The very first Sport and iGaming Conference took place today at the Pinsent Masons headquarters in London, also the first joint event between sister companies Sport Business Group and iGaming Business. From 9:30am this morning until 5pm tonight the conference venue was packed with just over 100 attendees, mostly from the igaming and sport industries sprinkled with some advertisers, lawyers, recruiters, and other industry professionals.
Throughout all of today’s sessions, the general theme that igaming and sports gambling have been on the rise for the past 4-5 years was prevalent. Delegates were taken through a legal session providing advice and guidelines on sponsorships and advertising, a case study with a company that broadcasts and commercializes sport content such as squash matches across digital platforms, several panels focusing on how the face of sports and igaming are changing and the challenges it brings along with it, a comScore research presentation on sport and igaming data and sponsorship stories from Betfair and Bodog Europe.
From my perspective, some interesting “take-homes” from today’s presentations include Phil Balderamos’s point that along with the rise of the internet, sports gambling has moved from the local betting shops to laptops and mobile devices. This move has increased overall betting on sports because it is less likely to be regarded as a “dirty habit”, ie when punters get “caught” leaving the betting shop, and it can be enjoyed from the privacy and convenience of the home. However, as Nick Hawkins pointed out in the next panel, while we welcome the growth of Internet betting on sports, it has broadened the popularity of all sports in general which comes along with more cheating and an increased need for auditing and integrity checks.
Another highlight from the day was the Fulham Sponsorship presentation delivered by Bodog Europe’s Keith Mcdonnell. After sharing a very entertaining celebrity studded and Bodog branded video, Keith explained that Bodog decided to sponsor Fulham mainly for branding and credibility purposes. Keith also made it clear that this is a strategy that works for newer brands in the UK Market, such as Bodog, but may not work for more established brands that are most interested in pure ROI and bottom line.
By the conclusion of the conference, most delegates were still present and pleased with the information that was shared throughout the day. The Sport Business organizers were also very pleased with today’s event and already have plans for the Sport and iGaming Conference 2011, so don’t worry if you missed it this time…you can always attend next year!
Checkout my video summary of the Sports and iGaming Conference 2010 here.