Mediatech Solutions (R. Franco Group) is sponsoring Betting on Football 2017, the fourth edition of the largest international football and betting trade conference at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge.
Ahead of the 3-5 May event, we spoke to Mediatech Executive Director Daniel Graetzer about why football is such an attractive sport for betting, how the market is changing from a consumer perspective and how betting and football stakeholders can work more effectively together.
SBC: Why is football such an attractive sport for betting?
DG: In Spain, where Mediatech Solutions – R. Franco is based, we are fortunate to have two of the biggest clubs in world football – Real Madrid and Barcelona – so it’s no surprise to learn that football is by far our most popular sport.
Like any other region, football and betting go hand in hand and Spain is no exception.
For an audience so in love with the beautiful game, betting offers an additional form of entertainment alongside their favourite sport. Fans always want to get themselves even more involved in the action, and betting is the perfect medium for that.
SBC: From a consumer perspective, how is football betting changing?
DG: In-play software has completely revolutionised the way customers bet on football. Pre-match markets will always be popular, but to be able to bet on who will win the next corner or score the next goal during an actual live football match has certainly been a game changer.
In Spain, we have also seen a huge rise in the number of people betting in sports in general. According to figures released by the Spanish regulator, sportsbook revenue rose 32% in 2016 on the previous year to €238.2 million.
The popularity of sport, in particular football, will undoubtedly grow in the region and we expect more operators to enter the market as a result.
SBC: How can betting & football stakeholders work better and more effectively together?
DG: In my experience with the gaming side of the industry, the football betting sector needs to work closely alongside regulators and other stakeholders, and seek a mutual understanding of each other’s requirements.
Lawmakers’ have the unenviable task of determining what’s best for a newly-regulated territory such as Spain, and balancing the political needs with the practical desires of the sports betting industry and its customers can be difficult. We have found that an honest and open discussion is the best for all parties.
SBC: What new technology do you feel will have the biggest impact on football betting?
DG: As mentioned earlier, in-play betting has made a huge impact on the football betting industry and this will continue as suppliers look to further innovate by offering more markets than ever.
However, operators on a flexible platform run by those with local expertise will be the ones at an advantage, especially in Spain.
This allows for operators to engage in marketing specific to the target audience, alter user experience and prioritise the product offering based on demand and regulation.
SBC: What key agenda, debate or discussion do you want to hear at BOFCON 2017?
DG: I’m hugely looking forward to representing Mediatech by speaking on the panel discussing the potential of the Spanish and LatAM markets.
There is great optimism within the Spanish online gambling market at the moment after recording record-breaking revenues and turnover last year.
There is definitely an appetite for further growth in the market, not just with sports but with casino. With a solid and evolving regulatory framework in place, the challenge facing Spain now is to push forward with innovation across areas such as server-based retail gaming, where we are now able to create a full omni-channel experience, and expand into new verticals such as virtual sports.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Europe’s major operators make moves in Spain in the coming months and years.