SBC Digital North America: Igaming and sports betting crossover trend set to continue

Operators must take the cross-over of gaming verticals into consideration when trying to use land-based venues as a supplement to their mobile strategy.

Speaking as part of a panel entitled ‘Innovative Loyalty – harnessing the retail channel for your mobile strategy’, Vik Shrestha – Senior Director of PlaySports IGT – explained that he has seen quite a lot of crossover between table games and sports betting. 

This, he noted, is very apparent in states which have legalised iGaming and online sports betting. Shrestha said: “In New Jersey where you have iGaming and sports betting, you have a lot of crossover with table games and sports betting online patrons. 

“I think that since we’ve seen Michigan go live with both, we’ll see that trend continue in more states in the future. There is definitely a lot of cross-play with that patron across both channels.”

Shrestha was joined on the panel by Cameron Hickey (Director of Sportsbook and Player Development, PointsBet) and Rob Lekites (VP of Retail Sports, GAN). The session was moderated by Evan Davis (Managing Director Betting, Seventy Six Capital).

Lekites agreed with Shrestha, pointing out that he has also noticed a crossover between table games and sports betting. To capitalize on this, the VP shared that they often place sports betting kiosks next to the table games.

He added:  “From what we’ve seen with having sportsbooks on the borders of multiple jurisdictions is that when a sportsbook launches, the majority of players haven’t ever seen them before. They’re not hardened players. 

“There’s a whole new demographic and customer base that the casinos haven’t seen before. That gives the casinos an opportunity to try to grab those players. It can be difficult to get them carded in the system. But as an operator, working with the casinos to try to get these players into the loyalty programs is very important. It’s also something which is often overlooked. 

“The biggest thing is that when a casino is looking at launching a sportsbook, the vast majority of their players are driving from quite a distance away to place a bet. So there is quite a lot of cross-over between the table games. We do things like put kiosks next to Craps tables so that players have access to those kiosks; the crossover is absolutely great.”

Discussions soon turned towards concerns from casino operators to allocate large amounts of square footage to new sportsbooks – space which could be used for additional casino tables.

Hickey, however, strongly advocated for retail sportsbooks. Drawing upon his own experience, and that of PointsBet, he implied that numerous casino operators are excited to add a retail sportsbook into their venues.

He told listeners: “If we’re talking to casino operators, they’re interested in adding a sportsbook. Personally, as someone who has spent several years in Las Vegas, some of my favourite times have been spent in the sportsbooks. 

“You’re going to find no bigger advocate for a retail sportsbook than myself! If you ask me, there’s no better place to be than inside a retail sportsbook.”

Looking at the need for in-person registration in states such as Illinois, panellists were quizzed on whether or not this requirement can help sportsbooks drive additional traffic, or whether it was a hindrance.

Hickey took an overwhelmingly positive response to the legislation, expressing his views that PointsBet is happy to operate in states across the US.

He added: “As someone who had to move to Nevada to work in Las Vegas, to do so from Iowa or Illinois, we’re happy to operate in these states.  We’re happy to play by all of the rules that lie in front of us.

“Looking at Illinois in particular, we have considered the advantage that this gives us: we have three locations within the Chicago area. No one else has more than one. Some may see in-person registration as a disadvantage, but I’m happy to play by the rules that our elected officials have blessed us with.”