SBTech chief operating officer Dave Hammond says localisation of a sports betting product has never been more important than in the state-by-state US market.
A player in New Jersey walks into a sportsbook to place a parlay on a kiosk with everything riding on a Yankees victory. He then calls his brother in Tennessee, who is about to spend 50 bucks on his mobile on the Titans winning the Superbowl in 2020, who then messages his best buddy in Vegas, who has decided to follow his heart – again – and back the Golden Knights to go one further and win the Stanley Cup.
Localisation has never been more important. In addition to technical, tax and compliance hurdles, operators face the challenge of localising and differentiating across regulated markets. In order to retain existing players and acquire new players across a series of increasingly competitive territories, it is now a prerequisite to offer a fully localised offering.
The newly opened US market, which is regulating on a state-by-state basis, is the perfect example of where a localised experience is vital to appeal to both state and sports-specific tastes. Every state has its teams and sports of choice, with fans fiercely loyal to its homegrown heroes, and today’s sports betting technology needs to reflect this. If not, operators can miss the mark and, if so, these audiences will rapidly look to register, deposit and bet elsewhere.
When it comes to localisation, many sports betting technology suppliers’ offerings fail to live up to expectations. From the day we started over a decade ago, we have grown our technology capabilities year-over-year to offer our partners complete end-to-end country localisation through back-end services in core platform and front-end operations as well as trading and risk strategies within our tools and teams.
The strength of our localisation features and functionality has led to SBTech winning a host of tier one contracts with the world’s largest regulated market iGaming brands and major lottery organisations to run either its entire platform solution and/or its sportsbook. This includes the first major contracts post PASPA in New Jersey and Mississippi, the largest US deal to date – selected by the Oregon Lottery to provide a full omni-channel sportsbook solution across online, mobile and an extensive retail presence – and recently launching VirginBet’s new next-generation API-driven UK sportsbook.
Three key factors
Today, a sportsbook and gaming solution must both be fully compliant and certified, adhering to an operator’s regulated market(s) of choice, as well as configurable to any local requirements, offering brands maximum flexibility, speed to market and innovative responsible gaming controls tailored precisely to its players’ needs.
One area which is often overlooked with localisation is margin – it is an essential part of an operator’s business plan and critical when approaching specific markets, with localisation calling for a differentiated and bespoke approach. This is an area at the core of SBTech’s offering and stands out in the industry.
Delivering differentiated trading strategies across both localised and multiple territories, working side-by-side with partners to precisely gauge their needs and measuring every area of their operations, is essential within today’s competitive marketplace.
We deliver a host of different pricing models and bespoke trading strategies, be it split by event, player segmentation, or if operators have a brand ambassador(s) or a marketing partnership with a specific team. We can then create bonus boosts or the best price in the market using our configurable and flexible systems. We may, for instance, offer the best price but overlay that with different customer journeys to suit a partner’s specific strategy.
Configurability and flexibility when targeting specific territories is of paramount importance. Our technology allows for maximum configuration with a huge selection of country-specific layout choices. Using our CMS tool, operators can create a unique, localised offering to whatever their requirements are across bet slip layouts for specific country best practices, specialist betting markets, bet types, prop bets (largely US), gaming content, payment methods and providers, and local tax application and reporting.
The third key area is next-generation APIs. These are being used by several of our customers to build their own front-end client on desktop and mobile, for example, providing brands and their products with an exclusive offering and an immediate edge with their own unique user interface and user experience that can both disrupt the local market and/or increase existing market share.
The world may well be more globalised and connected on many levels. However, it is increasingly becoming apparent that a localised approach is the key to regulated market success.