The sports betting industry runs on permanent transformation

Malte Hegeler’s, Head of Product Development at OddMatrix, shared his views on esports, sportsbook technology and more in his latest article on 5Star Media.

In a shifting sports world, sportsbook software providers need to always reconsider their product and see how they transform and adapt to the permanently changing trends.

Their mission is to serve both punters and operators and to do so they need to have a full overview of the sports betting experience and be prepared to face the unexpected with agility.

This was never clearer than during the turbulent past year when traditional sports were put on a sudden halt and the whole industry had to look quickly for other viable options, and also be able to implement them.

The upside to that is that the pandemic basically accelerated the launch into innovative verticals such as pure esports, simulated sports or virtuals. What started as an alternative to the lack of traditional sports has a lot of chances of becoming permanent, since newer generations are more inclined to explore new forms of betting.

Sports simulations proved very good at converting fans of real sports and helping the short-term recovery of lost turnover. Traditional sports bettors went for the easiest replacers, such as FIFA and NBA 2k esports tournaments. They already knew the basics and could familiarise themselves quickly with the particularities of the games. But pure esports, such as CS: GO, have an incredibly strong fan base that is maturing, and their revenues are increasing.

So, as a sportsbook software provider, we continue to look into emerging esports disciplines (Valorant is the latest example) and interesting niches that offer opportunities for quicker betting, such as Virtual Esports by Unikrn, an additional esports segment with fighting games like UFC, Streetfighter or Mortal Kombat.

The gate to new and exciting content is now open, and it just needs to be further refined. One way to go about this, as we chose with OddsMatrix, is offering unique and exclusive content from curated providers, guaranteed for daily live betting with fresh odds, with streaming for retention and engagement. This can cover a wide range of innovative products such as Sportradar’s Simulated Reality Leagues to traditional sports offered by Betbazar.

Going back to the software itself, it should cater for both player entertainment and operator differentiation. The challenge is to be on the constant look for new features that can be a solution that the player has been looking for. There are, for example, bigger events, such as the European Championship of this year, or the NBA playoffs, which are impressive but mean fewer events happening at the same time. Your players might be looking for a way to get the most entertainment out of a handful of events.

BetBuilder was the answer we provided to that, with five sports disciplines and more to be added in the future, which gives players the chance to combine selections from the same of different events and get a much more entertaining betting experience.

Flexibility and diversity also rank high among the players’ preferences, and here the well-known Auto Cash-out or Partial Cash-out – with the possibility to limit a bet’s losses and bring additional margin for the operator, or bonuses like Odds Boost or Stake Back – which incentivise multiple bets – do a good job.

And the same flexibility offered by the software is a good investment for operators, who get the opportunity to differentiate their brand even when using the same B2B provider. You don’t want your sportsbook to look and act the same as 20 other sportsbooks and compete just on who offers the higher bonuses. That’s a race to the bottom.

It’s much more interesting to have options like creating your own tournaments, events or markets, or promote specific markets or events on the front-end, display deep localisation (vocabulary, geo-location, preferred layout and colour scheme, events and type of bets that speak to your target audience).

The bottom line – and something we keep on doing with our own products – is that transformation is the fuel that never has to cease. In fact, your software needs to empower the operators’ transformation and let them keep up the pace with the player’s preferences. A combination from which everyone gains what they need: revenues increase and players get the digital entertainment they’ve been looking for.

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