The fifth annual Betting on Football Conference (BOFCON) opened its doors today at London’s Stamford Bridge, home to the Chelsea Football Club. The niche nature of this event has earned BOFCON a permanent spot on the calendars of senior professionals in the sports betting space, especially when it comes to football betting strategy.
“I think these [SBC] events are focused enough to be really relevant. I don’t actually visit many events myself, but most of this is really relevant, all the people I need to see are here, there are some other events that are just too big, you don’t ever get anything done”, Matt Scarrott of BetVictor told CalvinAyre.com in an exclusive interview today.
With the 2018 World Cup around the corner, the industry is full of excitement and ready to take on new partnerships, friendships, tips and tricks, resulting in a buzzing conference floor at BOFCON this year.
Day one sessions were split into separate conference suites with four different themes, World Cup and Beyond, Global Market Profiles, Affiliate Insider (AI) Bootcamp and Betting on Innovation along with VIP lounges and networking rooms, an expo floor and a stunning outdoor balcony overlooking the Chelsea FC pitch.
This morning’s “Engaging Customers in a Live Environment” session featured Endre Nesset of Gaming Innovation Group, Mark Powell Bevan of Paddy Power Betfair and Scarrott. The panelists covered topics such as in-play personalization techniques, in-play notifications, World Cup prep and prop bets.
Between his time with Ladbrokes and BetVictor, Scarrott has been working in the sports betting industry since 1992 and embraces the opportunity innovative technology has brought to in-play betting. However, he believes providing a more personalized experience for in-play bettors is an area that still has some room for improvement.
“Its really difficult…scoreboards are a big area, we’re just trying to renew our top sports, you’ll start to see those being rolled out over the next few weeks”, Scarrott said.
“Real personalization, I don’t think anyone’s quite there yet, what we try and do is put the right markets in front of everybody, we haven’t quite got to the individual customer level yet. So its more about getting the individual events right”, he added.
When it comes to personalization strategy in general, sports betting operators have come a long way, especially as innovative technology and aggregated data are now at our fingertips. Andrew Dagnall, CEO of BettorLogic, has been in the business for fourteen years and is a wealth of information on the subject.
“So essentially what we’re doing is we’re analyzing customers, creating a profile of customers and it therefore cuts down the journey time, whether its on a mobile app or a desktop, in terms of having to go through so many different events to get to where you want to get to”, Dagnall told CalvinAyre.com.
“And we also believe that it means therefore you have a far better chance of being able to introduce a customer to perhaps a new product, to a new event that’s vaguely related to what they like to do, its as simple as that”, he added.
When it comes to using personalization to maximize profits during and around the World Cup 2018, Dagnall brings it all back to analyzing valuable data.
“[Sports betting operators] can use the data…obviously the World Cup is a great acquisition tool, people will bet for the first time because its the World Cup and therefore you have to at least acknowledge those people as individual customers if you hope that post-World Cup they’re going to continue to enjoy betting with you”, he advised.
Tom Mitchell of RISQ, an insurance-backed B2B platform bridging the gap between the gaming industry and insurance companies, believes offering free-to-play jackpots to World Cup bettors will help retain them as customers in the future.
“We’re jackpots, that’s our niche, that’s where we fit in. Jackpot games at the moment on the market are lotteries from a betting standpoint and also progressives in slots. I think there is a big play into produced games- predictor games around sporting events, World Cup obviously, with big jackpots but giving them away for free”, Mitchell told CalvinAyre.com.
“A big thing I’ve heard here this morning is, ‘The World Cup is great- we acquire customers, not all of them are great customers but the challenge is retaining them and monetizing them afterwards’. So our standpoint would be, ok, so you’ve acquired them with a World Cup predictor game with a big jackpot, lets do a weekly EPL Predictor game or Builders League game depending on the market which you get them to keep coming back and then you can up-sell them bets”, he explained.
One of today’s busiest sessions was the “Making America a Great Market Again” panel including industry heavyweights Paris Smith of Pinnacle and Mark Blandford of FSB Technology. The panelists discussed the latest with PASPA predictions on how a regulated American sportsbetting market might look, how we can learn from the poker industry, what value European operators can add such as risk management and how to manage integrity issues.
Blandford has been following the American sports betting market since he founded SportingBet in 1997 and at long last he predicts some good news when it comes to regulation.
“Just by way of background, I’ve been the biggest cynic over the last 20 years, we’ve had so many falling stones and absolute minimal regulation that’s actually got through the process. But it does feel different this time”, Blandford told CalvinAyre.com.
“So this time its gone to the Supreme Court, New Jersey have done a great job in bringing that issue forward, what do I think is going to happen? I think it is odds on, that there will be a full or a partial repeal of PASPA and I think that’s going to be a big game changer in the US”, he said.