Round table – SBTech: The future of sportsbook personalisation

Some of the leading suppliers to the sports betting industry offered their insights into the future for sportsbook personalisation based on automated customer segmentation, advanced behavioural analysis and predictive AI-driven models.

The first round table participant was SBTech, who this week was chosen by Gamesys as platform provider for the new Virgin Bet brand in the UK. The company was represented by its COO Dave Hammond.

SBC: What role does pricing and risk play in the differentiation of a sportsbook offering?

Dave Hammond (SBTech): The ability to offer and deliver differentiated trading strategies across both core and multiple territories is both one of our key principles and lies at the heart of the SBTech trading platform. We work side-by-side with our partners to precisely gauge their needs and requirements and measure every area of their offering. This then determines how and to what level we deliver a bespoke trading strategy.

We can deliver a host of different pricing models and bespoke trading strategies, be it split by event, player segmentation, or if operators have a brand ambassador(s) or a marketing partnership with a specific team, for example. We can then create specific bonus boosts or the best price in the market using our highly configurable and flexible systems. We may, for instance, offer the best price but overlay that with different customer journeys to suit a partner’s specific strategy.

An example of this is our work with MoPlay, who have a partnership with Manchester United and, through our pricing and trading strategy, have very strong prices on English Premier League (EPL) matches. 

We wanted to drive a high margin product, so we allowed them to be best price in the market and adopted aggressive price boosts on EPL and specifically Manchester United games. This has created a strong customer base and following from those supporters and is a great acquisition and retention tool for the brand.

SBC: How can operators build on their customer analytics to both enhance player experience and drive higher margins?

DH: At SBTech, we continue to invest in our ability to not just store data, but also to make it incredibly usable and powerful for our customers. We have both internal data analytics that we work on and are constantly focused on improving and offer our clients access to our data warehouses and live data streams so they can make decisions in-play and pre-match based on leading data science. Data analysis is a huge part of what we offer and will continue to grow in importance in the months and years to come.

Our data is based on a variety of sources including our own data generation, player activity, quantitative trading models, customer acquisition model funnels, and predictive algorithms, all aimed at enhancing the customer journey and driving further revenue for our customers.

10 years ago, data was about managing risk, today it is about pre-emptive decisions, and predicting player churn and lifetime value, all of which goes towards us helping customers to minimise CPA costs and drive further growth. Our job is to drive customers to be better using our own internal data analysis and to help them enhance their data provision.

SBC: How can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience?

DH: Our predictive AI-driven models help customers personalise their offerings and ensure that when their players log on, they are immediately presented with what they are looking for. Our AI models consider a series of markers based on areas such as past play, similar play, player life cycle and what we believe will be a player’s journey and lifetime value. As we continue to expand in more than 15 regulated markets, including the US that is seeing enormous growth, this area of the business is expanding rapidly.

Our data scientists are constantly reviewing data structures, the output of data and how we continue to automate AI to benefit our customers and our business. It is not only about managing costs and the player experience at the front end, but also about making the most of our resources and manpower. AI is helping us form what we need to achieve and deliver this in line with our global roadmap.

SBC: A lot has been said recently about gamification; what can it do for sportsbook?

DH: Gamification has existed for almost 10 years with free-to-play and freemium sites and games benefiting from high levels of acquisition. We’re seeing this gradually move across into sports betting.

Our Exploding Jackpots product enables operators to offer timed, must-drop jackpots across any supplier’s games or platform across both casino and sports betting, and is aimed at driving mass player engagement, presenting players with huge prizes during any event a brand wishes to market.

Its flexibility enables brands to gamify sports and their players to win huge prizes they might not otherwise have seen. We see it as a key play in the US. Innovative conversion of players into sportsbook will require more gamification.

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