8 July, 2024

Sportradar and the Taiwan Sports Lottery: More offerings, greater efficiency

Danny Fok, VP of Strategic Projects at Sportradar, speaks all about the supplier’s deal with the Taiwan Sports Lottery, in conversation with Gambling Insider Editor Tim Poole at SiGMA Manila

A good place to start would be if you could give us an overview of the partnership deal and then go on to discuss how much planning and preparation it took.

Sure. I can say that the Taiwan Sports Lottery is a fantastic project and is also a significant corporate milestone for us. In regards to the timeline, if you’re talking about planning work, we had a dedicated team set up around three years ago before we got the contract awarded by the Taiwanese Government. As for the preparations, I think it was important that we had a few different teams to evaluate this collaboration and get an in-depth understanding of how the Taiwanese and wider Asian markets operated. Then, of course, the next step was to look at parliament and figure out the regulatory requirements, which was very important when it came to the planning stage. All in all, I think we allocated resources effectively during this time.

So in terms of the the Taiwan market, you said you needed expertise and knowledge of the market. Could you give our readers and viewers a breakdown of how that market works in Taiwan, such as sports betting and the lottery?

First of all, the Taiwan Sports Lottery is the only government-authorised sports lottery company operating at this time. It works quite similar to those in South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, although they have only one betting operator. However, I think the main difference is that the offerings are quite different; In Taiwan, they offer 16 types of sports compared to only one market in Hong Kong with soccer, while Singapore has soccer plus F1. So it’s quite different when they start doing expansions and projects across the different markets. Also, they have a turnover of around 10%-12%, so they need to contribute to the Sport Development Fund. That’s something we think is fantastic, right? When you have this fund to support the local companies and communities. In terms of the set-up, the retailers also have the franchise model, which has been established for a time.

 You mentioned that Taiwan offers 16 sports and I imagine football is still quite popular, but which sports generate the most turnover?

People in Taiwan love watching lots of different sports, but especially baseball, basketball and football

I think they do quite well in the World Cup too, and while there’s not a great following for them, I think the trend is changing because you have more offerings with betting. I think the people will follow this as the market continues to grow.

 What have been the biggest challenges you guys have faced in this partnership? You mentioned the number of terminals you manage and is that part of it?

We can offer a great experience working with small lotteries right now. I think we have around ten small operators in the group, including those from Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Norway and Finland, as well as a service across 2,600 outlets. So I think we really understand the different challenges around things like that, but it’s also very important to us to spend time learning and understanding the aspects of an operation to make it a success. I am very, very happy with the team.

In terms of now and the next steps going forward, what are the kind of biggest day-to-day jobs and activities for you in the partnership?

The partnership is hitting its 10-year mark, if we look back to the very origins of it. But right now, we have a few different things that we’re focusing on. I think it’s very important to enhance operational efficiency and this is something we’re working on now. Meanwhile, on the end-user side, we’re looking at three different aspects which we hope to focus on more after this partnership is more settled. The first is sports betting, the second is looking at adding more to our betting products and the third relates to the overall system, such as the banking and play management system. We’ve managed to train the system to match data with the audio-visual elements of a streaming service, so we really think this strategy will help to attract more users as well, and in terms of future goals, achieve further targets within the 10 years.

Have you got anything planned for these future targets? Or is it about slowly building on everything you’ve already mentioned?

Yeah, I think it’s about planning 10 years into the future, especially with the innovative technology we’re seeing nowadays. We have two goals we really want to achieve. The first is matching the innovative technology with the full range of our betting service, which should improve the user experience. The second is to help and support local developments, such as athletes and local communities.