Gambling Insider spoke with Racing Post B2B Director Eugene Delaney, Racing Post Chief Revenue Officer Mike Griffin, CEO of Banach Technologies Mark Hughes and CCO at TXOdds Thomas McGrath about the launch of AllSported, a new horseracing trading solution.
What makes AllSported stand out in the market?
MG: I think it’s a combination of bringing everything the customer needs to them in one simple solution. But most importantly, it’s about giving flexibility to the customer in terms of trading solution and really our USP is about us creating the trading solution bookmakers want rather than the ones they have to take. There’s flexibility in the model and a full solution in provision from AllSported is key.
ED: Part of that too is not trying to do everything ourselves. What we’ve done is brought three businesses together, so the sum of the parts will be greater than the individuals.
How will it improve the betting experience for a player?
TM: We all have expertise in different fields. For us it was an opportunity to put a group together and a no-brainer to bring in the automation solution as well, for a product that has historically been very cost associated and hands on from a trader perspective.
MH: For years there’s been very little innovation in horseracing and we’ve got a great opportunity now to offer something new and give a better experience than in the last decade. Hopefully it will bring horseracing back to the forefront of people’s minds.
Do you think this development is necessary in the horseracing industry?
MH: Yes, I think customers have been offered the same types of markets for years; winner each way, betting without and some place markets. Nobody has pushed the boundaries on it too much. Traditional horseracing punters favoured that type of betting but the newer, younger punters are looking for a quicker type of market. So over the next few years we want to start offering some interesting products.
Was that part of the thinking behind forming AllSported, to target a younger demographic?
MG: Yeah I think it’s new and existing customers. It’s about expanding the horizons and the opportunities within the marketplace. Again it comes back to the made-to-measure solutions for bookmakers; the flexibility in the model here allows freedom.
What is the reasoning behind forming this joint venture? I believe it is the first of its nature for the Racing Post.
MG: Yes it is the first time. The key for us was we thought the marketplace had a need for it but it was about providing a tier-one level solution and to do that we had to bring in the best in the marketplace. The way we saw it was: if we’re not going to be the best, there’s no point in doing it. We needed two key partners for that: TX and Banach.
ED: We wanted to make the journey easier for customers so obviously we have experience of giving content to customers; TX have the integration experience and Banach obviously with building models. We wanted to make that journey especially easier for new entrants to racing and make racing available to sportsbooks that don’t have it.
Are there any specific markets this will be used for or will it be across global horseracing?
TM: It will cover global horseracing. Eventually we will look to add greyhound racing as well, but for now it will focus on horseracing from across the world.
Mark, what are the more popular sports on your existing platforms?
MH: At the moment football is always really popular worldwide; it’s quite a big market and especially next year with the Euros coming up it’s going to be an interesting time for new markets in football. Also for us, the American sports are quite compelling, especially with PASPA being overturned and the different developments going on over there.
How does horseracing rank among those?
MH: Very highly; in the UK and Ireland horseracing has always been a huge part of the culture when it comes to sports betting. As Thomas alluded to, with an international product I can really see horseracing coming back to life in other parts of the world and hopefully grow in market share as well.
Is this the first time you are offering horseracing?
MH: As a company it is the first time we have launched horseracing but we’ve worked as a team for over a decade at Paddy Power. We worked extensively on horseracing there.
MG: Horseracing is actually one of the hardest sports to price and model. That’s why we have taken this route to market and we think there is a real need in the market for it.
What makes it so hard to price and model?
MG: I’d say there are a several variables and nuances in racing. We haven’t gone into detail on the technology here but it’s the algorithms and backend driving this that makes it so unique.
MH: With football teams there is a lot of public information out there, easily accessed. You understand the teams’ form, you get to see a lot of activity week-to-week and there’s a lot of data behind it. In horseracing there are so many variables; ground, weather and you’re talking about animals that react very differently to humans when they are racing. So that produces a large degree of variability in their performances. These all create complexity when you are trying to model the sport.
Also, a lot of the information is private. You can only get data on how the horse is running from the stable. So it’s then up to the algorithms to pick up betting patterns. They look for which horses are fancied and which are more likely to win the race. It then reacts in real time to that type of information.
Can you give more detail on how the algorithms work?
MH: We look at historical variables on how a horse is running; how they did in their previous races, what type of ground they ran on, the jockey, the trainer and how other horses in that trainer’s yard are performing. All these different things we use as an indicator of how likely the horse is to win the race. We then couple that with market information; what the bookmakers are thinking, the price of the horse to win, what’s happening with the exchange and various other indicators.
The last thing you would look at is indicators from betting patterns. Once you publish your first price for a race, different customers will start betting on different horses. Obviously it’s then up to the algorithm to decide which customers have valuable information in their bets. It will then follow that information and try to improve prices as the day goes on.
It’s a lot more difficult in horseracing than other sports to model those flows and keep your book profitable as the day progresses.
Thomas, is it one of TX’s core products that is incorporated into AllSported or is it something different?
TM: We have horseracing as a sport we would offer to normal bookmakers and B2B partners, but this product is the next level for us. We’ve never been involved with anything like this before. At the core we are still collecting feeds, aggregating and distributing them, but this is the first time for us we will be part of the end-to-end solution.
Do you have anything to add on the launch?
ED: From our side, Racing Post obviously has a lot of history but the key for us in partnering with companies like Banach and TX is we’re transforming into a digital data-led organisation. We’re quite open to working with partners that have the skills there.