With so many gambling focused conferences and events taking place throughout the year, it can be a challenge to figure out which ones to attend and which ones to skip. The team behind Sports Betting Community (SBC) have been hard at work building up their portfolio of events over the last few years and this year’s installment of Betting on Football (BOF) is shaping up to be an essential part of the 2017 calendar.
To find out more about what we can expect at BOF 2017 from May 2-5 at London’s Chelsea football club and surrounding networking venues, I caught up with Andy McCarron, SBC’s Managing Director.
Becky Liggero: Thank you so much for joining me today, Andy- its always a pleasure. Lets start with what you think will be the top three hottest topics covered throughout the duration of BOF 2017?
Andy McCarron: With two conference streams on both days as well as a breakout track, there is frankly a ridiculous amount to speak about.
Continuing consolidation is a big topic in the market at the moment – and we have two panels which will be dealing with this theme as part of their discussions – we have a panel of financial analysts who look closely at the international leisure market dissecting the future direction of the gambling industry opening our Leadership track on the first day, while later in the morning we have a panel containing industry investors (including major Fortuna Group shareholders Penta Investments) discussing where the money is likely to be focused in the short to medium term.
Of course the US news agenda changes from day to day at the moment with the current Commander-in-Chief, but among our Market Profile Tracks we are covering the US and asking what potential there is for sports betting to be legalised on a state or even federal level. Donald Trump has indicated some support for it before, but it’s hard to know just how excited the industry should be getting about the prospect at the moment.
One of the other issues we expect to drop ahead of BOF, although it may happen just afterwards, is the UK government’s review into gambling advertising and whether there will be far greater restrictions on what the industry is allowed to do. It’s something we will be covering in detail on a panel session on self-regulation which should hopefully offer some suggestions about how to move forward.
BL: Those are three juicy issues, that’s for sure. I can see you’ve got an impressive line-up of 100+ speakers and 35 sessions, can you name a few of what you think will be the most impressive sessions and why?
AM: Actually when we finalise the sessions it will be more like 125 speakers – that’s a lot of expertise crammed into Stamford Bridge across two days.
One of our more thought provoking sessions will be looking at what will the trading floor look like in five years’ time. The trading floor has been transformed by the internet in many ways – performance data is freely available, peer to peer betting has put more control in the hands of the punter and live betting has driven the use of algorithms.
So what role does the trading function play now and how will this change in the future? This is the question we are asking our panelists, which includes big hitters such as GIG managing director Christopher Langeland, GVC Holdings Group Trading & B2B Director Jim Humberstone and Paolo Personeni, Managing Director – Managed Trading Services at Betradar.
Our Affiliate Leaders Panel should also be enlightening given that the sector is not only consolidating but also appears likely to be a target for the regulators this year. A booming panel of CEOs from Gaming Innovation Group, EasyOdds, OLBG and COO and board member from Better Collective will be one to look out for.
One of our more popular panels last year surrounded content marketing, so we are revisiting it with slightly revamped line up. Sportlobster CEO / Founder Andy Meikle and Ball Street co-founder Matt Wilson are returning and they will be joined by Chris Harrison, Industry Head – Financial Trading and Egaming at Google, and Sanjit Atwal, CEO & Co-founder at Squawka to discuss the most effective ways of reaching and communicating with the football fan.
BL: I love it, I am especially looking forward to the future trading floor session, what a unique opportunity. In true SBC style, rumor has it there will some special celeb/athlete appearances, can you share any details with us?
AM: One of our well received sessions at last year’s Betting on Sports was our ambassador marketing panel, which featured a big name in the shape of boxer David Haye (who actually signed a deal with EnergyBet after meeting them at the conference).
The use of ambassadors is also very prevalent in football betting marketing, so we thought it useful to have another ambassador panel at Betting on Football, which will feature a prominent former professional footballer – we’re not ready for the reveal on that just yet though. You’ll have to wait.
BL: Ah, yes. I greatly enjoyed meeting and interviewing David Haye at BOS 2016, thank you very for that! I also enjoy parties and can see you’ve organized several networking events across BOF in special locations, can you elaborate on what we can expect?
AM: Yeah – extending Betting on Football from just a one-day event has allowed us to open up the networking possibilities and we’ve really gone to town to make it an enjoyable and fruitful experience to all delegates.
This means we now have two amazing networking parties. On Wednesday 3rd May the official networking drinks and party runs from 20:30 to 2:00 at the glamourous Kensington Roof Gardens, owned by Virgin billionaire Richard Branson.
On Thursday 4th May, the closing drinks and party will run from 18:00 to 1:00 am at London club ‘Under the Bridge’, which is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s favourite club. Besides being located below Stamford Bridge, the club was recently refurbished for £30 million, which makes it one of London’s absolute top venues.
So come to Betting on Football and #partylikeabillionaire
BL: Hahhaha, ok, don’t mind if we do. I’ve also noticed several “extra features” this year such as stadium tours, a Totally Gaming workshop and some exclusive CEO activities, what are some of the details of these features?
AM: We organise C-Level Executive Management Event gatherings around both Betting on Football 3-5 May, and Betting on Sports 13-15 September at Kensington Olympia. The delegates can network and connect on a very high level, facilitated by VIP dinners both evenings. For the international sportsbook industry, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to chat among peers in a relaxed atmosphere.
This year we are also inviting the 40-50 of the largest sports betting affiliates to Betting on Football, with hospitality and VIP dinners included. We have had a growing demand from key operators to organise this on their behalf, to ensure that we help with match-making between the affiliates and the operators. I would like to thank 138.com, bet365, Betcart, BetOnBrazil, Betway, Comeon, EnergyBet and LeoVegas for supporting this special event gathering.
The Totally Gaming workshop is an interesting element that we have teamed up with the Totally Gaming Academy (part of Clarion Events) to put on. The Football Odds Compilers Workshop takes place the day before Betting on Football (2 May) and Totally Gaming Academy has brought together three of the industry’s leading experts in football trading and statistical odds compilation, to present a unique one day workshop which will cover the essential skills, models and pricing for football traders and odds compilers.
It’s also worth mentioning that for the delegates arriving early on Tuesday 2nd May, we are organising a networking drinks event at Frankies Sports Bar & Grill next to Stamford Bridge from 19:00. In partnership with Totally Gaming Academy, we will be serving some cold brews and canapes, and watch the Champions League semi-final on the big screen.
And on the final day, we will have a limited opportunity for stadium tours again, this time kindly sponsored by Intertops.
BL: Wow, the BOF 2017 schedule is truly jam-packed. Is there anything else you would like to add today, Andy?
AM: Well, you could say we’ve given Betting on Football a full makeover with the number or improvements we’ve made for 2017. We’re taking more than twice the space of 2016 and spread it across three days instead of one.
We’ve worked hard to make Betting on Football 2017 an essential part of the calendar. No other conference will have such a high concentration of leaders, decision makers and speakers from the betting industry. It’s going to be a great place to network and do business.
You can find all the information @ http://sbcevents.co.uk/betting-on-football-2017/
BL: Wonderful Andy, thank you so much, I look forward to seeing you there!