The provision of data and pictures to both retail and online racing betting operators has become one of the most important battlefields in the industry in recent years.
As suppliers prepare to descend on London’s ExCeL conference centre to showcase their wares, SBC News caught up with Peter Woodfine, Business Development Director of leading distributor Vermantia, to find out what’s new.
SBC: How is the distribution of data and pictures changing and what are operators demanding from suppliers like Vermantia?
Peter Woodfine: As elsewhere in modern life, people are looking for an experience that is tailored to their needs and wants. They no longer accept a one-size-fits-all package of content. With the arrival of omni-channel and operations in multiple jurisdictions and timezones, you need to have around the clock service. That service needs to be bespoke to the local audience, whether that is particular live content that they like or the correct types of data and odds to inform the betting markets they like to bet on.
Customers also need to receive data and pictures quickly. It is essential, therefore, that providers stream their content at ultra-low levels of latency. The modern bettor won’t tolerate the kind of lags that were once common practice in the industry and are now an anachronism. Quality pictures and data, delivered rapidly in shop or online, is the sweet spot.
SBC: What are the benefits of this approach?
PW: In short, customer acquisition and retention. Providing those customers with the right content and giving them an incentive to engage with exciting live action is an essential offering. It is for that reason that we have more live racing content than any other supplier. That content, which comes from the best courses and tracks in the world is ultra-competitive and ensures good margins and high levels of profitability for our operator partners. There is sufficient variety to keep different types of customers happy and, crucially, the regularity of its delivery ensures that operators can deliver a quality offering 24/7.
SBC: A lot of the content that is distributed is horse and dog racing. Is that what operators and their customers want and what room is there for other sports?
PW: Horse and greyhound racing has its heartlands where it has always provided reliable and popular betting opportunities. But we have seen in recent years how that popularity is spreading to other territories who might not share that history. The simple reason is that the action is exciting and comes thick and fast. The frequency, particularly in greyhound racing, is not dissimilar to casino-style betting.
That immediacy suits many modern consumers who don’t have time to wait around for the conclusion of some sporting events. They want to have their bet and discover if they’ve won soon afterwards. As everyone knows the distribution of data and pictures for non-racing sports is complicated. In sports like football it is often very expensive too. That option is available to operators, therefore, but it might not always be the most cost-effective one. With live racing, they have an affordable product that is proven to drive engagement.
SBC: What part do virtual sports play in the product mix and how important are those games?
PW: Virtuals is very important, both as a filler between live events but also as a product in its own right. The key to making the most of them is to understand the nuances in each individual market. At its most obvious level is in the provision of sports that are familiar to the audience. Mathematics and data sit at the core of the offering and are what draw a customer back after the initial novelty of the graphics wear off. It is critical that these are adjusted to individual markets to ensure that operators can provide their customers with what they like and what they are used to playing. We have integrated different virtual providers into CONNECT so that operators can now select form 25 different titles, effectively covering all their virtual needs.
SBC: What in particular can we look forward to on the Vermantia stand at ICE?
PW: We are excited about the opportunity to speak to operators about our racing channels. They are packed with top quality horse and greyhound racing from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States and are supported by our complete odds and adaptive data services, which is available on our proprietary CONNECT platform.
We’re also going to be showcasing our streaming services, offering new options in both retail and online. To complete the circle, we have developed advanced self-service betting terminals, which allow shop customers to place their bets in a digitised, cashless and convenient manner through our award-winning FLAVOR and V-POS solutions.
Peter Woodfine – Business Development Director – Vermantia