Two and a half years after the repeal of PASPA, the US sports betting market has exploded into life with 20 states and the District of Columbia legalizing sports wagering, but what does the future hold for the market?
On day one of Betting on Sports America – Digital, a Kambi-sponsored panel took place titled ‘Vision of the Future – CEO Panel’ where six CEOs from the industry’s top sports betting platform providers and operators came together to discuss the future of the US market.
On the panel, moderated by Bet.Works CEO and Founder, David Wang, was the CEO of FOXBet, Kip Levin, who believes the product sports betting companies can offer for players will be ‘critical’ for long-term success in the market.
When asked what role product innovation will play in driving true competition, Levin said: “I think it’s going to be critical long-term. This is why you see a mix of platform providers on this call along with operators.
“It’s complex right now, a lot of our product investment is in launching new markets today, but if we could choose we would have a lot more invested in core innovation. Once we get through this early wave of rapidly expanding into new markets, then [product innovation] will become critical.
“For example, you had almost every major tech company in the video conferencing space, but then Zoom comes along in this pandemic and they had the best product. You look at what’s happened to that company. The product will ultimately win the day long-term.
“I do think [product innovation] will be core and ultimately the people with the biggest market share 5-10 years from now will be heavily correlated with the companies that have invested the most in their products.”
Joining Levin and Wang on the panel were Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM, Kristian Nylen, CEO and co-founder of Kambi, and Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN.
The panel was in agreement that free-to-play sports betting has been a key innovation in the market so far, with Carlin stating free bets has allowed Rush Street to offer sports bettors ‘what they want’, while Smurfit added that GAN has seen free-to-play ‘work a treat’ as it has led to increased online engagement.
Nylen stated that 5G networks will be key to innovation as it will allow broadcasters to project real-time data on their programming quickly to provide players with the most accurate data possible.
Greenblatt believes one of the most challenging parts of innovation the US sports betting industry will have to deal with is ‘deseasonalizing what is a very seasonal sports calendar’ in order to ‘encourage players to try new things.’
He said: “In our business, what we saw was football players from last season didn’t want to bet on baseball. Baseball was the first sport back post-Covid, so we saw a lot of players try new things, but frankly, there was a return to normal once preferred sports returned.”
As for how the US sports betting market could change over the next ten years, Greenblatt thinks we will ultimately see that ‘the US is the world’s largest igaming and sports betting market’ and that there will be ‘mega-mergers’ amongst companies on a global scale.
Smurfit stated he believes ‘online-only operators could merge or acquire retail casinos to ensure continuity of operations’ and that the William Hill-Caesars merger is an early indication of that, while Levin added we will see ‘product innovation kick into a new gear’ once most of the US has legalized sports betting.
BOSA-Digital, taking place today, offers an eight-track conference with a lineup of 130 expert speakers, comprising operators’ senior executives, regulators, affiliates, suppliers, teams, leagues, and advisors.
The event features an interactive product display area where operators will be able to learn about the next generation of products and solutions from international suppliers, talk to suppliers’ expert teams, and experience the products directly through demos.
There will be further opportunities for delegates to connect and build their network in the burgeoning US betting industry in the virtual networking lounge, the meeting rooms in the virtual networking bar, and at the program of themed networking roundtables.