The opportunities in the US sports betting market and the success of the wider American technology industry will force European suppliers to raise their game, according to BETEGY CEO Alex Kornilov.
Ahead of his participation in this week’s SBC Summit North America conference, Kornilov explained how and why the US market has the potential to drive improvements in the UX of online sportsbooks and mobile apps.
SBC: Looking at the current state of play for US sport right now, how’s the year performed so far in betting and engagement for BETEGY?
AK: Looking at it ‘season to season’, rather than calendar, it’s been very positive. Last year a lot of our clients wanted to diversify engagement in sports. Rather than focusing on the ‘Big Four’ – and especially the NFL and NBA, we’re now seeing clients look to engage with tennis and golf, especially in the US.
Sports betting has never been more popular, and with a number of the big sports in the offseason, slightly less ‘popular’ sports are getting their moment in the sun, which is extremely exciting for us, as coverage has grown from key events to all sorts of events.
SBC: Given the US is home to Silicon Valley, we’d expect to see a top notch UX and customer journey for apps and online – how much innovation are we seeing here compared to Europe?
AK: There’s clearly a wonderful possibility to jumpstart the development of UX/UI and innovation, but what we’re seeing is a lot of technology is imported from Europe.
That isn’t to say it’s a bad thing. What this does is allows you to filter what is important, what is legacy, and what technologies can really cut through. It is essentially a fresh start. In my view, the opening of the US market allows for European companies to test their level of innovation and adapt this to US realities.
It also pushes European companies further in terms of innovation. Both continents work together in a loop that drives innovation forward. We’re not quite at the level of innovation in America as we are in Europe, but give it a few years and I imagine we’ll start to see some really special products.
SBC: With SBC Summit North America kicking off shortly, what’s BETEGY looking forward to at the show? What do you see as the key trends for the panels and speaking tracks?
AK: The best thing for us is to meet clients, partners, and potential clients in person. You can’t establish that bond as easily remotely. People get things done fast in person, especially with decision makers. Business is all about trust, and in our industry that counts more than anything else.
For the show, BETEGY is looking to establish trust with partners and future customers. Holding conversations with prospective partners and getting to explain our products in front of them is priceless, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
Regarding the speaking tracks, there’s a great selection of panels and speakers, so it should offer real insight into one of the most exciting markets in the world at the moment. I’m particularly looking forward to joining the NFT panel, which should offer some excellent insights into what is a particularly strong growth opportunity for further engagement – virtual horse racing, team collectibles, you name it – it’s got it all.
SBC: Looking at your current US operations, how do you see the market being shaped by the major players?
AK: It’s an incredibly copycat market. People try to copy the big boys, such as your Flutters, Entain, BetMGM’s and the like. These major brands influence everyone, and the market grows from there.
Of course, that means that it is very much shaped by the major players. What that means for marketing and engagement is a different story, but it no doubt means that we’re looking at multiple different scenarios as to how the market can evolve.
SBC: One key topic is no doubt going to be the battle of marketing budgets, what’s your forecast for the next few years for new states? Will the big brands hold sway or will we see more grassroots approaches like Arkansas?
AK: Marketing budgets will define it all. We’re seeing an awful lot of money spent on endorsements and deals with celebrities, athletes, and influencers. When you create a market, you require a lot of money. You’re creating the demand by itself.
With these enormous budgets, there are two ways of using it – lazy or smart. If you only use big paid advertisements and big stunts, yes, you’ll get traffic and spikes, but this method isn’t sustainable. It needs to be used in tandem with analytics, strategy, performance marketing and more.
The most successful companies will be the ones that can look through the data to identify the best strategies and get the maximum ROI per customer. However, you can easily make it work together. Of course, there is the risk that people get too excited with one-off campaigns, that are quick wins, rather than a sustainable approach for the long term.
SBC Summit North America 2022, the leading conference and tradeshow for the sports betting and igaming industries in the region, takes place at Meadowlands Exposition Center, New Jersey on July 12-14.
Alex Kornilov is one of the speakers for the ‘Unlocking the potential of digital assets – do NFTs make everything playable?’ session at 4.20pm on July 13. Fellow panelists include Aaron Avruskin (Co-Founder, PlayLine), Brett Calapp (CEO & Co-Founder, Desert Diamond Mobile/ RareMint), Ethan Davidman (Co-Founder, Poly Labs), and Dr. Laila Mintas (Founder, Dr Mintas Consulting).
Tickets for the event, which include access to eight conference tracks, an exhibition showcasing the next generation of industry products, and entrance to a selection of evening networking parties, can be booked at the SBC Summit North America website.