Sports bettors may well be interested in the same pursuit, but crucially they are not all made the same way. Expounding that theory is a new body of work compiled by esteemed betting industry analysts Eilers & Krejcik Gaming in association with the inaugural Betting on Sports America conference.
The research, titled ‘The More You Know The Bettor: Defining US Sports Betting Customer Personas’, offers a fascinating insight into the personalities and traits of several betting profiles including sharps, high rollers, would-be professionals, action chasers, superfans, status seekers and casual dabblers.
In terms of timing, the emergence of the study ticks two vital boxes. Firstly it comes ahead of Betting on Sports America, hotly tipped to be the biggest and best sports betting conference in the US. Secondly, and of equal importance, is its launch during a time of significant adjustment in the US gambling landscape, particularly as operators are learning to find their way within a rapidly evolving new business.
One of the key findings in the report instantly strikes a common theme, that of sharps – a bettor profile that some operators are increasingly turning their backs on in a bid to protect margins. Against the grain of such thinking, Eilers & Krejcik advises that sharps shouldn’t be summarily dismissed from a sportsbook’s client profile.
“Sharps are players who hold a persistent edge over sportsbooks,” described the analyst. “Sharps are primarily motivated by making a profit from sports betting. They generally bet at moderate to high stakes with moderate to high frequency. Sharps have incredibly high investment in terms of time, development of systems and resources, and sourcing relevant information.
“While they often have some level of sports fandom in their background, it takes a clear backseat to their profit motivation. Sharps may engage other forms of gambling with a skill component (e.g., poker) or advantage play opportunities.”
But look deeper, says the report, and they actually represent an opportunity. Sharps may seem a slightly odd target for sportsbooks, as they are by and large winning players,” it noted. “But sharps may be worth courting despite that fact. Sharps bring ancillary benefits such as helping books set better lines and allowing books to offset risk.
“Sharps also provide liquidity, which may have value for some operators in some markets. Finally, it’s important to remember that other personas (e.g., High Rollers, Would-Be Pros) may look to Sharps to validate their own sportsbook choices, making Sharps potentially valuable brand ambassadors.”
The report also advises sports betting brands in the US market that they will likely have to make some tough choices about which personas they are most interested in attracting and retaining. “It may not, for example, be possible for sportsbooks to maintain a single brand that appeals effectively to both Superfans and Would-Be Pros,” it cautioned. “Appealing to a persona is not just about brand – it also involves decisions around product, promotions, and pricing. As those decisions increase the appeal of the sportsbook to one persona, they may create an unappealing environment for others.”
Summarizing the importance of a more intimate knowledge base regarding customer types, Eilers & Krejcik said: “We estimate that regulated sports betting in the US will draw some 30 million new customers to the activity over the next decade (compared to an active user base of roughly 15 million in the current market).
“In addition to those new customers, the availability of regulated sports betting will have a dramatic impact on the behavior of existing customers. Sportsbooks who regularly and aggressively audit their database for clues regarding emerging personas will be far better prepared to thrive in a post-regulation world than sportsbooks who stay with the persona playbook of the status quo.”
Report author Chris Grove will be sharing his findings on the first day of Betting on Sports America, in a presentation entitled: “Defining The American Sports Betting Customer”. He explained: “The work we have been doing to categorize the different types of US betting customer should help operators better understand who is using their new services and adapt their product or marketing accordingly. Betting on Sports America provides the perfect platform in which to present this to the market for the first time.”
Rasmus Sojmark, CEO of event organizers Sports Betting Community (SBC), added: “We’ve long been fans of the work that Eilers & Krejcik produce, so when Chris approached us with his new study we didn’t hesitate to add him to the agenda so he could share his findings with delegates at Betting on Sports America.”
To view the study click here.