Kambi: Under the Hood – Same game parlays

Kambi same game parlay
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Simon Noy

In recent years, a high-quality same game parlay (SGP) product has become an integral part of any successful sportsbook offering, accounting for a greater share of pre-game handle than ever before. Indeed, the overall growth in popularity of SGPs shows little sign of slowing down, particularly in the US, as operators seek to empower bettors by offering them more control over their sports betting experience.

However, there can be a stark difference in quality between SGP offerings in the market. While a good SGP product allows bettors to combine a large number of different outcomes within a game pre-game, the market-leading SGP products go much further than that. High-quality SGPs, for example, provide players with almost limitless betting options across different games, leagues and sports, as well as offering the latest innovations such as SGP live and cash out functionality.

In this edition of Under the Hood with Kambi, its SVP of Trading, Simon Noy, examines the most important components and challenges of building a successful SGP product, the benefits it can bring to operators, and some new innovations we may see down the road.

Why is a high-quality same game parlay product so essential for sports betting operators today?

There are a number of reasons why SGPs are so popular with bettors and why they are so essential for sportsbooks. First and foremost, they give the player ultimate control to create their own unique and personalized bets. 

Bettors today have access to more data than ever and are more interested in player statistics and trends, so SGPs allow users to really utilize this knowledge to create their own in-game or multi-game story and see how that unfolds. For example, in the first few weeks of the current NFL season we saw that almost half of all SGP bets featured a player prop.

For operators, SGPs are one of the higher margin slices of the sportsbook and are therefore important from a revenue perspective. They can also be creative in how they market their sportsbook’s SGPs with pre-packaged specials that include boosted odds, which creates even greater excitement for a bigger payout for end-users.

What are some of the sports best suited for SGPs and do you put more emphasis on upgrading those offerings?

Sports such as soccer, football, and basketball are all well suited for SGPs as there is a focus from the public on individual player performance, especially star players, while they are also data-rich sports that give SGPs additional layers. These sports allow the bettor to tailor their SGPs around their favorite players, players that are on a hot streak etc. So, there has certainly been more emphasis put on those sports due to demand from operators and players.

Other sports, such as tennis, may not be as obvious a choice for SGPs and may not generate the same numbers as some of those other sports, but they are still very interesting propositions for an SGP product, and Kambi plans to add a tennis product as soon as 2024.

SGPs already account for a significant percentage of pre-game sports betting turnover. Do you think there is still scope for growth or has it peaked?

There has been a tremendous increase in the turnover being placed on SGPs over the last few years. For some events, we see around as high as 50% of pre-game bets being placed on SGPs. 

We’re also seeing rapid growth specifically when it comes to live SGPs and cash out for SGPs, which is the natural next step in the evolution of the product and is likely to become the new battleground moving forward. As such, I think there is still plenty of scope for iterating the product even further, thus leaving a lot of headroom for growth.

What has been Kambi’s approach to SGP product development and how does it benchmark against the rest of the market?

Our approach has been to make certain that the SGP product is built into the very core of the Kambi platform, ensuring consistency across all parts of the sports betting product and allowing all aspects of the sportsbook to be combinable with each other. This allows for quick improvements to the product such as live and cash out abilities, which Kambi is among a select few sportsbooks to offer. 

Ultimately, Kambi’s product development is always led by the data, utilizing our network data from more than 40 partners globally to identify long-term player insights and trends.

What are the challenges and limitations of same game parlays from a technological perspective? Are there any common issues?

There are several different components to take into account when building an SGP product. Some of these include accuracy with stable, data-driven pricing, accommodating multiple different legs of a bet while servicing a huge number of bets at one time, and maintaining consistency when it comes to pricing across both the SGP product as well as the wider sportsbook.

One of the difficulties with building an SGP product is the complex mathematical modeling required to be able to accurately predict the correlation between different outcomes and game scenarios occurring. To do this Kambi builds complex data driven simulation models that simulate the full game hundreds of thousands of times to understand the likelihood of different scenarios occurring. Another complexity is the technical infrastructure required to be able to support instantaneous odds calculation and bet placement, which has to be global, with an infinite number of bets that could theoretically be created by the bettor.

By doing all this and building within the core of a sportsbook, we’ve been able to create a certain level of flexibility, reliability, and profitability for our partners.

What’s next for SGPs? Are there any emerging technologies or trends that are expected to impact same game parlay product development in the future?

As sportsbook content and offering scale continues to grow, presenting this content in more engaging, entertaining and seamless ways to the bettor will be crucial to ensuring a satisfying consumer experience – one that is not bogged down by menus or overwhelms the bettor with a glut of options.

In removing the structural limitations in how the offering can be consumed, the underlying technological structures powering SGPs are foundational to enabling UX creators to craft new methods of packaging the sportsbook offering. Having the ability to combine outcomes from across all manner of different sports will be key in the evolution of a limitless offering, one where the right combinations are presented to the bettor at the right time.

As mentioned before, the growth of pre-game SGP is now starting to slow and the opportunities for further product expansion are smaller. So, some of the main areas of focus will be expanding the SGP product more into the live betting space, and also improving the overall SGP user experience. This will include areas such as enabling cash out opportunities for SGPs and improving the SGP bet experience through bet trackers.