Mobile technologies have indisputably made a tremendous impact on the evolution of live (aka in-play) betting that currently drives more and more online operators to innovate their offering for those customers who don't want to wait till the end of the match to see the bets completed. The excitement of live betting means players can log in when the game is already in session, bet dynamically based on own analysis and insights, and enjoy the variety of rapidly changing odds during the game. For industry it means boosted revenues as a result of the bulk game. For instance, SBTech's live betting platform features over 30 different types of sports, over 200 bet types and 12,000 live events each month where players can bet anytime and from anywhere. Compared to a pre-match betting, it means a flow of online or mobile transactions dropping instantly into the operator's wallet (almost on a 24/7 basis). According to Suren Khachatryan, CEO at BetConstruct, today's in-play betting accounts for 70-80% of many operators' turnover from online betting.
Yet, to keep in-play betting sustainable and truly profitable, sports betting operators need to significantly improve their risk management and customer intelligence capabilities, as well as front-end development and UX/UI design to ensure a cutting-edge in-play betting experience for players. Erik Lorenz from Sportradar Group says "in-play betting in particular requires an increased investment in the bookmaker's technological infrastructure to stay ahead of the competition" (cited in eGaming Review, issue 121).
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As a matter of fact, it's no longer enough for operators to offer a wider range of sports and bet types to punters, as the latter are increasingly demanding multi-channel sportsbook experiences, mobile access, rapid pay-outs and minimal fuss while using technology.
So, what makes in-play betting UX great and can help increase the revenue potential for modern sportsbooks?
- Engaging and interactive second screen user experience (e.g. tablet apps, as betters often use tablets for betting in the evening or at weekends, while they use mobile and desktop at any time during the day)
- Features such as ball spotting, live stats, integrated betting offers, attack visualization, and likewise
- User friendly UI design and intuitive navigation on devices with a limited screen size
- Localization, i.e. a player from the UK will see England Premiership matches first right after logging in
- Personalization, i.e. in-app messaging and push notifications based on each particular player's individual betting preferences, favorite bet types, games, etc
Yet, according to Itai Zak, SBTech's CEO, as in-play betting competition increases, each operator tends to provide a premium UX across all verticals, which means increased costs, smarter multi-screen interfaces, and better math algorithms. Since only few operators are able to meet ever growing market demands for technology innovations on their own, the majority are looking for software suppliers that can help them provide a great live betting solution at affordable costs and with a very high level of reliability. Also, many operators are trying to avoid the risk of running labor-intensive in-house development operations.
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Kambi's Chief BD Officer Erik Logdberg believes that "in order to be competitive, drive retention and deliver an exceptional UX, the only viable option is to outsource the sportsbook." (cited in eGaming Review, issue 121). Doing so enables the operator to reduce time to market, access better technology and create own know-how, and cut operational costs.
And do you agree with Erik Logdberg? What's your take on this?
Source: eGaming Review, 2014, issue 121