The world of sports betting thrives on the thrills and excitement of playing against the odds
Written by Cardpay
It's an excitement that resonates strongly with a global market of players and has put it on a thrilling upward trajectory.
Over the past couple of years, the market value of sports betting has surged, from being a $104bn market back in 2017 to now reflecting one-third of the whole gaming industry. According to Zion Market Research, this puts $155bn on the cards by 2024 for the sports betting world.
There are plenty of reasons why the market has proven so successful. Firstly, the abundance of live events, coupled with the adrenaline of competition that it offers to its customers across the world.
While these conditions allowed for the sports betting market to grow, the outbreak and continued influence of COVID-19 has been glaring for the industry at large. In the UK alone, more than 75% of its live sporting events were suspended. Worldwide, the roster of live sports has been delayed until late 2020, even early 2021.
The financial cost of the crisis has yet to be fully comprehended. Companies like GVC, Flutter Entertainment, and sports like the NCAA, according to the American Gaming Association, expect to see losses of $110-150 million in these few months.
As a result, companies have fast been working in what can almost be described as 'triage mode,' directing attention towards cutting costs while finding out how to keep users interested and engaged. This makes now the perfect time to act upon new-found and growing opportunities. Not just to streamline their underlying business models, but to provide a more digital, user-friendly, and smarter service for their end-users.
Gaming Smarter - Get to Know Your User
Ultimately, no matter what your industry is, you're catering to a specific kind of user. So, with such a dramatic pause happening in the sports betting space, companies should look at how customers engage with their platform and if there's any friction felt by users placing bets on your product. More specifically, to look at the user's experience throughout their journey using a betting website or platform.
The gaming industry has always placed a considerable focus on an aggressive acquisition strategy. But this focus does two things for a business: firstly, it means that acquisition costs are driven higher, fluctuating between $40-500 depending on the market segment. And the second? Once these acquired members join the platform, 52% of them will make just two payments before disappearing.
This user experience and the lockdown's effect on live sports explain why 780,000 betters have flocked to stock and forex platforms. While the lack of live sports right now
presents a pressing issue, dedicating time to enriching the user's experience is a vital long-term strategy. Investing time here means that betting companies can come back bigger and better able to endear themselves to their users.
For companies to accomplish this, they need to look back at their platform and have it tested by those that would be their end-users. Companies like Bet365, for example, through putting their platform in the hands of in/experienced betters, found that their customers valued seeing their favourite sports and odds as quickly as possible by putting their platform in the hands of in/experienced betters.
It's essential to know how your user-base is transforming. Out of all the bets that take place, 43% of them happen on mobile, so you need to make sure that your platform offers equal accessibility and ease of use, with your users' habits in mind. Users, regardless of their knowledge of sports betting, are after the most concise amount of information as possible, so your platform needs to reflect that. Even now, how people are placing bets is steadily moving from desktop to mobile. It makes perfect sense then, for companies to build their platform with this in mind.
One trump card that platforms already hold is big data, with 72% of companies using it extensively. This authoritative source of information is going to allow you to assess how your platform is doing continually. Just by following the metrics, you can see how customers want to use your platform, even what kind of bets and promotions will interest them the most.
Getting sophisticated with data also allows businesses to track user behaviour; from how they make bets, make payments, to the specific odds they look for in a match, even how a user responds to promotional events and what payment methods they prefer.
Looking East, Going Digital
While betting in Asia fluctuates from being legal to a wholly banned pastime, the sporting industry on the continent has continued to grow at an impressive pace. Out of a $488.5bn industry, Asia has increased by 9.04% year-on-year, with China and India being two of the powerhouse economies driving the continent forward.
We can easily tie this back to the world of sports betting too; out of all bets that take place on sporting events – 40% of them come from Asia, showing just how popular the sports industry and, by extension, sports betting are becoming.
So, while the number of live sports has diminished by a large margin, now is the time to look over to this thriving continent to find events that have proven themselves pandemic-resistant. The best example that we've seen has been from the Hong Kong Jockey's Association. Being one of the state's biggest tax contributors and taking strenuous measures against COVID-19, the races have been running with impressive regularity.
Thanks to this ability to resume operations, betting companies worldwide can (and should) move to offer this sport to their clients. It's become so crucial for betting companies to seek out sporting events that are still going on across the continent with so few live events.
Providing this access will allow your business to find new ways to interest your users, while also filling the gap generated with the suspension of live events everywhere else.
Promoting Asian sporting events is a truly win-win situation. It offers users across the world reliable access to a sports betting experience that never sleeps while plugging your business into a booming market hungry for gaming opportunities.
The eSports World
Previously referred to as the "most underappreciated" segment of the sports betting world, eSports gaming is on the precipice of bringing in over $13bn in revenue by the end of 2020.
Companies are already on the right track, thanks to COVID-19, making them look to international/virtual events. The virtual world especially, with many brokers opening up fantasy leagues and virtual horse races.
ESports is nothing short of a slam-dunk for companies looking to expand their coverage, and appeal to a new generation of very active betters. While some differences between countries are outstanding, such as betting odds and regulations, eSports is not so different from regular betting.
As for how companies can provide this coverage: eSports are divided up in a similar way to other sports: regional, national, and international tournaments broadcasted through YouTube and Twitch as just some examples. This categorization makes it easy to add them in alongside other sports, while leveraging big data to bring together the best odds, using the same kind of variables they account for in ordinary sports.
Over 1 billion people worldwide play video games frequently. By adding eSports into your existing coverage, your company would have effectively opened the door to these same people as prospects almost instantly.
The difference comes from how users pay, and that can fluctuate significantly. ESports supporters operate and spectate from all over the world, meaning that the way they pay is going to vary significantly. While credit and debit cards are still common, eSports betters use Paypal to Boleto Bancario and even Bitcoin to place bets.
It's here that the payment solution becomes critical; the more your company can provide, the more likely these same supporters will stick around. To provide for these new users, businesses need to offer a wide range of alternative payment methods, allowing them to play, bet and pay the way they want.
Using international payments can leave customers feeling underserved while leaving you with high costs for every transaction you process.
That's precisely why, at Cardpay, we work with local businesses to provide them with regional expertise, over 500 different payment methods, and a highly secure processing solution, allowing their users to pay the way they want while helping companies cut costs.
We have always put a premium on the user experience through our all-in-one payments plugin, giving betters, and betting companies less to worry about in their user journey.