SBC’s Year In Review: April 2019’s big betting news

As 2019 comes to a close SBC looks through the year to highlight major news that you might have missed in the sports betting world.

This fourth edition looks at April and more specifically at horseracing’s shortcomings, Sportradar’s Brazilian preparation, how gambling companies can do more than just support a club’s performance on the pitch and the challenges faced in the Polish sports betting market. 

Winning Post: Is horseracing + slots a cold turkey?

Have global racing stakeholders, hidden the sport’s structural shortcomings through a dependence on gaming machines to generate revenues. Industry strategic consultancy Regulus Partners investigates this complex dependence partnership…

Horseracing and gaming machines have a curiously intertwined history on both sides of the pond. In the UK, the reduction in LBO gaming machine stakes from this week is already causing a ripple through prize money, especially at the lower end of the sport, because media rights payments are largely linked to the number of shops, not to the direct productivity of horseracing.

In the US and Canada ‘racinos’ (i.e. putting slot machines on racetracks) have been seen as a solution to declining handle for some time, with the latest US twist of ‘historic horseracing’ (effectively using old results as an RNG product, either directly into a slots format or as ‘real virtuals’) gaining traction in Kentucky (the slots version) and about to start in Virginia, but being blocked by the state senate in North Dakota (the video re-run version) this week – because they were felt to be too similar to slot machines.

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Sportradar prepares for Brazil’s online betting boom

Lorenzo Caci, Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Sportradar, admitted that “retail is still king” for sports betting in Latin America (LatAm), but suggested that the potential for online penetration – particularly in countries such as Brazil – could end up tilting the balance.

Caci said that while users generally have more trust in the idea of going to a shop to place a bet, there is a huge opportunity to leverage the growth of online betting in LatAm by “supporting its operators and leagues with the right technology and expertise to enhance fan engagement”.

He also drew parallels between South America and the developing situation in post-PASPA North America, where operators are seeing high demand amongst fans and punters alike for “live entertainment and information in the palm of their hands”.

LatAm is, like the US, very fragmented, with some countries upholding a blanket ban on betting and others like Colombia implementing legislation with great success, while Brazil is ready to regulate its huge online open market after the pre-Christmas passing of Bill MP 846.

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Neil Banbury: 32Red – Gambling operators can do more than just support a club’s performance on the football pitch

The English football renaissance in 2018 has been underpinned by a healthy mix of club sponsors, in which gambling companies have more than played their part, writes 32Red General Manager Neil Banbury.

English football has never been stronger. Gareth Southgate’s England team won back our hearts at the World Cup, the top four divisions in English football are as competitive as ever as they head into the final weeks of the season, and England Women lifted the SheBelieves Cup for the first time last month.

It’s easy to forget that one of the reasons for its strength is the healthy mix of club sponsors – competition and opportunity in sponsorship helps clubs compete financially. And gambling companies have a part to play in that mix.

Because the context that underpins all of this is vital. In short, we must not forget that gambling is a legitimate and popular entertainment option in the UK. Millions of people gamble safely and responsibly every year. 

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Niko Steinkrauß, Merkur Sportwetten: The Polish sports betting market will pose some challenges

Last week, Merkur Sportwetten GmbH grew its European and Polish presence by announcing that it was acquiring Warsaw-based Totolotek SA.

Merkur Sportwetten operates as a subsidiary of the Espelkamp-based Gauselmann Group, consolidating the group’s national and international operations. SBC spoke to the CEO of Merkur Sportwetten, Niko Steinkrauß, to discuss the new acquisition and the challenges in navigating a new market.

Steinkrauß stated: “The Polish sports betting market definitely has its challenges – the high taxation (12% of stakes), and the difficulties in effectively cutting out non-licensed online operators, to name the top two. Still we believe Poland’s size and dynamic development offer good business opportunities. Especially the retail sector is not as developed as we know it from the other markets we operate (e.g., Germany, Austria, Belgium).

“We are confident that with our omnichannel product we can make a big impact in the market and offer Polish punters the best choice across all distribution channels – be it the betting shop, the self-service terminal, or online. In addition, expanding into Poland is a Group project.”

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