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John Pettit – Playtech BGT: Unifying individual strengths, dynamics & intelligence

John Pettit – Playtech BGT

Unifying all of its sports betting assets under the Playtech BGT Sports division, leading industry technology provider Playtech aims to bring market innovation through the optimal convergence of its joint products, services and user engagement mechanisms.

John Pettit Managing Director of Playtech BGT UK, Ireland, Australia & Asia details to SBC readers his firm’s serious intent at challenging the sports betting industry’s set norms and standardised values.

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SBC: Hi John, thanks for the interview. The Playtech BGT Sports division was officially formed last November. As a sports betting technology supplier what new dynamics and capabilities will your team bring to market?

John Pettit: With BGT established as the leading supplier of self-service betting terminals to retail, and Playtech at the forefront of digital gaming, complemented with the expertise acquired from our colleagues at Mobenga and Geneity, we are able to leverage our combined resources to develop a stronger product offering across the board. By bringing these exceptional teams together, we are capable of building market-leading solutions to operators which account for more than just the sum of our parts.

We are a valuable component of Playtech’s future vision, and we are delighted to utilise the group’s proficiency in the digital sector to enhance existing products and develop future ones. The recently-launched BetTracker product, which continues to digitises the retail betting experience, is just the beginning of this process.

SBC: Coming into 2017, Playtech CEO Mor Weizer has highlighted that Playtech will be outright leader in industry ‘convergence’ capabilities. How will the Playtech BGT Sports division help achieve this corporate goal? 

JP: Playtech BGT Sports is the perfect example of Mor’s vision for Playtech. Uniting our individual strengths and knowledge, we have worked together to create BetTracker, our revolutionary product which brings digital betting into the retail space.

The betting shop environment has evolved over the last few years with the emergence of functional SSBT technology, but this will take it to the next level, providing an omni-channel approach for both registered and anonymous customers, both of which we believe is key to future convergence.

Through digitising customers in-shop and taking them onto a mobile platform, we can open new avenues to users while providing a better, more flexible experience, driving incremental revenues for our operators in the process.

Ladbrokes said SSBT’s accounted for around 10% of retail staking in last year’s Q3s, and combined with impressive margins at around the 25 percent mark, which accounts for a significantly higher share of gross win. It places us firmly at the head of the move towards revenue-driven convergence.

SBC: From a sports betting supplier perspective, how are the dynamics between client and supplier changing? What new values and competencies do betting operators want from their system suppliers and their services? 

JP: One of our key strengths within the UK is that we work with all of the major retail operators. As the market develops, we are best-placed to develop products in-line with the latest trends and changing technologies. Because we have a direct relationship with the operators on the front line, we can draw on their unique insights.

It is in the interests of both supplier and operator to work together to develop new products that provide a possible customer experience. This is why we actively seek a more integrated partnership with operators and work on a revenue-sharing basis so we are both invested in the success of the products.

SBC: Playtech governance has stated that it now wants to focus on ‘lock-in’ technology provisions for its customers. How will this broad and complex concept be applied to Playtech BGT Sports’ sports betting provisions? 

JP: Although our strength remains in being able to offer an unbranched code base, developing products that can be rolled out across operators in various territories, the configuration allows us to customise these products to operators’ particular needs. We also work with individual operators to create products that leverage their own IP, such as Coral’s Connect card and Paddy Power’s Cash Card

The trend in recent years, particularly among the larger operators, has been for products that differentiate them from competitors, and while it is valuable to be able to widely distribute products based on a unbranched code, it is this range of configuration options that facilitates swift but differentiated developments.

SBC: As a betting stakeholder, which new technologies and consumer habits do you feel will lead to new industry dynamics being formed? What should the industry be preparing for?

JP: If you look at broader retail trends, the move has been towards self-service, while counters are disappearing as assisted service takes its place. We are developing a range of products built upon the same back-end that gives customers a far wider choice of exactly how they interact within shops.

We are looking to build on the front-end experience and this is happening. Some of our current products on include the terminal, a fixed till, a mobile till and the recently-launched BetTracker app, all integrated with the same back-end sportsbook platform, so one backend can generate product improvement across the board.

Customers are demanding that service is brought to them and so we see the shop floor as the starting point to ensure betting is as straightforward and accessible, just as it is online. The only way for the betting shop to thrive going forward is to be absolutely focused on service.

SBC:  Finally, at an early stage for the Playtech BGT Sports division, can you outline the firm’s short and long term goals for its sports betting services?

JP: We want to continue to digitise the retail experience. This process started around ten years ago in the UK with the launch of SSBTs. BetTracker is an important next step as we give the customer the advantages of a digital platform but within the retail environment.

It is important for operators to understand that our aim is not to limit sports betting to the terminal, but instead to generate incremental revenues for operators, via some market-leading products while improving choice and ease for the customer.

To this end, in-play betting is an area that is expanding very quickly. It is still relatively new for retail and something that couldn’t be effectively provided over the counter. Furthermore, because of the way BGT software interacts with players, we generate a margin of around 18% on in-play stakes, which is significantly higher than competitors both online and in retail.

With almost 30,000 terminals rolled out globally, we are also in a position to leverage this estate to gain exclusive, best-in-class content, and we are always looking at entering new partnerships, as we did recently with an arrangement with the Racing Post in December. This is the first of a number of key partnerships, uniquely positioning us to drive a true revolution in retail betting.

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John Pettit –  Managing Director –  Playtech BGT Sports’ UK, Ireland, Asia& Australia 

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Sports Betting Innovation & Technology will be discussed and debated at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference (3-5 May London Stamford Bridge) click the below tab for full conference details….