News & insights en Safeguarding Sportsbook Integrity Oliver Lamb, Kambi's Head Sportsbook Controller spoke with G3 Magazine to discuss the threat corruption poses within sport and the industry collaboration to ensure integrity is of the highest standard. Oliver has nearly twenty years’ experience working with regulated sportsbooks in the UK, continental Europe and the Americas.   Could you tell us more about your role within Kambi with regards to the integrity of the sportsbook? Sure. I wear a few hats at Kambi, but one of my key roles is overseeing the Sportsbook Control team who are our sports integrity guardians. They work 24/7 across 4 time zones in order to ensure that the Kambi platform is as free as possible from any match fixing concerns. Their work ranges from informing traders which events are higher risk and should not be offered, investigating integrity alerts from internal and external sources, and liaising with integrity associations and regulators to ensure they're kept in the loop and no stone is left unturned.   How real is the threat of corruption in sport, particularly the issues of competition manipulation and illegal betting? The fact that my team deals with multiple investigations on a daily basis is enough to tell you that the threat is very real. As in any walk of life, there will always be bad actors out there trying to take advantage of any perceived weakness, be it in a sporting event’s set up or a bookmaker’s risk management controls. It’s important not to spook people about the subject, this corruption only happens on a very limited basis and the vast majority of the sports that we watch can be enjoyed without any concerns as to manipulation. However that does not mean that we should let down our guard or take our role in the fight against match fixing any less seriously.   Having been in the sports betting industry for a number of years, how would you say the industry's approach to integrity has changed during that period? It’s changed greatly since I was first on the trading floor nearly 20 years ago. Back then there was no less passion for sports or abhorrence of match fixing than there is today, but there simply wasn’t the integrity framework in place on any level like there is today. There were no clear escalation routes out to integrity associations like there are today, little international cooperation between regulators and certainly no communication lines with the sporting federations. Fast forward to the present day and we’re in a much better place. Whilst match fixing itself hasn’t gone away, the mechanisms that kick in whenever there is a case are there now. Be it operators, regulators, sports or law enforcement, there’s a really strong network now where everyone has a clearly defined, and respected, role to play.   Operators are increasingly looking outside of the box to gain an edge. How does Kambi approach events, particularly new sports betting markets, and ensure its integrity is protected? What type and level of information is sufficient to give the green light? We ask ourselves these questions on a daily basis at Kambi. As I said earlier, our integrity team block multiple games from our offering each day on integrity grounds before we’ve even opened the betting. This proactive self-regulation is built on hard data from millions of events that we have offered over the past few years, as well as expert insights from trading leadership. If we can’t guarantee sufficient levels of integrity on an event, we’ll focus our resources elsewhere and offer something more reliable. In terms of whole new betting markets, the pandemic is a case in point. We’ve seen pop up events in various sports that generate significant betting interest, but given their ad-hoc nature don’t have the vast hinterland of insights that other more established events would have. We’ve approached these events with open eyes and made sure we ask ourselves the right questions before offering.   Cooperation between both public and private organisations is essential to protect major sports leagues. What is the collective responsibility to protect and ensure sports are free of manipulation and corruption? We all realise that the stakes couldn’t be higher here; if we don’t get this right the whole sporting ecosystem could be damaged. And that’s not simply of interest because it would be bad for business. I started working in this industry for the same reasons that athletes started out in their respective sports; we all love the game and recognise our responsibility in keeping it clean.   At the turn of the year, Kambi became a member of the International Betting Integrity Association, an association run by operators for operators that protects its members from corruption through collective action. Do you see in-house industry collaboration, as opposed to government and inter-governmental organisations, as the best way to ensure integrity? For me this works on two levels. Firstly it’s important for the industry to do some of this work in-house as there’s a lot that we can proactively do together in terms of restricting this activity and sharing learnings before we even start reaching out to external organisations. Secondly, I’m sure that organisations particularly on the government and inter-governmental levels appreciate the fact that they don’t need to contact hundreds of different sportsbooks for information whenever there’s a match fixing case presented to them. Organisations like the IBIA can give them the considered and collective view from the leading regulated bookmakers in a concise manner, and that’s always going to be more powerful and indeed useful than any fractured messaging.   