For betting operators, the countdown to next Summer’s showpiece event, the World Cup in Russia is well and truly underway.
The 2014 tournament in Brazil saw a 750% increase in mobile bets compared to the World Cup in South Africa four years previous. Therefore, for LeoVegas, an operator that takes pride in its efficient and engaging mobile service, the World Cup provides an unrivalled opportunity for customer expansion.
SBC spoke to the Swedish operator’s Head of Sports, Riku Jokela about the strategy that its deploying to make the most out of the tournament in Russia this Summer.
SBC: Every bookmaker is trying to get ahead and stand out for World Cup, how will LeoVegas ensure that customers use its sportsbook?
Riku Jokela: Our vision is to be number one in mobile with the fastest, most engaging, unique and customer-friendly sportsbook. The World Cup 2018 is a huge opportunity for us to boost our sportsbook. We are constantly looking for new innovations and making sure we are building the right things for our customers.
We use a lean mindset by following up on every initiative to make sure we have the best product out there when the World Cup 2018 kicks-off. Last but not least, my team and I will do the utmost to ensure we have the most relevant, most engaging and localised sportsbook promotions for our customers.
SBC: How much of a focus do you think will be placed on individual player bets at this Summer’s tournament?
RJ: Individual player bets are becoming more and more important. Personally I think the popularity of individual player bets are heavily linked to the tremendous growth of fantasy sports – people are closely following the actions of the biggest stars because they have got Kane/Lukaku/Agüero as captains in their fantasy teams. All things considered, it is an interesting contemporary phenomenon that people tend to become fans of individual players rather than teams – resulting in an impact on our business too.
The nature of the World Cup strongly favours individual player bets. There will always be some national teams that are not that familiar to the public, let’s take Egypt as an example – the public might only know one player from the Egyptian team, namely Mohamed Salah. It might be much more convenient for them to place a bet on him to score rather than thinking whether Egypt are good enough to beat Panama or not, for instance.
SBC: With eight months until the tournament, are you working on any creative new products or betting markets, that are lined up to launch for the June’s opening ceremony?
RJ: The sports team at LeoVegas is all geared up and we’re ready to take on the challenge. We will put a lot of emphasis on building a lot of engaging and innovative concepts. On top of that we will collaborate with interesting third-party providers with one goal in mind: to make sure we win the World Cup.
SBC: How important is it to have a plan for customer retention after the World Cup?
RJ: As far as we’re concerned – a well-thought and solid customer retention plan after the World Cup is absolutely pivotal and as important as the activities before and during the World Cup 2018 itself. After the Jules Rimet Trophy has been lifted in the air, there will be a very quiet period before Premier League and other big football leagues kick-off – the operators with the best customer retention plans after the World Cup 2018 will ultimately win the start of these leagues as well.
Key approaches to the World Cup will undoubtedly be a key topic at next year’s Betting on Football conference, which is scheduled for 20-23 March. The venue for 2018’s event couldn’t be more fitting, as the largest international football and betting conference returns to the home of the Premier League champions Chelsea FC, Stamford Bridge.