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Know the Score

Sports betting platforms have to be flexible and add new dimensions

Know the Score

Keep running up the score.

Vendors serving the burgeoning sports-betting market do another victory dance in the revenue end zone.

They can even spike the ball.

Wagering numbers constantly soar, spreading frenzy throughout an industry loving its can’t-miss sector.

There is nothing but upside. More states steadily legalize this gaming-industry windfall, while others chafe about missing the boat.

According to the Legal Sports Report, which publishes monthly and annual sports-betting figures, more than $152 billion has been wagered nationwide in the post-PASPA era since 2018. That has produced more than $11 billion in revenue and nearly $2 billion into state government coffers. And that’s only with 26 states tabulated.

Gaming officials salivate with the looming impact of major markets like Massachusetts, set to debut in 2023. California and Texas, which don’t have legalized sports gambling, may adopt sports betting in the next couple of years.

The American sports-betting market—lucrative yet not fully tapped—excites companies that serve it. They don’t need to build a brick-and-mortar fortress to capture this clientele. Any sports-betting platform, mobile wagering innovation or infrastructure enhancement can grab some of this revenue.

Why Sports Betting Ascended

Few predicted the depths of this betting bonanza, born from the confluence of pent-up demand and cutting-edge innovation.

One factor was the injection of sophisticated mobile betting, just as sports betting became legalized. This put a sportsbook in one’s hand, far more convenient than a brick-and-mortar property requiring a drive, parking and a long walk.

A second was the experienced European companies ready to service the exploding American market.

Factor number three: gamblers are betting telephone numbers. Knowing they will be paid—unlike the reality of illegal sports wagering—they unload staggering amounts of money.

Nearly every weekend, a sportsbook reports a six-figure payout from a small investment on a multi-legged parlay. And some investments are not small.

An early-season NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots encouraged six-figure, in-game betting. Two separate bets exceeding $300,000 accompanied the heavily favored Packers trailing 10-7 at halftime. The gamblers were laying odds of more than 3-1 on what they considered a sure thing. This wagering tactic is normally reckless. Where else will someone bet nearly $400,000 to win comparative pocket change?

That’s the nature of high-level sports bettors. They are not casual-interest players. They don’t care for a random number generator or a relaxing day playing the slots. Many shoot for the stars, leveraging a six-figure bankroll.

That’s why early projected estimates of sports-wagering impact were dramatically low. It was difficult to predict all of these elements aligning.

We know now, it has been a colossal cash cow. Operators and vendors aren’t the only winners. State governments have run the gamut from being good to greedy sports-betting partners.

But because sports change, situations change, the entire sports betting world is volatile. And platform providers need to be flexible.

BarTop Payday

IGT’s PeakBarTop with Sports Betting offers the company’s top-performing video poker game groups like Game King and Super Star Poker, along with keno, slots, roulette, and sports betting on a single device.

Plaudits keep mounting for IGT. The sports-betting space is represented in its PeakBarTop with Sports Betting product, which was developed by IGT sports betting chief Joe Asher.

IGT’s transformative PeakBarTop with Sports Betting brings the bartop experience to a whole new level. It seamlessly offers the company’s top-performing video poker game groups like Game King and Super Star Poker, along with keno, slots, roulette, and sports betting on a single device.

The innovation embeds sports-betting capability into the poker bartop. Patrons can be sitting at the bar, playing video poker with their friends, and, presto, change gears to wager on a game. Are you at the book or at the bar? You’re at both.

This is a cutting-edge technology for two reasons. One, it blends two different activities into one. The poker tables are no longer a long walk from the sportsbook. Two, it brings the book to the customer. It’s there, as a convenience, but it doesn’t have to block out other activity.

A natural fit for bar and sportsbook environments, the PeakBarTop features Bluetooth technology that integrates with IGT’s cashless gaming systems technology.

“IGT’s PeakBarTop with Sports Betting is a truly dynamic solution that is unlike anything ever seen in the gaming industry,” says Darnell Johnson, IGT senior director of product management, video poker. “In creating the PeakBarTop with Sports Betting, we took every detail into consideration to ensure the solution delivers a quality player experience and elevates the bar environment.”

Game Parlay On

Kambi delivered a winner last fall with its Game Parlay. Company officials say that 45 percent of NFL bettors and 30 percent of college-football gamblers placed a Game Parlay bet last year.

Kambi continues to parlay its inside position as a B2B sports-betting platform into a leader embracing the strong American market.

The European company, long experienced in sports wagering, was one of the first to help American operators hit the ground quickly once states allowed sports wagering. That made a big difference, enabling operators to launch in time for NFL and college seasons in recent years.

Casinos found a ready-made partner who could either deliver a turnkey sportsbook or provide a range of managed services.

