As 2019 comes to a close SBC looks through the year to highlight major news that you might have missed in the sports betting world.
This tenth edition looks at October and more specifically at Digitain targetting the ‘Netflix Experience’, the lessons to be learnt from SportPesa’s Kenyan withdrawal, the doubts surrounding the IRP tennis data findings and the ‘once in a generation opportunity’ presented by US regulation.
An ongoing discussion surrounding the personalisation of sports data has led to many in the industry searching for what has been described as the ‘Netflix experience’.
This ‘experience’ is so-called because of Netflix’s personalisation process. The online TV and movie streaming service applies an algorithm which recommends titles to the user based on their viewing history.
Similar use of data has been pushed to the forefront for the sports betting industry, with innovation – and its associated boost to the user experience – increasingly considered key in driving product engagement amongst punters.
Simon Westbury, Director of International Development at Digitain, spoke to SBC regarding such personalisation at Betting on Sports: “There’s a big discussion about the personalisation of sports data,” he said. “However, as an industry, we can do far better than the current offering.”
Kenya’s tempestuous few years of gambling ‘reform’ has now apparently permanently driven out its erstwhile posterchild and market leader. SportPesa (until recently a c. €200m net revenue business, sponsor of Everton and Hull, F1 Racing Point team partner and official partner of Chester Racecourse) has stated that it is not going to seek to reapply for a licence as the government announced a further tax hike (an additional 10ppts to a 20% Excise Duty on stakes, voted through last week) – this is now much more than posturing, with the group laying off over 450 employees in Kenya (only two months after stating it would not be shut down or driven out of the country). Betin, another major market participant, has also reportedly given up and opted for closure and redundancy.
Kenya’s rise demonstrates the power of online betting in an emerging market where payments are not a problem – in this case due to M-Pesa (mobile money), a mass market solution to the banking crisis. The Kenyan betting sector reached reported stakes of over KS200bn in 2018, implying revenue – pre disruption – of c. €500m (including player winnings taxes collected by operators) – a very significant market given the country’s size (50m) and relative wealth (US$1.8k GPD per capita).
Sportradar has suggested that the Independent Review Panel (IRP) would have delivered a different set of conclusions about corruption in tennis had it been completed a year later.
David Lampitt, MD of Sports Partnerships at Sportradar, pointed to the “dramatic drop off in the number of integrity alerts for tennis over the last 12 months” as evidence that the situation was improving irrespective of the IRP’s high-profile intervention, particularly as many of its recommended measures are still not in place.
Back in December 2018, the panel published its final recommendations, which included reversing a previous proposal to discontinue the sale of live data for International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments at the $25,000 level, while still concluding that a complete ban on data at the $15,000 developmental tier was necessary to protect the sport’s integrity.
SBC spoke to CheckdMedia CEO Jamie Knowlson on how new appointments are positioning the firm for significant growth, also highlighting the ‘once in a generation opportunity’ presented by US regulation.
SBC: CheckdMedia is now part of CheckdGroup, what does this mean for the future plans of the business?
Jamie Knowlson: We want CheckdGroup to be the leading full-service agency within the industry; our ambition is clear.
Through our robust skillsets, we are able to offer operators worldwide the opportunity to not only create a product proposition, but expertise in taking it to market and acquiring users all from within the Group. There are very few companies who are able to create, distribute and engage to the extent we’re able to internally.