Eight out of 10 bets placed on virtual sports in Africa last year were facilitated by Golden Race, through either the company’s Golden Box or Online platform.
That was one of the key messages from the firm’s CEO Martin Wachter as part of an interview at last month’s Betting on Sports America conference in New Jersey.
Wachter also spoke about the strategic rollout of the HD 3×3 Basketball game, why in-play and cash out components for virtuals remain “a little bit fresh” for the US market, and how he expects 2019 to be an “absolute record” for Golden Race.
SBC: Earlier this year, Golden Race rolled out HD 3×3 Basketball; was this a strategic move for the US market?
MW: Absolutely. We were looking at a game specified for the US market, and we didn’t want to follow the others. 3×3 Basketball provides a new experience with some really nice tools such as cash out functions.
The game has been designed to offer an experience that is as close as possible to traditional online real-basketball betting. It features real action moves, real voice-over commentators, and odds from in-house bookmakers. Also, operators are given complete customisation and branding options, as well as on-demand scheduling.
3×3 Basketball has a fast pace of play and it’s considered the number one urban team sport. This is a very popular format long played in streets and gyms across the world.
We wanted to combine this popular sport with the most advanced technologies in virtuals, offering a great number of matches in a real-like competition and including all popular betting markets, such as Head to Head, Match result, Next point, Handicap, Total score, Total team score, and Odds/Even.
I’m hoping that this game will return huge numbers in the US.
SBC: Can you tell us more about your plans for an American Football game?
MW: I could, but I don’t want to! Seriously, I can just tell you that it will be a new experience. We don’t follow the others, we have our own new ideas for it. We are in a good stage, and very soon we will come up with something very impressive – a real American football game.
SBC: Do you think in-play and cash out components will be popular for virtuals in the US? Or do these features need to first find their feet in the country’s online sports betting space?
MW: When it comes to virtual betting, maybe it is a little bit fresh in the US. Remember we are still in early stages. But in Europe, yes, and I think we are one of the first companies to launch such features.
In-play betting has the potential to grow fast as a trend, because it offers many advantages to punters. It also provides benefits to operators, as an effective way to optimise user retention.
SBC: How excited are you to present the introduction of HTML5 technology to new and prospective US clients?
MW: It’s not something you necessarily see in the first step, but it has so many benefits for the coming years. If you change technology, it gives you more flexibility, more stability, you can implement more tools and you have an easier load on the games.
For example, HTML5 allows a complete brand integration for operators. They can apply their logos, colours and animations not only within the game, but also in animated components and transitions. It has also helped us improve the visuals in the games and data panels. Our enhanced version now offers a new vibrant look inspired by the latest trends in global TV broadcast, while also displaying large amounts of data in a layered, crisp and clean way.
SBC: Finally, can you outline some of Golden Race’s plans for the rest of 2019?
MW: We just checked our numbers for 2018, and it was amazing. I know that eight out of 10 tickets sold in Africa was done by Golden Race – amounting to almost 3.5 billion. We also became market leaders in Italy, one of the major markets in Europe for virtual sports.
We have finished some licensing in the UK and other markets. I guess 2019 will be an absolute record for us, and it will be the last step where everyone comes to the understanding that we are the biggest operator for virtual sports in the world.