Kambi: Under the Hood – The sports betting platform

Kambi's Kris Saw
Kris Saw

As sports betting continues to become more competitive across the United States and the wider North American market, product is increasingly becoming the key battleground for operators vying for success. But what actually separates a great sportsbook from a merely good one? 

In this new series titled Kambi: Under the Hood, SBC Americas will be interviewing experts from the leading B2B sports betting provider to get their view on some of the key components, products, and features that comprise a next generation sportsbook capable of delivering memorable experiences for the end user.

In simple terms, sports betting technology is some of the most complex on the market, and the technical strength that comes with building a sportsbook capable of leading the market is vast. In today’s landscape operators need to be able to offer a deep array of markets capable of combinability across pre-game and in-game to end users.

Every element of a sportsbook must operate in perfect harmony to deliver a best-in-class service beginning with integrating and processing official data, followed by excellence in trading and risk, which is then delivered through a fast and intuitive frontend.

In this inaugural edition of Kambi: Under the Hood, Kambi’s Chief Technology Officer, Kris Saw, sets the stage with a look into the core betting platform.

A lot goes into building a high-powered sports betting platform. What are some of the most important elements?

To build a high-powered sports betting platform, agility and speed are essential. We need to adapt to the market demands and the regulatory requirements of different regions. For example, when we entered the US market, our microservices-based system allowed us to customize our product to fit the US regulations and preferences. 

We also improved our US sports betting offer by launching the same game parlay feature, which was only possible because of our flexible and modular platform. This way, we can keep up with the changing needs of our customers and offer them a better experience.

How do you ensure the platform can handle the volume of bets that come in, especially for larger events?

Handling the volume of bets that come in, especially for big games, requires a lot of planning and testing. We need to monitor the performance of the platform and how it handles the load, and estimate what the load will be for future events. 

We have experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, especially in the US and LatAm markets, where we have seen record-breaking volumes of bets. This gives us valuable data to test our platform end-to-end and identify any potential bottlenecks or issues before they affect our customers.

Risk management and security are paramount when it comes to the sports betting industry. What steps are taken to ensure fair play and security for both players and operators to prevent fraudulent activities and ensure the betting process is transparent and secure?

Fair play and security are very important for the sports betting industry, and we take several steps to ensure them for both players and operators.

From a security perspective, our platform is designed fundamentally to be secure and limit the amount of information we need, to lessen the impact and risk of data breaches. We, of course, follow all the standards of regulators to make sure our system meets the needs of the evolving security climate. 

The internet is a hostile place to be sometimes, so we not only follow those things, but we proactively make sure that our platform can handle the risk that is out there. We work with both our own software and third parties to enhance our security continuously.

From a fair play perspective, our platform is built to prevent fraudulent activities and ensure the betting process is transparent and secure. We use advanced algorithms and data analysis to detect any suspicious or abnormal patterns of betting behavior and flag them for further investigation.

How do you manage to process and ingest the vast amounts of data, and convert that data into odds?

That is a challenging and complex task, which requires a large infrastructure to process that information and train it on models to make sure we have the right price at the right time.

We use cutting-edge technologies and techniques to handle the data and generate the odds. For example, our 3rd gen models, or the pricing and changing of odds without human intervention, are built from the fundamentals of deep learning and data analysis, using our innate understanding of the trading process and design model hierarchy and frameworks that maximize the utilization of modern AI technologies and computing power.

We are constantly looking for new sources of data and new ways of analyzing them to improve our odds. We work with various data providers and partners to access the most reliable and accurate data for every sport and event.

Every jurisdiction and state has its own set of regulations that companies need to abide by. How are you able to make sure things like technical specifications and reporting are compliant and ready for expansion into new markets?

We are aware that every jurisdiction and state has its own set of regulations that companies need to abide by, and we are prepared to meet those challenges.

We have built our platform to deal with the hardest possible requirements that we have seen, so we can handle the complexity and diversity of the regulations. We have a baseline of the platform that can comply with the most common standards, such as New Jersey or GLI 33, and then we can customize it to address the specific needs of each regulation.

We have a dedicated team of experts who monitor and analyze the regulatory changes and requirements in different markets and work closely with our partners and regulators to ensure our platform is compliant and ready for expansion. We also use automated testing and reporting tools to verify and validate our platform’s functionality and performance, according to the technical specifications and reporting standards of each jurisdiction.

What are some technical advancements or trends we might see in the future within the industry?

The big trend now is data and being able to leverage and make use of the enormous amounts of data available both around sporting events as well as on a transactional level in relation to bets being placed. Both from a product perspective and using the data to provide the best product, and from a customer perspective, seeing what they can do with that data to find betting opportunities. 

There’s a lot that’s going to be happening in that space to produce new types of betting opportunities, making sure the ones out there are priced well, and potentially with this data in the customers’ hands, we could see much sharper activity in the future. 

The core sports betting platform is as important as it comes when creating a quality sportsbook, but there is so much more that needs to be delivered to attract and retain those customers. 

Upcoming in this series, you will learn more about some of those products including SGP, front-end UX, and some of the latest technology and developments from experts within Kambi.