SBC News caught up with PA Betting Services (PA) duo Richard Duncan (Head of Business Development) and Kyle Brady (Racing Operations Services Manager), as well as Brent Dolan, Commercial Director for UK and Europe at Racing and Sports (RAS), to discuss the significance of the recent PA and RAS deal.
SBC: Can you tell us more about the thinking behind this new collaboration?
Richard Duncan: Our partnership with Racing and Sports (RAS), a leading Australian Racing Technology company, showcases PA Betting Services’ ongoing commitment to international expansion and enhancing what is already a well-regarded product located at the heart of many operators’ horse racing offering.
With RAS delivering premium racing content and associated services for over 20 international territories, their presence and wealth of experience mirrors our own commitment.
The trading tool – one of several key solutions to come as a result of this partnership – also demonstrates our dedication to improving customer experience. This new platform provides operators choice in how they wish to grow revenues and protection against contracting volume elsewhere in the sportsbook.
Brent Dolan: Both parties share an ambition to innovate and our varying skill sets and vast experience will no doubt strongly complement each other. We are excited at the opportunities this partnership will bring.
PA Betting Services is instrumental in the delivery of fixed odds betting to the industry and the trading tool will provide customers with an audited betting solution not available elsewhere.
With this partnership drawing upon the experience and integrity that PA Betting Services offer, alongside our technical expertise, and market-leading knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning and new data and advanced analytics, this collaboration is a perfect fit to showcase the benefits of this technology to the European, rapidly expanding US markets and beyond.
SBC: It’s fair to say this year has not been one without challenge for the betting industry. What key lessons do you think sportsbooks have learned from the harsh reality lockdown brought and has it been a catalyst for change?
RD: Our industry was out of necessity encouraged to explore new opportunities and products owing to the lack of traditional sports content during the first wave of lockdown measures. Some of these did very well in place of staples such as football, horse racing and other sports like basketball.
Thankfully, the second wave hasn’t curtailed domestic horse racing and it won’t be a casualty this time round. Nevertheless, we believe the necessity to embrace opportunities that increase or maintain volume and good cost management will be a key challenge throughout the winter months.
BD: Engaging with existing and more importantly the new wave of bettor is essential but keeping costs to a minimum is also a major factor. Our alliance with PA, who are committed to providing customers with innovative new products which we fully expect will increase interest and margin, in all forms of horse and greyhound racing, while keeping costs down.
SBC: Is that what you think has inspired this new collaboration and the new trading solution that has come as a result?
RD: Following our rebrand last October, the PA Betting Services management team have been working to realise the ambition to diversify our core product portfolio and offer more choice to operators. Discussions with RAS started in Summer 2019 as part of a wider strategic collaboration.
Lockdown here in the UK served to act as an accelerator to launch this project forward, giving us the chance to speak to our customers and identify pain points in trading teams for the development and expansion of markets.
BD: There are several areas where we are looking to develop our relationship. Taking a more global perspective in the short time of collaboration we have already identified other exciting opportunities. The trading solution and its services are one element of where we have set our sights with further announcements to be made over the coming months.
One result of the Covid-19 virus has been the forced transitioning of some businesses to more cost sensitive models. The RAS and PA partnership will provide cost effective solutions to assist that transformation.
SBC: This solution is very much targeted towards trading teams and trading directors as a way to make their jobs easier – how does the solution achieve this?
Kyle Brady: The first step to achieving this was to grow and then analyse our pricing sample. Once this was complete, the next step was to create unique templates that enable us to produce robust and risk-free betting markets. Trading teams and directors will soon notice that any market managed by the trading tool will provide very few arbitrage opportunities which will have a positive impact on margin.
From my experience running trading teams at one of the top online bookmakers I know how important it is as a trader to hit my targets. We’ve built the platform to be as flexible as possible, so teams working with us can define how these templates work for them, creating essentially a bespoke service unique to each client.
SBC: You mentioned about cost arbitrage being a challenge for sportsbooks – how big of an issue do you think it’s been in recent years and do you see any future challenges arising from arbitrage instigators in response to your solution?
KB: I think this has been a big challenge, particularly for international services that are in their infancy. One of the benefits of the platform which makes it stand apart is the ability to understand where the market is strongest to enable us to produce a compelling and competitive service.
The real-world implication of this is that the opportunities for arbitrage bettors are going to shrink on customer platforms benefitting from PA Betting Services’ partnership with RAS’ trading platform, forcing them to look elsewhere.
SBC: Technology continues to be an enabler for many betting firms looking to overcome certain business challenges. It’s fair to say this is an exciting time for our industry.
BD: Having been involved in the collation of fixed odds betting, domestically and internationally over the past 40 years, it’s apparent the use of technology is essential to provide the ever-growing appetite of bettors. What has been created enables clients a fixed odds and derivative service that has the flexibility to meet their individual requirements.
SBC: This tool definitely provides sportsbooks with an increased volume of betting markets – has the need for more betting opportunities been made more urgent by the lockdown?
KB: Yes, I think so. Sportsbooks need an offering that caters for all areas of their customer base and with many racing jurisdictions falling away at the end of March and with future uncertainty, the tool offers more opportunities for wagering across content where racing is available.
Some customers want to get their bets on early, some want to bet odds on and others want to take a shot at an outsider. We provide this through our derivative markets, increased show lengths and via new partnerships with international content owners to provide overseas racing into the domestic market.
SBC: If you could say a few words to sum up this year for the betting industry, what would they be?
KB: Incredibly challenging but I would hope that many operators are now in a position where they can see positives from a bleak situation. We have all had to be even more innovative in 2020 and we have had to move fast to bring in new services and new opportunities. I think we have done this well and it raises the bar for what can be achieved in 2021.
BD: Needless to say, an unprecedented period for the betting industry not seen since the foot and mouth crisis of 2001. Nevertheless, the foundations we have agreed between the two organisations, certainly sees us strategically positioned to provide clients a wider and varied range of services.
RD: I would echo the comments of Kyle and Brent. No doubt a very difficult year and not one we could have predicted, but I feel confident that we will all emerge stronger as a result.
SBC: And if potential customers want to find out more about new products and coverage from PA Betting Services, how would they go about this?
RD: Please do reach out if you’re keen to know about our trading solution. We are happy to discuss and arrange trials, demos and conduct open conversations to understand your challenges. Both PA Betting Services and Racing and Sports are always happy to explore how we can help, particularly with other planned solutions that will come as a result of this collaboration in the near future.
You can direct your enquiries via our landing page here, where it will give you more information about our current trading solution.