Sam Hill, Business Development Director at Betgenius, outlines why control of trading is essential for those sportsbook brands harbouring multi-territorial ambitions.

Anyone who attended ICE in London last month will surely have been struck by the monumental expansion of our industry on an international level. Suppliers from around the world were courting operators from every corner of the globe as emerging opportunities in newly regulated markets became the hot topic of the week.

Looking around the sector today, you’d be hard pressed to find a business without multi-territory ambitions. The United States has become the primary target for the majority of operators seeking international growth of late, but this wish list includes markets across Latin America, Europe, and Africa as well, each with several attractive territories that are implementing more sustainable plans for regulation.

For a sportsbook, the opportunity to seize international expansion is complex, expensive and fraught with risk. True brand equity at a local level isn’t possible by merely spending heavily on above the line advertising. And as many operators have come to realise, adopting a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach to product will quickly see expansion plans unravel. At the heart of a successful approach will sit a trading strategy underpinned by the flexibility and control to engage and manage a specific audience, and subsequently build market share that is long-lasting.

Meet the local demands
Whether a trading team is managing pricing and risk across multiple US states, a range of countries within a continent, or even across multiple continents, intrinsic flexibility to cater to local needs is paramount.

Be it stake size or sharpness of customer, player behaviours differ from market to market and bookies face wildly diverging volumes and liabilities wherever they operate. A good example of this can be found in Delaware’s wagering market, where, three months on from regulation, the average stake size grew to become 10 times larger than the mean stake of the average UK retail customer during that same time span. A stark contrast.

Without the ability to shape content and bet types, along with key parameters like margin and suspension triggers, an important stage of the battle for market share is lost before a shot has been fired. And as more countries establish bespoke licensing frameworks, control of every variable that drives price movements will become more vital in managing a profitable book.

So whether it’s the LNBP in Mexico, prop bets on TV games in the UK or goal-based Premier League markets in Africa, the ability to pick and choose content and customise pricing accordingly is a no brainer.

Specialise to carve out market share
Finding a way to differentiate themselves has become vital in establishing meaningful market share. A key lesson learned in recent years has been the success achieved by single-market operators, which strive to specialise in certain, often local, content. Sky Bet’s incredible growth was propelled by its innovative alignment with the Premier League and EFL competitions, and it opted to trade much of those fixtures in-house due to the expertise it had built up internally. Over at Danske Spil, the trading team set about becoming the go-to bookie for handball betting, which has a large following in its native Denmark.

Whether the goal is to offer the best-price on a certain market or become the best bookmaker for a specific sport, many operators are being challenged to shape their strategy based on the market – and customer – they are serving, if they really want to create a meaningful local brand experience.

With regulation continuing to spread across the US, and with the likes of Brazil and Peru – to name just two – in the pipeline, more unique regional tendencies will need to be considered as part of operators’ expansion plans in the years to come. Without a trading strategy adapted to the local requirements, market share in these exciting new territories will be hard to come by.