Although sports betting is a game of chance and skill, IGT’s momentum and continued growth in the U.S. market is not driven by luck. IGT is serious about sports betting; after all, it has built a scalable 50-state solution, a talented team, award-winning hardware and a service-focused model that is powering blue chip sports betting operators such as FanDuel, Boyd Gaming, Circa, PointsBet and many more.
As with any successful enterprise, it is a combination of factors that is driving IGT’s leadership in the sports betting space. Its PlaySports platform was market-ready before the U.S. Supreme Court repealed PASPA, positioning the company to hit the ground running on that milestone day in May 2018. The platform is scalable, proven and performing for many of the highest volume sportsbooks in the country. The company has decades of international sports betting experience to draw upon. It holds more gaming licenses than any other gaming supplier in the world, each one backed by positive relationships with regional operators and regulators. IGT’s pedigree in land-based casinos enables them to own the entire sports betting value chain.
Although all these points are central to IGT’s continued momentum in the U.S., it knows that customer service and its role as a sports betting growth partner is, perhaps, the most important driver for a successful future.
“We want our PlaySports customers to view IGT as their growth partner, not simply a technology service provider…. their success is our success,” said Charles Cohen, vice president of sports betting for IGT PlayDigital. “It’s still early days in the U.S. sports betting market and despite all its progress in the last two-and-a-half years, there is still tremendous untapped opportunity for operators, suppliers and players. Our modular tech stack can scale for growth that is driven by changing player preferences, market demands and regulatory conditions, and our entire U.S.-based service team is committed to helping our customers optimize their PlaySports technology deployments for the best possible player experiences and performance outcomes.”
One way IGT is helping its customers capture the full value of their PlaySports investment is through its innovative IGT Sports Betting Academy. The web-based training program is available for all operators who leverage the PlaySports platform and its content is customized to match each venue’s business model. Although IGT has offered its Sports Betting Academy for many months, complexities related to the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically elevated its relevance and utility.
“In an era when travel is restricted, in-person interactions are discouraged and many budgets are limited, IGT’s flexible, web-based PlaySports training program has brought our customers in multiple jurisdictions tremendous value and convenience,” Cohen said.
Operators big and small, and spanning casinos, lotteries and racetracks can benefit from IGT’s Sports Betting Academy and its custom-curated content.
To start, they can use it as an onboarding training program, which allows IGT to design a position-specific program or programs for the property.
PlaySports customers can sponsor a fully online, multi-media curriculum tailored to the individual’s specific role within the sports betting ecosystem. For example, a front-of-house service employee would be assigned a different training program than a system engineer, bookmaker or enterprise executive. Once an individual completes his or her self-paced online training modules, they will have the opportunity to test their knowledge through a series of online quizzes. People managers have the option to set the pass/fail thresholds for the entire program and have visibility to the subject matter that employees most readily miss and most quickly comprehend.
IGT’s mobile and tablet-optimized Sports Betting Academy can also serve as a 24/7/365 resource for everyday PlaySports questions and troubleshooting. Once sportsbook employees complete their online training, the course material is permanently made available and can serve as an “off-the-shelf” online resource for common questions, technology troubleshooting and more. Thoughtfully organized by topic, the easy-to-navigate content menu makes quickly sourcing critical and granular information an intuitive process.
COPING WITH COVID
IGT PlaySports users in Illinois and Nevada were among the most recent professionals to benefit from this IGT-only service.
“This summer, as IGT expanded its sports betting footprint to Illinois and added multiple Nevada-based casinos to the PlaySports platform, our Sports Betting Academy service was integral to our customers’ go-live success,” Cohen said. “When we designed the program pre-COVID-19, it was not intended to replace in-person support or training, but after multiple successful go-lives where this online program was our customers’ main source of training, it was plainly evident that IGT’s training service provides quality instruction, a good user experience and valuable technology insights.”
It is abundantly clear that despite the universal challenges of 2020, IGT continues to grow its U.S. sports betting business and further define its position as the leading B2B technology provider.