Bobby Longhurst speaks to iNTERGAMINGi about the company’s continued expansion in LatAm and Africa
What are the major challenges when building a sports betting platform?
Ensuring that a platform is localised effectively for a specific market is one of the key requirements for a number of operators in today’s marketplace. The notion that a one-size-fits-all solution can power a modern sports betting offering within a heavily regulated industry has definitively been debunked.
As a platform provider to operators worldwide, it’s apparent that player preferences are different across every jurisdiction. Therefore, a non-localised approach can be particularly disastrous for operators, particularly those entering emerging markets across LatAm or Africa. For instance, special consideration needs to be paid to the level of technology players have access to in these territories.
Then there is the challenge of ensuring that the operator is fully in control of their service from the word go. In order for us to do this effectively, a solid and modular architecture and agile processes are a must, enabling us to hand over the reins to the operator when they are ready to launch. This goes a long way to supporting scalability and allows operators to be more fluid in changing regulatory landscapes.
Nothing stands still for long in the iGaming world, which is why we are a platform provider committed to handing the controls to the operator and honing the processes they work with every day.
For those not in the know, what’s new in the world of online sports betting?
The current trend focuses very much on personalisation, both at the operator and end-user levels. For operators, differentiation is key in order to compete within a saturated marketplace, as well as enter newly-regulated markets. Our Quantum platform has modularity at its core, meaning operators have the power to control and personalise their own offering, subsequently making the overall experience better for players.
Elsewhere, eSports has grown enormously popular across a range of markets, particularly in LatAm. There is a vast amount of data to hand around esports, however, the wider industry has yet to start collecting it in earnest and using it effectively. If this level of popularity continues and the sector learns to harness this information properly, then it will only be a matter of time before eSports becomes a mainstay of the typical sportsbook.
In which markets does your company currently operate?
We’re live in multiple territories with Latin America and Africa, which are both thriving markets for us. Sportingtech’s commanding position in is well-documented and we recently agreed a major partnership to provide 888Africa with our Quantum platform across a number of countries across Africa.
We will continue expanding across both markets, partnering with more operators and providing them with a platform that is both reliable and delivers strong revenues. Quantum is already proven to do this. Through our modular offering and backed with local people providing excellent customer support on the ground, we’re able to build a tailored product for each market.
As the company continues to grow, which new markets are you looking to venture into and why?
The coming months will be key for Sportingtech in demonstrating to operators how vital a robust, scalable and localised platform is when entering new markets. This will be particularly evident in the run-up to the World Cup, with a host of new and existing sportsbooks identifying ways to capitalise on the global tournament to attract and retain customers.
We will continue to forge a strong presence in the markets we currently operate in while proactively ensuring we evolve our offering to maintain our position as a leading platform provider to the global industry.
What are the most complex aspects of entering new markets with such unique products?
The level of complexity we encounter depends on the projects that we undertake. For example, we built an award-winning lite online sportsbook website that is highly appealing to operators in Sub-Saharan Africa due to the low wage and high data costs in the region.
This website allows users in these countries to stay online for longer at considerably lower costs. However, it was necessary for us to use far less advanced technology than we would normally deploy for such a project. It was somewhat like stepping back in time and using the technology that would have been available then, but with the benefit of all our modern know-how.
Tailoring an offering to a market like this without compromising on the end-product is critical. This is where our modular platform sets itself apart from the rest and makes the process far less complex for the operator.
What elements do you believe go into making successful products?
Above all else, a technology provider within the global sports betting industry needs an in-depth understanding of the market the product will be utilised in. Delivery an entertaining experience that end-users will enjoy and will ultimately grow revenues is paramount.
Achieving this requires knowledge of what that user is already familiar with, both in terms of their interests, such as the sports they follow, and the types of devices they use to access different forms of entertainment. If the sign-in process is too long, clunky or confusing, bettors in the most mature of markets may not persist with it and that certainly is the case too within emerging markets where a frictionless customer acquisition journey is essential.
Why do you believe your company resonates with bettors?
Our ability to resonate effectively with players is partly as a result of the tailoring of our offering to meet the needs of specific markets. As well as that, our intuitive features are built from the ground up to make life easier for the end-user and to enable our operating partners to effectively drive engagement with their bettors. A good example of this is our Fastbet innovation that allows users to bet with one click without creating a betting slip.
Furthermore, our Bet Assist, tool generates automated tips across more than 100 betting markets – both pre-match and live – based on live score and AI analysis with complete bet slip integration.
Our constant focus is on bringing the industry’s top products and features into our sportsbook solution to ensure our customers have the leading sports betting solution in the industry. This ultimately means a greater experience for bettors.
What are the most interesting trends you’ve noticed in the fast-paced online sports industry?
While in-play betting is no longer a trend and has become commonplace, sportsbooks are now looking to cater for the quick bet and quick payout trend. Ideally, we’d like to see this in a casino style by offering next-to-happen markets, which have become very popular recently. Betbuilder is probably the most recent innovation to grow in emerging markets in the same way it did a couple of years ago in mature markets.
Where do you see the industry headed in the next year?
It’s clear that there is a clampdown on advertising across the board in regulated markets and there’s no doubt that further restrictions will be enforced. Shirt sponsorship deals involving betting companies within the Premier League and lower leagues in the UK will inevitably be banned in the near future, meaning alternative ways to capture the attention of players will need to be explored.
If this is the case, it will be more important than ever that sportsbooks’ offerings are as top-tier and agile as possible to continue attracting customers without the benefit of this kind of advertising.
What exciting news should your customers be looking forward to in the near future?
We’ll release our proprietary World Cup widgets before the event’s November kick-off in Qatar, which will enable players to bet on a raft of markets including games, outrights, group betting and specials, all packaged in a World Cup Module. This initiative was originally released for the Euros 2020 tournament to great success, and following strong demand from operators, we’ve introduced them again for this winter’s major tournament, with the inclusion of some product enhancements.
Our Popular Bets and Popular Events widgets will also come into their own during the event. They allow operators to display the current top-10 bets and top-10 events across their platform, automatically refreshing every five minutes. Being able to offer our operating customers a localised, intuitive way to immediately boost engagement in this way is extremely gratifying. We have everything our clients need and more for sports betting success during the World Cup and beyond.