Nikos Konstakis (pictured), VP Sportsbook at SG Digital, explains why the sports betting industry is well positioned for growth in the months ahead and how content will drive the user experience to new heights.
As we enter a huge year for the betting industry with major sporting events providing real growth opportunities for operators, there is finally cause for optimism following an unprecedented 12 months for the sector.
We are all too aware of how the pandemic has impacted the industry, but there have been some positive lasting changes that will help the sector to emerge strongly in 2021. One such example is the renewed perception of sports betting itself, with the products we offer becoming firmly established as a form of entertainment.
When live sports returned to the fold last year while lockdown measures were still imposed, it highlighted the significance of sports betting in providing enjoyable and entertaining experiences to people worldwide, all done in a responsible way. For Scientific Games, this is hugely important given we view ourselves as a provider of responsible entertainment products to players across the globe.
Events in 2020 also led to a switch in thought processes into how customers were served and the overall user journey itself. The digitalisation of the sector evolved rapidly as bettors moved to the online environment to find their favourite forms of entertainment, while this placed greater emphasis too on making the user experience as seamless as possible.
With the current landscape still influenced by the pandemic, it is likely these themes will continue in the months ahead as the sports betting sector continues to adjust to this new normal.
Renewed focus on content for 2021
12 months ago the industry was preparing for a busy summer of sporting action with the European Championships and Olympics in Tokyo. Today we find ourselves back to square one following last year’s postponements, but lessons learned will ensure we can provide a better service for bettors.
Content has always been king and will continue to be a key focus in 2021. With our industry operating 24/7 in markets across the globe, we continuously face the challenge of delivering quality products at all hours of the day and keeping up with demand.
We are rising to the challenge by thinking outside of the box and building on established products to guarantee the end user is served across all hours of the day and with innovative concepts. For this to work, the customer must be at the focal point of new developments.
Identifying more creative user journeys and finding smarter ways to feed contemporary content across all channels are just some of the key areas that will sharpen the sports betting experience in 2021.
For sportsbooks, expanding the content offering can be a timely and costly exercise, especially when creating new products in-house. OpenArena, the industry’s first sports content aggregator by Scientific Games, is rising to this challenge by providing a much easier route to adding more content and features to their sportsbook from a range of suppliers without incremental work.
OpenArena enables access to top-tier sports betting intelligence, data feeds and tools without the need for complex integrations and financial agreements.
The content marketplace provides efficiency in project delivery for operators with one single integration route, which takes the pressure off development teams and gives them greatly increased speed to market with the widest range of content possible.
Foundations set for a strong year
Now that the industry has acclimatised to the knock-on effects of the pandemic, a new era of sports betting is set to unfold. Utilising new technology to drive new products and being more creative within the user journey must be scaled up to serve bettors responsibly in today’s marketplace.
Regulation is increasingly evolving too, with new markets embracing online sports betting. In Europe, Germany and the Netherlands will be a key focus for many operators, while the US market continues to gather pace with numerous state openings for sportsbooks to capitalise on the gold rush.
It is an intriguing time for the industry with new opportunities on the horizon. Technology will be a key enabler for growth across multiple markets, ensuring all forms of entertainment are adapted to different customer needs and behaviours.
Having the right content on offer and delivered in the most efficient manner will allow sportsbooks to experience a strong year of growth.