Russell Karp

General topics incl sports & media. Vice President, Media and Entertainment at DataArt.com

Live Sports Betting In a Mobile World

“In-play is just an incredibly engaging experience. It’s incumbent upon the existing operators to create really exciting new markets to engage the customer.” – Seth Young, Chief Innovations Officer at PointsBet.
Every sports fan knows the thrill of seeing their favorite team make a comeback and win a big game. And those who choose to put their money down on a sports event know the exhilarating feeling that comes from hitting the mark on a bet and taking home some extra cash as an added bonus to the fantastic experience of watching a game. Well, the lucky ones do anyway!
But wait: there’s more! As enjoyable as sports betting already is for fans, live in-game wagering provides the opportunity to take a monumental leap to a whole new level of excitement in the world of gambling on sports.
Live in-game betting dramatically increases fan interaction and engagement, so it’s therefore not surprising to see its popularity growing quickly, leading most online sportsbooks to add live in-game wagering to their platforms. This allows fans to bet on a range of details about a game as its happening, with the odds being routinely adjusted throughout the event.
Online sportsbooks now offer live in-game betting on the NFL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, the NBA basketball, and NHL, as well as many international league sports, including cricket, soccer, and tennis. Although some sports are yet to be part of the arsenal of certain sportsbooks, the number of options is quickly expanding as a growing number of fans jump into the thrilling realm of betting on the details of a game as it unfolds.

Mobile Betting Takes The Lead

The popularity of mobile betting is skyrocketing. And considering the highly
interactive nature of live in-game wagering, the prevalence of placing mobile bets is quickly rising. According to the 2019 Gambling Industry Report from iovation, an astonishing 70 percent of all online gambling transactions are now made on mobile devices.
As a growing number of sportsbooks increase their offerings for in-game and in-play betting, the possibilities for expansion in the gambling industry are soaring. For broadcasters and rights holders, this boost offers a monumental opportunity increase viewer loyalty by creating a more compelling experience through innovative methods that will appeal to fans and increase viewership (ratings).
Although live betting is relatively new in the US, it’s been popular for quite a while in Europe, with remarkable results. The instant gratification that comes from live in-game wagering is incredibly appealing to a wide range of fans. Without question, the growth of live betting has greatly increased the need for fast and reliable data, while also significantly broadening the importance of live video streaming rights. Providing fast, accurate, and reliable data is an essential component of the expanding live betting marketplace, bringing technology to the forefront of the booming sports gambling industry.

Challenges And Solutions

So, live sports betting sounds perfect, right? Increased opportunities, expanding engagement, and deeper fan loyalty have all resulted from the growing popularity of live betting.
However, as is the case with all technology-driven advancements, there are many challenges facing the industry, as a growing number of players jump into the rising market of live in-game gambling on sporting events.

Legal Hurdles

Although every state now has the right to legalize sports betting, whether or not gambling will be offered in every part of the country remains to be seen. At this point, there are thirteen states where full-scale legalized sports betting exists. An additional six states have recently passed bills, so these areas will soon join the others in providing sports wagering to fans. But that still leaves a lot of states in uncertain situations, with some having a recent bill introduced but not passed, while several states have yet to introduce a bill at all. It’s difficult to guess how this will play out in the coming period, but there may be more obstacles to overcome before most or all states legalize sports betting.

Data

When it comes to live sports betting, data is king. Without accurate, real-time data, in-game betting is impossible. In addition to the complexities involved in controlling and providing data from a technical standpoint, concerns about the motives of regulating bodies are further complicating the matter. Being in control of sports betting data is a powerful position to be in, resulting in a battle between leagues, sportsbooks, state legislators, and other industry stakeholders who aim to take the lead in this lucrative market. One thing is clear: there must be a single source of official data for live betting platforms to use. Otherwise, two people who place identical in-game bets with different sportsbooks could end up with different outcomes due to inconsistent data being gathered from multiple sources. But who gets to be in control of this official data, and how will this information be provided to the rest of the industry to ensure consistency, reliability, and fast delivery?  What we have seen thus far is leagues selecting an official data partners that sportsbooks must use.

Security

I think we would all agree that it’s important for online gambling platforms to be certain that all bettors are of legal age to place wagers in their state of residence. However, providing personal information opens the door to security risks, resulting in many concerns over privacy and the protection of consumer data. All information that is transmitted over the internet carries the inherent risk of being intercepted by hackers, and although technology experts are working diligently to stay ahead of the game to ensure the security of data provided by consumers, the battle against hackers is an ongoing challenge in the booming sports betting ecosystem.

User Engagement

The possibilities for increased engagement and loyalty are widely expanded due to the growth of live sports betting. However, these opportunities can easily be missed if the offerings are not developed in the best ways. Modern consumers have notoriously short attention spans, so if a gambling app doesn’t include an excellent user interface, people are quick to move on to something else. It’s therefore imperative to create highly intuitive user experiences through innovation while paying close attention to every detail. Since the betting industry in the US is growing at such a rapid pace, many players are jumping in too quickly to be truly ready to launch. This has resulted in a lot of platforms that are far from ideal in design, with problems such as difficult navigation, lack of creativity, a a range of programming bugs, all of which cause the offerings to fail to deliver a positive experience for users.
Additionally, innovative concepts are an important component of rising to the top of the growing number of betting platforms, as well as ensuring that people who are brand new to the world of sports gambling will be able to use the interface easily. Personalization is another key aspect of increasing engagement and loyalty, so those platforms that can make users feel like part of a community are the ones who will take the lead in the expanding sports betting marketplace. Of course, everyone wants to be fast-to-market, but it’s unwise to launch a platform until it’s guaranteed to impress consumers when they are ready to place a bet.
There’s no question that legalized sports betting, and particularly live in-game wagering, is the latest gold rush to exhilarate America. Although many challenges lie ahead, we’re in the midst of a gambling revolution, as betting on sporting events becomes a common pastime throughout the country.
What are your thoughts about live in-game sports wagering and the rise of mobile betting?
By Russell Karp, VP Media & Entertainment at DataArt

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