Europe’s betting industry has seen major innovations driving revenue over the past two decades, but in recent years the key changes are taking place in back offices.
This was the view of the SBC Leaders panel at Betting on Sports Europe (BOSE). Kicking off the three-day event, a diverse group of industry experts discussed past, current and future trends in the European betting and gaming space..
Moderated by William Scott, Director at Warrenside Ltd, and sponsored by kiron Interactive, the discussion highlighted how many of the innovations in the contemporary industry take place behind the scenes.
For Sportradar’s Regional CEO – EMEA & LatAm, Werner Becher, the ‘big revenue driver’ of mobile betting emerged 15 years ago, and in the time since cash out and bet builder features have enhanced the customer experience – but these have not been the key growth generators.
He noted: “I see in the back office and in the machine rooms of our industry. If you look at the trading rooms of operators, if you look at how they do CRM and marketing today – a lot of things have changed.
“I see a lot of innovation in our industry, and especially artificial intelligence is from my point of view, a big game changer in our industry.”
Regulation has, to an extent, partly been a reason for a lack of innovation in recent years, according to Pinnacle CEO, Paris Smith, who identified Ontario as an example of an ideal regulatory environment.
“We have a specific amount of resources and when you go into a market it’s so labour intensive meeting all the different requirements,” Smith added.
“You don’t have the opportunity to work on the personal preference gauges and all the different things that we as an industry should be so much further ahead on.
“Giving that player the right experience, in an ideal world, that would be the focus, but it’s not – it’s making sure that we have all the compliance, AML and automation.”
Finding common ground early on in the session, Smith and Kwiff CEO, Charles Lee, argued that greater international cooperation between regulators and operators would be ideal, with the latter stating that firms need to be flexible in how they interact with regulatory bodies.
“I think if you’re building a sportsbook it’s important to be able to fluctuate between those different regulatory bodies,” he said.
“I think if you leave it to us to decide how regulation works we might have a very different angle compared to a politician for example.
“I think the problem is the oversight of regulatory bodies to a certain extent, which can lead to a ‘dictatorship’ and telling you how it should work.”
Returning to the topic of innovation from a commercial perspective, Lee also observed that a significant change in betting over the past two decades has been an upsurge in the choices available to customers.
The CEO stated that automation is now widely accepted across the sector, and by putting trading intelligence into technology firms can gain an advantage, but this requires effective use of data.
He continued: “As long as you can interpret the data that the players are telling you, you can do that – If you can’t grasp that data or you can’t analyse it correctly, it’s going to be very hard to keep up with other operators who are doing that.”