Is your sportsbook World Cup ready

In the first iGB “Road to the World Cup” series webinar sponsored by BtoBet, industry experts Alexander Crockford from Matchbook, Nick Maroudas from kwiff and BtoBet’s Managing Director Dima Reiderman discussed sportsbook preparations for football’s biggest upcoming event.

Following the 2018 World Cup edition which hosted 140 billion placed bets and 7 billion only in the Finals, expectations for this one are huge. Less than 2 months away from its start, both operators and suppliers need to do some solid groundwork to leverage the opportunity. From handling the influx of traffic the tournament will undoubtedly bring, the necessity of having a stable, robust, and scalable system, to optimizing the customer experience. Experts are unanimous that we are in for an immense betting event, representing a true test of the industry’s preparedness – from tech, to product and marketing perspective.

A unique format bringing unique challenges

A first-ever winter-time World Cup taking place in the Middle East with other leagues in the foreflow presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity but also a challenge on its own. Kwiff’s Nick Maroudas said that with these circumstances, gathering and keeping player excitement throughout the tournament will be a hurdle to be jumped over. When it comes to the time zones, BtoBet’s Dima Reiderman said it is going to be a bit of a challenge for some operators, depending on core markets. Matchbook’s Alexander Crockford emphasized that besides the slightly negative build-ups, action and interest are expected to remain strong throughout world’s largest football event. Experts agree that besides player acquisition, this World Cup will be a good opportunity for the reactivation of the dormant players, describing it as “the CRM golden age”.

Technology on the test

This World Cup edition will be a true tech test for most of the companies out there. With a volume of punters expected to reach a historic peak, the necessity of a stable, robust, and scalable system is fundamental. Having a scalable system that is able to withstand multiple increases in the usual punters’ number and intercept significant traffic jumps is a must. When it comes to system capacity, robust hardware plays the main role. With the increased number of transactions, the hardware must not be limited in terms of computation, so that the system can smoothly support these actions. Another box ticked should be the margin of latency. Having in mind a big chunk of bets are expected to be made live, the latency margin should be reduced to a minimum. All of these elements facilitate the provision of a good customer experience.

Stress testing every sort of element you might offer, followed by consistency of what you are doing is a way to go with any of these customers you’ll be hoping to be on-boarding throughout and potentially cross-selling into other sports and verticals you have on your platform, said Alexander Crockford.

An inadmissible scenario to happen would be last year’s Super Bowl one. Inadequate preparations led to sites crashing amid surging demand, making irreparable damage on several levels. If a system goes down, a domino effect occurs on the performance of not only the operator but of the suppliers as well. Besides the failure and diverting players to operators’ competitors, on the B2B side, huge reputational damage is done to the providers for not being able to provide a reliable system.

If you are notoriously down or something major happens, it will be very difficult to gain back the trust of your future prospects just as it would be for your end-users, your potential business partners at the end, concluded BtoBet’s Dima Reiderman.

Acquisition, retention, localization

In a time when everyone is competing to acquire and retain the best customers, experts agreed that providing a good player journey starts with smooth on-boarding. Besides tech-preparedness, building the audience before the official start of the tournament, knowing their preferences, and tailoring the content offering facilitate this process. According to CTIO Nick Maroudas, “the difficulty is ensuring that what you are putting out there as an operator when a punter comes, he gets what you promised. It has to be clear what you’re offering”. From a product perspective, including FTP tools to kick-start the acquisition wave and features such as the BetBuilder are important, especially having in mind the nature of the event. For player retention in the post-tournament phase, bookies will strive to provide a similar offering in order to maintain player behaviour past the 28-day window.

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