News & insights https://www.kambi.com/ en Interview with Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/interview-kambi-ceo-kristian-nylen A lot has happened since the Supreme Court of the United States repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14, 2018. The ruling ushered in the era of legal sports betting in the US, and it’s hard to believe that happened less than two years. From legalization to a global pandemic, it’s been a long strange trip. To try to make sense of it all, Betting USA spoke with Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén to get his perspective on the legal US sports betting market. The interview covers a lot of ground, from the inroads sports betting has made in the US, to the subsequent derailment of those efforts due to the novel Coronavirus, to how the sports betting industry can adapt to a post-Coronavirus world.   The Ongoing Threat of COVID-19 Betting USA: COVID-19 has stopped US sports betting momentum in its tracks. Short of it magically disappearing, I suspect we’ll be dealing with the fallout of COVID-19 for years to come. That could be future lockdowns, social-distancing policies at retail sportsbooks, or a changed sports experience, such as fanless games. How is Kambi preparing to adapt to these possibilities? Kristian Nylen: These are unprecedented times, and this pandemic is having a wide-reaching impact on all areas of society and changing the manner in which people go about their daily lives. There are certainly more significant areas to address than how sports betting will recover, but from a Kambi perspective, the past few months have taught us a great deal. The four main US sports cannot be matched in terms of overall interest, but we have seen big increases in engagement in other sports like table tennis, MMA, and soccer. One of the advantages of being a global sports betting provider is that we have always had a strong offering of events from all over the globe. So recent events have resulted in a ramping up of our existing capabilities, rather than being caught out. From an operator perspective, casinos are starting to open up, and of course, social distancing measures are particularly important. The long queues we saw at sportsbooks are only going to get longer, which will make the situation more difficult to handle. However, we think our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology can be of significant help here. Enabling players to view lines and construct their bets anywhere before placing them at the casino’s sportsbook counter or kiosk, the functionality significantly shortens queues and reduces contact with surfaces, while protecting betting volumes. In terms of fanless games, there will always be fans who want to watch their team with others and where you have some atmosphere – I think we’ll see an even greater appetite to watch sports in environments such as brick and mortar sportsbooks. With social distancing measures required, this places even greater significance on technology, such as our BYOD, to enable people to get their bets down quickly and safely. There isn’t any evidence as yet that fanless games impact betting, so we don’t currently view that as an issue. Indeed, we don’t believe there is likely to be a major long-term impact on how sporting events are conducted, with society re-opening relatively quickly.   Will the Shutdowns Accelerate Legalization Efforts? Betting USA: The pandemic has also served as something of a wakeup call for legislators in the US to embrace online gambling options. Do you expect a push in upcoming legislative sessions to include online options or expand beyond retail betting in states that already passed sports betting laws? Kristian Nylén: While we’ve discussed measures that can facilitate social distancing in casinos, such as Kambi’s BYOD technology, it’s true that the safest measure states can take is allowing people to bet from the comfort and safety of their own homes. While we hope it won’t be the case, there is the possibility that there could be a second and third wave of Covid-19, which may once again lead to casino closures. It’s becoming more apparent that a number of owners of land-based casinos previously cool on the prospect are softening their stance towards online as on-premise revenue streams become slightly more unpredictable. I think some states previously resistant to online regulation are starting to see the benefits of online in this context, in addition to all the benefits that existed before and continue to exist, such as responsible gambling measures and sporting integrity. It’s also true that the Covid-19 pandemic is leading states to seek greater tax revenue, which the expansion of regulated online sports betting can play a role in. We’ve already seen Michigan look to expedite its online regulation, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see others follow suit.   New Products for a New Reality Betting USA: The pandemic may also serve as a warning to regulators who’ve limited product offerings to sports, and in many instances, only the major sports leagues. Could betting on esports, events (award shows, weather, or politics), and lower-tier sports have helped mitigate the loss of revenue during the COVID shutdowns? And should regulators consider a less stringent approval policy? Kristian Nylén: This is something for each state to decide, and we understand that they must have confidence in the integrity of each event before they allow it. Kambi is the only sports betting supplier that’s a member of the International Betting Integrity Association, and we make use of official data wherever we can. Combined with our very strong ties with sports governing bodies and associations, we provide regulators the confidence they need to enable our partners to offer a wider range of sports and events. Although this naturally does not make up for the current loss of US sports, it certainly enables operators to keep bettors engaged, which will be immensely important when more traditionally popular sports make their return. Those suppliers and operators which simply downed tools during this time will find it challenging to reactivate players when leagues such as the NHL and NBA hopefully return in the weeks ahead. Esports and politics are a separate question. From a global perspective, we see a good appetite for both, but in the US, esports is limited while politics remains off the menu altogether. That said, I don’t think we should look at traditional esports or politics to be a like-for-like replacement for sports as they generally attract a different type of bettor. For example, we have found that sports bettors are more likely to bet on esoccer than on the traditional form of esports like Counterstrike and Dota 2.     