There’s not long to go until Betting on Football 2017 (3-5 May), the fourth incarnation of the largest international football and betting trade conference.
We caught up with Martin Wachter, the CEO and Founder for Platinum Sponsor Golden Race, to discuss new technology in virtual betting, and how virtual sports based companies can work better and more effectively with football stakeholders.
SBC: Why is football such an attractive sport for betting?
MW: Football is just so popular already – the last statistics I saw estimated that there are around 3.5 BILLION football fans around the world. That’s approximately HALF of the world population!
In terms of betting, there are so many options, so many variables, and it is accessible for both simple bets where very little knowledge is needed, to quite involved betting where statistical analysis and intense scrutiny of data guide players in their betting.
Ultimately, the results cannot be predicted with any certainty; there is still luck, chance, and people enjoy the excitement of the competition, admire the athleticism, and correctly predicting the outcome of 22 elite level athletes – everybody loves to be right, especially when they have skin in the game.
SBC: From a consumer perspective, how is football betting changing?
MW: In the UK, the football pools have been going since 1923 – there is a long-standing heritage of betting on football. Initially, the appeal was entering for a very small amount of money, with the possibility to win a relatively large sum. Now, nearly a century later, and betting on football is incredibly popular. The betting options and markets have increased dramatically – accumulator betting, combinations, in-play, time-sensitive bets – as well as the simple win, lose, or draw betting which still see a fair amount of action.
The growth of internet use and mobile devices becoming more ubiquitous, as well as increased coverage for matches around the world, has made betting far more accessible.
Golden Race has recently launched the new ONLINE and MOBILE solutions, designed from the ground up to be the same as a real sportsbook – the excitement is real, the odds are real, the winnings are real – only the events are virtual – meaning they are entirely manageable to fit the customer’s schedule, with the odds and limits set however you decide is best for your bottom line and your players.
SBC: How can virtual sports betting and football stakeholders work better and more effectively together?
MW: I think that communication is essential – virtual sports companies should attend specialised football events to meet with football stakeholders, learn about their needs, and in turn learn about what the fans and the punters want, what they expect in real life.
They are the heart of any industry; by collaborating, virtual and real stakeholders can ensure that the experience on both sides is exceeding expectations for the fans and punters. The Betting on Football event is a great opportunity to continue the dialogue for exactly that.
SBC: What new technology do you feel will have the biggest impact on virtual sports betting?
MW: Some people would probably say Virtual Reality, but personally I think that technology is going to take a while longer to be much more than a gimmick. We like to concentrate on creating the real betting experience, not make people wear weird headsets!
While it’s not a new technology, the Android platform is very interesting for us and has had a huge impact, due to the inexpensive nature and widespread use of Android devices. Golden Race remains the only company capable of live-rendering full 3D digital league games directly on a device which costs less than €100 – that is massive for a huge number of operators right now.
As I mentioned – half the population of the world are football fans, so the odds are high that those who enjoy responsible gambling also will love football, and in virtual sports betting, we see virtual football as “The King” of virtual sports – so, the ability to provide a device which can recreate all the excitement of the beautiful game, as well as being pre-loaded with a whole suite of race games, numbers games, and the award-winning Real Fighting – that is massive!
Start-up operators can meet the local demand where they are, and large players can roll out across hundreds of locations for a small investment cost, and both will see ROI very quickly.
SBC: What key agenda, debate or discussion do you want to hear at #bofcon2017?
MW: There are a few market profile sessions which catch my eye this year – the ones regarding the potential of Spain & LatAm, the exploding African market and football betting, and the Asian market place in the industry – Golden Race have strong growth in all those areas, so are particularly interesting to me.