Kambi: Copa America offers huge opportunity for soccer betting

copa america trophy
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This summer, soccer is taking over. On both sides of the Atlantic, international teams are ready to lock horns to be the kings of their respective regions. While the EURO 2024 championship is well underway in Europe, the Americas are eagerly anticipating the beginning of Copa America, CONMEBOL’s tournament. 

Major international tournaments offer sportsbooks a huge opportunity to capture the imagination of fans, and operators require robust platforms to keep up with this demand. Ahead of the tournament’s big kick off, Kambi US tells SBC Americas about the platform provider’s strategy and plans for Copa America 2024.  

The firm’s Head of Soccer Jonathon Hurst explains why the tournament is so key for the Kambi network and how the platform can transform an operator’s ability throughout the summer of sporting action.

SBC Americas: What is Kambi’s operational strategy ahead of Copa America 2024? 

Jonathon Hurst: The Copa America tournament offers a unique opportunity for the Kambi network in the Americas, particularly in Latin America where our partner network continues to expand. Beyond LatAm, the U.S. and Canada national teams are also participating in the tournament, so it will be interesting to see how much interest there is for Copa America from bettors in each of those countries and if they will get behind their national squad.  

Kambi is approaching this tournament and the rest of a busy summer of sports, including the Euros, Olympics and Wimbledon, with a multifaceted strategy, focusing primarily on equipping our valued partners with a top-tier product that allows them to seize the opportunities at hand. For instance, we will have our most expansive offering to date and are introducing new and fully combinable bet types, including player assists, specific goal methods like headers, and even bets related to hitting the woodwork. We’ve also launched partner specials for our partners in time for both tournaments taking place this summer. 

SBC: How much interest is there in soccer betting in the U.S.? Is it growing in interest and how much does it lag behind the big four sports? 

JH: Over the course of the last year, the popularity of soccer continues to grow strongly in the U.S. Much of that could be attributed to the arrival of Lionel Messi playing for MLS club Inter Miami. Since heading there last July, we have seen a 50% increase in the number of bets on the MLS. 

Soccer is also a top-five sport on our U.S. network of operators in both turnover and the number of bets placed, surpassing ice hockey in both categories. This tells us that the interest in betting on soccer is prevalent throughout the U.S., especially when it comes to games with star power, which we’ll see plenty of in this competition and bettors will be able to enjoy our expansive player props offering. 

SBC: What makes the Kambi platform the best one to utilize ahead of huge sporting competitions and what technical capabilities do you boast? 

JH: Kambi’s extensive experience with major sporting events, combined with our adept pre-match and live trading team, equips us to handle complex scenarios effectively. This adaptability was evident during the 2022 World Cup when the substantial increase in stoppage time prompted us to swiftly update our models, reflecting changes in markets such as over/under total goals and bookings.  

Same and multi-game parlays have quickly become a must-have for leading sportsbooks with our Bet Builder turnover for soccer increasing by 21% year-on-year from 2022 to 2023. Kambi’s core platform also implements algorithms and risk processes to fully integrate a quality combinability product which includes major sports like soccer, football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey offering infinite possibilities for bettors.  

SBC: Are there any new features that Kambi will release ahead of Copa America to engage new bettors? 

JH: To keep the excitement alive and leverage emerging storylines, Kambi will offer numerous daily special markets for each competition throughout the tournament, providing operators with a powerful tool for customer acquisition and retention. Furthermore, Kambi is enhancing its live betting experience by adding more player shots and shots on target lines than ever before, along with empowering partners to craft their own unique special bets through our backend tools. Prior to the start of the tournament and its matches is when you will see mostly straight line and outright winner bets, but promoting an extensive player prop offering is how operators can keep their customers engaged throughout. 

SBC: How will the rollout of your AI pricing strategy help improve performance during massive sporting events? 

JH: Our AI-driven trading division, Tzeract, will once again lead our pre-match offerings and present the most expansive Bet Builder offering to date. Introduced before the 2022 World Cup and now deployed across all prominent soccer leagues, Tzeract utilizes insights from hundreds of millions of bets to enhance our offering throughout the tournaments, reducing many of the friction-points that bettors may face when trying to place their bets throughout. 

This fully-automated trading solution is redefining the landscape for odds compiling, trading, and risk management, delivering numerous benefits from greater pricing accuracy to getting our odds live ahead of the market. With a team boasting decades of expertise in sports and technology, it is at the forefront of transforming fixed odds sports betting, leveraging state-of-the-art AI and machine learning technology.

We are seeing the second generation of trading reaching its breaking point and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with demand from bettors. With Tzeract, our third-generation AI trading models frees up traders to focus on unique offers on top of the automated product including bespoke daily specials, a wide range of outright markets, and responding to what’s happening in the game in real time through ‘flash’ markets during halftimes.

SBC: The Copa America will of course be huge in Latin America. What insights can you give us into your operations in that region? 

JH: Kambi first launched in Latin America in 2015, and has since been the leading sportsbook provider in the region with a strong track record in Colombia where we power market leaders BetPlay and RushBet. We are also active in Argentina through partnerships with operators including Casino Magic and BetWarrior. 

These partnerships have seen the Kambi sportsbook go live in provinces including Buenos Aires and Mendoza, while our partner Olimpo.bet is also live in Peru with ambitious plans to expand across Latin America. There’s no question that in general terms football is the most popular sport in Latin America and is our main focus for the next month while Copa America is taking place. But sports like tennis, basketball and esports through Abios will be important for sustained success once the tournament is over. 

SBC: Brazil and Argentina will be the favorites for the tournament so the Copa is an opportune moment to gain momentum in LatAm as key regions begin to regulate. How is Kambi approaching Latin America and what can we expect to see from you over the next few months?

JH: Copa America presents a great opportunity for customer acquisition and retention in Latin America. While bettors will likely want to back their home-country teams, the question then becomes how do you keep those same bettors coming back? Ultimately, having a high-quality product offering in place will be key and we want to ensure that our offerings for Copa are also available for domestic games once the tournament is complete.  

However, it’s crucial to demonstrate excellence throughout the entire sportsbook, not just in soccer. While delivering a top-notch soccer offering is essential, sportsbooks need to ensure that bettors find the rest of the sportsbook equally engaging. This broader appeal is key for player retention, especially during and after the tournament, where retention rates can be even higher. Of the first-time bettors for the 2020 Euro Tournament, 39% bet on something else during the tournament and had a 35% retention rate. These bettors were also some of the most active during the Copa America tournament.