Lessons Learned in the US Betting USA: Moving on from COVID, we’re two years into the post-PASPA US sports betting era. What has Kambi learned about the US Sports bettor during that time? Kristian Nylén: I’d say it’s been more a case of underlining what we had thought previously than us learning anything new or being surprised by anything. Average stakes are higher than in the UK, for example, while we anticipated the huge popularity of parlays. The NFL is, of course, the most popular league to bet on, while in-play engagement is growing at a solid rate with all of our partners. If I were to pick an area that exceeded our projections, I would look to the number of people we see coming through our kiosks. Pre-lockdown, approximately 80% of all on-property bets were placed at a kiosk, which in turn reduces the queues for the teller. Our partners have sought to make room for further kiosks in order to meet demand, underlining their importance and popularity. Along with our Bring Your Own Device technology, they have revolutionized the on-property experience. As I’ve mentioned, the speed at which in-game betting is growing has been impressive. We knew it would grow and will eventually comprise the majority of turnover, but the rate at which this is happening is worth highlighting.   US Bettors Focused on a Small Number of Sports… For Now Betting USA: Along the same lines, is there anything that stands out about US sports betting markets? Kristian Nylén: In the US, the bulk of handle is focused on the three or four main sports, whereas it’s a little more spread out elsewhere. That being said, perhaps the main thing that stands out is how quickly the regulated US market is beginning to resemble the more mature European market in terms of betting activity. Since launching, we have rapidly witnessed significant increases in the use of cross-sport parlays, cash-out, in-game betting, and the range of sports being wagered on, including growth across the likes of MMA and table tennis. For all the differences people like to think there are between Europe and the US, there are many similarities.   The Keys to a Successful Partnership Betting USA: With legalization occurring on a state-by-state basis, market access is a critical component to success in the US. Kambi has partnerships with both commercial and tribal operators in the US. Can you talk about the critical elements of successful partnerships and why you think Kambi stands out? Kristian Nylén: There are a number of factors at play in building successful partnerships, but trust is definitely one which stands out. We have a great track record of successful delivery, which no other supplier can match, taking the first bets in a number of states. Kambi most recently processed the first legal online wager in Illinois with Rush Street Interactive. We don’t operate in black markets, nor do we operate a B2C brand – our resources are 100% dedicated to sports betting and being the best at what we do, which is being the industry’s premium, trusted sportsbook partner. Empowerment is also central to the success of our partnerships. We provide an unmatched sportsbook core and network, while at the same time giving operators all the levers they need to differentiate. Alongside a powerful suite of open APIs to enable them to build a unique front-end, these include price differentiation, a sophisticated bonusing toolbox, bespoke risk management, and an open platform to integrate digital enhancements such as streaming.   Article originally published by Steve Ruddock on Betting USA 2020-07-02T16:19:49+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/interview-kambi-ceo-kristian-nylen Kambi enters long-term partnership with Four Winds Casinos https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/kambi-enters-long-term-partnership-four-winds-casinos Kambi Group plc, the leading global sports betting supplier, is pleased to announce a partnership agreement with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos.  Four Winds Casinos has three locations in Michigan and one location in Indiana.  Four Winds is consistently ranked as one of the top gaming and entertainment brands in the Midwest. Its flagship property, Four Winds New Buffalo, which has also received recognition as one of the top resorts in the United States, is located in New Buffalo, Michigan and offers approximately 125,000 square feet of gaming with more than 2,400 slot machines, 48 table games, five restaurants, the 17,000 square feet multi-use Silver Creek Event Center, retail venues, a pool, and a 415-room hotel.   Following a competitive tender process, Kambi was selected by Four Winds Casinos for its high-quality on-property and online product, a strong regulatory and compliance record, and its position as the independent sports betting technology partner trusted by operators and regulators alike in the United States. Kambi’s on-property offering and unmatched track record of successful delivery have been central to the provider’s progress in the US regulated market, with its kiosks and unique Bring Your Own Device technology transforming the way people choose to bet. Kristian Nylén, Kambi’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very proud to be entering this partnership with the Pokagon Band and its Four Winds Casinos.  They are a leading operator in the Midwest and share our commitment to providing customers with consistently engaging experiences.   “Kambi has established itself as the trusted partner to Tribal casino gaming enterprises that wish to leverage the strength of their brand to truly capitalise on the sports betting opportunity, and we are excited to be supporting Four Winds as they look to fulfil their online and on-property ambitions.” Frank Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Gaming Operations for Four Winds Casinos, said: “We are excited to partner with Kambi to bring sports betting to Four Winds Casinos and take the gaming experience we offer guests to the next level.  “We look forward to announcing the details of the sports betting options we will offer at our Michigan locations in the near future.” Kambi is set to install its suite of on-property sports wagering products in Four Winds’ casino locations in New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford, Michigan, with an online launch to follow.  This agreement sees the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi become the third major tribal nation to choose Kambi to power its online and on-property sports betting ambitions, with Seneca Gaming Corporation and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment having partnered with Kambi in 2019. Kambi recently achieved its latest market first in the US, processing the first legal online wager in Illinois with Rush Street Interactive. 