What Makes a Good Novelty Bet?

TAGs: Mike O’Donnell, novelty betting, Paddy Power, Reality TV betting

novelty-bets-paddy-power-2Novelty or prop betting is a wonderful thing; it allows customers to bet on almost anything, thus adding an extra edge to many usually mundane aspects of life. An increasing number of iGaming operators offer these kind of bets and understandably so as there are plenty of benefits of doings so.

The fact that so many bets are unique means that operators are able to make their own odds that they’re comfortable with. Not only this but novelty bets can serve as fantastic vehicles for PR opportunities, regardless of whether they’re won and can increase acquisitions.

When it comes to novelty bets, few do it much bigger and better than Paddy Power. The Irish bookmaker has built a reputation for being at the forefront of novelty betting. This is a reputation, Marc Warren of Paddy Power says, they worked hard to create.

He explains: “We see it as a core part of our offering. We’re very proud of the fact that we have Europe’s biggest novelty betting book and that we offer bets as diverse as what the weather is going to be like at Christmas to reality TV to anything that’s topical in the news.”

While it may be considered a core part of the Paddy Power offering, it still only makes up a small percentage of their revenue. It’s more than likely that for other iGaming operators who put less of a focus on novelty or prop betting it barely registers in their income.

Despite this, novelty bets are still well worth doing and are able to get people talking about your brand. So creating the right sort of bets must be time consuming business, especially when the Paddy Power website currently offers bets on more than 20 random topics.

These topics range from Michael Jackson specials to bets regarding French politics and just about everything in-between. The extent of bets on offer highlights one of the key factors of novelty betting and creates major appeal to prospective bettors.

Warren reveals that when it comes to determining what they’ll offer a bet on it’s really quite simple. He adds: “If people are talking about it in the pub or talking about it in the street it is by and large something that they would be interested in betting on and thankfully they come and talk to us about that.

“It’s absolutely driven by the needs and wants of our customers. We want people to come to us and tell us what they’re interested in betting on.”

This is an interesting approach as it’s one of the few areas of betting where the wagers on offer are entirely dependent on the bettor. Instead of being offered a list of different bets, customers are able to suggest wagers. Of course, this approach brings with it a list of other factors that have to be taken into account by the operator.

Warren reveals the process Paddy Power go through when approached with a new form of novelty bet:

“We look at them in the way that we look at any other bet. We research the market, we do our work on the form and we make a judgment call accordingly and whether that’s a market that interests us. There are certain bets that we don’t take purely because we’d know that those markets were pretty closed or it was a foregone conclusion.”

So perhaps there is more work that goes into novelty bets that meets the eye. Other than novelty bets that we’ve come to expect such as whether it will snow on Christmas day, who will win reality TV shows and who will be elected into prominent positions, there are some that you wouldn’t think of quite so easily.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding sparked a wide range of new bets this year including offering punters the opportunity to bet on the length of Kate’s train. Altaf Bharde even placed a bet nine years ago that his son, who was one at the time, would play for the England football team by the time he was 21. Bharde bet £50 back in 2001 and received odds of 10,000-1 with William Hill.

At the time Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill said: “In terms of the subject matter this is a very popular bet these days but I am little concerned that I have set up a financial time bomb.

It is the threat of the potential financial time bombs that often puts operators off from offering novelty bets. Those offering the bets fear that the punter may well be more knowledgeable on this topic than they are themselves. Paddy Power deals with this by ensuring that employees throughout the company are well prepared to offer novelty bets.

Warren explains: “Novelty is a wide word and can include reality TV or sports novelty bets so these bets are something that we work across the whole company. Of course there are specialists within these topics, people who know about some topics more than others like in any betting company.”

“As a whole, we all take an interest in pricing so we’re constantly learning as a company what represents good value to a bettor.”

But offering novelty bets, especially on sports, isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. With the recent spot fixing issues in cricket, it has become obvious that people are able to fix a variety of mundane aspects of sport and even wider life.

“We’ve always been careful about any bet that we’ve taken and we have to be proactive in spotting issues like these,” reveals Warren.

However, this precaution can easily be countered leaving operators with thousands of ways to grab the headlines.

Online gambling has many forms – casino, sports, poker, bingo and many others make for a vast array of betting options. But none of these products can generate immediate interest quite as effectively as novelty betting.


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