Sports betting has the largest share of mobile gaming in Europe, so the establishment of a “community” to serve that market was logical, and the Sports Betting Community was formed. And as part of that service, SBC Events was launched in 2014 to provide a forum for sports bettors and anyone interested in sports betting. Now an institution in the U.K., the company is expanding to the U.S. in April with Betting on Sports America, to be held at the Meadowlands Expo Center April 23-26, along with some networking events held in New York City. Andy McCarron is managing director of SBC, and he sat down with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at the ICE trade show in London in February to talk about the U.S. event.
GGB: Tell us how SBC came about and how you got involved.
McCarron: We’ve been active with SBC for 10 years now. It was originally set up just as a networking function so everyone could stay in touch, and it truly became a community. I joined in 2014 after a career in trade journalism. I was the editor of Betting Business magazine. During that time, I was frustrated that there was never enough emphasis on sports betting, so I joined SBC to really build a business. Poker was the big game at the time, and sports betting was a bit down the priority list. So we started a conference, Betting on Football, at Stamford Bridge Stadium, home of Chelsea FC, and it was an immediate success. And now we use seven or eight times as much space as we did originally with 2,000 attendees.
What was the inspiration for bringing the show to the U.S.?
We felt it was time to bring what we do to America. We want to help to educate the market on best practices and the like. Networking is always a big part of any of our events, and we invest quite a bit in that, so that’s a big focus with Betting on Sports America. So, it’s a mix of high-quality content and great networking.
The conference itself is at the Meadowlands Expo Center, but there are networking events across the river, correct?
Yes, we believe New Jersey is the right place for this event because it was one of the pioneers of U.S. sports betting. The Meadowlands Exposition Center is a great location because it’s only 30 minutes from Manhattan.
We do networking parties on both ends of the conference. We’re having the pre-registration party at the 40/40 Club in New York City. On the first night of the conference, we’ve hired out the rooftop terrace at the Meadowlands racetrack. And the closing reception will be held at the Sky Room in Manhattan, with great views of the city.
Tell us about the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, and how you’re going to implement it in the U.S.
We started this in 2014, and we have 11 members. It’s a bit trickier in the U.S. because there’s not that big tradition of sports betting, but we’re adding former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the first U.S. member.
What kinds of topics can attendees expect to see covered at Betting on Sports America?
We’ve got several different tracks that last an entire day, including betting and regulations, trading and operations, sponsorship and marketing, sports and betting, demystifying sports betting and more. We’ve got a master class on affiliate marketing, a very important element of sports betting. So we’ll cover just about everything.