While FSB is somewhat late to the party for U.S. sports betting, CEO Dave McDowell says the wait will be worth it. FSB has developed some of the most cutting-edge sports betting technology, which will vault online sportsbooks clients years ahead of their competitors. Founded in 2007, FSB has innovative platform and CRM systems, as well as expertise in casino aggregation. The company has also developed a sophisticated wallet and is currently making inroads in the U.S. online gaming market. McDowell spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from his offices in London in September.
GGB: Give us some background on FSB.
David McDowell: The company was founded in 2007 with my co-founder Sam Lawrence. We had spent six years working together in the online industry already, so we came at this with a really good idea how systems integrated with online gaming technology. Even then, we realized that live data feeds coming from the stadiums could be delivered more quickly and more reliably, and that those data feeds would drive real-time pricing models. We knew that this would cause a fundamental change in the architecture of sportsbook technology and the way you operate a sportsbook. Those real-time data feeds did not exist, and the systems weren’t designed to access them.
Over the subsequent years we became experts at handling these data feeds. We covered 35,000 live events last month, providing real-time data to our clients.
How were you able to bridge the gap from sports betting to online casinos?
We could see the business model around casino, bingo and poker all had a service supply business where the supplier was providing a turnkey solution. But nobody could do that in sports betting because the technology was too complex, and you needed 250 traders to run your sportsbook. We felt there was a market for what we know of today as an MTS or managed trading system. We sat down and built an MTS for sports betting, but the vast majority of casino, bingo and poker sites were run with that business model. Our strategy was to take the biggest sector and reinvent the business model using our technology.
Did you have clients on the casino side of the business?
Actually early on it was more in the fantasy sports side of the business. We were doing player ratings, we’d give advice on which players would score more fantasy points in the game, that kind of thing.
In 2012, we signed up Genting Casinos as a client for our full-scale sports betting platform. We worked with them for several years to set up their online sportsbook and integrate it into their online casino.
What kinds of services does FSB offer?
Today we offer a full turnkey service, which covers both retail and online sports betting, and it also includes our entire iGaming suite—the player account management and casino aggregation tools. It also includes the user interface—the customer experience, fully responsive website and the various apps that go with it. We back that up with employee-manager training service, AML and responsible gaming tools, and marketing support.
Did you anticipate how quickly U.S. sports betting would be legalized when you started FSB?
I’ve been in online gaming for many years, and our saying was that sports betting legalization in the U.S. was always 10 years away. When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006, I read the entire bill, which created the opportunity for daily fantasy sports. When you watch it every single day, it moves like a glacier, but all of a sudden, pop, and it’s happening. It’s been amazing to see how so many states have moved forward with positive legislation allowing sports betting.