iGaming Business magazine Mobile Gaming Outlook - Page 5

Mobile Gaming Outlook WIN-WIN SITUATION It’s a tricky thing to get right but the complex world of instant betting can prove a hit for both operators and players, says Max Meltzer Sports betting has long been a game of opinions. If a player believes something is going to happen, then as a sportsbook we must give them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. While that may never change, at Kambi we are seeing a new demographic of sports betting customer coming through. The rapid growth of in-play betting, particularly on mobile, has created an explosion of new quickfire instant betting markets – bet offers that last anywhere between 30 and 90 seconds. Kambi began offering instant betting markets around 10 years ago, but it’s only during the last two years that we’ve really seen an increase in instant betting appetite. What these rapid markets offer is a betting option for those that have no real opinion on the outcome of a game or match but seek an experience s imilar to the quickfire thrill they enjoy when playing random number games such as slots or roulette. This valuable cohort of customer prefers a product where they can spend five or 10 minutes with a reasonably modest bankroll and turn that sum over a number of times until spent. Learning lessons One of the features of social games like Candy Crush and mobile slots is that people can enjoy the instant gratification they bring while on the bus, or during a TV commercial break. Players are able to dip in and out of the product whenever they please. Until recently, this immediate and repetitive experience wasn’t offered by sportsbooks. With the product mix more geared towards markets with a long shelf life, it didn’t lend itself to ‘snacking’ player behaviour. This is why Kambi led the way in developing and offering instant betting markets. Players can now bet in-play on the current point in tennis, what the next occurrence on a football pitch will be, or whether the next field goal in basketball will be a two- or three-pointer. The list goes on. These instant markets have proven extremely popular, right through from our customers in Europe, to those in South and Latin America, and more recently in the US following the opening up of the market and our partnerships with DraftKings and Rush Street Interactive. As well as being hugely popular on mobile, they engage the retail customer too; walk into a PlayCity casino in Mexico and you’ll find players betting on these rapid markets through one of our modern self-service betting terminals. Max Meltzer is chief commercial officer at Kambi Group. He was previously head of sales at the Press Association, having originally joined the company within the racing and sports betting commercial team. Appealing to the masses Having these markets on offer provides our operators with an opportunity to acquire new players or cross-sell their casino players into a similarly rapid-fire product, and one which offers greater yield. While we don’t expect instant sports betting to replace players’ casino play, it can certainly increase share of wallet, particularly during high- profile events such as the World Cup or Wimbledon. Take our customer Mr Green as a prime example. A heritage casino brand, Mr Green realised instant betting’s crossover appeal to a casino- playing audience. Leveraging our open APIs, Mr Green built an instant betting tennis lobby, which recreated the feel of a casino lobby, and enabled players to bet with one touch – removing the need for a bet slip. As a result, they now have high turnover customers betting point- by-point on tennis matches. Expertise required However, unlike roulette and slots, instant betting in sports is complex to offer. That’s not me being disrespectful to online gaming, but offering an RNG game is very much a different beast to offering odds on live sports, particularly in-play, and even more so when these markets settle every minute or so. Instant betting carries obvious risk, data and latency concerns. And, as a product, it can only work if the markets are constantly available to bet, even during difficult match situations. For this, the whole supply chain must function in perfect harmony: the quickest live score data, integrated into sophisticated automated trading tools, models based on years of iterations, all run by an expert trading team able to manage risk and liabilities in real time. We have learned a lot of lessons in getting to where we are today – achieving the steady margins we have on such complex offers is far from straightforward. And by doing so, we have managed to widen the appeal of sports betting. We’ve welcomed a new audience to this wonderful vertical of ours and at the same time opened up a new revenue stream for our partners. i GamingBusiness | Issue 112 | September/October 2018 85