SBC News Social Betting Exchanges... An opportunity to alter perceptions

Social Betting Exchanges… An opportunity to alter perceptions

SBC News Social Betting Exchanges... An opportunity to alter perceptions
Billy Gowing: Fairplay Exchange

Billy Gowing, Founder and Managing Director of Fairplay Exchange, makes a case for how social betting exchanges can make a much-needed improvement to the online betting industry’s public image and appeal to a new player demographic

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In the UK, there can be little doubt the gaming industry has struggled to improve its perception in the eyes of the public in recent years. Even among the demographic that is targeted to bet on sports, the bombardment of advertising they have seen in football for example has caused a high degree of concern.

In August 2023, a Football Supporters Association survey of 10,000 fans showed 73% of fans were concerned about the amount of gambling advertising in football. Indeed, a recent YouGov survey commissioned by OLBG found that 56% of UK adults would support a ban on gambling advertising in football stadiums.

More widely, a Gambling Commission survey (to December 2022) showed that 78.9% of 4,001 respondents believe there are too many opportunities to gamble, while just 29.5% feel gambling in Great Britain is conducted fairly and can be trusted.

Things like the Premier League’s self-imposed ban on front-of-shirt betting sponsorship from the start of the 2026-27 season, and the regulatory scrutiny placed on the industry by the Gambling Act 2005 white paper review, are in some way tied to that public sentiment.

How social betting exchanges help

The industry has some work to do, but there is one particular area that hasn’t received enough attention, and that is how to offer something the more recreational player may want to participate in and enjoy. Social betting exchanges can go some way towards achieving this. Fairplay Exchange, for example, offers players the opportunity to sign up and make a wager with friends on anything they want, guaranteeing the winnings are paid in full and on time.

This is not limited to live events and the sporting calendar, as a majority of the business comes from friends making wagers against each other in their own activities, often on the golf course.

The scope of markets social betting exchanges can offer is so vast that the target market does not have to be restricted to the hardened sports bettor, and this is something we have been made aware of anecdotally by our users.

We have run several live golf events, where we have invited customers to have a bet with Fairplay, and those players have provided feedback that they would be happy to bet with us, despite the fact they would not necessarily bet with a bookmaker.

Social betting exchanges also come with a degree of freedom, as players will usually drop in and out of the app based on whenever they want to make their next wager with their friends. We don’t see players spending all their time on the app and players can feel safe betting at low stakes in a casual setting.

Sports betting stagnation

Going back to the Gambling Commission’s survey, the data shows the number of people betting on sports online is remaining fairly steady, but lacking in consistent growth.

A total of 3.9% of respondents had bet online on football in the four weeks prior, down from 4.1% a year before, while 2.6% had bet online on horse racing in the four weeks prior, up slightly from 2.5% in 2021.

Will social betting exchanges change those numbers exponentially? We know that isn’t likely, but what they can do is make a small difference by appealing to a demographic that is yet to work out how betting with a licensed operator can work well for them.

An opportunity for bookmakers

This feeds into a separate argument that these types of apps are ripe for acquisition by bookmakers as they have the means to attract the more casual player to your site who has previously been deterred by gambling.

Unlike with regular sports betting, the operator would not be restricted by the live events calendar, with the opportunity to offer betting on anything the user would like to wager on.

With operators now having the means to personalise their offering for players, they can make suggestions to players based on their wagering activity with friends. For example, if the user has made a bet while playing golf against their peers, the operator can recommend a wager on The Open Championship.

Targeting the same demographics and cohorts will lead to operators missing out on untapped opportunities. Making adjustments to their offering will not only ignite new business, but could also help to improve the perception of gambling in the eyes of more casual players and sports fans, resulting in a win/win situation – even if somebody still has to lose on the golf course.

 

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