By European standards, the Russia betting industry is just reaching adolescence. Yet for the market’s biggest operators such as Fonbet, whose Russian revenues reached RUB38b (+£400m) in 2019, technology has moved on at speed over the last 10 years.
One such example of this technology change is the integration of live sports streams – one of the most frequently mentioned breakthroughs for betting in the country.
While live streams are now an essential part of a bookmaker’s offering, a decade ago this was not the case. Fortunately for Fonbet, Alexey Khobot – who designed the first software used by the operator back in 1995 – was also the first to initiate negotiations between Russian bookmakers and major sports streams providers in 2009.
26 years on from Fonbet’s inception, and the operator now has partnerships with leading international data and streaming providers including IMG, Sportradar and Stats Perform.
On Fonbet’s website and apps, or in retail shops, customers can live stream matches or sporting events from La Liga, Serie A, KHL, ATP, WTA and many more.
To explain his approach to betting technology, Khobot said: “The most effective way to make the sportsbook’s product better is to give the most varied customer experience to current and future clients. At the same time it is important to provide uninterrupted and easy access to all products and services of the bookmaker.
“Easy access to products and services which are interesting for the client, together with innovative solutions, will make the bookmaker more competitive and will allow it to maintain and increase the base of its customers.”
Integration of the live streams for Fonbet means that customers have less of a need to leave the website or app because they can watch the match and bet from a single place, also equipped with additional services such as translations, sport statistics and news.
“Live streaming can increase a company’s KPIs such as average time of session and frequency of bets,” continued Khobot. “Moreover, there is a pattern between a customer watching live streaming first and then making a bet after. We know that live streaming motivates a customer to make a bet.”
However, Khobot is not content with the multifunctional platform you see on Fonbet today, insisting it can be made much more user-friendly and modern day tech inclusive – especially on the live streaming side.
“We use technology that allows us to make voice over any match,” he added. “This is a brilliant opportunity to make a unique experience for our clients. We can invite celebrities and famous sport experts to comment on any match and make a special streaming that is available only for Fonbet clients.”
In general, Kohobot believes that mobile betting apps must be developed towards ‘super app’ status, in which customers can chat, show their profiles and bet history, watch sports, read news and, of course, make bets. The future is to connect betting apps with social media elements and the right entertainment options, including live streaming.