Oftentimes it is the guests who are fashionably late that are the ones who end up being the life of the party. Many late entrants to the US online gambling market are hoping that is the case as they set forth into a market in a wave of second movers, hoping to carve out a piece of the market from the dominant players in the space.
Soft2Bet is an example of a group coming in late but certainly not coming in quietly. The group made a big splash at the Global Gaming Expo last week. In addition to an impressive booth, the group also presented its tech in “The Lab” presentation space on the expo floor. They did all this despite technically not being live in the US just yet.
In other words, they may be late to the US online gambling party, but they are early and meticulous when it comes to their individual entry into the space. As Soft2Bet General Counsel David Yatom Hay explained to SBC Americas, the goal is to clearly display what European markets already know about what Soft2Bet can do.
“We’re an operator. That’s what we are first and foremost. We used our operating platform, the one that we use to engage with our players and users on our consumer website or gaming websites so that we can showcase technological capabilities,” Yatom said about the company’s presence at Global Gaming Expo. “We haven’t started the operation in the US but it was important for us to show the US landscape what we’re capable of.”
Those capabilities include what Soft2Bet is calling motivational engineering. As Yatom explained it, these are features that keep users on a gambling site and keep them engaged and active with the content.
“It’s basically taking the game experience to a whole different level. We offer a game within a game. Previously we started off with loyalty points you could use in shops. We’ve enhanced into additional gamification features like city builders. We now have the pipeline of additional games to be used in order to enhance your gaming experience and you can use loyalty points to achieve awards.”
The results are palpable. Yatom said GGR can rise by 60% and retention results are even higher. The motivational engineering extends beyond just casino concepts as well. Yatom noted they will eventually offer a football manager game in addition to the more social games to appeal to bettors.
The product is what Soft2Bet wants, but Yatom acknowledged the biggest obstacle for its North American debut is timing.
“The challenge is we are a little late to the party.”
“We see a market that is somewhat saturated by three or four huge operators. Not even big– huge, huge operators that you have to compete with they have a footprint in every state that they can. And the challenge is to try to outshine them,” he added.
Yatom and Soft2Bet are ready with a game plan that includes a very targeted approach.
“How do we overcome this challenge? We become unique,” he began. “We show something that is different. And how do we do this? We run our own operation. We start in New Jersey. That’s our plan. Starting out in four or five states, I don’t think it’s reasonable. I want to make sure that we gain market share in New Jersey. I want to show other operators this European provider coming into New Jersey, shining on top of others, taking some sort of market share. They will say okay, what are they doing that we were not and how can we leverage that technology?”
Like many before him, Yatom cited the knowledge and experience of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) as a major reason why the company chose to begin there. That is not the only benefit of the market though.
Even though New Jersey’s online casino market is several years older than Pennsylvania’s, it remains less saturated and sustains more operators than its neighbor. Moreover, New Jersey has a much more reasonable tax structure compared to Pennsylvania, which taxes online slots at a very high 54%.
Like other operators such as Rush Street and Tipico, Soft2Bet is also focused on states that offer both online casinos and sports betting. There is not a huge list of states that satisfy those requirements now, but Yatom said it is more about positioning the company to move as the list of iGaming states grows.
When asked about what kind of event could cause a paradigm shift in the industry and potentially shake up the market share of these huge operators, Yatom said there is not really one major event that is going to change the landscape, nor will there be a sudden onslaught of states passing online casino regulation in 2024.
While Soft2Bet might be late to the party when it comes to the first wave of US sports betting, he thinks Soft2Bet is right on time to take advantage of when the country begins to more openly embrace online casinos.
“So we already have the sports. There’s some sort of realization of, ‘We already have this, the next step will be online casino’. So if you’re here right now, and you’re already establishing something in the US, it will be easier to penetrate other territories when they open up. So I think it’s not a disruption so much as an opportunity.”