Charles Cohen, vice president of sports betting for IGT, reiterated the need for operators to look at sportsbook operations and the broader casino experience in a more holistic context during last week’s G2E Sports Betting Symposium. He also called for a more imaginative approach to building new sportsbook operations rather than simply gravitating towards tried and tested, traditional formats.

Addressing delegates on the question of what constitutes a successful sportsbook, he offered two lines of thought. “The number one principle,” he noted, “is that if you make sports betting part of the experience of visiting the casino, enjoying the facility, using everything that’s in the casino to a greater extent, then you will be successful.”

He added: “Sports betting is either a standalone thing or it’s a part of the whole business. And I’ve had conversations with operators this week who’ve said ‘…it’s amazing, our hold on table games has gone up since we started doing sports betting’ because it’s attracted a whole bunch of people into the casino who aren’t really regular table players but find their way to the tables. It’s actually quite interesting, because if you look at sports betting just in isolation, you’re potentially going to miss a large part of the benefit.”

The second principle, said Cohen, is to be imaginative. “The one thing I’ve learned is that all of these new states that are entering into sports betting for the first time, you have the freedom to create a completely new type of experience for your patrons. You have the freedom not to have to have the big sportsbook with the big screens. You can do something completely different – you can bring the sportsbook into the rest of the property.

“The technology that’s available is amazing. To me one of the most exciting things is to be able to re-imagine the sports betting experience. There is certainly still a place for the traditional sportsbook, but you can bring it into the casino as well. Those are the principles I’ve picked up.”