Striking the first fully regulated fixed odds racing bet in the US would be a great milestone for BetMakers, said COO Jake Henson, as he reflected on the completion of its $56 million deal to acquire Racing, Tote and Digital assets from Sportech.
SBC: Congratulations on completing the deal, Jake. You said this week that it will allow you to go ahead and execute the next stages of your global strategy; in a few sentences, how would you describe this strategy?
JH: Our mission is to create the world’s largest global racing network that rewards all industry stakeholders and provides a sustainable ongoing funding model for the sport.
SBC: Was bolstering the BetMakers position in the US the key driver for the deal, or is this just as significant for your plans closer to home, as well as in Europe and Asia?
JH: There is no doubt a significant opportunity for growth in horse racing wagering in the US – we believe the acquisition and the complementary tech and product assets we can bring to the table positions us to best capitalise on this opportunity.
That being said, our mission is global and Sportech has key partners all around the globe, partners steeped in tradition from huge racing jurisdictions that we look forward to working closely with to deploy new technology and innovative new products
SBC: Looking at the US, though, we understand that Sportech’s US business serviced over 200 physical venues and more than 25 digital clients; should we expect racetrack and land-based casino dominance to continue or will this gap start to close?
JH: The cost to go online and digitalise wagering is coming down while the demand for it is going up so naturally we can expect that gap to close a bit. Predominantly land-based businesses are also looking to diversify by bringing in digital solutions and that is an exciting opportunity for us.
SBC: Where are the biggest opportunities for BetMakers in the US right now?
JH: The consolidated entity now has the right mix of a large customer base and an extensive product suite. We believe there is a big opportunity to provide more and more services to our existing partners.
Secondly, the development and roll-out of fixed odds wagering in New Jersey and throughout the US is an exciting opportunity that will showcase some of our world leading products and technology solutions for not only wagering operators but regulators and rights holders as well.
SBC: Canada is also making big strides towards regulated betting; what might the progress of Bill C-218 mean for your prospects in the country?
JH: We are certainly watching on with interest. Canada already has a strong racing product and no doubt many of the operators active in the US will also be first to move on any Canadian opportunity.
For us it is about getting our products right and adapted for any market so we can move quickly should Canada or other emerging markets for fixed odds and or racing growth come to fruition.
SBC: And finally, what would constitute a successful first year for BetMakers post-acquisition of these Sportech wagering assets?
JH: I think getting some of our newly developed and developing technology such as our ADW platforms, teller software and self-service betting terminals into the market for existing Sportech clients is something internally we are working really hard on. Striking the first fully regulated fixed odds racing bet in the US would also be a great milestone.
Other than that for us it is about onboarding our global team fully so that everyone is aware of the reach and depth of our consolidated offering and continuing to develop strong commercial relationships with our partners and ensuring our evolving product suite will capture their ongoing needs.