2020-07-01T13:52:03+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/kambi-enters-long-term-partnership-four-winds-casinos Tribal sports betting - to B2B or not to B2B? https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/tribal-sports-betting-b2b-or-not-b2b Max Meltzer, Kambi chief commercial officer, analyzes the best way forward for tribal sports betting partnerships, to build property-wide gains.   Landmark years in betting and gaming don’t come much bigger than 2019, the first full calendar year following the repeal of PASPA - a regulatory development that opened up unprecedented opportunities in sports betting for all manner of organisations. The US landscape is taking on a defined shape, with multiple states regulating and plenty of promising signs from legislators in others. However, while regulation has been efficiently rolled out in a number of states, there have of course been frustrations and examples of it being done less effectively in states like Oregon. The tribal community holds the cards on how sports wagering can expand through lobbying efforts and compact negotiations. As sensible regulatory frameworks are established, the right insight from trusted partners can lead to significant growth to the bottom line not just in sports betting, but across the entire casino floor. Many tribes are seizing the opportunity. Tribal groups including Seneca Gaming Corporation have launched sports betting at their properties, while others such as Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment have signed agreements and lined up sports betting launches in anticipation of the passage of regulation. Selecting the right route to market for the business is a crucial aspect tribes must manage. In general, two routes are open. The first being a partnership with a B2C brand, handing over day to day management of the sportsbook to an operator and providing that company with access to the casino’s user database and the brand-building opportunities that come with the task. For those tribes that believe in the strength of their brand and want ownership of the sports betting value chain, partnering with a B2B provider capable of providing all-important regulatory certainty and swift, hassle-free deployment can be the first step to sports betting success. This has been the case for Seneca Gaming Corporation, who launched sports betting in all three of their New York properties in December 2019, just weeks after partnering with Kambi. It’s important to emphasise that neither option for launching sports betting is right or wrong, although there is some evidence from state by state to now indicate that going B2B with Kambi and utilising one’s own brand database, or a top B2C partner utilising Kambi, can consistently drive higher revenues than other options. No tribal community is the same, and the only certainty is that the most important aspect will be planning strategically for sports wagering and considering partners who are both experienced at working with tribes and operate with the highest levels of integrity. Enhancing the entire casino floor An engaging on-property sportsbook with a well-managed blend of over-the-counter and kiosk services can help draw in younger clientele, and future-proof growth by promoting higher levels of engagement – not just in sports betting, but across gaming and hospitality. It also brings more customers through the doors of properties by broadening its range of products and services. This is especially the case when rolling out sports betting with an accomplished B2B supplier, as opposed to handing over their database and responsibility for the day-to-day running of the sportsbook to a third party. Taking control of the sportsbook with a B2B partner empowers the casino with a full 360-degree view of casino and sportsbook customers – enabling them to see how they intersect and how to most efficiently drive cross-sell between the two verticals. These property-wide boosts are already being experienced by Kambi partner Penn National Gaming, finding that sports betting has already significantly benefitted casino revenues at its properties – especially in table gameplay. For example, Penn National Gaming recently reported that at its Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, table volumes rose by approximately 20% in Q4 2019 following the launch of sports betting. What the B2B providers in this scenario must prioritise is ensuring that the process is as consultative as possible, building on the individual requirements of each tribal partner and learning what’s needed through ongoing dialogue and genuine partnership. No aspect of a tribal casino’s offering is a bolt-on, and for those with trust and confidence in their own brand, sports betting doesn’t need to be either. Protecting the consumer Aligning a high-quality mobile product with the on-property offering can also deliver significant uplift. Casino players will naturally find their way to mobile and online sports wagering as regulation allows, and developing a mobile and online sports offer consistent with the tribe’s established brand is the best way to beat the competition to the punch and develop even greater brand loyalty. Particularly now, in light of Covid-19, casinos may be encouraging greater use of mobile on-premise. Also, tribes and legislators are looking at diversifying risk around land-based reliance and seeking online revenue opportunities driven by their databases to protect overall tribal revenues. Tribes considering whether to advocate for online regulation alongside land-based sports betting could look to Seneca Gaming Corporation’s strategy, the New York-based tribe planning to have a leading online product that taps into new audiences in a world in which more people are happy to act remotely through the internet. Developing a meaningful online connection with the customer is an excellent way of protecting future growth – for example, rewarding an online customer with a land-based bonus, which includes food and beverages, or a night at the resort can help boost the long-term retention of a new breed of player.    For tribes that believe in the strength of their brand and the potential that comes with owning the sports betting value chain, partnering with powerful B2B providers can be a valuable means of achieving lasting success.   First published on Gaming America: https://gamingamerica.com/magazine/597/kambi-cco-tribal-sports-betting--to-b2b-or-not-to-b2b 2020-06-25T10:35:41+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/tribal-sports-betting-b2b-or-not-b2b Realising the potential of esports betting https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/realising-potential-esports-betting 5 Star iGaming Media recently caught up with Kambi's Head of Trading Simon Noy for a Q&A on the development of eSports Is there demand for eSports betting? Interest in eSports has grown consistently over the last few years. What was at one stage a largely niche pastime has grown to draw millions of viewers worldwide, with fans flooding stadiums all over the globe to witness a new breed of sports star demonstrate their skills on what is now a truly international stage.   