With the bet distribution between pre-match and live more evenly split during a major summer tournament, the availability and depth of early markets will be key during the World Cup, writes Michael Herry, Kambi head of football.

More than any other sporting event, pre-match and outright bets on the World Cup have the potential to make or break an operator’s tournament. Such is the level of interest around the 64-game competition, that the split of bets between pre-match and live is more balanced than the 2:1 in-play ratio we tend to see in domestic leagues.

With this sharpened player focus on pre-match and outrights, an operator’s depth and quality of offer, as well as speed to market, will be pivotal to player acquisition and retention this summer. Kambi is committed to providing customers with the widest selection of pre-tournament bets in the market. Pre-tournament bets are, in essence, a bookmaker’s shop window. If players can’t find the tournament-long bets they want to place, they will simply go elsewhere, potentially never to return.

Armed with learnings from the 2014 World Cup and 2016 European Championships, Kambi begun its World Cup preparations in earnest last year. We held the first 2018 World Cup planning meeting 12 months ahead of the big kick-off on 14 June. We’ve never been in a better position going into a summer tournament and are excited about the new range of differentiated bets we’ll be bringing to the market.

Network benefits
One of the many advantages of a supplier such as Kambi is the geographical reach we possess and how that feeds back into the range of markets and accuracy of prices we are able to offer. We now have 16 customers spread across six continents and, looking back over the past four years, have entered markets and major footballing nations such as Mexico, Germany and Colombia, and strengthened our positions in the likes of Spain, Denmark and Belgium. Furthermore, we have long been active in participating World Cup nations, including England and Sweden.

This unparalleled reach means our customers benefit from us, week in, week out, delivering a market-leading domestic football product for each country. In doing so, our traders have gained a deep knowledge and understanding of the local game – whether players are in form or how certain referees respond in particular situations. This information influences our World Cup product, enabling us to identify and create popular markets to attract, reactivate and retain sports bettors. And importantly, price them accurately.

Our odds are also informed by the millions of sports bettors using the Kambi Sportsbook throughout the globe. While our traders have an intrinsic understanding of the World Cup teams they are responsible for, smart players will on occasion know something we don’t. Using our sophisticated risk management tools, we can identify the knowledgeable players and use them to improve our prices to the benefit of all customers on our network.

For instance, a sharp player in Mexico may have gained some injury news on the Mexican team that we have yet to learn. By managing their bet, placed through a local operator, we can adjust the prices so that all our customers benefit from the information gained, improving margin all round. This of course works whatever the location of the informed placed bet. Essentially, the greater our geographic reach, the wider our net to gather information.

The early bird
The World Cup will also shine a light on the speed at which operators publish new or updated prices once matches are finished. There can often be a herd mentality among some operators and suppliers when it comes to odds setting – waiting for others to publish to ensure they are in line before publishing themselves.

During the World Cup, Kambi will invariably be the first to market. During the knockout phase, we will publish the odds of games within seconds of the fixtures becoming known, all supported by an extended range of in-match multis and stats-based markets. No waiting for other bookmakers for guidance, Kambi will lead the market. The quicker we have markets available, the more time our operators have to organise their marketing efforts, and the more likely customers are to turnover their cash.

While I’ve focused on pre-match, this should not detract from in-play which will, of course, be important for all operators, and Kambi is ready with a market-leading product, including high paybacks and low countdowns. New to this World Cup is the Video Assistant Referee. It will be interesting to see the impact it has in Russia. Over the past year we’ve developed a system to handle the effect this has on games and the user experience, while we’ve also created VAR-related bets.

In addition, we have placed great effort into enhancing the player experience during the extra-time and penalty shoot-out periods, and will be offering more markets and extending their availability. Coupled with continuous improvements to UX and greater operator empowerment capabilities, Kambi customers will have a market-leading product at their disposal to ensure a successful World Cup.


This sponsored editorial first appeared in the Apr-Jun 2018 issue of GIQ magazine


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