It’s all part of the repositioning at BETER, led by CEO Gal Ehrlich, as it looks to become a content ‘powerhouse’- particularly for esports – in the new era of betting.
SBC: Talk us through BETER’s repositioning, what’s your vision for the company through 2022?
GE: BETER repositioning, as we see it, is a step toward our long game. We have a very clear mission and aspiration for the next three to five years to create what we call a ‘strong powerhouse’ for betting and gaming content. We aspire to be the industry’s partner of choice whenever operators are looking to extend their portfolio, whether that be in sports, esports, gaming or live casino.
My vision is to establish ourselves as a one-stop-shop. BETER is all about providing a competitive advantage for customers to have access to a large variety of assets under one offering, all of which are leveraged towards the new era of betting and what the modern player is looking for.
SBC: Your news details a ‘significant upgrade’ of the BETER products and services – what’s changed and what are you aiming to deliver?
GE: Our long-term strategy is part of that one-stop-shop – we’ve launched multiple new verticals based on the demand we’ve identified. We believe this demand will continue to grow over the next five years, and our offering is specifically oriented towards capturing the interest of the new generation, whether that be millennials or ‘gen Z’.
Looking at verticals, there are multiple areas that we believe will offer high potential growth for operators, which means we are constantly looking towards market research, to seek new opportunities and establish how we can offer the most advanced next-gen betting experience on the market.
Our homegrown internal development will allow us to invest in these opportunities. BETER has plenty of growth space for new verticals that we plan to launch in time, because we believe that it’s all about providing the right entertainment to serve the evolving landscape over the next decade.
SBC: With significant lessons learned over the past 18-months, how do you see the new era of betting?
GE: The last 18 months have been quite unique in terms of COVID’s presence, which has undeniably changed the landscape of the industry as we know it. Now more and more people are consuming online content, and with this comes new demands for entertainment.
We were well served to provide for our partners during the toughest months of last year; so much so that for a large period in 2020, we were one of the few providers out there offering online sports betting content, whether that’s esports, table tennis or a host of others.
I believe our tactical moves fulfilled the current strong demand for fast-online content – players are drawn to this fast-paced nature of betting because they don’t need to wait long for the result, but instead can remain highly entertained and engaged by the endless opportunities with betting events that last 10 or so minutes. We believe this short-form content is the future – it’s highly engaging and offers great turnover.
Mainstream sport is of course back but we’re constantly seeing continued growth across these fast-based betting events. We complement traditional sportsbooks, without cannibalising sportsbook spend. What this means is that we sit perfectly alongside more traditional events, while presenting an opportunity to remain constantly entertained with fast-betting options alongside traditional sportsbook content.
Take a weekend fixture for Arsenal vs. Manchester City, for example. Our Efootball offerings can provide short-form, high-impact entertainment before, during and after a match, which is, in effect, keeping players entertained whilst the two-hour fixture takes place. We’re seeing more demand for such products, as we’re able to offer an exciting new dimension to a traditional event, which in turn boosts retention for our operator partners.
SBC: How important do you believe the rise of esports to be, and what kind of continued growth are we looking at during 2021-22?
GE: Esports is following this trend of rapid growth – the numbers are continuing to break records even after live sport returned. Looking at the tournaments for esports right now, the number of viewers is growing exponentially, and I see no reason for that to slow down.
Of course, this phenomenon has really taken off in the last couple of years, looking at five years ago, esports was not even part of the top 10, now it’s in the top five for most operators, and in many cases, the top two – and only second, in many instances, to football. All trends indicate this will grow rapidly for the next few years as its increasing popularity really is exponential.
Regarding the factors that are behind this, I believe this is driven by the growing visibility and presence of the new generation of players – as it’s what they know and enjoy – and at this point, there’s yet to be a true market-leader that has taken ownership of such provision.
As part of the BETER vision, I see ourselves as a company that can offer some of the best in terms of coverage, quality and diversity when it comes to being an esports supplier; I think we’ve got a great opportunity here to excite and engage.
SBC: When it comes to fast sports, can you tell us a bit more about these for some of our readers who will not be familiar?
GE: There are two aspects to this, first the definition – and the way fast-based betting events are designed – in that there are just a few minutes (at the most) between placing a bet and the result coming through. This covers the likes of table tennis and basketball, meaning the events are quick, dynamic and offer a level of interaction that is very intensive.
Take the Setka Cup, for example, covering table tennis amongst other sports, which enables bets to be placed on every serve. Or Efootball; in the eight-minute game, you can bet on many markets within a match. It’s a completely different level of engagement. Resembling casino, it features constant plays and ‘draws’, which allows players to remain engaged and enjoy the action, rather than waiting for the pay-out over an hour or two.
From an operators’ perspective, it provides a unique way of capturing player interest. With high-frequency betting and high turnover, operators can recycle bets over and over again, facilitating that constant engagement and entertainment that players are looking for.
Alongside that, there is a constant sustainable margin for the operator, meaning it’s very similar to casino and just as profitable. Of course, this margin is not the same as with regular sport – as sports margins are highly volatile, while still serving the sports betting-orientated demographic.
Combining these strengths means that it offers a unique player journey of conversion. The story of operators used to be very similar – it was cheap to acquire via sportsbooks, and then convert to casino, but now the conversion journey is becoming more and more challenging.
Of course, this is particularly advantageous at this time because casino is less favourable from a regulatory point of view; with every year the industry is seeing more and more restrictions coming in, as well as GGR taxation. So, in effect, BETER is able to offer a similar model of revenue, but one that is sports-based, and even more lucrative.
Last but not least, when it comes to the traditional sportsbook cross-sell over to other disciplines – we all know that for many sports bettors the shift to casino is a stretch too far. Fast betting offers a different, alternative journey for sports bettors. We are keeping them in a similar ecosystem and providing a betting format and environment that can make them feel at home.
SBC: What kind of betting products and markets do you believe are going to be key as our industry develops over the next decade?
GE: Trying to predict the future is always a risky thing to do; I wouldn’t be able to talk more than three to five years maximum, as anything could be possible after that. We see the growth of esports exposure continuing, as with the focus on mobile orientation, especially with the tech now accessible.
We’re also clearly seeing the new generation occupying a far greater proportion of the industry, and that will help shape supply given their unique demands. Fast betting is going to be a great driver for the latter as a result.
VR and AR are also tech to watch. It offers another layer of enjoyment and entertainment – a futuristic concept that is now becoming reality. AR for football matches is one good example, with technology enabling viewers to see stats and interactions in real-time. This is just one example of how the industry is moving towards something that is more knowledgeable as well as more entertaining.
SBC: From the BETER perspective – how do you believe operators can engage, entertain and retain the next-gen player?
GE: Without a doubt, fast-games and fast betting. We’re dealing with the Tik Tok generation who prefer things fast and accessible – they don’t want to wait for results. They want the instantaneous aspect of going onto one event and then the next – it’s the nature of what they know and expect, and betting offerings should be all about catering to that.
SBC: Looking ahead to the start of next year, what are your plans for ICE 2022 and what do you aim to achieve?
GE: First of all, we’ve never presented at ICE before as an independent company. This will be our very first opportunity to share our vision with the industry and to offer our one-stop-shop portfolio as the industry’s leading provider of next-gen content.
What are we trying to achieve? Introduce ourselves, our offering and how we can help operators shift to a future offering. I want to show that BETER is the bridge between now and the future.