Steve Ruddock of Betting USA spoke with Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén to catch up on Kambi’s progress in the US and get his perspective on the US sports betting market.
When people think of US sports betting, they think of companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and the myriad of other forward-facing brands that comprise the US’s retail and online sportsbooks. What gets overlooked are the suppliers and B2B companies that power those sportsbooks. These are the engines that make the sports betting racecar run.
One of the biggest and most successful suppliers in the US is Kambi.
Kambi is the engine that runs many of the top US sportsbooks. Whether it’s DraftKings, Rush Street’s BetRivers app, Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook, Parx Casino, or one of its numerous other partners, they all have one thing in common: Kambi.
We’ve supported more online launches than any other sportsbook partner, from an operational perspective, and launched into more properties, 45 and counting, in the states that have launched sports betting post-PASPA. This has seen our partners gain a c.40% market share and provides us with a great amount of data and insights we’ll be using to improve our product even further as we move into 2021. And 2021 will be a significant year with more states opening up and some very ambitious partners eager to expand.
Sports Betting Trends to Watch in 2021
Betting USA: And how do you see the US landscape changing in 2021?
Kristian Nylén: We’ll see in-game betting become the key battleground if it isn’t already. As the number of markets that allow mobile betting increases, and as bettors become a lot more in-game savvy, we’ll start to see the higher quality sportsbooks, those that offer a top-class live product, rise to the top.
This doesn’t mean providing an endless number of markets but rather presenting bettors with relevant betting opportunities available to bet, particularly at crucial game moments.
As an example, this NFL season, not only have we seen in-game betting rise, but within that segment, we’ve seen the percentage of handle on instant markets, such as the result of current drive, increase from 10% to 30% of the overall in-game handle. And with the increasing availability of rich data in the top sports and leagues, we’ll continue to see in-game product development. It’s an area we’re proud to have led on, and we’ll continue to build out our in-gaming offering over the coming years.
Can the US Sustain its Current Sports Betting Momentum?
Betting USA: The simultaneous return of virtually all major sports has led to the sports betting industry posting impressive numbers. I’m curious how you see the next 12-24 months playing out? Are these numbers aberrations, or can the industry maintain or even build off them?
Kristian Nylén: I don’t see any reverse in that trend over the next 12-24 months. While growth in the more mature markets of New Jersey and Pennsylvania may slow a little, I still expect them to increase. Particularly with the in-game opportunity, as described previously, adding incremental revenues.
Additionally, states such as Illinois, Colorado, and Indiana have plenty of headroom for growth, in my view. With regards to the return of sports, we certainly saw some evidence of pent-up spend around the time of July and August. Still, we also have to remember we are less than two-and-a-half years into the post-PASPA online market. We’re still seeing new players find the regulated sportsbooks and operators are very much still in customer acquisition mode, as we’ve seen from recent earnings reports.