British retail bookmaker Star Sports recently launched its first online sports betting site, enlisting the help of London-based platform provider Two-Up Digital to do so. SBC caught up with Two-Up CEO Robbie Morris to find out more about the partnership.
SBC: As a developer, how testing/difficult has it been to launch legacy racing bookmaker Star Sports digital proposition? How does this project differ to other industry product launches?
Robbie Morris: It’s been a slog, but I wouldn’t say it’s been typically difficult. Because we took on the project as a start-up, we’ve battled through with a ‘just get it done’ attitude and that has helped us drive against the delivery milestones. A lack of process has meant some difficult periods, but we had a vision and we delivered it against our projected plans.
When we look back at it like that, then it’s been a huge success and has given us the foundations to build a truly scalable platform in a truly agile environment. Having worked in delivery of projects for the last 10 years, there aren’t many that I can say went out exactly as projected.
SBC: When taking on board this project, what unique factors and dynamics did you research with regards to Star Sports, its history, its brand, and its betting proposition?
RM: Having worked with Star Sports for the last six years or so, we always had a strong idea of Star’s brand presence, where it was aiming itself in the market and what it wanted to achieve. Ben’s a big advocate of trying ideas and not being afraid to fail. This gave us licence to tackle the project in a way that suited both the build of Star Sports, and the scaling of the platform.
We’ve been very keen all along to showcase our product and customer knowledge, and use the skill sets that we’ve garnered working in the industry to develop something that can allow us to move away from the industry norm. While we had an initial brief to get Star up and running online, we’re in a position now where we can quickly develop and launch new and exciting product quickly. Expect some exciting innovations in the Star product over the next few months.
SBC: Did you develop Star Sports website with a particular target audience in mind or were you aiming for a wider public appeal?
RM: This is where we had to define and develop a fine balance. Star’s customer base expect high levels of professionalism and customer service, but at the same time we wanted to be able to allow Star to evolve that customer base to attract a more casual punter. We also had to think about going to market with a B2B platform product so we had to factor in a lot.
We consulted closely with a number of Star’s customers, and I like to think we delivered a website that they appreciate without closing off the more casual punter.
SBC: Its appears that you have placed a high emphasis on highlighting Star Sports unique content and expertise on sports/racing. Why is this dynamic important for the portal’s user engagement?
RM: The work Star are doing behind the scenes in both the horse racing and greyhound industry is only there to improve the outreach of both sports to a wider audience. Star are out to engage and retain customers, rather than just offer something that every other bookmaker is doing and we wanted to support that.
It would be too easy too just go to market with the same as everyone else, we want to prove that we can offer a different experience for the operators on our platform based on where they want to position themselves.
SBC: Finally, what is next install for the partnership between Star Sports and Two-Up?
RM: It’s going to be an exciting few months. The casino (in partnership with NYX) will launch in the coming weeks. Our build-a-bet product, which we believe has the best interface of the ones out there, will launch in the next two months and we’ve got some strong visions on how to develop a different international racing product.
Obviously America is something we’re exploring closely, and continuing to acquire and retain new customers will forever be at the forefront of any plans. We’re excited about what the future holds in store.