While the growth of in-play betting has been well documented in recent years, it is the explosion of mobile betting that will help it to reach its potential in the US market. 

That’s according to Neale Deeley, VP of US Sales and Gaming at Sportradar, who spoke at the recent Betting on Sports America – Digital conference as part of a panel on ‘advancing the in-play live sports betting experience’.

For Deeley, in-game has always been the ‘natural place to wager’ and the key driver for engagement among sports bettors, as demonstrated by more established markets outside of the US, but the rise of mobile betting is taking this to a new level.

He explained: “The journey of in-play betting has been well documented. Whilst it was already growing in the digital space prior to the explosion of mobile, the rise of mobile betting has really just accelerated it. It’s the natural place to bet. 

“In-game is also the natural place to wager because you get to see whether your team is performing as you expected, you can react to price movements based on events on the field and you can also give yourself that added interest in the game. 

“I think it’s an extremely engaging product. For that reason, it is not surprising that it is dominating the handle and also the hold outside of the US.”

In the post-PASPA market, however, the uptake of in-play betting has been somewhat delayed by what Deeley described as the ‘newness’ of the product. But with a ‘ramp up’ of in-play products, combined with an improved service of US sports, the VP of Sales and Gaming believes that in-game, mobile betting will become more widely adopted.

“I think if you look inside the US market, there are a few factors of play that mean it’s a little bit less today in terms of the overall adoption, which is partly down to the newness of in-play betting for some of the consumers that are here,” he noted. 

“Some of the US sports, particularly American football, are maybe not serviced as well on an international level in terms of product. But there has been a lot of ramp up. We’ve been involved in that in terms of being able to improve the breadth and quality of the in-play product that’s on offer. That’s helping to drive it as well. 

“I’m sure that all of the trend lines are pointing in the right directions for the US market to mirror those more established markets around the world. In terms of the adoption of in-play betting, it’s more a question of time rather than anything else.”

Conversation also turned towards the leagues’ position on in-play wagering and sports data, a topic which has become increasingly popular during industry events in recent months. 

When quizzed on Sportradar’s relationship with the leagues by Dan Zucker, panel moderator and President of Zucker Media Group, Deeley reflected on the wider betting ecosystem within the US and the engagement that the leagues have with sportsbooks.

“The way I see it, the leagues are an absolute integral part of the betting ecosystem within the US,” he added. “It’s great to see the engagement that the leagues have with the betting companies and with the sector in general. 

“I think they’re obviously in a better place to give their position on in-play betting than I am, but I would say that ultimately what a league is based around is fan engagement. One thing that in-play wagering generates is substantial fan engagement. 

“Anyone who just had a bet that they’re waiting on the outcome of will be significantly  more engaged in a game than those people who don’t. The statistics on that has been well documented many times over. 

“So I think from the leagues’ general perspective, betting brings with it a higher level of engagement with fans, a higher level of interest and more ‘talk around the water cooler’. That’s only going to be a good thing for the product and the sports.”