Sports betting was a dominant topic at the recent G2E show in Las Vegas, as this recap of new products and vendor news shows.
As recently as two years ago, a visitor to the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E) conference and tradeshow in Las Vegas would have found very little in the way of sports betting content and new product introductions. This is not surprising since, at that time, sports wagering was only legal in three states and only one—Nevada—boasted an industry of any size or scope.
But the subsequent overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and the opening of both terrestrial- and online-based sports wagering outlets in 12 states and counting has sparked an explosion of interest in all things sports at G2E, so much so that the first day keynote speaker spot was given to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose administration was instrumental in getting PASPA overturned. It was standing-room-only for his presentation, which focused on his vision for sports wagering expansion within the U.S.
This emphasis on sports betting was carried over to the G2E tradeshow floor where both domestic and international gaming providers displayed equipment and services designed to make online and land-based sports wagering more popular, profitable and efficient. What follows is a brief recap of sports betting-oriented products and vendor news that was showcased at G2E.
Planks in the Platform
At the heart of any online or terrestrial sportsbook operation is the sports betting platform, and vendors at G2E showcased enhanced products and recent placement news in this area.
Scientific Games displayed its OpenSports platform, which debuted earlier this year and delivers all the sports betting services an operator needs and players expect, according to press materials. Reimagined from the ground up, the fully modularized solutions bring together a comprehensive suite of sports betting technologies and memorable sports betting experiences for players. These modules include:
- OpenBet, the core sports betting technology solution and the backbone for sportsbook operations, consisting of Scientific Games’ proprietary betting engines tested for scale in global sporting events;
- OpenPlatform, which provides world-class, fully compliant player account and wallet services and functionality;
- OpenTrade, powered by Don Best Sports, offers 360-degree managed trading services including pricing, odds and feeds;
- OpenEngage, which powers sportsbook operators with player-focused flexible and innovative interfaces for digital (mobile apps, mobile web and desktop) and retail (SSBT, EPOS and content display); and
- OpenAccelerate, which helps operators implement, manage and run their day-to-day sportsbook operations. A team of experienced industry personnel designs and executes critical strategy to drive acquisition, retention and player engagement.
Other features include Match HQ Scoreboards, which immerses players in an onscreen, in-depth, game experience with play-by-play animations, commentary and real-time stats for live games across web and mobile. Another highlight for G2E is the OpenSports Retail Companion App. The app helps players bridge the gap between retail and digital wager by making selections and preparing wagers anywhere, anytime before setting foot in a venue. In addition, the next phase of the OpenEngage digital front-end includes new betting features, an optimized user experience and engaging content to help operators maximize their players’ experiences in the new world of online sports betting across regulated states in the U.S.
Scientific Games also offered SG Unified Wagering, which provides new ways for enabling sports wagering across an entire casino floor, not just the sportsbook. Cashless solutions utilizing SG Unified Wallet power not only the SG Game Service suite of new devices, but also the rest of the Scientific Games’ Entertainment Ecosystem ranging from electronic game machines to tables.
IGT dedicated part of its expansive G2E booth to IGT PlaySports, a leading B2B sports betting platform, according to company press materials. Displayed as part of IGT’s PlayDigital line of products, PlaySports featured “50-State-Solution” technology that can deliver a seamless sports betting experience across multiple channels. The company also displayed its self-service betting solutions such as the IGT PlaySports kiosk, IGT PlaySports Pad and the CrystalBetting Terminal.
Kambi, a provider of premium sports betting services to licensed B2C gaming operators, devoted its G2E tradeshow booth to its sportsbook solutions—a broad offering from front-end user interface through to odds compiling, customer intelligence and risk management, built on an in-house developed software platform. The company was also there to promote its impressive string of 2019 U.S. product placements and operator deals that included:
- A multistate partnership with Penn National Gaming in which Penn National, which operates more than 40 gaming facilities across 19 U.S. states, will integrate the Kambi Sportsbook platform ahead of an on-property and online rollout in jurisdictions with active sports betting legislation. The first launches involved Penn National’s brick-and-mortar casinos in Iowa and Indiana, with online to follow in 2020.
- A multistate contract extension with DraftKings, which extends the Kambi-DraftKings partnership into eight additional states: Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.
- A multichannel sportsbook partnership with JACK Entertainment, in which JACK Entertainment will introduce Kambi’s high-quality on-property sportsbook at JACK Cleveland Casino, a full-service casino in downtown Cleveland, and JACK Thistledown Racino, a thoroughbred racing and gaming facility in North Randell, Ohio, should enabling legislation and corresponding regulatory approvals come to pass, with an online launch to follow thereafter.
In the weeks following G2E, Kambi also announced a deal with N.Y.-based Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC), which will see the company install its portfolio of on-property sports wagering products inside the three New York casinos operated by SGC—Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca. All three casino premises will benefit from Kambi’s modern on-property sports wagering solutions, including its state-of-the-art betting kiosks, fully-configurable digital signage, free-to-play sportsbook product, and innovative Bring Your Own Device technology, which enables bettors to view lines and build bets on mobile for quick and easy placement at the property.
