Ahead of the ‘Betting on Football Conference’ (#BOFCON – 21 April @ Stamford Bridge), Colossus Bets CEO & Founder Bernard Marantelli assesses football betting innovation, as operators and suppliers try to deliver further engaging products to more demanding consumers.
Marantelli a live betting expert and renowned professional punter details why football is a premium product for operators and suppliers to focus innovation and building multi-channel competencies.
SBC: Hi Bernard, as an industry leader assessing betting and football dynamics, which business area do you feel offers the best opportunity for effective and impacting innovation?
Bernard Marantelli: Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is all the rage in the US, but US players are data junkies and the US prohibition on sports betting there creates a vacuum for DFS to grow. For DFS in Europe, the jury is out. I think instant type bets, for example ‘SuperLive’ from Metric Gaming, has legs but presenting the feature within a wider betting experience, especially on mobile, is a challenge. Football index-type products such as BuaBook and Football Index also have some appeal.
Whilst some of these propositions will have at least some success, I believe that for volume and income they will remain relatively niche and will not threaten 1×2, over/under and correct score in football betting and more generally in-play and cash-out.
SBC: In 2016, the industry is seeing a deeper focus on creating multi-channel competencies. How is this affecting betting product development and industry innovation, furthermore how do you turn football betting into a truly multi-channel product?
BM: I personally feel that football is a multi-channel juggernaut already – it is just that the channels are not as well connected as they should be. Ladbrokes and others are working hard on this currently, looking to connect your shop bet, to your app, to your cash-out offer, to your online account. The industry needs to focus on technology and products that will encourage clients to become multi-channel players, something which is especially challenging with high street betting shop punters.
SBC: As a company Colossus Bets has placed a high emphasis on in-house development and research, how has this helped your firm develop innovative processes and products?
BM: To get to market as quickly as possible we initially outsourced all of our tech development and maintenance and then as we moved it all in-house we recoded everything. In principle that seems a waste, but we were able to take plenty of learnings from version 1 and apply them to version 2. With all of our development done internally we are now much faster and more agile in getting new B2B partners live with our pools and in getting new innovations and products into production. MVP releases are made onto our B2C site and once in tip top shape we migrate the features to our B2B partners. Our £1,000,000 free-to-play game is a prime example of this process, starting on colossusbets.com and now being rolled out to our partners.
SBC: With regards to potential innovation, have any particular new devices or general consumer trends caught your eye. What should the betting industry be preparing for?
BM: There is certainly some cool stuff, most notably wearable devices and virtual reality experiences, but I think that these will remain niche in betting volume terms.
SBC: Evaluating the betting value-chain, which sectors can better create effective innovation: start-ups; legacy operators; or suppliers etc?
BM: The risk/reward profile for people inside incumbent operators as a rule does not foster innovation, they fosters stability and incremental growth. Start-ups have little choice but to innovate big or die, but they do not have the money or time to succeed, so they die before they get traction.
The big firms own the customers, either as operators (e.g. Bet365) or suppliers (e.g. Microgaming). I strongly believe you need access to these customer bases to succeed because getting a sufficient customer base yourself, even with an innovative offering, is much harder than people expect. So small firms will lead innovation and big firms will lead the adopting or implementing that innovation. The challenge for the small/start-up firms is to own crucial IP or provide a USP that enables them to strike B2B deals and not just be replicated.
SBC: Finally…you will be speaking on innovation for betting at #BOFCON 2016…what key learnings do you want attending delegates to take away from your session?
BM: The present and future of betting is football, the one sport of truly global appeal, which will dominate betting for the foreseeable future. I hope lotto-sized prize pools on football will be a big part of that future (but I would say that).
Bernard Marantelli -Colossus Bets – CEO & Founder
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