The future of sports betting

Our CEO Alex Iaroshenko recently joined iNTERGAMINGi magazine’s esteemed panel of experts to discuss the future of sports betting, what social and entertainment features are moving the needle and the next step forward for esports.
We would like to share with you the full interview and believe that you will find some insights for your business as well!

INTERGAMINGi: What are the newest and upcoming products and innovations that have enhanced sports betting offerings and the industry? 

ALEX: As a B2B worldwide iGaming marketplace we’re uniquely positioned to know what products are moving the needle through innovation. Our longstanding partnerships with some of the leading sportsbook providers has enabled us to truly understand the best new products and work out where they fit best in growth strategies. To name a few, bet builders, player-prop markets and micro-betting - which is particularly popular in the US - are enhancing the sports betting experience. Each provides an added entertainment layer for bettors that immerses them deeper within the action. These products cannot thrive without the right technology in place and the trading operation supporting it. Instant gratification or super-fast payouts is a dynamic that sports bettors are really embracing.

I: Which sports do you think have the potential to further establish themselves in the traditional stable of betting options in your marketplace and the wider industry? 

A: Esports is continuing to push into the traditional sports space as a true challenger to market share. The three esports we see gaining most traction are efootball, ebasketball and ehockey. Within football and basketball there exists esports battle versions and virtual ecomps for fans to engage with. The sheer number of events, game speed, coverage and betting markets all contribute to a must have vertical to deliver long-term growth for operators. Data reveals that views are growing on the esports offering and the engagement numbers are equally impressive. 

I: How are social interactions and the entertainment factor of betting playing into the changing role of the products you work with and in the wider industry? 

A: With so many entertainment options available, such as Netflix, consoles and mobile games, online betting providers must fight for users’ screen time.
One aspect that sets online betting apart from other forms of entertainment is the social interaction it offers. For many users, the ability to interact with others, both during and outside of betting sessions, is a vital part of the experience. This is particularly true in the esports betting market, where users can discuss events, comment on plays and place bets.

It’s important to balance social interaction with the entertainment factor. Social elements that are too intrusive can quickly turn off users, and so providers need to focus on creating engaging products that balance social interaction and a seamless user experience.

There are lessons to be taken from the social interactions that made DFS so popular in the US. Users can create and manage teams of their favourite players, compete against others, and showcase their skill to their peers. Another example is the growing popularity of bet builders, which allow bettors to create custom bets, share them with others and compare successes.

I: Which markets are you targeting for expansion in sports betting and why? 

A: Our BETBAZAR company is targeting several markets for expansion. We already have a wide presence in Europe and are well-versed in the various regulatory frameworks in other target markets.

One we are particularly looking at is Latin America. We see a lot of promise in this region and are actively seeking out partnerships with local companies. Brazil is one country in particular that we are focusing on due to its large, sports mad population that appreciates sports betting. Another market that we are addressing is Asia. We recognise that the regulations in Asia can be quite different from those in other parts of the world, and so we are working to develop new partnerships and products that will help us succeed in this market.

In the US, we are taking a hyper-localised approach to expansion, working closely with partners in different regions to tailor our offerings to the unique needs and preferences of local users. 

I: Do the companies you work with have a strategy for maximising impact during tournaments as opposed to sports betting on standalone fixtures? 

A: Major tournaments have an unrivalled ability to grab the attention of the sporting world and we see the positive impact that has on traditional sports betting and esports betting. The flexibility and ease that esports fixtures can be arranged means operators can present games to reflect what is happening in the physical world. These can be promoted during the build-up to a tournament as well as standalone fixtures like a Man City v Bayern Munich European clash. 

Communication is key to ensure players are aware of what efootball games are running and when. Efootball fixtures can run pre match, during half-time and post game. Each gives fans a chance to join in the narrative and immerse themselves in a result that might not have played out as they wished on the pitch.

I: How are alternative betting markets increasing the popularity of sports betting and giving rise to new methods of player engagement and activation? 

A: The nature of player-prop and micro-betting markets have captured the imagination of a new generation of sports bettors. Gen Z have been around tech and expect seamless user experiences that generate instant gratification. These new markets deliver that perfectly and if presented with the right technology, they are positively impacting engagement levels. The speed of these markets require personalised and layered engagement methods. For example, if you are backing the number of shots in the next 5 minutes, there must be some rationale around a bet-prompt.

To maximise the potential of these markets, there needs to be the right tech in place to support them. Incorporating pop-ups or other forms of in-play notifications helps users stay engaged and informed about the latest betting opportunities. Another popular trend is bet-builders with a narrative, which are geared towards more mature audiences. These markets offer a more immersive betting experience that allows users to create custom bets with certain sets of conditions.

I: How big is esports betting becoming in the industry and what is your company doing to stay on top of developments in this sector? 

ALEX: Esports betting is a rising force in the sports betting landscape. However, it has taken some time for it to gain traction and grab its share of the market. For example, in the past, ice hockey viewership was the same as esports, but the number of bets placed on ice hockey was still much higher - this is no longer the case. Despite the potential of esports betting, it is not yet a mainstream betting option for all users. While the audience for esports is large, not everyone is interested in placing bets.

To stay on top of developments, our company is partnered with experts who have the best mathematical models to ensure we can provide competitive odds to our customers. We are working hard to promote esports betting properly and have seen it rise to become one of the top three betting options for some users. However, it requires considerable resources and marketing efforts to ensure its continued success.

I: How are esports continuing to impact your company’s sports betting offerings and the wider industry?

A: Esports continue to have a significant impact on our company’s offering in part thanks to the sheer number of events that are now available. To provide our partners with the best esports offerings, we have relationships with multiple companies who specialise in this area.

Those who understand how to incorporate esports into their sports betting offerings are seeing significant benefits. At our company, we have seen that esports betting makes up a significant percentage of GGR for partners to demonstrate the potential for esports to be an incredibly valuable asset.

We are also witnessing the impact of esports in regions such as Brazil, where there are over 5 million views every month on esports games. We believe that there is significant potential for converting these viewers into bettors by combining esports with bet builders and other innovative offerings.

Here is the interview piece in full inside iNTERGAMINGi magazine -