It is to be expected that this rise in interest would lead to an increase in the desire to engage with esports betting opportunities.  Esports events also lend themselves to the more immediate nature of the modern sports betting experience. Features such as in-play betting and cash-out revolutionised the relationship between punter and bookmaker, transforming what had been limited to pre-game wagering into an activity capable of driving ongoing and longer-term engagement. The shorter nature of esports contests lends itself well to today’s sports betting landscape. Bets placed on the pre-match outcome of a game of FIFA or round of Counterstrike can be settled in a matter of minutes. Esports fans tend to be younger, and a well-rounded, sophisticated esports betting offer represents a great opportunity to build player loyalty in this demographic and introduce these new punters to sports betting.  A strong sportsbook core is of paramount importance to offer fast-moving esports events effectively. A sportsbook with a poor grasp of esports runs the risk of hitting customers with long live delays and frequent market suspensions, two factors which can have a hugely negative impact on retention. It goes without saying that delivering a seamless experience and excellent market availability to millions of users is no mean feat, which is why so many fall short of the required standards. Offering stability and a uniform standard of high-quality delivery even during periods of high volume is a crucial factor in offering players a premium esports betting experience, underpinned by proven algorithms and a track record of excellence in trading and risk.  Has demand spiked since traditional sports stopped? Amidst the lighter global sporting calendar a bright spot has been the evolution and growing popularity of esports, showcasing the ability to offer an exciting and fast-paced sports betting format. The simplicity with which it is possible to view esports competitions via streaming services is an important factor in their favour, allowing competitor and viewer to play and watch remotely.  It’s fair to say that there has been a noteworthy increase in demand as traditional sports suspend their calendars. By way of example, in March 2020 the number of esports bets placed on the Kambi network was 236% higher than in the same period last year.  Although it may sound obvious, it bears pointing out that esports should not be viewed as a single, monolithic entity. While all competitive videogames fall under the umbrella of this term, it is composed of a variety of games, all with their own individual mechanics and nuances a trader must consider. Kambi’s team of esports experts has a proven track record trading events from League of Legends and Dota 2 to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and FIFA – helping our operators to provide their players with the best and most engaging experience possible.  Have US operators shown interest in eSports? There is undoubtedly immense esports interest in the US. Among millennial-age men they are more popular than Ice Hockey and almost as widely followed as baseball, while traditional sports are recognising this, with the likes of the NBA and NASCAR creating their own esports teams. The potential for esports betting in the US is undoubtedly vast.  Esports betting is allowed in certain jurisdictions – West Virginia allows all esports where there are not U18 participants, while Nevada has approved a number of high-profile tournaments over the last few weeks.  Kambi’s technical scalability and regulatory expertise have been key factors setting us apart in the US, having processed the first legal wager in several US states including Michigan, Illinois and New York. As esports betting continues to grow in popularity I have every confidence that our offering stands our operators in excellent stead to seize even greater market share.  Traditionally, eSports bettors are a very separate customer cohort to traditional sports bettors. Are you confident you can attract and then keep these customers in the long term? From an operator’s perspective, having an offering that can keep customers who predominantly bet on esports coming back is no different to any other category of player.   A diverse selection of pre-match and live markets on a high number of events is paramount, and the power required under the hood to make this happen with consistent uptime and no delays is key to providing an accessible, seamless experience capable of keeping players coming back in the long term. Putting bells and whistles at the forefront of your thinking may be tempting, but placing scattergun novelties to attract a new breed of customer ahead of prioritising a slick core experience  is a fast track to turning these players off.  Powering market leaders on six continents, Kambi has a proven track record for delivering the powerful sports betting technology and scope for differentiation which allows operators to grow faster than the competition. Our carefully developed and curated esports product forms an important part of our offering, capable of enhancing long-term player retention.     Article first appeared in 5 Star Gaming Magazine  2020-06-04T14:36:28+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/realising-potential-esports-betting Sports betting’s role in the US casino comeback https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/sports-bettings-role-us-casino-comeback The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated a number of changes in how people all over the world go about their daily lives. The situation has elicited shifts in how industries of all types conduct business, not least the land-based casino sector. Periods of closure and the importance of social distancing are having a major impact on day-to-day operations and producing many challenges for operators to overcome. For casino properties in the US, the rise of sports betting can play a significant role on the path to recovery and ultimately resurgence. The global pandemic is leading many tribes and legislators to seek options for diversifying risk around land-based reliance and develop online revenue opportunities, driven by their databases, to protect overall revenues. The Kambi sportsbook has been proven to produce a sportsbook halo effect, increasing engagement with all aspects of the casino which can be felt across the property. For example, at our partner Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, revenues from table games have risen since the introduction of sports betting. With the need for social distancing set to