Max Bichsel

U.S. Director, Kambi

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The legalization of sports betting in the United States has created opportunities for companies that have made a name in the European market. Sweden’s Kambi is one of those companies that supplies a full range of sports betting services, whether land-based or online. U.S. Director Max Bichsel outlines how Kambi works with casinos to deliver their services, the potential for the U.S. market and how Kambi has set itself apart from other suppliers. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros at G2E in Las Vegas in October.

GGB: What is Kambi?

Bichsel: Kambi is a global B2B sports book supplier. For operators around the world in regulated markets, we’re able to supply sports books from the trading to the management, everything required to operate a sports book.

Kambi has a couple of contracts in New Jersey with the Hard Rock and Rush Street Interactive’s PlaySugarHouse sports books. What has the experience been like so far?

It’s been in the process for a long time, but we’re pleased with the results in New Jersey. And now we’re looking toward the rest of the country as legislation gets introduced and passed.

How has Kambi navigated the regulations in New Jersey?

We take the compliance and regulatory aspect very seriously. We have in-house counsel to guide us. We’ve created relationships not only with the regulators but the legislators as well, to make sure they’re knowledgeable about what they’re hoping to regulate. It’s gratifying for us to get into some of these markets. Our goal is to be regulated across the U.S. and in any other regulated market in the world. We’re a listed company on the exchange in Stockholm, so regulation is very important to us.

Kambi is known for its technology. What do you offer that others do not, or how is your technology better than others?

We come from a long line of traders that make markets, so we take it very seriously. We trade everything in house. We don’t scrape other sites or take information from other sources. We’re able to set odds on almost anything, not only pre-match, but also on outcomes in game. So if your team is driving down the field, Kambi can not only increase the entertainment value, but offer a wide variety of wagers. Take golf, for instance. There are some significant time stoppages in that sport, giving the opportunity for players to wager on whether or not one player will hit the green or make the putt. All these micro-markets make it very entertaining, and make it much more attractive for the player to stay with that offering.

If you’re going to accept sports bets in states across the U.S., how do you account for the “local” bettors? For example, in New Jersey, you’ll have lots of bettors on the Jets, Giants and Eagles.

Good question, but for us, the price is the price based on the information we have. We have a relationship with our operators to make sure we’re setting the lines effectively. There are outliers, of course, about what that handle looks like and how we need to accommodate that. If you are a local or regional sports book in a regulated market, that is going to happen. That’s the nature of being a bookmaker, and it’s something we have to take into account. Volatility happens, and that’s why there’s such a small margin in sports betting.

Roger Gros
Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.