Its latest unveiling at G2E was a same-game parlay, displayed across two sports, placed on a kiosk. A gambler can make a two-legged parlay on an MLB playoff game and combine it with another two-legged parlay from the NFL, all on one ticket. The appeal is multifold. A gambler can be on site at a brick-and-mortar facility, break away from some other function, and place a bet. The beauty of a two-sport, two-legged parlay is the concept that multi-bet parlays are hard to hit. A gambler might hit the first two of three NFL bets, but often loses the third.

Here, a player can hit two wagers from two different sports and cash out at a nice price.

Parlays have been a major focus for Kambi over the last year.

Kambi delivered a winner last fall with its Game Parlay. Company officials say that 45 percent of NFL bettors and 30 percent of college-football gamblers placed a Game Parlay bet last year. That’s bound to either sustain or improve, as parlays satisfy the multiple-action enticement similar to side bets at casino games.

Kambi later rolled out Game Parlay for the MLB season and has a major product in place to capture a significant part of the market.

The company integrates its product into a rich environment.

Besides the booming NFL and college football markets, Kambi seeks to maximize a rare parlay with the bevy of activity between the World Cup and the Premier League.

The World Cup runs from November 20 to December 18 and the Premier League starts December 26. Suddenly, there’s a prolonged period for high-level soccer bets.

Jonathan Hurst, Kambi’s head of soccer, indicates that international football (soccer in the United States) is a hotbed for developing new patrons. He says that 78 percent of new customers on the Kambi network placed a bet on Euro 2020 and that 76 percent of them placed a second wager.

It can be logically assumed that many players made multiple bets.

Kambi also strengthened its capacity to deliver its products, announcing in September that it acquired award-winning front-end technology specialist Shape Games.

The addition of Shape Games extends Kambi’s presence within the sports betting value chain and enables the delivery of the front end through either turnkey or modularized packages. Shape Games transforms the way customers interact with the Kambi system.

The Bandwagon

GAN Sports continues to thrive with its a seamless plug-and-play experience for its partners to launch their desired sportsbook, whether that’s retail on-property, online or both, its officials say. The platform allows partners to select if they’d like to manage risk on some or all sports or enable their team of over 70 traders to do so on their behalf. The platform also allows for localized pricing.

The company demonstrated the bells and whistles of its operation at G2E, showing the different leaderboards, wagers and geographical information showing operators where people were winning money.

The company announced the successful launch of GAN Sports for Island View Casino in Gulfport, Mississippi in late September. It is the first of what’s expected to be a robust cadence of GAN Sports launches throughout 2023. GAN Sports is a modern sportsbook technology platform based on the multiple award-winning Coolbet technology that has been adapted for the U.S. B2B market.

The launch of retail sports betting across 20 internet-connected kiosks will shortly be complemented by the “Bet the V” mobile sportsbook. This mobile solution is enabled by GAN’s market-leading GameSTACK Player Account Management (PAM) system for omnichannel sports betting via retail kiosks or personal mobile devices while on-property.

“Following our 2021 acquisition of Coolbet, we are thrilled to announce the premiere of GAN Sports, perhaps the most innovative sports experience available on-property anywhere in the U.S. today,” Dermot Smurfit, president and chief executive officer of GAN, says in regard to the Gan-Island View partnership. “We are greatly encouraged by the sales momentum for our omnichannel sports betting technology and managed trading services solution, and anticipate a high-margin financial contribution as the economics of B2B sports technology provision is highly favorable and incremental to our existing B2B offerings.”

World Cup Deals

BetConstruct targeted international operators regarding the unique timing of the World Cup.

Because the event was moved back due to the blazing heat in Qatar, it now butts heads on the weekends with professional and college football. Operators may have other priorities than the World Cup.

BetConstruct proactively addressed the situation, rolling out an offer on its omnichannel platform. It provided companies an opportunity to start betting and gaming business on the BetConstruct platform for nearly 50 percent off the normal price, according to the company website. The offer is good through December 18.

The company also allows existing partners to switch to BetConstruct’s sports and gaming platform for no setup fee and with a three-month smart package that includes CRM, affiliate marketing, agent system, statistics, DDOS protection and hosting.

Many of those features come with the company’s all-in-one betting software BetConstruct Sportsbook.

Throughout the industry, there is no shortage of hype or hysteria regarding sports betting. It seems that everybody finds the end zone. States look to balance their budgets on it. Operators don’t want to be without it. Companies race to get their products into the market. All realize they could get a backache reaching down to pick up the money from this operation if they do it right.

That’s why the industry loves these numbers. Just being in the game provides a strong chance to win.

Casino Connection Sports Editor Dave Bontempo is an award-winning sports writer and broadcaster who calls boxing matches all over the world. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, as well as numerous PGA, LPGA and Seniors Golf Tour events, and co-hosted the Casino Connection television program with Publisher Roger Gros.