Suren Khachatryan: Digitain – A sporting chance…market is no longer a land for one trick ponies

Suren Khachatryan
Suren Khachatryan

Digitain CEO Suren Khachatryan says operators must have a sportsbook offering in order to remain competitive as industry stakeholders can no longer afford to be ‘one trick ponies’…

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This year, the legal sports betting market is on track to top $70billion for the first time, according to research by the European Betting & Gaming Association. But that market at least triples in size when you factor in the hundreds of billions of dollars wagered via thousands of unlicensed sportsbooks scattered all over the world. The numbers are impressive to say the least, and are only set to rise over the coming years off the back major increases in mobile play, and the innovative new formats and products being rolled-out by operators and suppliers.

On the face of it, the global sports betting market is owned by a handful of power-players – the likes of bet365, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power Betfair – but that’s not to say there isn’t room for smaller sportsbook, casino and lottery operators to get in on the action and claim their slice of the pie. The problem is that many are deterred by the daunting task of having to design and develop a sportsbook platform in-house from the ground-up, or having to build a large team of expert traders and experienced managers to oversee the running of a white-label solution.

But there are other options available. A plug-in sportsbook, for example, is a much easier, cheaper, and efficient route to market, and one that allows casino and lottery operators to enter the fray in a meaningful way, and even claw back share from the titans of the industry. For some operators, sports betting accounts for more than half of all wagers placed, so those who do not offer their players the opportunity bet on sporting events are a) missing out on a huge potential revenue stream, and b) effectively encouraging their players to go to a rival operator for their bets. This is simply bad business.

One trick pony

The benefits of integrating a plug-in sportsbook don’t stop there, either. Not only are operators better placed to retain their current player-base, it enables them to go after new customers and demographics. They can position themselves as an entertainment hub, a one-stop shop for those looking to bet on sports, play a hand of blackjack, spin the reels on a slots machine, or even purchase a lottery ticket. In the modern era of gambling, it’s very difficult to build a successful and sustainable business by being a one-trick pony. You need to diversify and offer your players a wide range of options.

It also opens the door to additional marketing opportunities and ways of growing brand equity with a broader audience. Marketers have much more to work with, whether it be the option to cash-in or cash-out mid bet or to hinge promotions and campaigns off major sporting events such as the recent Ryder Cup or the Rio Olympics. By aligning themselves with these tournaments and matches, operators are able to add relevance to their brand and position themselves as a full scale operator rather than just being focused on one particular game vertical.

It also helps with brand and product differentiation. Online casino and slots operators often struggle to make their proposition stand out from the crowd; everyone offers the same games with ‘me too’ themes, bonuses, and sign-up offers. But a sportsbook interface is much more customisable, and can be tweaked and altered to suit an operator’s brand and voice. Whether that be using different colours and layouts, or adding in live streaming, scoreboards, and data feeds. Again, with a plug-in sportsbook, all of this can be achieved without the operator having to lift a finger.

Easy integration

So just how simple is the integration process? Here at Digitain we have worked long and hard to build a sportsbook that can be plugged into any platform through a seamless API integration. It’s very similar to your standard slots game integration. We also have a dedicated team for API delivery that work hand-in-hand with our partners during the setup stage and initial launch of the sportsbook to ensure the whole process runs smoothly. What’s more, it is a pure cloud solution, so there is no need for additional hosting and server infrastructure on the part of the operator.

For some operators, launching a sportsbook will still seem like a very daunting prospect. But as the saying goes, everything you want is on the other side of fear. And when there are platforms and products like ours on the market, where all of the headaches and cause for concern is taken care of, there really is no good reason why operators shouldn’t expand their product offering into the sports betting sphere. Sure, it is a competitive and challenging sector, but with a solid engine rumbling away under the hood, a major hurdle has already been cleared. Enough, at least, to give them a sporting chance at success.

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Suren Khachatryan – CEO – Digitain

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