Can the Europeans give the Americans the betting product they want?

Stephen Baumohl, co-founder of UK-licensed Redzone.bet, says player props and micro-markets will be a key part of the US sports product

The early wave of US operators have turned to European suppliers for their technology infrastructure and that makes sense given the extensive experience they have in the fields of complex betting platforms and risk management. But do the Europeans really know what a nascent American market wants, and do they have the expertise to supply odds for US sports, given that US sports are historically overlooked as relatively minor in Europe?

In the UK, the number of markets in any given sporting event has exploded in the last ten years as operators fought for market share by trying to offer every possible derivative, but that will not be the driving factor for customer acquisition in the US. Americans, and quite frankly Europeans too, do not want to scroll through hundreds of versions of odd or even outcomes, they want access to the core markets in a simple, easy to use interface.

Beyond the core markets, there is a huge appetite for player propositions. Partly driven by the popularity of fantasy sports and partly by the fact that American sports are very much stat-friendly anyway, player props will become the differentiator amongst operators. We are seeing it here at Redzone where the player props account for almost 50% of number of bets on an NFL game and the more we put up, the more bets we see. Of course, markets on player performances require a certain amount of specialist knowledge to get right and that takes us back to whether the current European suppliers are equipped to handle them. Companies like San Francisco-based Swish Analytics and Australia/UK based Sportcast, who have designed innovative player ‘bet-builder’ products, have stolen a march and will be in high demand.

There is also the issue of how to deal some of the legacy American products such as teasers, with their flawed pricing, and same game parlays, which are often highly related. It is my understanding that quite a few American operators are insisting that these are kept unchanged as part of their offering but surely now is the perfect time to update them? There is a huge untapped market in the US that should not be subjected to these antiquated bets for the sake of a small percentage of the market that are used to them. Credit should go to Kambi who are following that approach with their Teaser+ product which effectively turns the teaser in to an alternative line parlay at the correct odds.

American sports are perfect for in-play betting with their numerous stoppages and I expect, in time, in-play wagering will be the dominant form. But I also expect the ‘quick hit’ markets to be more popular than in Europe, with markets such as at-bat outcomes in baseball or drive outcomes in football working perfectly as ‘games within the game’. The TV networks appear to be ready to embrace sports betting as well, which will be a massive boost, and NBC’s trial of a betting ‘frame’ around the live coverage of a Washington Wizards game recently just shows what is potentially in store.

The Europeans have done well as suppliers so far as Kambi and SBTech lead the way with platforms that are market ready, but as more states prepare to join the party in 2019, American odds specialists will start to become a factor. The acquisition of Don Best Sports, the primary US odds and data suppliers, by Scientific Games, is a warning shot that the stakes are about to get higher in terms of a betting product and ultimately that can only be beneficial to the customer.

Stephen Baumohl, co-founder of Redzone.bet

Stephen Baumohl, co-founder of Redzone.bet

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