SBC begins the week by speaking to Metric Gaming CEO Peter Bertilsson on the innovation of football betting markets. A year after its full launch, Metric Gaming has looked to boost in-play betting engagements by offering ‘Super Live’ markets for partner operators.
Peter Bertilsson: An advocate for industry innovation, Bertilsson has held numerous executive and governance roles at leading gambling technology providers. Bertilsson outlines the need for innovation to nurture within football betting as operators seek for points of differentiation whilst trying to engage with more knowledgeable customers base.
SBC: You will be discussing innovation at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference. At present, is the context of innovation and product development for sports betting fully understood, what is really at stake when sports betting innovation is discussed?
PB: Unlike typical casino gambling (e.g., slots, table games, etc.), sports betting relies on an underlying “game” that never really changes – the sport itself. Because of this phenomenon, it’s often easy to overlook the capacity for innovation in the sports betting sector. But innovation need not be relegated to the underlying game – it can (and should) extend to the ways in which bettors interact with that game, which is precisely where the possibilities for sports wagering innovation are virtually limitless. The “Cash-out” option is a good example, as it elegantly changed the dynamic of the sports wager itself – turning it into a fluid investment rather than a binary proposition – creating a simple but compelling new way for players to engage with their sports bets.
SBC: Focusing on football as a sport, how has your team looked to bring innovation to betting markets? What has been your point of focus when developing football related customer engagements?
PB: With sports wagering trending increasingly towards in-play, and football being the world’s most popular wagering sport, it is ironic that football is perhaps the least conducive of all sports to in-play betting (given its lack of natural breaks). Our goal with football is therefore to avoid churning out in-play markets that may not be particularly compelling (e.g., which team will have the next throw-in), and focus instead on eliminating in-play “dead spots” by developing unique trading methods and wagering opportunities that allow us to keep our markets open longer and more often than the competition. We also offer unique markets like dangerous free-kicks and dynamic markets that increase the “sweat” component dramatically.
SBC: In terms of creating innovations for key betting markets such as football, do you feel that there is a fear from operators to engage in new mechanisms? How difficult is it to experiment with a fast moving mechanism such as live betting?
PB: There is always a general fear of the new or unknown, particularly where sophisticated technology is involved that may be incompatible with existing older systems. We therefore find that testing new concepts can be difficult for operators not only from a psychological perspective, but from a practical one as well. I nevertheless believe fast-paced, instant gratification sports betting will be a must-have for any sportsbook in the coming few years, which will naturally force operators to invest in new technology and adapt, or risk being left behind altogether.
SBC: Top tier operator are placing a higher emphasis on Omni-channel strategies and product independence? How will this factor impact industry and football betting innovation in the long run?
PB: Mobile solutions are now an absolute necessity, and we are increasingly seeing retail shops adapting by accommodating in-store use of personal smartphones and tablets. Ultimately, I believe we will see an industry-wide effort to allow bettors to recreate the retail sportsbook experience anywhere – namely by providing live, real-time streaming of all games on all mobile devices, mimicking the numerous television feeds available in brick-and-mortar locations.
SBC: Which future technologies and trends do you feel will have the biggest impact on football betting, what should the industry be preparing for?
PB: Real-time broadcasts of all sporting events on mobile channels, with the ability to wager on hundreds of in-play markets during each game (with winnings paid out in real time) – in harmony with our increasingly “instant gratification” culture.
SBC: As a speaker at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference, what do you want delegates to take away from your session?
PB: That keeping up with modern technology is critical to maintain and attract market share, as the new generation of punter has been raised on mobile devices with practically unlimited, lightning-fast entertainment options, and will expect nothing less from its sportsbooks.
Peter Bertilsson – CEO – Metric Gaming
Peter Bertilsson will be speaking on Football Betting Innovation at the Betting on Football Conference on 10 September