Since the advent of in-play and live wagering, microbetting has emerged as a notable phenomenon – and according to OSAI’s Olly Paulovich, should not be dismissed by operators as ‘another one-day trend’.
Following the launch of its QuickBets product for table tennis last month, OSAI’s Head of Marketing explained the microbetting phenomenon to SBC News, and how the firm is applying its AI data-backed approach to the emerging scene with a focus on ‘low-level events’.
SBC – Microbetting has become somewhat of a talking point in industry circles, what do you think are the reasons for its rise in popularity?
Olly Paulovich – I think microbetting is such a hot topic because it opens new ways to engage the betters and new revenue opportunities. Often the majority of operators’ profit comes from a relatively small portion of high bidders, and it’s not the best situation for everyone in the industry.
One of the key challenges is to smooth out the ratio – microbetting is one of the great ways to achieve that. It allows diversifying revenue streams and promotes responsible gambling.
On the other hand, microbetting is really fun! It allows to engage existing betters and reach whole new audiences, who may be less familiar with sports betting. Since the stakes are not that high and markets are so fast, it is a perfect fit for those who want to try sports betting out or have just a few minutes to kill.
SBC – What is it about table tennis that is suited to microbetting? Why has OSAI decided to launch Quick Bets with an initial focus on this market?
OP – Table tennis is a fast-growing sport in sports betting. There are several tournaments with a 24/7 format, which for us means there’s plenty of data and a strong testing ground. On a more high-level note, table tennis is a really fast and complex sport.
That’s why microbetting is tricky there. And we wanted to demonstrate the best of both worlds – how AI can open new horizons in sports betting within an action-packed environment.
It helped that OSAI already had a strong foot in table tennis – working with several tournaments and professional teams. AI data scout is the most recognised in table tennis, and for microbetting, only AI data scout can deliver all the necessary data.
SBC – What are the main benefits of microbetting, both to the operator and the customer?
OP – Microbetting brings a lot of positives, so much so that it’s hard to find why not to try it. Let’s start with the customer – I think the obvious benefit is in the new format. Sports betting hasn’t changed much since the in-play introduction. The experience is pretty much exactly the same, regardless of the operator. So something new always picks up loads of attention from the bettors.
But that doesn’t mean that microbetting is just another one-day trend – quite the opposite. I think for the customer, the main benefit is how much fun and how quick it is. In its nature, it aligns perfectly with on-demand modern culture and the need for instant gratification.
It’s taking the best of gaming, casino, and sports betting and mixing it all together. Quick bets by OSAI are a good example of microbetting, that bridges computer games and live sports. The markets are so fast and interactive, that it’s almost impossible to resist.
For the operator, the benefits are even more evident. They are directly connected to the challenges the operators face in the digital-first culture.
Engagement, specifically Gen Z
Engagement metrics are key to any operator. The higher the engagement, the higher the LTV and acquisition efficiency. Microbeting has the potential to engage existing betters, revive the acquired, but not activated audiences, and attract new ones.
Microbetting is fast and fun, it’s a low-risk entry point that resembles much-loved casinos and computer games. It also plays well with the responsible gambling trend, as the stakes are much lower and it’s easier to control individual spending.
Quick Bets by OSAI merges sports betting and computer games with its fast, interactive markets and enhanced Mixed Reality live streaming. This helps to attract and retain the attention of younger audiences.
Fixed games are a particularly difficult problem that the betting industry fights. This may exist on all levels of fixtures, but it’s particularly big in betting-specific tournaments. In table tennis, it’s a constant risk that operators try to mitigate. Microbetting can protect game integrity.
Quick Bets offers really fast markets in table tennis. The faster the market – the less the probability of a fixed game. This way we minimise the risks associated with fixed games and promote fairness in sports betting.
New GGRs and smoothing out the curve
Of course, we can’t ignore that microbetting opens new GGRs – significantly raising the operators’ bottom line. As mentioned before, microbetting (and Quick Bets in particular) help to even out revenues from different segments of players and promote responsible gambling.
SBC – Should operators place more value on low-level sports events? If so, what challenges are there relating to integrity and safeguarding?
OP – Instant gratification is a big cultural phenomenon that cannot be ignored in betting. So, yes, operators should be thinking of faster markets more. You can’t speed up the game, but you can open new fast markets.
Low-level events are perfect because they happen often. I’ve mentioned before that I think microbetting on low-level game events protects the game’s integrity. It can solve the existing integrity and safeguarding challenges without creating new ones.
SBC – What revenue streams to these low-level fixtures pose that major tournaments – e.g. the Premier League – do not?
OP – It is not about the level of the tournament, it’s more about the game events. Microbetting works well with game events that happen often – they provide quick turnaround and are a perfect fit for Quick Bets. We call them low-level events because they are often missing in the data streams.
For example, OSAI offers markets on the number of bounces in a rally. This is not included in a typical data stream, as it’s challenging for a human data scout to accurately keep the track of. But it’s a great market for microbetting, that keeps the viewers glued to the screen and engaged with the game. To make things even better, OSAI incorporated its Mixed Reality offer into the Quick Bets, so the bounce counter is always on the screen.
SBC – How important is quick data latency when offering microbetting, and how does OSAI aim to address this with the Quick Bets product?
OP – Data latency is critical in microbetting, as we are talking about markets that are fulfilled in 5-90 seconds, and as soon as one odd is closed, another opens, so there’s no time to waste. OSAI ensures as low latency as possible, and that’s what makes Quick Bets stand out – it is really an integral part of the game.
SBC – OSAI has described Quick Bets as a ‘risk-free way’ of testing new markets – can you go into further detail on how this is achieved?
OP – Quick Bets by OSAI minimises risks and allows control of them. A new market always involves a number of risks for a betting operator. It requires investment in the trading team and calculations, experience design, audit of data accuracy, and mechanisms of fairness. It is a challenge to predict if a new market will bring significant GGRs and engage the audience more.
We use technology to mitigate these risks. Quick Bets come as a widget that’s ready to be installed on the operator’s website or app. It includes four fast markets that are automatically traded.
The coefficients are calculated for each player and the tournament and are adjusted in real time based on the performance. This means if a market is not performing well, there is a way to control and adjust it right during the game. Quick Bets minimises technical and data risks with smart AI/machine learning (ML) algorithms.
On top of that, Quick Bets are offered on a revenue-sharing basis. This business model allows us to limit any financial risks associated with microbetting and new markets.
SBC – Can you explain the use of AI for the Quick Bet products, and how data informs the overall mcirobetting offering?
OP – Sports betting in general is driven by data – and microbetting is no exception. Any betting market is tons of data – game event data, trading & coefficients, and odds. There is a lot of manual work in sports betting – data is captured by humans, and coefficients and odds are traded by humans.
Microbetting is a low-cost high-volume concept, so markets have to be calculated fast. That’s one of the reasons we need to automate as much as possible. OSAI uses AI across the microbetting process, as well as computer vision and AI/ML to capture data.
This provides the biggest data portfolio possible, as OSAI captures data on every game event, including bounces, player positions, ball speed, and location, etc. We call it AI data scout – and it creates the data foundation that Quick Bets is built on.
To make Quick Bets possible, we have built ML models that automatically trade for the microbetting markets. This involves considering both historical and real-time data to calculate coefficients for every player, based on their performance, rally duration, and common errors. These are updated in real-time to ensure fair odds. We’ve used over 70,000 matches analysing over 500 data points every second.