Overhauling a sports betting offering

Ebbe Groes, EveryMatrix CEO, is a quick-thinking entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching online ventures. Ebbe founded the company in 2008, and since then he grew the business from a start-up to an established company, currently catering to several Tier-one operators in the iGaming industry.

Making the decision to review and renew an entire product is not an easy one, but doing so can make or break businesses in fiercely competitive and dynamic industries such as igaming.

iGaming Business spoke to Ebbe Groes, CEO at EveryMatrix to discuss some of the developments the company has recently made to its sports betting product, OddsMatrix.

EveryMatrix’ sportsbook was launched in 2009, and Groes says it was the company’s leading product for a number of years. However, as the need for flexibility and enhanced offerings has increased, the company decided to revamp the OddsMatrix product.

Groes says: “This is something we did three years ago on our casino product and was a big success.

“We basically rewrote OddsMatrix end-to-end, and the last part of this big rewrite project was to kit it out with a new front-end. Also, six to nine months ago, we migrated all clients to a new back-end. It’s been a big undertaking.”

Forward facing sportsbook front-end

Groes says a key part of the new front-end is the application programming interface (API) that underpins it: “We have built an API that allows any of our clients to interact with it in the exact same way as our own team does. This is quite rare.

“The new front-end we’ve built is in HTML and Javascript, which means you don’t have to have servers and databases – you can write the code for the front-end and it can all sit in the users browser in the same way that a mobile app does.”

This, he explains, gives the sportsbook platform a big advantage, and achieves one of EveryMatrix’s key aims for the new front-end – not just to build something clients can replicate, but rather an API they can customise and be creative with.

“We have two clients now live with their own front-end. One of our clients, Bookee, built a Tinder-style mobile app for iPhone and Android, in which users can find betting odds, and the other client, Luckbox, is a newly launched esports betting platform. Both are using the OddsMatrix Sportsbook back-end platform, but you would never think it when you compare their front-ends.”

Another feature Groes says was crucial to the development was responsiveness: “It’s one front-end, it’s lightweight and it works for both mobile and desktop. This makes it much easier to add new features.”

“When we added cash out features recently, implementing this in our new front-end halved the time as it was only one code base. For us, this represents an increase in productivity, and of course offers a better UX for the clients.”

Groes expects this freedom will lead in the next two to three years to half of EveryMatrix’s clients using front-ends that they have either fully built themselves or built with the bricks that OddsMatrix has provided them.

When you have the opportunity to fully personalise your services in this way, Groes says, you can begin to provide an enhanced experience for your users.

Enabling cross-vertical selling

Additionally, OddsMatrix has introduced a new data feed component, allowing operators to process data in real time into their systems and platforms.

Groes sees this kind of development allowing cross-selling from casino players to sports betting. He explains that while you will often see a proposal for casino games on the sidebar of a sportsbook, this is not the case the other way round.

As sportsbook or casino providers will be the ones to supply fixed templated frames for these, it has historically not been possible to truly offer a cross vertical experience.

“Once you remove that outer layer and allow operators to mix things up, they can do things they couldn’t do before. We want to enable operators to show a small sportsbook on the side of their casino sites, where players could perhaps track their bets, see their winnings and so on.”

Groes expects to see a shift in mindset more towards holistic offerings such as this which prioritise the interests and experience of the players. “The most important thing, though, is to leave these decisions in the hands of the operators, and to empower them to make intelligent decisions with the help of data.”

Odds aggregation

EveryMatrix also built a separate component called the OddsMatrix Aggregator. Groes explains: “What you see in normal sportsbook today is that one of the limitations is that actually, operators would like to check in data from a lot of different sources.”

Managing and integrating all of these different sources is no easy feat, says Groes, so EveryMatrix now takes up the task of doing the data integrations, aggregating all of the sources into one data feed. “This allows them to mix the sources together, and when they overlap, the operator can set preferences for certain sources.”

“To do this in real-time is a technical challenge of some dimension, because the amount of data you get and the speed at which they change creates an enormous amount of data.”

In his eyes, the future of trading is as much about managing data feeds as it is about having traders looking at events. “A good trader is one that understands the quality, looks at the data and knows how to prioritise and organise sources. That’s why, for us, this data aggregation model is a key tool.”

When building the new sportsbook, Groes says the company saw value in this feature outside of the product, and decided to open it out to run independently as a separate component too.

In today’s market where there is such a high volume of competition and with operators increasingly needing more ownership, control and creative licence over their offerings, Groes says this volume of configurability and information is the best way to meet modern demands.

The original version of this article has been published by iGaming Business on July 1, 2019 under the title Overhauling a sports betting offering.

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