IGT recently announced that it enhanced its PlaySports solution with an in-house sports trading and offer management team for the U.S. sports betting market. Based in Las Vegas, the experienced and versatile team of sports betting professionals has added a new dimension to IGT’s PlaySports solution.
This new team will be under the oversight of Charles Cohen, vice president of sports betting for IGT PlayDigital. Cohen recently took some time to answer questions regarding the new team, what they bring to PlaySports customers, why the company decided to add the services and what PlaySports has in store for the remainder of 2020.
What exactly does adding a sports trading and offer management team entail and what will those individuals do for IGT?
COHEN: I am excited for this important expansion of PlaySports’ capabilities. It means we can give customers an end-to-end service for all their sports betting needs with entirely in-house talent. Casinos looking to enter the brave new world of sports betting can now turn to a single, trusted, supplier able to make market entry and sportsbook management a seamless experience.
What we have created is a new type of trading team specifically for the U.S. market, one which is able to work in a customer-led, tech-heavy environment across every state. To do this well and at scale is challenging and requires a dedicated group designed for this purpose. We took time to carefully select this initial group of professionals because of the unique challenge of the emerging U.S. sports market, and our desire to deliver the highest quality of service to our customers. It’s a great group—really diverse in every way. Their talents range across traditional sports trading and offer management, to player acquisition and retention strategies.
The team will provide IGT PlaySports customers around-the-clock services such as developing local trading strategies, designing betting promotions and monitoring betting lines. We will of course continue to partner with leading B2C brands in a platform-only capacity, licensing our market-leading technology and providing our retail self-service kiosks, CrystalBetting Terminals and other devices manufactured in our Reno, Nev.-based facility.
This seems like a novel approach. Why did IGT make the strategic decision to add these positions and create this new level of service for the U.S. market?
COHEN: Our rationale is simple: there is a need. The expansion also aligns with our long-term views about owning key parts of the sports betting value chain in order to provide a more seamless, U.S.-focused proposition for our customers. There is nothing “one size fits all” about the U.S. sports market. Just as regulations vary drastically from state to state, and from compact to compact, so do the needs and considerations for the various operators when creating sportsbooks.
There is a significant sub-set of operators, many in the tribal government gaming sector, who wish to offer sports betting as an amenity, but are not positioned to make significant capital, floorspace or man-hour investments to realize that vision. This group of operators will benefit most from IGT PlaySports’ turnkey service tier. They can engage the PlaySports team and we’ll take care of it all—hardware, software, services, expertise and support.
What’s next for IGT PlaySports?
COHEN: In many ways, the best is yet to come. With pending sports betting legislation in numerous states, the future is full of opportunity.
The present, however is also full of meaningful and exciting opportunities. In the coming months we look forward to extending our multi-state relationship with FanDuel and other leading B2C brands into new jurisdictions, deploying cutting-edge, self-service betting hardware such as the PlaySports Pod and Bank and building on the positive momentum that we’ve already created across 11 U.S. states.
The promise of the trading and offer management team is vast, and our field service and customer support organizations are best-in-breed. I believe our turnkey model will be transformative for the industry as it provides a frictionless option for many small- to mid-sized casinos have their seat at the exciting sports betting table.