In the constantly changing online gaming world, there is a vertical which has been shown to have an upwards trajectory: esports. Once considered just the latest phenomenon in gaming, esports has now grown into a robust multi-billion industry with no sight of stopping.
So when Spain’s RETAbet Group joined forces with esports provider Oddin.gg, the two planned to make significant headway in developing and innovating within the esports space. Speaking to SBC News, Alvaro González Carel, Online & Marketing Director at RETAbet Group, and Marek Suchar, co-founder and Managing Director at Oddin.gg, share their thoughts on the new partnership, discuss the prospect of esports growth, particularly in areas that RETAbet operates (Spain and Peru) before outlining their vision for a common future.
Esports betting has experienced significant growth, especially in 2021. When did you realise that this is a vertical worth investing in?
AGC: At RETAbet, we had been closely monitoring the performance of the esports vertical, viewing it as a highly attractive option to diversify our offering, above all to attract customers who were fans of video games but were yet to find what they were looking for among the more traditional options, such as sports betting and casino games.
Without question, interest in esports is continuously on the rise, and it looks like this trend will continue in the coming years. In fact, there are many brands from diverse sectors that have decided to invest in esports, through various sponsorship options, and a variety of competitions and teams are even growing in support and popularity.
Furthermore, we are observing a trend that is of great interest to any betting operator: the number of spectators is growing more quickly than the number of players, thanks to Twitch emerging as the standout videogame broadcast channel. Moreover, users not only enjoy playing video games. There is a significant number of fans who also enjoy watching pre-recorded or live games.
RETAbet operates in Spain and Peru. Can you let us know how esports betting is growing in these regions?
AGC: At RETAbet, we have decided to make a strong commitment to this vertical, given the long-term growth opportunities that we can see. The results have been positive and esports are experiencing steady growth, gradually becoming firmly established within our offering. For this reason, we wanted to give it special prominence, to allow fans of videogames to find their own place within our front end.
Thanks to the agreement we reached with Oddin.gg, we opted to develop a specific section for betting on esports, with a very strong ad hoc design also being created for this category. Similarly, we added the possibility for RETAbet users to follow live games on our front end via Twitch, allowing them to place bets conveniently, without missing a single detail on their PC or mobile, with high-quality images.
Oddin.gg has been a pioneer in esports betting since its inception. Knowing everything the company offers, where does it fit into your esports plans?
AGC: Right from the start, both of our companies hit it off perfectly, as we had the same approach to work, with high-quality content aimed at offering our users the best that the market has to offer. For us, basically, Oddin.gg stands out not only for the quality of its content, but also for the wide variety and quantity of competitions and events that it covers.
Even more importantly, it is also outstanding because of its uptime and the way it adapts live betting markets to what is happening at any given time. Thanks to this, our users are always able to find attractive markets on which they can bet on any game that is being played.
Marek, what does it mean for Oddin.gg to partner with a successful operator like RETAbet?
MS: We believe the esports ecosystem in Spain is particularly exciting. There are very popular streamers such as Ibai, one of the most followed Twitch streamers worldwide, who are bringing esports into the mainstream audience. Spanish teams like MAD Lions are also gaining popularity recently.
We feel lucky partnering with a reliable, licensed operator on the Spanish market such as RETAbet. We at Oddin.gg are honoured that RETAbet decided to take this big opportunity to lead the exciting esports betting market in Spain launching our product.
What benefits do your products bring to RETAbet’s offering?
MS: We are bringing to RETAbet the most engaging esports betting experience on the market. The esports bettor is usually younger than the one from soccer or basketball, and we know how younger generations are more demanding. For example, since they are used to work with content on demand for watching videos or music, they also expect to have multiple different options when it comes to betting.
That’s why we offer many more live markets than other esports providers. Another important aspect that defines younger generations is the inability to wait. The attention span is getting lower and lower. When offering live odds, if you suspend the markets in more than half of the game as it happens with most of the esports providers, users will rather leave than keep waiting and waiting to place a bet. This is why we provide an uptime higher than 80%, so the esports bettors can engage with the games, driving the volume and profitability for RETAbet.
There are a lot of moving parts in the betting world right now. What do you consider to be the key capabilities and expertise for an esports provider?
MS: Esports is a growing industry. When it comes to betting, it is the fastest-growing vertical. A successful esports provider must have the flexibility and agility to constantly evolve and stay up to date with offered services. For example, all esports titles are getting new patches every quarter or so. This means the predictive models must be updated regularly and very quickly. This requires specific esports expertise from the dedicated team.
Proper risk management is also essential given the constant schedule updates, roster changes and patches. Majority of the matches are still in Tier 2 or Tier 3 category and it is critical to have a proper limits set-up, that do not limit bettors for the top tournaments, but at the same time protect operator’s margin when it comes to higher risky Tier 2 and Tier 3 matches.
Constant innovation and new content production is also a key parameter to consider. By the time we were live with RETAbet, we had significantly strengthened our soccer simulators coverage, improved market offering and increased the realised margin. All of that to the benefit of RETAbet and its users with more games to come.
You started working together in April 2021. How fluid was the integration? How have the results been so far?
MS: The whole integration process went very smoothly. Given the clear documentation and prompt support and guidance from Oddin.gg’s team, it was finished within a couple of weeks.
AGC: Right from the start, the integration was quick and seamless. Oddin.gg have met all of our exact needs and requirements, allowing the project to be launched on schedule. Additionally, it is worth noting that they have accompanied us throughout the integration process by providing comprehensive support, which is still continuing today, to allow us to further optimise and improve the performance of the vertical.
Thank you for your time. Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?
MS: We are extremely grateful to have Alvaro and Retabet as our partners. The first months of our partnership have been very productive, but I believe the best is yet to come. They have the vision to invest in esports early, and as esports betting keeps growing, I am sure it will be a very rewarding decision. We feel privileged to continue this exciting journey together with Alvaro and his team.
AGC: We expect esports to revolutionise the betting industry in the coming years and that a growing number of users will decide to take a punt on the highly complex video games that currently exist on the market. Additionally, we expect the incorporation of the esports vertical to set the future path for us to follow at RETAbet España and RETAbet Peru, with the support of highly successful providers like Oddin.gg.