Next week SBC will be hosting the fifth annual Betting on Football Conference, a highly anticipated event bringing together professionals from all across the sports betting industry.
What I find so remarkable about SBC is the enormous growth their events have enjoyed over the past five years and the significant role SBC plays in shaping the sports betting industry to be more successful in the future.
Leading up to Betting on Football (BOF) 2018, I wanted to talk with SBC’s Managing Director Andrew McCarron learn more about his vision for the year and how SBC events help the industry push forward in a time of extreme regulatory challenges.
The first big decision SBC made this year in relation to their events was to move BOF forward several months in order to allow for ample World Cup 2018 preparation.
“World Cup dominates a lot of people’s minds in the sports betting industry and the event is usually early May and that really doesn’t give enough time to take what they might learn at the conference and implement it, so the idea was to bring it forward and allow them to take back what they learned”, shared McCarron.
Another change for this year’s installment of BOF comes in the form of three new “Specialist Forums”; Affiliate Insider Bootcamp, Esports Insider Super Forum and the SBC Sponsorship Forum.
“These are sessions that we felt could blossom more away from the main agenda”, McCarron told CalvinAyre.com.
“On the affiliate side of things, obviously they’ve had such a tumultuous 12 months ever since the SkyBet decision, which in a sense came from a great deal more pressure from the regulators”, he explained.
“We felt that a lot of the affiliates needed a bit more help to get up to the standards that the operators – and the regulators by proxy – are demanding of the affiliate side of things. So the Affiliate [Insider] Bootcamp is kind of like that, to help discuss best practices in the affiliate side of things”, McCarron added.
“Similarly, on the eSports track, ‘Esports Insider’ is our eSports business portal and that’s got its own audience, so in a way this is it having its own event but it just happens to be at the same time as Betting on Football. The ESI Super Forum is a way for them to discuss the topics that matter to them”, he said.
When it comes to event organizing, the SBC team does a particularly good job facilitating creative networking opportunities that appeal to senior level professionals and encourage meaningful conversation.
“One of the bedrocks of SBC was networking, it was the networking parties that built up the community in the first place”, McCarron pointed out.
“But what we’ve tried to do this year is something I’m pretty sure hasn’t been seen, certainly on the betting side of things. We’ve hired out the biggest amusement arcade in London…there’s pool, there’s bowling, some cool bars in there, there’s arcade games, there’s dodgems, there’s all kinds of different entertainment and its all meant to try and engender a bit more connection with the other people that are there”, he said.
“I want them to come back to the next day of the conference talking about what they did that evening and re-connect in that way and having a laugh and that way, through those connections, is how business is done in the future”, McCarron added.
In a time of uncertainty, especially from a regulatory standpoint, all facets of the gambling industry must come together to learn about and discuss such challenges. By organizing events such as BOF and Betting on Sports (BOS) in September in addition to providing information via their news portal in between, SBC is in a good position to help the sports betting industry move forward.
“It’s a funny time for the Sports Betting Industry, certainly in the UK, its facing quite a bit of a regulatory pushback and it takes people like Richard Flint at SkyBet to stand up and give some leadership and address some of the things where the industry aren’t doing things correctly, but they’re trying”, said McCarron.
“So it needs to be that dialogue and that’s what we want to create. We want to create forums where we can discuss these sort of issues and help develop the industry to be better for its customers, basically”, he added.