GVC-owned betting brand bwin is aiming to ramp up user engagement ahead of this summer's FIFA World Cup with the launch of WettBuddy, a new chatbot product.

Described by bwin as a "virtual betting buddy", WettBuddy has been developed in partnership with fan engagement start-up Tokabot using the company's chatbot technology.

It provides bwin customers with unique, real-time and context-sensitive content, such as match stats and trivia, to create a more personalised betting experience.

The solution will initially launch in Germany and Austria via Facebook Messenger, and can start conversations with bettors about their favourite teams or upcoming matches. It will also respond to user queries and enable the operator to target fans with relevant and attractive offers, based on their previous betting behaviour and preferences.

"Our commitment at bwin, is to provide our players with a complete betting experience," Head of Germany, Austria and Switzerland Stephan Heilmann explained.

"WettBuddy is all about engaging the customer to provide a more personalised, richer interaction between them and our product, maximising the enjoyment of gaming with us," Heilmann said. "A first for the industry, all in all, it is set to be the perfect online companion for the sports betting fan this summer."

Tokabot chief executive Yaniv Levin said he was thrilled to partner a market leader in bwin, predicting that WettBuddy would make following football "as enjoyable as it gets".

"We believe that social fan engagement, using Tokabot’s unique approach, is the key to the future of the entire sports ecosystem unlocking new opportunities for all stakeholders," Levin said. "Naturally, Tokabot is also a perfect fit for the sports betting segment, both from the business and the user excitement aspects.

"As a start-up company, we are looking forward to showing our strengths and ability, en route to a long term and successful relationship with a great partner as bwin."