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AffiliateCon panel: Novelty of niche betting markets wearing off

By Iqbal Johal

The novelty of alternative betting markets is starting to wear off the longer live sports continue to be absent, according to a recent panel.

Pressbox PR director Alex Donohue said the offering of niche markets such as stay-at-home darts and Belarusian Premier League are becoming less popular with players because they aren’t invested in them.

Donohue was a speaker at today's Gambling Insider-powered AffiliateCon Virtually Live conference. He and other panelists discussed how sports betting operators and affiliates are recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has been a small interest in niche offerings, which are really important for the industry in general as it’s better than having nothing to talk about," he said. "If you’re a Premier League fan, most of the bets you place will be around the teams and players you know and love.

“While there will be some novelty on having a bet on Belarusian football, one of the misconceptions from people outside our industry is gamblers have switched uniformly from betting on the Premier League to some of this obscure sport. To me, it seems like that hasn’t really happened and we’re not really going to be able to judge the recovery before proper recognisable live sport is back under our belts. One of the problems you have is overkill of these niche offerings and an opportunity for fatigue to set in with the customer base. While you might have a bet on the first night because it’s interesting and new, that could wear off quite quickly.”

Betsson Group SEO marketing owner Warren Sammut agreed with Donohue that alternative offerings such as esports have helped, but a lack of familiarity with them means they won’t be able to replace traditional leagues.

Sammut added: “I think to be following that sport you need to be invested to a certain extent, which can take months if not years. The new offerings helped because it created something new and something exciting to follow, but I think the return of major league sports is very high on the agenda and there’s a lot of appetite for these sports to come back.”

The impact of the pandemic has been greater for the Racing Post, which, according to the CMO of its parent company Spotlight Sports Group, Louise Agran, decided to cease publication of its newspaper on 26 March, after 34 years of daily UK circulation.  

She said: “That gives you an idea of how strong the effect has been. It's something that's quite unprecedented and not something we wanted to do at all. With a lack of UK and Irish racing, it was just not viable or feasible to print something. We didn’t have enough relevant content for our audience to put in the paper and enough to justify the price of the paper. That was a huge move for us and there's still no UK and Irish racing, albeit there is racing in some places around the world. I think that’s an indication of what we’ve had to do and how we’ve had to adapt, that we’ve been really trying to promote wherever there has been racing.”

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