remain for some time, casinos may also seek to encourage wider use of mobile devices on their premises. It is here that Kambi’s Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) functionality can be leveraged to allow for an easy and exciting on-property sports betting experience conducted in a safe and contactless manner. The technology enables bettors to view lines and construct bets anywhere, before placing them at the casino. Between 20 and 40% of over-the-counter wagers at our partners’ casinos are placed using this technology, significantly reducing queuing times during busy periods. We expect the use of this unique BYOD product to continue to rise. Furthermore, it goes without saying that a strong mobile and online sports offering, as regulation permits, can provide a valuable means of driving greater brand loyalty. Launching with an experienced B2B partner, building on the strength of the operator’s database and ownership of the brand can diversify risk and bring about sustainable long-term growth. To find out more join the upcoming Kambi webinar in partnership with EGR Intel, hosted by Kambi Chief Commercial Officer, Max Meltzer. Sign up here 2020-05-27T11:08:01+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/sports-bettings-role-us-casino-comeback What makes a premium sportsbook? https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/what-makes-premium-sportsbook What makes a premium sportsbook? Conversation and analysis in the sportsbook industry focuses a great deal on how it can innovate, and how new technologies can both shake up the landscape and aid incumbent players and new entrants in seizing market share. This is not unique to sports betting. All industries competing for customer leisure spend demonstrate a clear desire to iterate on the formulas which helped drive them to success. However, while no operator or provider in the sports betting industry should ever eschew the importance of innovation, it is worth acknowledging that you can probably count on one hand the number of truly game changing developments within sports betting in the past 20 years. At the turn of the century we saw the launch of the Betfair Exchange, which fundamentally altered the manner in which markets were priced and traded. Fifteen years on heralded the first unveiling of cashout, revolutionising the relationship between bettor and bookmaker and forming an integral part of the in-play betting experience we recognise today. What these innovations, and the relative paucity of similar game changing forward strides underline is that truly ground-breaking innovation is hard to come by, and sports bettors largely prefer to keep things simple, favouring straightforward, relevant markets over complex bet offers. Failure to see the wood for the trees can result in your product being left behind over time by competitors who know the importance of excellent delivery across central markets and at the core of the sportsbook platform. Core strength Having a high-performance sportsbook offering, capable of offering meaningful differentiation while at the same time driving impressive margin from sports betting, is a subject many pay lip service to, but few are capable of consistently delivering. While innovation is an important factor underpinning success in this industry, maintaining an excellent sportsbook core is vital in offering a product that can not only gain market share, but keep hold of it consistently. There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to place a wager due to long live delays and markets frequently being suspended, alongside extended waits for your bet to be settled once an event has reached its conclusion. Delivering a seamless experience and excellent market availability to millions of users is no mean feat, which is why so many fall short of the required standards. Delivering this experience requires a supply chain capable of delivering on all levels, beginning with the integration of official data partners and proven algorithms that process the data, followed by excellence in trading and risk, which must all be supplied through a fast and intuitive frontend. Only when these elements are working in perfect harmony can an operator begin to deliver a best-in-class service.   Offering stability and a uniform standard of high-quality delivery even during periods of high volume is a crucial factor in offering players a premium sportsbook experience. In turn, this feeds into the importance of keeping vital features like cashout not only available, but available for longer, thereby leading to noteworthy boosts in user engagement. By way of example, enhancements made to our football product prior to the previous NFL season saw a significant increase in cashout availability, resulting in an upturn in cashout use of 300%. This is not to say that unique or specialist markets should be shied away from. However, a high-quality sportsbook that puts the end user first will deploy proven markets in a targeted manner, as opposed to hitting the players with a raft of scattergun offers for the sake of volume alone, risking choice paralysis.   By way of example, Kambi pioneered the next point winner market in tennis, which now drives more than 10% of all live turnover in the sport. Furthermore, the result of current drive market in NFL, which is unique to Kambi from a B2B perspective, generates approximately 10% of in-play NFL turnover on site. Substance over style Although subjects like smooth bet settlement may lack some of the intrigue associated with discussing the latest sports betting novelty, putting bells and whistles at the forefront of your thinking and ahead of prioritising a seamless core experience can run the risk of turning players off. Ultimately, it is the quality of the in-play offering which is now the key differentiator, and having all the required elements work in perfect harmony is what sets a premium sportsbook apart. It is imperative that markets are constantly available to bet and not subject to overly restrictive countdown times. We saw a noteworthy increase in user engagement with our NFL in-play offering last season, having reduced the countdown time in-play to just a few seconds, in comparison to a 10-second countdown delay observed on rival B2C offerings. It is a vital element in delivering satisfying, instinct-driven betting. A powerful bet builder is another crucial element any forward-thinking sportsbook must prioritise. Kambi recently launched the next natural step in the product’s evolution, Multi Builder, allowing players to combine several event combinations into a single bet for the first time, While the Multi Builder provides a new level of freedom to bettors seeking to build new unique bets with unlimited possibilities, the value in not overwhelming players seeking a more curated experience was important to