Live betting has revolutionised the online betting market, but can this core function aid industry stakeholders’ day-to-day operations beyond market pricing.
Ahead of the Betting on Sports Conference (15-16 September) SIS Commercial Director Paul Witten details to SBC readers how bookmakers and service providers can optimise ‘live betting environments’ with a view of maximising all-round value chain functions.
SBC: Hi Paul, great to catch up ahead of BOS. For all betting industry stakeholders how are live betting environments evolving amid changing user and market dynamics?
Paul Witten: The introduction of in-play into the betting and gaming industry was both a result and a cause of the explosion of live betting environments. What we’re seeing now is punters who want more betting opportunities, more of the time and faster. For operators, it is a constant race to deliver this, and their platforms are challenged daily by increased demand as players look for more betting opportunities around the clock.
Suppliers have to be the enablers for operators, ensuring that they constantly innovate and improve their products. At SIS, our products and services constantly evolve, whether it’s low-latency data and pictures delivery via SIS Stream, increasing the product range to offer operators more with our on-demand SIS Infinite Games, or providing outsourced pricing via SIS Trading Services. The role of the supplier to alleviate the pressure on in-house operator teams continues to grow.
SBC: How should operators build live betting competencies that will aid their day-to-day operations (marketing, pricing, services, development etc…)
PW: Operators of all sizes can make the most of outsourcing to maximise the quality and speed of their service. The ability for suppliers to offer more than ever, such as gaming and pricing in addition to pictures and data in the case of SIS, enables operators to attribute resources to improve their live betting competencies. The push for sportsbooks must be to continue to develop more markets, and deliver to the highest quality across multiple devices.
SBC: In terms of live-betting development, is the industry too focused on football as a market, has this been detrimental to product development for other sports?
PW: The reality is that football is, by far, the most popular sport in the UK & Globally, and it’s the job of the betting industry to cater to its audience’s interests. For the foreseeable future, the betting industry will continue to focus on football. But innovations in other sports are at the forefront of our minds at SIS. For example, we’re developing horses in-running data delivery which has the potential to shake up the way that punters bet on racing and deliver a completely new revenue opportunity
The appetite for more markets – particularly in the live environment – means that operators must always be ready to expand and grow into new areas and interests to keep up with their changing demographics. eSports is a great example; virtually unheard of a few years ago, now many operators are growing their offering.
SBC: Assessing current industry trends, do you feel that there may be an industry uniformity in live betting products and functions in with regards to consumer offerings?
PW: There can never be complete uniformity because, to succeed, operators and suppliers need to make sure they stand out from the crowd with their own products and differentiators. Yes, there will always be crossover in the markets offered, as companies have to listen to what customers want and cater to it. But within those similarities, operators will always find their own identity, be it through marketing, prices, specials, offers, multi-channel offerings or otherwise.
PW: The way that punters bet now is quickly, instantly and when they want. I don’t see that trend slowing down. The requirement for on-demand betting opportunities keeps getting bigger, which is one of the reasons we’ve developed our own on-demand virtual gaming products. Operators and suppliers will need to keep developing services and markets that can be viewed, understood and actioned very quickly. For everyone talks about mobile first and innovating in that channel is really driving the overall behaviour of the market.
The need for data is another aspect that is growing. Horse racing punters have long studied form, but in football the need for easily-digestible data, at the touch of a button, to enable bettors to make quick, informed decisions, is paramount to future success.
SBC: You will be speaking at BOS conference on user engagements within live betting environments, what do you want delegates to take-away from your session?
PW: One of the main points to remember is the size and importance of the role that suppliers are playing in supporting operators in their innovation and delivery to customers. In horse racing in particular, innovation has been a long time coming, but it’s now here. New products such as in-running data open up huge opportunities and revenue potential for operators, while also reaching further into the media, making more information and analysis available for punters. It’s an exciting time for live betting, and operators and suppliers should be excited.
Paul Witten – SIS – Commercial Director
Live Betting user engagement will be discussed at Betting on Sports Conference (15-16 September, Grange Hotel, London)