Andrew Foster, Enteractive: Keeping the focus on US recreational sports bettors to deliver sustained growth

Andrew Foster, Enteractive

Writing for SBC Americas, Andrew Foster – Chief Business Officer at Enteractive – discusses building engagement and long-term brand loyalty with US bettors in the wake of large-scale sporting events.

In 2023, sports betting operators have continued their expansion across the USA, as new states legalize sports betting and new markets open up brimming with eager sports fans ready to wager on everything from big ticket events like the SuperBowl and March Madness to smaller, non-marquee sports, like tennis, golf and NASCAR. 

But it’s the major pro leagues that attract the most attention from the more recreational punter, and it’s those opportunities that operators need to activate to see more sustained growth.

Keeping the recreational players engaged

This aspect of the industry is imperative because it provides an insight into the thinking and type of consumers who open ‘Super Bowl accounts’; and how operators can reach them. Those players might have been attracted by big promotional offers, while others may have been encouraged by friends or family “making a Sunday game interesting”. 

They will probably have placed a few bets prior to the game and maybe dabbled in some live betting during the event, but on the whole they are not avid bettors. In fact they could be described as the archetypal recreational customers so many of the operators want to recruit. 

By some distance, the NFL is the biggest, loudest and, from an online sports betting perspective, most popular sport on which US (and Canadian) consumers bet on; and the thriller that the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles produced in Arizona earlier this year would have exceeded the expectations of most sports fans. 

For the industry, the fact that the event took place in a state where sports betting is legal and regulated provided extra resonance. 

Retention Rules

As such, it’s understandable that the biggest acquisition periods of the year are tagged to these massive sporting events.  But keeping those players engaged and enjoying the sports betting excitement after the fanfare dies down is key to driving growth in a healthy active player base.

In this regard, one company in particular stood out from the crowd this year… Over the three days leading up to Super Bowl LVII, Betting Hero deployed 350+ ambassadors across 250 locations in multiple U.S. states to engage with football fans and bettors. The company registered a record 6,700+ new depositing customers during this four-day period. It’s an example of how to reach out to the active player base in a personalized and meaningful manner, and inspire the customers to continue their enjoyment of Betting Hero’s entertainment.  

And it doesn’t stop there, with the company carrying the momentum into March Madness marketing activity the following month, repeating similar success to their 2022 campaign, where they generated $1.88 million CAD in revenue with over 30% gross margins in the initial two weeks of the tournament. In 2023, the company deployed over 350 Heroes in 200+ venues across 14 states for the tournament, further expanding its strategic growth plan.

Strong numbers 

Sporting suspense notwithstanding, the betting numbers showed how popular these events are with sports bettors of all shapes and sizes. Prior to this year’s Super Bowl event, the American Gaming Association said a record 50 million American adults were expected to bet on it, with 30 million betting through online or mobile sportsbooks – a huge 66% rise on the previous year. 

The AGA added that the spread of regulated sports betting across the country had enabled many more recreational consumers to bet on the game. 

In terms of betting handle (turnover), the game generated more than $1bn in stakes, a record for a single event, but industry analysts also noted that for operators the result of the game was secondary to the number of players who signed up and opened accounts with them. 

For example, the gaming analysis firm Eilers & Krejcik said the Super Bowl was “mainly an opportunity to acquire casual customers who can be cross-sold to other sports, online casino, or be reactivated next NFL season”. 

Customer loyalty  

Another revealing data point that shatters many of the preconceptions about customer loyalty is that sports bettors are in fact much more loyal than had been widely assumed, in particular with marketing levels dropping considerably in the past year. 

  • A survey of 1,400 US consumers by the analysts at Jefferies found that 83% of them were “likely” or “very likely” to continue betting with their current accounts,
  • 28% were “inclined to stay” with their current sports books even if promotions are decreased, and 
  • 40% of respondents said they planned to maintain just one account and 37% intend to have two.

While these are indeed encouraging numbers for any sportsbook CRM manager, there will always be a segment of players that will inevitably churn or never make the first deposit. Based on the amazing numbers we are seeing in the USA already, consistent interaction with valuable player segments directly leads to increased activations, reduced attrition figures, and more active players with higher LTVs.

Enteractive enables operators to reach these audience segments directly through our conversion and reactivation services – contact us at [email protected] to find out more.