CalvinAyre.com spent the last two days in Vienna attending BetMarkets, “THE only global sports betting conference & expo”. Clarion has been organizing this conference for the past several years and while they are still exploring the best formula for this niche event, the 2011 experience was a pretty good one overall.
To kick of the conference, Clarion organized a group dinner and drinks for all delegates at Bizinger’s Café Atelier, the perfect meeting spot for those just arriving in town. The conference itself spanned over one and a half days including a number of panels and presentations covering important topics in the sports betting world and attracted just over 100 delegates. The official conference party, “Vienna Calling”, was a joint BetMarkets and SBC Social, so basically a room full of male drunk sports betting professionals having a really good time.
What makes BetMarkets such a special event for the online sports betting industry is the educational panels and presentations that are consistently delivered each year.
The regulatory challenges in Europe are always a topic of interest among online gambling operators and the panel of representatives from UK, Spain and Germany provided updates on each region. John Hagan cheekily told the audience that the UK market is going to get a lot more expensive and to “enjoy it while it lasts”, Matthew Gipon confirmed that football is a huge betting market in the soon-to-be-regulated Spain, and Matthias Spitz encouraged operators who are interested in getting into the German market to get a license in Schleswig-Holstein as a foothold.
Another huge topic of interest in the sports gambling world is in-game live betting and the new innovations that are coming along with it. The panel debate including reps from Bodog Europe, Sportingbet and William Hill covered the growing popularity of in-game betting, live streaming and mobile gaming. Mark Thomas of Sportingbet pointed out that his company’s goal it to provide punters with enough content to stay on their site as opposed to going elsewhere to find what they are looking for. As a result, Sportingbet will increase their in-game offerings and do what they can to eliminate gaps in sports so punters can entertain themselves 24/7.
The presentation by US sportsbetting expert Benjie Cherniak of Don Best Sports put the focus on European operators and how they should market US sports to their customers. With the combination of more and more European sports stars joining up with American sports teams and National sports leagues actually taking games to large arenas in Europe, US sports are increasing their exposure in Europe. As European and even Asian punters become more familiar with US sports, operators will make even more money on their US sports offerings if they market them correctly. Aside from the monetary benefits, by becoming more familiar with the US sports market, European operators could also be setting themselves up for success if the US market opens up to online gambling.
At the conclusion of BetMarkets 2011, the most positive feedback from delegates was that a number of the sessions were quite valuable, the conference party was a good one and there were a lot of “the right people” in attendance. Delegates did feel that there is some room for improvement, especially with the choice of hotel and some tweaking of the panel topics, but overall Clarion has done a very nice job and everyone is sincerely looking forward to next one.