a first or second banner for all customers. Admittedly,homepage layout and content banners are nothing groundbreaking. All major operators utilise them and have big teams operating them behind the scenes. But can every brand out there really claim it conducts this simple process as well as the industry’s top operators?


Breadth of offering

Another simple yet vital factor is an operator’srange of bet selections. Leagues you may have never heard of in countries you didn’t know your sport existed in? The best operators have these covered. And, in the age of personalisation – an area the industry is admittedly well documented to still be behind on – whole new markets are created by users themselves. If a huge darts match is about to take place, rather than only offering highest checkout, total 180s and match winner, customised markets can go into the hundreds. The same applies for football, tennis andother sports. You would think offering as many markets as possible is sports betting 101, but there are still plenty of big-name brands who don’t pay anywhere near enough attention in this area.



Welcome offers can make the difference for new customers choosing which sportsbook to sign up with but, in the long term, they can’t keep a player loyal. With so much brand hopping in sports betting, loyalty is hard to come by full stop. The biggest brands, however, manage to keep players coming back regardless – because they aren’t afraid to focus on retention. An easy example is a free bet offer that’s available to both existing customers and new players. Another is a retention tool that offers a free bet at the end of each week, only if a certain deposit value has been met the previous week (perhaps with some added but minimal odds restrictions). Both of these cases give players a reason to keep coming back and – unlike many other industries – do not leave new customers with an unfair advantage.



On a similar note, there’s a subtle skill to not bombarding players with notifications, text messages or emails.But the leading operators find this balance while ensuring that, if there’s a major sporting event or major price boost,everyone who needs to know... does know. CRM systems can, again, be third-party or in-house, but how effectively they are used is up to the operators and the teams they hire to run them. If players are kept in the loop and engaged, they will always come back for more. At the same time,not overdoing it keeps things responsible for players. When it comes down to it, certain brands just do CRM better than others.


Smart offers

Finally, exactly which promotional offers and free bets are on offer make a huge difference to players – be they savvy or casual. Big brands do have an advantage here in terms of cash reserves and liquidity, but ultimately a good offer will always be more attractive to a player than something that feels like it was cobbled together at the last minute. Offering odds boosts on the right markets will attract players – but won’t mean a win for the player every time, occasionally turning that large draw from total wagers (handle) into cold,hard revenue. Similarly, too many brands out there only offer a free £5 ($6) or £10 bet in exchange for £20 wagered. How can an offer like that appeal to the casual bettor, let alone the battle-hardened veteran, when there are much better offers already on the market?

The above factors may sound simple enough to industry experts – and there definitely isn’t anything approaching rocket science behind them. But if you stop to think for a second, you realise just how easy it is to fall short in these key areas. While we haven’t named any names, we’re willing to bet two brands in particular have jumped straight to the top of your head as the best of the best in these five areas. Indeed, they are the gold standard setters – but anyone looking to challenge them need not look any further than these key factors. It’s far easier said than done.