SportCast, a pioneer of the BetBuilder concept, is eyeing the ‘next phase’ of its vision to redefine the sports betting experience with the backing of Scientific Games.
SBC News caught up with SportCast Managing Director Ryan Coombs and Operations Director Matthew Turk to find out how the recent acquisition will help drive future innovations from SportCast.
This includes its ambitious plans to shake up the ‘stagnant’ in-play betting experience as part of an end-to-end solution that will power the next generation of sportsbooks.
SBC: First of all, how important is the acquisition in taking the SportCast business forward?
Ryan Coombs (RC): We’ve achieved a lot of growth in recent times, which has perhaps gone somewhat under the radar. We provide our services to more than 50 of the world’s biggest operators, including BetMGM, PointsBet, Sky Bet, Tabcorp, Fortuna and many more.
With the US market rapidly opening up, we felt it was the right time to partner with an organisation to accelerate the next phase of our business growth.
While BetBuilder is our flagship product, we have a much more comprehensive offering. Our vision is to develop an end-to-end sportsbook product, encompassing the three key pillars of sports betting – outrights, pre-match and in-play – as well as some magic beyond. We have a proud history of shaping outrights and pre-match experiences that bettors across the globe are familiar with.
Now we’re looking to shake up the in-play space and remove the boundaries. We’ve taken the company to a point where to truly establish the next phase of our vision, we needed to come at it from a broader foundation. Scientific Games provides exactly that, along with a shared vision, belief and ambition.
Matthew Turk (MT): We reinvented outrights for operators and their customers. When it came to pre-match, we started with a blank sheet of paper and created a completely revolutionary approach from both back and front-end perspectives. We want to do exactly the same for in-play, and have no fear in taking a challenge to the entire industry.
Scientific Games provides a complete platform through OpenSports and that’s key to our plans to re-invent experiences – these product concepts only work if the pieces all come together through one end-to-end solution. We don’t want to be positioned as a company developing isolated products for fragmented sportsbooks; we aim to provide the engine and product for all sports betting.
SBC: And how do you envisage SportCast products will fit within the OpenSports offering?
RC: OpenSports provides us with the customer and financial transaction platform that we’ve never had internally. Our focus has always been on the pricing and content experiences; but combine that expertise with the personalised customer insights and transactional experience from OpenSports and we believe that’s going to be a game-changing product.
A limitation in the industry right now is that there are so many different companies providing separate pieces of the sportsbook product. This creates inconsistencies in experience, quality, and is completely ineffective, seeing innovation being left to stand isolated rather than being built upon.
Bring the intelligence together under a single solution and you can create a simpler, more intuitive and consistent sports betting experience that doesn’t just add value, but multiplies it for both operators and players alike.
SBC: Do you think the in-play betting experience needs to be reivented? And if so, how are you looking to go about it?
RC: The in-play experience has been stagnant for quite some time. We’re looking to remove the boundaries that currently exist and provide bettors with an enhanced journey. Of course, it will feature all the engaging markets that the next generation of bettors are after, including player props and micro markets, but also within that remove the restrictions like suspensions that are dampening the overall experience.
A lot of that is data dependent and working closely with the operator is key, but that’s a challenge we’re looking to overcome and thrive under. The ultimate end goal is allowing the bettor to easily place a bet on whatever they want and at any time.
MT: The industry has only scratched the surface of what’s possible in the in-play arena and what should be a personalised, safe and fully integrated experience in the enjoyment of live sports.
Media broadcasting has a significant role to play in this, in which the US market is certainly moving things in the right direction. What we’re seeing there in the media embracing of sports betting is unprecedented and the market should be commended for its forward looking approach.
If you combine this with the nature of how live sport is consumed and technology that’s ubiquitous in the States, there’s far greater scope to create a personalised experience that is more interactive. We’ve got some really exciting developments lined up that will transform the in-play betting experience in the US and make it truly fit for purpose.
SBC: And finally, is the burgeoning US market going to be a major influence in how you redefine sports betting experiences and your other new concepts?
RC: There will be certain US sports in mind as to how we present the product to the US audience. However, it will be the same general principle for all markets to make in-play and sports betting more engaging and enticing for bettors. Sportsbooks are becoming content hubs more than anything else and that’s going to shape how we enhance the engagement.
MT: Same game parlays in the US have taken up far quicker than they did in Europe – in fact, they’ve smashed every benchmark we had! In many ways, Europe is playing catch up as they pull themselves away from legacy experiences – for which there’s no excuse or holdback in the US. It’s a goldrush and the best product is going to win.
In order to deliver great products you need to understand the nuances of both the games and the audiences. The US is obviously a key market for us and differs greatly in both these regards. The NFL provides a great example – in a game that’s over three hours in duration you might only get 10 minutes of in-play action – that’s a big contrast to soccer!
As such, the in-play experience needs to be made to measure, reflecting both the ebb and flow of the action and how different audiences will want to engage with betting throughout it.