SBC Americas goes under the hood to find out how the casino operator launched its new sportsbook with SG Digital.

The much-hyped legalized sports betting market is already starting to take shape following the Supreme Court’s ruling on PASPA, as operators begin to take their first steps into this attractive and intriguing space.

The sportsbook at Mississippi’s Horseshoe Tunica Hotel and Casino

Caesars Entertainment, one of the biggest casino operators in North America, is one of the latest to launch a sportsbook, after partnering with SG Digital. The operator is now live with the supplier’s OpenBet sportsbook platform in New Jersey with an online and mobile offering, while in Mississippi it has launched a new retail outlet.

But what exactly does it take to launch a new sportsbook offering in this newly regulated market, and what are the challenges which lie ahead?

For SG Digital’s SVP of sportsbook and platforms Keith O’Loughlin, it was imperative that the supplier was able to meet the demands of its long-term partner.

“Early acquisition of players is sought by our customers, and this needs to be in line with ensuring a viable product,” he emphasises. “By making our product as turnkey as possible, we can circumvent many of these issues. Our goal is to give customers a broad, sweeping solution that’s easy to install with customization options that don’t expand the installation footprint.”

Knowing your audience

There were no doubts that European-based sportsbook suppliers would make a concerted push into the US right from the go, given they have the platforms and expertise ready to make an instant impact. But offering an existing product to those across the Atlantic simply won’t cut it.

Chris Armes, CTO at SG Digital, explains a key priority for them was to customize its solutions in a repeatable way to ensure they are a good fit for US customers, while also making sure the sportsbook offering adapts to the end user’s changing needs.

“…we welcome the challenge of growing alongside this burgeoning industry in the US”

“In the sports betting business, this means catering to the sports that are in season, which types of bets players most enjoy, and tailoring the sportsbook itself to fit deftly into the larger casino entertainment experience,” says Armes.

With no federal legislation in place, it means the legal landscape will throw up a few challenges for those looking to operate in separate states, particularly from a technical perspective.

“Our integration process comprises rigorous analysis of each jurisdiction’s regulatory requirements,” says Armes. “Fortunately, many states are mirroring existing jurisdictions like New Jersey, so we are prepared to quickly launch in new markets as they arise.”

The road ahead

Caesars has now launched a mobile offering powered by OpenBet, which includes popular betting features such as cashout, customized build-your-own bet solutions and much more. However, O’Loughlin stresses that there will be a need to start looking into adaptability and creation of features that are consistent with the experience of popular sports in the US.

“UX will play a big role in ensuring seamless player journeys through the mobile product,” he adds. “To keep a player’s attention, we have to create an intuitive and simple mobile experience that is both engaging and educational.”

Queues at the Horseshoe Tunica Hotel and Casino in Mississippi

Now that legal sports betting operations are live in the US, what’s next for this emerging and hugely attractive market?

As more users join the sports betting experience for the first time, Armes believes the product offering will evolve even further, reflecting on the market trends. “The US audience seeks out different sporting experiences, so the same should ring true with their sports betting needs,” he says.

Adding: “The market gravitates toward American football, basketball, hockey and baseball, so we’re naturally looking to make betting on those sports as seamless as possible. Others like golf and tennis are also prevalent, so it’s our responsibility to give bettors a wide variety of betting options based on their interests. It’s an interesting challenge, and we’re excited to tackle it with our partners.”

With a number of states yet to offer sports betting, O’Loughlin anticipates there will be a “domino effect” of new regulated jurisdictions in the near future. With that in mind, he highlights the importance of key industry stakeholders to continue fine-tuning their solutions to meet the needs of their audiences.

“Many states have introduced legislation, so now it’s a “hurry up and wait” situation,” he concludes. “We stand at the ready to provide world-class solutions to customers in regulated markets, and we welcome the challenge of growing alongside this burgeoning industry in the US.”

Watch the below video to see the retail sportsbook at Caesars’ Horseshoe Tunica, powered by SG Digital’s OpenBet platform, in action.