Since 2013, Colossus has sought to reinvigorate the pool betting vertical by bridging ‘past’ and ‘future’. What’s next for the world’s biggest sports jackpots?
From the prevalence of pool betting throughout Europe in the ‘80s to the gradual takeover by the lotteries and the eventual dominance of fixed-odds sports betting across the continent and beyond, gambling habits have fluctuated. The world order that emerged has at its helm a handful of massive operators, ‘hedging their bets’ with multiple verticals.
So how did Colossus carve out a path with a single, low-stake product in a gambling universe that otherwise rewards product pluralism?
Not your grandfather’s pools
Colossus brought to the market a product that bridges the past, by paying homage to the traditional multi-leg pool betting experience, with the future, by introducing major innovations, not just for the vertical but for the entire gambling industry, especially the Cash Out and Syndicates crowdfunding features. Another step change was the introduction of significant prize guarantees, backed by rigorous risk management, to instigate the network and mitigate the ‘chicken and egg’ liquidity issue of traditional pools.
The result is an offering that appeals not only to original aficionados of the format, but also every recreational gambler that is after a ‘small stake, big prize’ option. And it’s fair to say that, at least for most of us, sports events are more engaging than lottery number draws - so enter sports jackpots. What adds to the attraction from an operator’s standpoint is the potential of sports jackpots to generate acquisition and retention synergies across their product portfolio.
If the general thesis for sports jackpots resonates widely, the question that remains is why shouldn’t each operator go at it alone? Colossus jackpots were created ‘global’, bringing together liquidity from across the world through a B2B2C network, as opposed to typical white-label deliveries. The obvious downside is that no single operator ‘owns’ the winners. Also, even though a Colossus microsite is tailored to fit into each operator’s brand scheme, the capacity to ‘bespoke’ it is relatively limited. So why does the world need Colossus?
In short, because, even if we choose to discount the significant technological challenge inherent in delivering such a product, there is still plenty of upside that is hard to replicate outside of a network construct. For starters, if you want to offer lottery-sized prizes, liquidity rules and you will need lots of it. Very few operators globally could command single-handedly the liquidity required to support substantial prizes and even if they did, or even if they were prepared to guarantee prizes, they are unlikely to want the risk ‘in house’. Offering cash-out can mitigate the inherent volatility of prize payouts but this only adds to the challenge - as taken for granted as the feature is nowadays, risk-managing cash-out, especially partial cash-out, in a multi-leg pool betting context is far more complex than its fixed-odds cousin.
So on the whole, sharing liquidity is the most sustainable way to offer big-prize sports jackpots and specialisation matters, not only in terms of conquering the technological challenge involved but also in terms of providing an ‘independent, central clearing house’.
In the year 2020
This year, we are returning to ICE with our product suite largely complete both on a feature and content level. Darts is the latest sport to get the Colossus treatment and we are delighted to have Fallon Sherrock on board as our ambassador for this launch - her journey, like ours, has been unlikely, yet powerful and inspiring as befits a modern icon. And while you can always count on Colossus to have exciting partner announcements in the pipeline, with the commercialisation of our IP in the US featuring high on our agenda, the past few months have also found us increasingly focused on optimising our core product.
We are also navigating a new challenge, that of creating a strong, relevant for the times brand that will hopefully allow us to introduce Colossus jackpots to a wider audience and, in time, benefit our entire network. Our quest for the “Mega Millions of sports” has only just begun.