Kambi’s State of the Nation: Can tennis reach its sports betting potential in the US?

Simon Noy, SVP Trading at Kambi, takes a look at whether more innovation within the tennis product could be key to the sport achieving its full betting potential across the US.

Some sports have long lent themselves better than others to creating entertaining sports betting experiences for players and tennis is one such sport which fits the bill perfectly, particularly for in-game betting. It may not command the same audience share as the most well-followed sports, especially in the United States, but in 2021 it was the second most popular sport on the Kambi network globally behind soccer.

In contrast, tennis was the fifth most bet on sport by handle on the Kambi US network. So, this begs the question, with the general growth in live betting across the US, can tennis become a more popular sport for American bettors?  

In Europe and around the world, bettors recognize that tennis is a great sport for in-game betting, with more than 80% of bets being placed during a match. In comparison, live wagers in other popular sports can account for approximately half that number. Education on tennis and how to bet on it could be one factor as to why it hasn’t quite taken off in the United States as there are many variables in tennis that bettors have to consider when thinking about placing a wager on a match, whether it’s the type of surface they are playing on or how far international players had to travel for a tournament.

Unlike some of the major US sports like football and basketball, tennis is also notable for having tournaments nearly all year round. From the US Open and the French Open, to Wimbledon and the Miami Open, bettors can find endless high-profile tennis matches with some of the best in-game betting options available. As you can see in the graph below, this is why tennis bettors show a consistent level of betting throughout the year which doesn’t fluctuate in the same way as betting activity does on other sports.

These consistent betting patterns show just why having a strong tennis product is so important as it can keep players engaged all year round and active during the off seasons for major sports. This makes product development within the live betting environment for tennis even more crucial and there has perhaps been a lack of innovation in tennis across the industry in recent years.

With the fast pace of play that tennis offers, a quality live tennis offering can attract bettors looking for non-stop action as there is an outcome for each point, game, set and match. Something even a new tennis bettor can understand is an ace, or a serve that successfully lands in the service box without it touching the receiving player’s racket, which is the focus of a new exciting offer launched by Kambi called Ace in Game. 

This breakthrough offering went live just in time for the most recent major, the French Open, and is unique to Kambi partners. Bettors can decide whether they think there will or won’t be an ace in the next game and remain open throughout the game or until an ace happens. 

As the odds to hit an ace change throughout each game, bettors are also given a chance to cash out for a profit they are comfortable with. This quick action bet can be appealing to US bettors, keeping them engaged and interested in future matches.   

Ultimately, tennis markets offer bettors more flexibility and more instant payouts than any other sport. Product innovation will be key to a successful tennis offering to attract bettors in the US, and Kambi will continue to develop a tennis product with improved pricing accuracy that will deliver results in minutes for the high-profile matches, which new and experienced tennis bettors alike can enjoy.