iGaming Business magazine Sports Betting Focus 2017 - Page 3

Sports Betting Focus 2017 very agile, because we don’t know exactly in which direction, or directions, the market could go. Getting the business models, tech- stacks and data in order that will allow you to respond is the key challenge right now.” Grasping opportunities Sport is preparing for a big year in 2018 – with the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, followed by football’s Fifa World Cup in Russia. However, Lögdberg is convinced that traditional and established events now represent only part of the sports-betting story as the sector edges closer to the third decade of the new millennium. Referring to the example of the rise in popularity of esports worldwide, Lögdberg says: “I think sports betting can reach more demographics that have never really been wagering on sports. Around the world, interest in sports is huge, but the interest in sports betting is only a fraction of this. “Esports is one example that really can work for some of the new players. It is defi nitely a product that can speak to people who have never seen themselves placing a sports bet.” The daily fantasy sports (DFS) market, which is straddling the regulatory sports betting line in North America and remains in a tumultuous state as a result, is another area in which traditional operators can fl ourish with the right approach. Although signifi cant question marks remain over DFS, Lögdberg does believe that the appeal of the sector amongst a younger demographic shows that there is untapped potential. “DFS is a tricky one as if the US had real sports betting, how big would DFS be? We are yet to see DFS fl y in Europe from a revenue perspective. Regulation in the US is something that everyone keeps an eye on, as this would be a major change for the whole sports betting industry,” he says. “I do believe in DFS in that for many players it is a more accessible way to bet on sports rather than the more traditional product and is more attractive to a younger audience. The younger generation are not necessarily fans of a team, but more a player, and they will follow that player wherever he goes.” Just as media companies have evolved their coverage of sports to accommodate a more tech-savvy and data-hungry audience in recent years, sports betting providers also need to refl ect on how they are perceived by the next generation. “For Millennials, you are probably looking at a repackaging of sports betting and it is likely that new channels will be important as well.” Lögdberg says. “With mobile, the player always has your product in their pocket, but at the same time you face more competition from various other forms of entertainment. You really need to make yourself relevant as a sportsbook.” Reinvention Despite the emergence of mobile betting technology and a clear preference for many punters to place wagers ‘on the go’, Lögdberg points out that retail and the opportunities with omni-channel absolutely must not be forgotten. Suggesting that retail still represents around 75% of the global betting market, Lögdberg adds that there is still a lot to be gained from the humble betting shop experience. “It is important to pay attention to retail as while this market clearly isn’t growing like online, it is certainly not shrinking either,” Lögdberg says. “Retail is defi nitely reinventing itself by becoming more digital, where players can get the in-play product experience at a retail venue, and it will defi nitely have a place in this industry for a long time to come.” With that in mind, innovation is key and it is inevitable that some of the larger sharks in the sea will swallow up some smaller fi sh. Lögdberg says that despite advancements in recent years – in particular the growth of in-play and mobile betting – the desire to improve mass-used sports-betting services remains as acute as ever. “The market is maturing and becoming increasingly crowded,” Lögdberg adds. “Everyone needs to fi nd their place in the value chain and identify where they can deliver more value than their competition. “This will inevitably lead to M&As, outsourcing and, in some cases, insourcing. Companies need to use all of these measures, while at the same time identifying where they need to be in the value chain. “Better use of data is going to become important for all companies in the sports betting industry over the coming years. Once we begin to use data properly, we are going to see the end user experiences being different for different users and see more niche propositions. “But right now, it is a big risk to be one of the fi rst to go and do this sort of thing as the traditional product has been working quite well. It’s about making that transition and companies need to be able to do both, so I think it’s time for some companies to start trying things out.” Erik Lögdberg is chief business development offi cer at Kambi. Erik started working for Unibet Group plc in 2005, as head of live betting from an operational as well as product development perspective. iGamingBusiness | Issue 105 | July/August 2017 | 63