OPTIMA is the Gold Sponsor for 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 Jacob Lopez Curciel, CEO at OPTIMA, 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?
JLC: As the king of sports, football is more than a sport in most countries, and in many cases a way of life. Football is everywhere, it is exciting and is easy to understand. Football is well known and sports followers normally support one or more teams, and participate in many other activities related to football that are not always related to the clubs themselves.
Why is it so attractive for betting? Considering the above, and that there are all kinds of things that influence our decision-making processes, the desirability bias affects most of the decisions regarding the sports and the betting behaviour of the punter; hence, a well-known sport, supported teams and supported players allows a higher number of bettors for football than for any other sport and makes football very attractive for many punters.
From the bookmakers’ perspective, attracting the interest of the punters is vital. Higher number of followers for a sport means that it will get more attention by the bookmakers, and that translates into more products, more suppliers and more opportunities available to punters.
Technology also is helping to support the above, with OPTIMA continuously investing in new products, usually made available for football and horse racing before any other sports.
SBC: From a consumer perspective, how is football betting changing?
JLC: The evolution of the betting punter in the last few years has been very noticeable and our partners know all about it. Part of it is due to technology provided by the operators and part of it due to the amount of information available in social networks, real or near real time data and a wider number of offers.
Currently the football punter compares prices, cashes out and selects accumulators based on prices but also considering the bonuses given on those when selecting what they want to place their bets on. More and more punters are betting on less and less top competitions and less and less market types, permitting them to concentrate on mastering certain patterns and recognising situations that make the punter think they have an advantageous position over the bookmaker.
Hence, we could say that consumers have more tools at their fingertips to react in almost real time to information that influences their decision process, and which makes them vary the opinion previously held regarding an evaluated outcome. Here is where allowing the customers to correct their decisions, with tools like cash out, creates the impression to the punter that they have bigger control and it really increases the number of interactions the punter now has with the bookmaker, which translates into higher enjoyment for the punter and higher profit for the bookmaker.
OPTIMA constantly develop new tools that help the bookmakers in obtaining intelligence about customer behaviour and betting trends, allowing informed decisions to be made in real time, to understand how their customers are changing and to produce new products and variations of the existing ones that better service their customers’ preferences.
SBC: How can betting & football stakeholders work better and more effectively together?
JLC: The Betting on Football Conference certainly helps. Increased dialogue and transparency on key issues (sport integrity, trading anomalies) to improve consumer confidence.
The dialogue between regulators, football organisations and federations, marketing organisations and bookmakers to provide a fair and safer betting environment to consumers, keeping them away from problem gambling. Also from the bookmakers’ perspective, greater control and clearer actions to correct the existing integrity problems in some sports, also touching on football.
SBC: What key agenda, debate or discussion do you want to hear at BOFCON 2017?
JLC: Collaboration between regulators, football organisations and bookmakers in respect of fraud detection and integrity in football. How could technology organisations help them more?