Other G2E sportsbook platform vendors showcasing products or announcing placement news at G2E included:
- SBTech, a global leader in sports betting technology and solutions, who launched the first online sports betting offering in the state of Oregon, in partnership with the Oregon State Lottery. Oregonians can now place bets on a broad range of events through Scoreboard, the Oregon State Lottery’s new sports betting platform powered by SBTech. Players will have access to markets across all major leagues and sports including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA, NASCAR and more, with a variety of bet types on offer including live bets, futures and prop bets.
- Sportradar, a leading provider of sports data and content, announced it had acquired Optima, a sports betting and gaming omnichannel platform business. Optima will extend Sportradar’s current betting services portfolio to become a full service B2B data, betting, trading and player management platform business. This will create a global “one-stop-shop” technology and services business capable of offering a complete turnkey solution including a dedicated sports betting and i-gaming platform supported by existing sports data, risk management and marketing services.
- BetConstruct showcased the enhanced features of its Sportsbook Software, which include American football, soccer, baseball, hockey and basketball modules available across desktop, retail and mobile channels. The company also displayed an updated version of its Fantasy Sports Software, as well as its innovative digital voice-activated gaming assistant Hoory and all-in-one i-gaming solution SpringBME.
- IMG ARENA, a leading sports betting service and content hub, and UFC, a premier mixed martial arts organization, used G2E as a backdrop to announce they are launching UFC Event Center, a groundbreaking sports betting product that will provide a host of new opportunities for live betting during each fight of every UFC event. Both the UFC Event Center and UFC’s official data feed will be made available globally through licensed partnerships with sportsbooks and gaming operators, including IMG ARENA’s existing portfolio of more than 300 operators.
Take a Seat
In addition to technological advances in sportsbook platforms, the tradeshow floor at G2E also showcased a number of products designed to make the sports betting experience more comfortable for the consumer. Leading the way in this area were seating manufacturers, many of whom introduced new prototypes specifically design for modern sportsbook operators.
One such company was Gary Platt Manufacturing, which displayed a new line of sportsbook chairs called Sportsbook Club. According to press materials, Sportsbook Club is perfect for a day full of football games or a day watching the races because this lounge-style chair is built for maximum comfort. It features oversized back and arms, reclining back, USB charger, cupholder and Gary Platt’s exclusive foam. Other chairs in the sportsbook collection include the GX2, Lido, Lugano, Monaco and Sonoma. Each chair is handcrafted and can be customized to fit each property’s individual brand.
Gasser Chair also emphasized player comfort with its new Agora sportsbook line of seating. According to support materials, the Agora features a fully-upholstered ergonomic backrest with vertical channel sewn detail, patented flex back technology, quick-change upholstered armpads, integrated dual-diameter cup holder, webbed back seat, hi-density foal cushioning and metal legs with nylon slides. Options for the chair include seat and back tilt technology, power outlet with two USB ports, iPad stand, wireless charging pad and metal sled with legs and glides.
Italy-based StylGame also introduces a sportsbook chair at G2E. Its Fortune line features a mix of design and technology conceived to maximize player comfort and meet even the most complex technical requirements of the growing sports betting sector, according to a press release.
Although virtual sports betting is a fairly new concept to the U.S. gaming marketplaces, vendors that specialize in this field were at G2E displaying both games and systems solutions. London-based video virtual sports specialist Highlight Games was at G2E tout its innovative National Basketball Association (NBA) affiliated gaming products. In partnership with Spin Games, Highlight Games has signed contracts to supply its NBA Last 60 concept to 10 i-gaming sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Highlight Games’ NBA Last 90 and NBA Last 60 on-demand games feature a vast archive of NBA highlights and footage from recent NBA seasons, and offer fans the opportunity to bet on simulated sports events powered by a random number generator. Players have the ability to wager on various outcomes, including which team will win, who will score on the first possession and the total number of points scored by both teams during the last 90 or 60 seconds of a simulated matchup between two NBA teams. A vast archive of NBA highlights and footage will be randomly pulled from any matchup over recent seasons between the two teams, producing millions of possible outcomes.
Highlight Games also displayed its new mobile on-property technical solution whereby players can bet on NBA Last 90 via mobile in sportsbooks, casinos and retail venues before watching the playout on dedicated screens.
Golden Race also displayed a unique suite of virtual sports and betting solutions specially prepared for the North American market. These included Virtual Football and Virtual Sports, the company’s top revenue-generating solutions that combine the latest in 3D visualisation with an extensive betting offering. Golden race also announced they were developing anew game based on American football that will feature new coverage, real athletes, professional voice-over and the latest odds from professional in-house bookmakers