recognise. To that end we launched accessible pre-packs across our online and retail offering, which allow easy access to popular in-event combinations with a clearly visible price and organised by default from shortest to longest odds. Providing a huge boost to player convenience on the Kambi sportsbook, players can move between pre-packaged combinations and the bet builder tab to complement the pre-pack with other combinable outcomes. While this functionality is deployed in such a way as to be quickly and easily accessible to the bettor, the power complexity under the hood required to do so in this manner is immense, underlining the importance of having a strong sportsbook core in meeting the needs of the modern player. All of this is not to say that innovation should be shelved, as our multi builder product has proven, but a robust sportsbook core is the essential ingredient upon which innovation can be introduced. New products and bet offers can gain traction but placing concerted focus on making the product more enjoyable and frictionless for a wider audience, rather than innovating for the few, will have a far more pronounced impact on performance and bottom line. Tomás MacBride is head of partner success (Europe) at Kambi, having joined the business in May 2018. He oversees the management of Kambi’s European partners, with a proven track record for helping partners implement strategies resulting in growth.   First appeared in EGR Intel Magazine 2020-04-22T09:39:12+0100 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/what-makes-premium-sportsbook Seizing the US opportunity, Sarah Robertson speaks with Intergamingi https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/seizing-us-opportunity-sarah-robertson-speaks-intergamingi How do you see the growth of the US market? Regulation has arrived rapidly in a number of states, and I’m comfortable saying that it is a speed which caught many stakeholders by surprise. Expertise in compliance and technological scalability have been crucial factors underpinning the success of those who have achieved significant US market share. Illustrating this, we have delivered an impressive number of market firsts, processing the first legal online wager in the US in New Jersey alongside taking the first bets in New York, Pennsylvania, and most recently Michigan and Illinois. In terms of how the product landscape is taking shape, the significance of having a market-leading on-property offering has certainly been noteworthy. The importance of on-property technology in a post-PASPA landscape was something that we anticipated prior to the act’s repeal on May 2018, and we invested a great deal in ensuring that our US land-based offering was ready from day one. Although the majority of Kambi’s revenues will ultimately be generated online as the market matures, maintaining an excellent on-property offering has been and will remain a key factor in our ongoing progress. The Kambi kiosk has proved transformative to the way people like to bet in the US. We now have more than 500 kiosks in operation, driving 75% of on-property handle and streamlining queues for over-the-counter services. Alongside this, our unique Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology enables players to construct bets on their mobile devices before placing them in the casino. Approximately 20% of bets placed over the counter at Kambi’s partner casinos are placed using BYOD. At some casinos, this number is as high as 40%, underlining the potential that a joined up, well-executed omni-channel strategy can unlock. Indeed, for traditionally brick-and-mortar operators such as tribal casinos, a bespoke, expertly deployed blend of over the counter and kiosk services can help to draw in a younger clientele and future-proof growth by promoting higher levels of engagement not just in sports betting, but across gaming and hospitality as well by bringing more customers through the doors of the property through broadening its range of products and services. Tell us more about Kambi’s plan for the US market in the next few years? We have made excellent progress against our plans so far, having signed a series of agreements with exciting, potential-rich partners. Alongside national operators including Penn National Gaming and Rush Street Interactive we have partnered with a range of “local heroes” and trusted regional brands including Jack Entertainment, Parx Casino and Seneca Gaming Corporation. We will continue to deliver rapid launches both on-property and online for our existing partners as compliance frameworks continue to be introduced in further states. Our impressive deployment speed is evident in all of the launches we undertake with our partners, and was recently underlined by our work with Seneca Gaming Corporation, going live with sports betting in all three of their New York properties just weeks after the ink on our deal was dry. Simply put, our primary goal in the US is to continue building on this momentum and the impressive marker we have laid down. Partnering with more local heroes is going to form a core part of that strategy, and we are actively engaged with a number of tribal groups. We are already partnered with both Mohegan Sun and Seneca Gaming Corporation and are in active discussions with several tribes as to how partnering with a B2B sports betting provider can significantly enhance the entire casino business – providing a 360-degree view of player activity to boost cross-sell opportunities and bottom line. Is the US now your focus more than Europe as the country continues to open up sports betting and other online sectors? The US has always had the potential to be a huge market for sports betting, and the repeal of PASPA opened up a huge opportunity for industry stakeholders. With no incumbents outside of Nevada, the US opportunity has naturally dominated the conversation when it comes to the sports betting industry, and Kambi, more than any other provider, has demonstrated what it is capable of with an unparalleled selection of partners and a series of market firsts.   However, Kambi is a truly global company, with 850 employees across seven locations, and  alongside the progress we have made in the US we maintain a clear and focused ambition to expand our reach across regions including Europe and Latin America. In 2019 we undertook several new partnerships and launches in Europe, introducing the Casumo sportsbook to various markets including the UK, going live with William Hill in Sweden and powering the re-launch of the popular mybet brand in Germany. In Latin America, our partner BetPlay has grown to become the clear market leader in Colombia, while in South Africa we recently made our retail debut with our partner Sun International. In short, we have a global focus and have ambitious plans to expand not just in the US, but worldwide. How do you see the growth of specific states in particular? Are there any headline regions which interest you? I would anticipate that we will see regulation continue to spread across the US at a similar rate, with 10 to 15 states passing regulation over the coming 12-18 months or so. We have built a world class legal and compliance team which is continually in the process of evaluating opportunities in new markets, and be in no doubt that as new states implement compliance frameworks that Kambi and our partners will be primed to take advantage.   