Sports betting conferences proliferate these days, makes sense because the category is very much a work in progress and operators are in information gathering mode.
In that spirit, here are some excerpts from a session at this spring’s NIGA show entitled, “Using Sports Betting to Enhance Your Land-Based and Mobile Offering”:
Rob Bone, president, Amelco USA: We’ve all heard about the pursuit of the Millennials; how are we going to get these people to engage with the four walls of our casinos? Sports betting is a 100 percent effective way to do that. It comes down to a classic RFM model: recency, frequency, monetary value. If we can get people to be more recent, more frequent and build their monetary value by not only what they bet but the indirect knock-on value, that’s an equation for success. This younger group that is reactively engaged in sports and are looking at Bleacher Report and Barstool Sports… these are the people we can embrace, bring into the casino and ultimately cultivate through a single communications point. It all comes down to socialization. Look no further than a crowded blackjack pit on a Saturday night with people high-fiving and belly-bumping. You see the same thing at a sportsbook.
Charles Cohen, vice president of sports betting, IGT: We’re seeing a lot more creativity about how you bring the sports betting product to the customer, not just by us but from a lot of other companies in the market. What they’re doing is creating fantastic experiences. This is the age of the Apple store; that’s what everybody’s benchmark for what a good retail store is, not Walmart. People are taking sports betting out from behind the counter and putting it into terminals, into kiosks and they’re putting it up on big screens. It’s all about the sports, not the betting, and you can never have too many screens showing the sports. The secret is how to give people the right mix on where to place their bets, making it open, easy and convenient without compromising the rest of the experience. If you can work that out, it will be a seven-day-a-week business, not an amenity that lives in the corner.
Luisa Woods, vice president of marketing, gaming and entertainment, Delaware North: I came into regulated gaming from the online space, where I had been working since the late 1990s. We have seen an incredible shift not only in how people consume convenient gaming but how they do everything. Mobile phones have become the portal to every kind of product that we service.
In the state of West Virginia, we have a regulatory environment that permits our players to be able to place wagers from anywhere within the state. We’ve seen other states that are permitting wagering only within the boundaries of the casino and it’s really interesting to see how people are executing against their mobile strategies. What we find in West Virginia is about 85 percent of our sports wagers being made through a mobile device and 15 percent through retail tellers. That was largely by design because, ultimately, we were interested in establishing a presence on mobile devices. When players left the property or the state, we have an open channel of communications so we can have them re-engage with the brand. When we launched sports betting in West Virginia we took activation teams, put them on the floor and spent tremendous resources on putting people through the process of finding the app, downloading it, going through registration which was streamlined so they could scan the barcode on their driver’s license and pre-populate all those forms. By opening that channel of communication, we were able to xdrive significant play. We saw an average of 50 bets per player and were able to drive significant traffic back to the property by creating an expansive entertainment calendar built around sports betting.
Neale Deeley, vice president of sales, Sportradar: There is a calendar of sporting events that most consumers are aware of; all the mainstream media is covering them. As a marketer, you don’t need to build awareness of the event or create an event with million-dollar giveaways. The event’s going to happen, whether it’s March Madness or games on the weekend. There is a series of events out there that the consumer base is interested in and that you can associate with. That gives you one reason to talk with them. Secondly, when players are acquired through sports betting, and they make that bet, crucially, if they lose, they blame the team. It’s the team that had a bad day. Any association with their negative experience sits with the team, not with the house. Anybody who has been in the online space knows how high the drop-off rate is after a losing experience. But when you move that into sports betting, y