Betway is sponsoring Betting on Football 2017, the fourth edition of the largest international football and betting trade conference at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge.
Ahead of the 3-5 May event, we spoke to Alan Alger, Head of PR for Betway, about why football is such an attractive sport for betting, how the market is changing from a consumer perspective and how betting and football stakeholders can work more effectively together.
SBC: Why is football such an attractive sport for betting?
AA: Markets are widely available on outcomes such as goalscorer betting, correct score and total goals, as well as more recent additions with in-play corners and number of cards, so football bettors have a huge variety of betting opportunities at their fingertips.
And that’s not to mention the hundreds of leagues that can be bet on across the world and the hundreds of markets that run throughout the season, such as tournament outrights, next manager sackings and top scorer markets that keep the betting audience engaged for long periods.
With such a great spread of markets to choose from, football is an attractive sport because it can appeal to so many in totally different ways, giving everyone a chance to punt on a market that they feel most informed and confident about betting on.
SBC: From a consumer perspective, how is football betting changing?
AA: From simply betting on the match result ahead of the whistle, to selecting the minute, player and method of the goalscorer whilst the clock is ticking, betting on football is becoming increasingly about the in-play element.
The surge in live match betting goes hand in hand with the rise in access to markets on mobile. As a consumer, you can now be deliberating how your team has performed at half time in the stands, with a pie in one hand and your mobile in the other, selecting who you think will score or be booked next.
SBC: How can betting & football stakeholders work better and more effectively together?
AA: Betting and football stakeholders need to understand that they are not competing against one another, but working side-by-side in developing the ultimate footballing experience for the paying public. Bookmakers require a strong, varied football proposition, and likewise, football governing bodies should see betting opportunities to build on the matchday experience.
This can be done through clearer, more transparent communication between trading floors, suppliers, independent betting services, such as IBAS, and the football bodies themselves. This should be the case across all football leagues, no matter their significance or geography.
Image is huge for both football and the betting industry and I believe it is our job to ensure that betting customers and football fans are seeing a true representation of the game. It is not in our interests to offer football for the sake of it, putting ourselves at risk of integrity issues, but instead to increase our quality betting proposition through quality football matches with solid data to back it.
SBC: What new technology do you feel will have the biggest impact on football betting?
AA: With the sportsbook market becoming increasingly competitive, it is important operators embrace the latest technology to improve the user experience to its customers. No longer can we differentiate ourselves with free bet offers and a strong depth of leagues and markets, as these are now industry standard. Instead, we should look to use technology to grow retention through boosting brand loyalty.
Visualisation can be key to this as we see the potentials of big data, instantaneously streamed and increasingly easy to visualise, particularly in-play. I expect to see more interactive statistics and immersive gameplay as and when technology can provide it. This might mean more accurate ball tracking, easily accessed and in-depth player statistics or video game style graphics.
This would not only increase the user experience of our players but also drive industry revenues with more bets placed, at higher stakes in games that bettors would not have been as interested in previously.
It’s also important to note that any developments in this area should fit in with multi-channel sportsbook offerings with premium design quality across all devices. Punters demand ease of use for their footballing products and they should have the same experience irrespective of whether they’re betting on desktop or mobile.
SBC: What key agenda, debate or discussion do you want to hear at BOFCON 2017?
AA: In what will be a busy few days for myself and Betway with strong interests across the entire agenda, I will be paying attention to talk of any changing trends in sponsorship activation and how product innovation will change the face of our industry.
Betway already do a large and varied amount of work with our sponsorship partners and we are constantly on the lookout to see how we can make these partnerships more effective. It will be interesting to hear of the latest activation case studies and see how we can further engage football fans with our betting product, to the benefit of both operators and our partners in football.
Discussions about innovation will also be prominent over the three days, and I will be looking to hear how suppliers and operators look to keep football at the forefront of the online betting product, while also building on acquisition and retention. Choice is greater than ever in the online betting industry and we must ensure we embrace the latest cutting-edge products to maintain our position in the market.