In a world where news and social media thrives on negativity, it was refreshing and inspiring to see reports and Facebook posts raving about SBC’s Betting on Sports (BOS) America last week. These positive reactions underscore two key takeaways for me: 1) SBC did a wonderful job with their inaugural U.S.-facing event, and 2) The regulated American iGaming market is an exciting place to be.
The first thing I noticed when walking through the BOS America expo doors were familiar faces from the past, and I mean “ten years ago plus” past. I’m talking long lost friends who are now using their U.S. iGaming market expertise from pre-UIGEA days to push the newly regulated U.S.-facing industry forward. These familiar faces alone made me happy.
I also noticed the stark difference between a U.S.-based iGaming event from “back then” vs. now, everything from an increased level of professionalism to the companies in attendance to the advancement in technology and, of course, the presence of major league stars, a signature SBC treat.
“It’s amazing how these conferences have changed from ten years ago. While there were a few of the same faces, a lot of the exhibitioners at the 2019 Betting Sports America did not exist back in 2009 when the big events were GIGSE, ICE and CAC Amsterdam for affiliates. It is mind blowing how technology has evolved over this period of time,” shared Chris Costigan, founder of Gambling911, an industry news site that has been around since 1999.
“Back then it was all about competing for the best bonus offers and wagering options to maintain customer loyalty. For the better part of ten years after online gambling first emerged I would hear how mobile would soon be the next best thing. Only in the last five years or so has mobile really taken off to the point where it has exceeded earlier dreams,” he said.
“At Betting on Sports America, the focus was on how best to capture the U.S. sports betting and casino market through live user interaction with in-play betting and all-in-one score, data and wagering interfaces. I suspect ten years from now with virtual reality there will be products on the market where the gambler can feel as if he or she is actually at the stadium while placing bets,” he predicted.
Reaching back into my memory bank from the days of online poker sites and Costa Rica-based companies, I was delighted to spot Victor Bigio amongst the sea of delegates at BOS America, now serving as the Head of Sportsbook for Sportech. Bigio pointed out that although there have been some big changes in the U.S.-facing market, some things have remained the same.
“I am happy to see the renewed excitement about the U.S. market as a result of the PASPA repeal, and it’s even more fun to see some of the other ‘historians’ of the industry who have been in the business as long as I have. This is far less of a ‘new’ market as many people would believe,” Bigio shared.
“It’s been a long, winding road for many of us over the last 20 years, and seeing so many familiar faces makes the journey even more worth it. So many things have changed since the days of sending CD-ROMs of casino software to players in the mail (yes, I have been around that long) but at the core it is still the business of providing an entertaining product to the player,” he said.
“At conferences like BOS America and ICE, it is great to see people who have been successful in online gaming using that expertise in new and exciting ways. Now that I am taking on the challenge of introducing regulated sports betting into the American market for Sportech, it’s comforting to know that I will cross paths with some very smart people that I know and trust along the way,” Bigio added.
I agree with Bigio’s statements wholeheartedly and can see a massive opportunity for professionals who have expertise in the American market from years back. This is because despite regulatory changes and advancements in technology, the core business is still intact.
“The best part for me was reconnecting with industry friends across the globe, like you Becky, and bonding with the pioneers of the U.S. online sports betting market,” shared industry veteran Bobby Markowitz, Manager US Brand and Marketing of 888, when asked about his experience at BOS America.
“Sports betting is clearly emerging as an honest, legit and important addition to sports fandom in the USA,” he said.
“What I found unique about the inaugural BOS America conference in New Jersey was that in addition to the usual betting industry suspects including operators like 888, bookmakers, regulators, media, and influencers, the attendees diversified to include fantasy, leagues, teams, and new media,” Markowitz added.
All and all, BOS America was a huge success and a well-deserved one as team SBC put in an enormous amount of time and effort to provide the best experience possible. It’s clear they did their best to cater to all levels of expertise in the gaming industry, including everything from pre-UIGEA industry veterans to newcomers in the space.
“I have been to many industry conferences and the panels assembled for the first ever Betting Sports America were excellent. These experts provided insightful knowledge of a behind-the-scenes look at an emerging industry understandably few of us know what the future holds,” shared Costigan.
“From a B2B perspective, a client of ours advised he has already entered into a lucrative deal a conference exhibitor. We would highly recommend future SBC Events conferences,” he revealed.
“The panels were informative and exciting and it was incredibly easy to access all the attendees, including the speakers and special guests, but I predict this will be the final year the event remains intimate as popularity is sure to explode. Hats off to Ras and the SBC team for setting such a high standard,” Markowitz added.