BOF Interview: Bernard Marantelli talks betting innovations & starting up

bernardAhead of the upcoming Betting on Football Conference on May 8,  SBC caught up with session speaker Bernard Marantelli CEO and founder of Colossus Bets. Colossus Bets is a football pool betting operator offering guaranteed jackpot prizes and consolations for easy to play correct scores and correct outcome predictions.

Bernard Marantelli set up Colossus Bets to bring lottery-sized prizes, with interactive fractional cash-in functionality, to sports betting.  He holds a First Class Honours degree in Genetics and Biochemistry and a MBA from London Business School.

Bernard Marantelli will be speaking at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference Early bath – how can operators make the most of the current trend for Cash In products

SBC: Bernard thanks for speaking to us. Can you give our readers more insight into the Colossus Bets product and what it brings to the igaming and sports betting markets?

Marantelli:The aim of Colossus Bets is to provide lottery-sized prizes on sports which people love. We’ve launched with a ground breaking multi-leg pools proposition like an acca, which includes the world’s biggest football jackpot – the £10,000,000 Colossus – a weekly pick 7 correct score football game. During World Cup 2014 Colossus Bets will be offering over £100,000,000 of guaranteed prizes, with a £2,000,000 plus game starting every day.

If that is not enough, we have the killer USP of Fractional Cash-In that enables players to Cash-In any part of their ticket leg by leg allowing them to bank some profits whilst retaining part of their ticket and shooting for a corresponding part of the £10,000,000 prize.

The company also offers pick 6 correct score games with £2,000,000 minimum guarantees as well as a series of other correct score and outcome (Home/Draw/Away) pools.

SBC: Your business is trying to bring something new to the sports betting market. In the past we have seen many new enterprises fail when trying to innovate sports betting mechanisms. Why do you think this has been the case and how will Colossus \Bets aim to conquer these issues?

Marantelli: I don’t believe there has been significant innovation in the sector since the launch of Betfair in 2000. This in turn means start-ups need to have huge marketing budgets to be able compete with incumbents. Separately, B2B distribution is fraught with issues, especially around gridlocked tech roadmaps, and with “me too” products it is very hard to recruit B2B customers.

By offering our B2B partners a £10,000,000 sports betting prize which is RISK FREE for them, we have a queue of clients and have signed almost a dozen partners. We still have the technical issues that seem to plague this industry, but slick API and Microsite options are helping to break down those barriers.

SBC: As an igaming start-up how will the recent changes to UK tax regulations affect your business, will you have to change operationally?

Marantelli: We launched our B2C offering as a UK licensed operator, so we already pay UK betting duty on all customer activity. Point of consumption taxation will not change how we are structured operationally. In fact once it is effective, because betting duty will no longer be related to where we are based and switches to where the end customer is based, we will actually pay less betting duty.

SBC:  With new regulations and taxes coming into play, will the market and sector still be an attractive proposition for entrepreneurs, investors and developers to target? Are these factors that will stifle innovation in igaming?

MarantelliI think the big challenges to new entrants in the betting sector is the powerful brands and budgets of well-established firms and if the entrant is B2B focussed, another factor is the outdated and cumbersome technology on which many betting firms still rely is also a major challenge.

SBC: With regards to innovation in sports betting. Colossus Bets has a high emphasis on the in-play cash-in functionality, how does your business make the most out of this new mechanism?

Bernard: I firmly believe Cash-In and especially Fractional Cash-In is the future of sports betting. Enabling our customers to sell parts of their tickets in a live environment keeps them fully engaged with our product, bringing them back to the site and creating a stickiness to the product. We make the most of our Fractional Cash-In feature by sending offers to players via SMSs at half-times and full-times in each legs of all of our pools. Read our Twitter feed and you will see what a hit this is proving to be, so I’m convinced Fractional Cash-In will become industry standard.

SBC: You are speaking at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference, what do you want the audience to take away from your session?

Marantelli:I would like the audience to take away from the session that:

  1. Customers want to enjoy their betting whilst being given the opportunity to shoot for properly life-changing jackpots on a sport they love.
  2.  By accessing lottery-sized prizes, existing betting and gaming operators can increase the size of their markets rather than merely competing against each other to carve up the same pie.
  3. Giving players the ability to Fractionally Cash-In allows them to fully interact with the product over an extended period of time, providing an enhanced user experience end obvious cross-sell opportunities for operators.



Bernard Marantelli – CEO & Founder of Colossus  Bet

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Innovation and in-play cash-in strategies will be discussed at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference




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