As all betting incumbents make tough adjustments to their operating frameworks post the FOBT stake reduction, Daniel Grabher – Founder & Chief Executive of Global Bet – details that bookmaker virtual inventories are more important than ever at driving much needed retail engagements.
SBC: Can you tell us more about what sets Global Bet’s virtual offering ahead of other virtual suppliers?
Daniel Grabher (Global Bet Founder & Chief Executive): We have seen over the course of the recent years that the betting sector has never been more competitive. With marketing budgets stretched as operators fight fierce pricing and bonusing wars, the product is once again emerging as a genuine way to stand out from the crowd. This is why we decided years ago to make the product perfect for the next generation of players.
Advanced 3D visualisations and a complex AI take the gap between real life sports and virtual sports to a new level. This is what keeps players glued to the screen on your website, in your retail channels or on mobile devices. When people see our latest games, they instantly realize what brings Global Bet´s virtual offering one step ahead of the competition.
Our mission is to attract and deliver to millennials, as they are already familiarised with high-quality graphics and video games. Both Generation Y and Generation Z can be called “Millennials”, with the primary difference between the two being technology. Generation Y grew-up on personal computers, cell phones, and video game systems, while Generation Z has grown up on tablets, smartphones, and apps. Yet, the common ground between both generations is that both have been transforming and altering the way we place bets online, not just in the UK, but globally.
SBC: How big a role do you think virtual sports betting could play in replacing fobts in the UK?
DG: The fact that the latest UKGC report includes virtual betting for the first time, outlines the importance of this niche product. Next month’s reduction of the maximum wager on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2, will hit the profitability of the majority of shops operated by big chains and independents alike. Operators are already looking for new revenue sources.
Lost FOBT revenue will be made up by increased sports betting facilitated by the introduction of self-service betting terminals (SSBTs) which allow punters to gamble on new betting products. The role of virtual sports within these terminals is to fill the void, particularly on days with less sports events. Integrating the benefits of virtual sports into their operations is a logical step for UK operators for maximizing revenues and minimizing expenses.
Data published by the UK Gambling Commission shows that virtual sports revenue totaled £170 million pounds, which was £40 million pounds more than real tennis brought in and represents roughly 8.5% of overall online betting revenue. I personally think that this numbers will be increasing massively after 1st of April.
SBC: In terms of social responsibility, why are virtuals a better option than fobts were for UK retail betting operators?
DG: Take a walk down any busy street in London and pop your head into one of the many betting shops. You are likely to see several fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) complete with addicted punters feeding them with money.
In terms of social responsibility virtuals allow a person to play a couple of games only to be excited by the adrenaline rush. Whether he or she wins or loses does not matter. The thrill of the game leads them to play again in the future more for entertainment without them eventually losing all their money.
SBC: How significant can virtual sports be for betting operators in the summer with the absence of a major football tournament?
DG: Many see virtual sports as the perfect ‘gap-filler’ in the absence of a major football tournament. This is because the presence of virtual sports offerings in physical and online locations had the sole function of retaining punters’ interest before the next live sports event begun.
This is no longer the case; virtuals are fast becoming a critical part of any modern sportsbook offering. The main reason for the rise of virtuals beyond the instant gratification that these games offer is the fact that punters are blown away by the sheer amount of entertainment virtuals offer them on a daily basis.
SBC: How crucial do you think virtuals will be in the newly regulated US market?
DG: Virtual sports are big business in European markets, accounting for 25 percent of all sports betting handle in Italy for instance. That’s a number that surprises many people who are unfamiliar with the product.
In many states, virtual sports will act as filler content during seasonal and time lulls and stand out as an appealing gambling product. But in New Jersey for instance, instead of gaining a foothold and piggybacking as “filler” content during lulls in live sports, virtuals will probably act as a substitute for them.
That being said, in newly opened markets lacking legal sports betting industry like the US, many things might work in virtual sports’ favour. Instead of piggybacking on sports betting, virtuals can be an alternative.
Sports and entertainment are two very important parts of culture in the United States so products like our Virtual Basketball that already have massive success in Europe, are a perfect fit for the vast U.S. market.
Daniel Grabher – Founder & Chief Executive – Global Bet