First published by Intergamingi  https://www.intergameonline.com/ 2020-04-02T16:42:34+0100 Ahmed.Allam@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/seizing-us-opportunity-sarah-robertson-speaks-intergamingi Sports wagering – Improving the whole casino’s bottom line https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/sports-wagering-improving-whole-casinos-bottom-line Max Meltzer, Chief Commercial Officer, Kambi The year 2019 was a landmark one for the betting and gaming industry as the first full calendar year following the repeal of PASPA, a regulatory development which has opened up unprecedented opportunities in sports betting for all manner of organisations. The nascent US landscape is beginning to take on a defined shape, with multiple states regulating and plenty of promising signs from legislators in those yet to get their journey underway. However, while regulation has been efficiently rolled out in a number of states, there have of course been frustrations and examples of it being done less effectively in states including Oregon. The tribal community holds the cards to how sports wagering can expand through lobbying efforts and compact negotiations, and as sensible regulation allows the right insight from trusted partners can drive significant revenue enhancements across not just sports betting but the entire casino. It heralds opportunities which many tribes are seizing. Tribal groups including Seneca Gaming Corporation have launched sports betting at their properties, while others including Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment have signed agreements and lined up sports betting launches in anticipation of the passage of regulation. Selecting the right route to market for the business is naturally a crucial aspect which tribes must manage. In general, two routes are open, the first being a partnership with a B2C brand, handing over day to day management of the sportsbook to an operator and providing that company with access to the casino’s user database and the brand building opportunities that come with the task. For those tribes that believe in the strength of their brand and want ownership of the sports betting value chain, partnering with a B2B provider capable of providing all-important regulatory certainty and capacity for front-end differentiation can be the first step on the road to sports betting success. A partner with an unblemished compliance record is essential, coupled with a proven track record for delivering the technological flexibility needed to comply with local regulations swiftly. What the B2B providers in this scenario must prioritise is ensuring that the process is as consultative as possible, building on the individual requirements of each tribal partner and learning what’s needed through ongoing dialogue and genuine partnership. No aspect of a tribal casino’s offering is a bolt-on, and for those with trust and confidence in their own brand, sports betting need not be either. With this in mind, it is important to emphasise that neither option for launching sports betting is right or wrong. No tribe is the same, and the only certainty is that the most important aspect will be planning strategically for sports wagering and considering partners who are both experienced at working with tribes and operate with the highest levels of integrity. Indian Country holds the key to the future of sports wagering across the country and has the opportunity to create a world class experience, not only the best experience in their county or state. The right partner can ensure you have the ideal set-up, deliver a strong margin from sportsbook and create sports betting experiences the tribe will be famous for for years to come. Building property-wide gains When it comes to traditionally land-based casino operators, the potential for on-property sports betting to significantly enhance the entire casino ecosystem cannot be overstated. An engaging sportsbook, with a targeted, bespoke blend of over the counter and kiosk services can help to draw in a younger clientele and future-proof growth by promoting higher levels of engagement not just in sports betting, but across gaming and hospitality as well by bringing more customers through the doors of the property through broadening its range of products and services. This is especially the case when rolling out sports betting with an accomplished B2B supplier, as opposed to handing over their database and responsibility for the day to day running of the sportsbook to a third party. Taking control of the sportsbook with a B2B partner empowers the casino with a full 360 degree view of casino and sportsbook customers – enabling them to see how they intersect and how to most efficiently drive cross-sell between the two verticals, leading to gains in both customer engagement and the bottom line.  Greater segmentation and crossover between the sports and casino player leads to enhanced margins, and this is especially true for casinos which take the B2B route to market, which sees the casino retain a greater share of revenue than an arrangement with a B2C brand. These property-wide boosts are already being experienced by Kambi partner Penn National Gaming, finding that sports betting has already significantly benefitted casino revenues at its properties – especially in table gameplay. By way of example, Penn National Gaming recently reported that at its Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, table volumes rose by approx. 20% in Q4 2019 following the launch of sports betting. Harnessing online potential It is worth underlining the significance of a high-quality mobile offering seamlessly integrated into the casino ecosystem and consistent with the tribe’s established brand. The convenience and ease of access provided by mobile is a natural complement to the on-property experience, and it goes without saying that a casino’s players will eventually find their way to mobile and online as regulation allows. Tribes considering whether to advocate for online regulation alongside land-based sports betting could look to Seneca Gaming Corporation’s strategy, a tribe planning to have a leading online product which taps into new audiences in a world in which more people are happy to act remotely through the internet. Developing a meaningful online connection with the customer is an excellent way of protecting future growth – for example, rewarding an online customer with a land-based bonus which includes food and beverages or a night at the resort can help to boost the long-term retention of a new breed of player.     In states where sports betting is not active, players can still be offered experiences to acclimatise them to sports betting. In Connecticut, Mohegan Sun’s free-to-play sportsbook has assisted in building their database and readying players for the full online experience. A tribal casino’s audience will have mobile sports betting promoted to them one way or the other, and being ready to interact with those customers with an expertly deployed omni-channel sports betting experience will be crucial to keeping those players happy. Moreover, online gaming does not need to be viewed as a factor that could draw revenue away from the traditional, on-property casino experience. Delivering a high-quality mobile sports betting experience under the casino’s own brand can enhance brand awareness and customer loyalty, thereby driving greater share of wallet. This has even been the case in states regulating on a brick and mortar-first basis, thanks to the sophistication of Kambi’s unique Bring-Your-Own-Device technology (BYOD), which enables players to construct their bets on their mobile devices before placing them in the casino. A total of 23% of bets placed over the counter at Kambi’s partnered casinos are placed using BYOD. At some casinos, this number is as high as 40%, underlining the potential that a joined up, well-executed omni-channel strategy can unlock. BYOD is a further element through which casinos can enhances margins across gaming and hospitality, giving players the opportunity to construct their bets while at the bar or searching the casino floor for their favorite slot game. Indeed, they can also do so from home, and if a player can view and build bets remotely they are naturally more likely to visit the casino. With every tribal casino boasting its own unique set of characteristics and considerations, there is certainly no one size fits all solution when it comes to offering enticing sports betting experiences. Sports betting offers up many opportunities for the casino industry’s decision makers, and how best to offer the product and maximise its potential is a quandary they must get to grips with. For tribes that believe in the strength of their brand and the potential that comes with owning the sports betting value chain, partnering with powerful B2B providers can be a valuable means of achieving lasting success. 2020-03-12T10:00:04+0000 Michael.Mosley@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/sports-wagering-improving-whole-casinos-bottom-line Kambi partners make same week market-first launches in Illinois and Michigan https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/kambi-partners-make-same-week-market-first-launches-illinois-and-michigan Leading global sports betting supplier Kambi has continued its US expansion with two historic on-property launches in three days, enabling partners Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and Penn National Gaming (PNG) to take the first legal wagers in the states of Illinois and Michigan respectively.   The launch with PNG at its Greektown Casino in Michigan took place on Wednesday afternoon, with the US state becoming the 10th in which the Kambi Sportsbook is live, as well as the eighth state where Kambi has enabled partners to be first out of the gate. Situated in Detroit, the largest city in the midwestern state of Michigan, and home to NFL franchise Detroit Lions, the Greektown Sportsbook has been fitted with 40 Kambi kiosks and four betting windows. On Monday, RSI took the first legal sports bet in Illinois, with former Chicago Blackhawk Eddy Olczyk placing the ceremonial opening wager at the new Rivers Casino Sportsbook, which consists of 30 kiosks and five betting windows.  Illinois is one of the largest states in the US, with a population of approximately 13 million and home to some of the country’s most popular professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Chicago Bears, NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the MLB’s Chicago White Sox. An online launch in Illinois will take place later this year while we await enabling online legislation in Michigan. RSI and PNG both have access to Kambi’s price differentiation tool, providing the ability to alter margin and lines offered by jurisdiction, sport, league and match, right down to offer level, giving operators full control over their pricing strategy.  The two sportsbooks will also benefit from Kambi’s market-leading kiosks, which have been proven to drive handle, boost cross-sell and reduce waiting times at the betting windows. On average, three in every four on-property bets are placed via a Kambi kiosk. Kambi Chief Commercial Officer, Max Meltzer, said: “Kambi’s record for quality and swift delivery is central to our ongoing US progress, and we are delighted to have powered two more market firsts for our partners. “When people look back at this historic period of legalising sports wagering across the US, they will see Kambi was the supplier powering the most firsts and our partners becoming the market leaders in their respective states. It’s all encompassed in our Partner with Confidence strategy.” Prior to the market firsts in Illinois and Michigan, Kambi partners took the first legal online bets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New Hampshire, alongside the first legal bet in New York State and launching on day one in Iowa. 2020-03-11T17:04:08+0000 Ahmed.Allam@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/kambi-partners-make-same-week-market-first-launches-illinois-and-michigan NFL Season Report 2020 https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/nfl-season-report-2020 Approximately 40% of first time bettors place their first wager on the NFL, according to Kambi’s 2019-20 NFL report, which dissects and reflects on all the key data generated by the Kambi network throughout the football season. The report, which was released in the days after the Super Bowl, also details the most popular football teams for bettors to wager on, their favorite bet types, and how bettors from different states favor local teams when picking their futures. In addition, the report gives a minute-by-minute breakdown of the big finale between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49s, highlighting where and when bettors placed their money in-game, on a Super Bowl that was in the balance until late in the final quarter. Find the report here. 2020-02-18T10:04:39+0000 Ahmed.Allam@kambi.com https://www.kambi.com/industry-insights/nfl-season-report-2020