Does the fierce commercial rivalry between operators infringe upon the level of cooperation to combat integrity issues? Absolutely not. There are some serious commercial rivalries between these organisations but I’ve never seen anyone hesitate to share relevant integrity information. Similar to my earlier points, we’ve all got a lot at stake and we realise that this is an area we take great pride in getting right. We share a lot of information in this area, and whenever possible event meet up at events to discuss how we can improve things further.   Does the current regulatory framework do enough to ensure the integrity of sports leagues in the US? If not, what more can be done? I’d certainly say that it’s off to a good start. Regulators are clearly taking this seriously and I’m yet to see any regulations which don’t put requirements on operators to at least prove their worth in this area, and often even better they mandate having to join an integrity association. I’d definitely like to see more standardisation so that a similar ‘network effect’ is built as exists in Europe. Most of the big operators are multi-state and will want to report integrity issues in a unified form, and anything that slows down that reporting will slow down the investigation itself. It’s early days though, and I’m sure that cooperation will come.   Whilst tennis regulatory bodies have stepped up to combat issues in the lower levels of the game, do you think more should and can be done? I think we should give the new approach time to bed in. The steps that they’ve taken already appear to have had an impact in the early part of this year, and everyone has learned a lot compared to a few years ago. Tennis has always taken this seriously, but it is a much more complex sport than others in terms of governance. Things seem to be moving in the right direction, and we at Kambi are certainly ready to help should we be required.   Oringally printed in G3 2020-09-09T12:54:27+0100 Kambi and LeoVegas agree long-term partnership extension Kambi Group plc, the leading global sports betting supplier, has agreed a multi-year extension to its partnership with award-winning operator LeoVegas. Having been selected to power the LeoVegas sportsbook in 2016, the expanded relationship will see LeoVegas’ current range of sports betting brands upgrading to the Kambi platform. Kambi is already live with BetUK and, underlining our impressive deployment speed. LeoVegas has leveraged Kambi’s open platform and wide variety of empowerment tools to deliver a unique, engaging sports betting experience in multiple regulated markets including the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Spain. Kristian Nylén, Kambi CEO, said: “We are proud to have agreed this partnership extension with LeoVegas, and that Kambi will now provide its sports betting services to the other popular brands in the LeoVegas group. “Kambi is the partner operators can trust to provide the powerful sportsbook core and flexible technology they need to unlock their sports betting potential, and it is fantastic to have this recognised by an operator as highly regarded as LeoVegas." Mattias Wedar, Chief Product & Technology Officer at LeoVegas, said: “We are pleased to continue our sports betting journey with Kambi, a partnership which has brought about real success as we continue to deliver on our sports betting ambitions and becoming the King of Casino.” The partnership extension with LeoVegas comes after Kambi took the two headline sportsbook prizes at July’s EGR B2B Awards, claiming victory in the Sports Betting Supplier and Sportsbook Platform of the Year categories. 2020-08-25T15:17:24+0100 “We never overpromise or under-deliver – we simply deliver” Max Meltzer, Chief Commercial Officer at Kambi, talks with Focus Gaming News about its performance in the last few months. While the worldwide industry continues to adapt to ‘the new normal’, Kambi continues to prove stronger and stronger in the iGaming segment. That’s why Max Meltzer, Chief Commercial Officer at Kambi talks with Focus Gaming News to discuss the current state of the gaming market and how the company has been doing over the last few weeks. Kambi has won several new partners in the US, most recently signing with Four Winds. Why do you think new partners have looked to Kambi as they introduce sports betting? We are exceptionally proud to have partnered with Four Winds, one of the most recognisable gaming and entertainment brands in Michigan and Indiana. They have an excellent local reputation and recognised the value in harnessing the trust in and strength of their brand to take full ownership of the sports betting value chain in partnership with Kambi. We are fast establishing ourselves as the trusted B2B partner to tribal gaming enterprises, having also partnered with Seneca Gaming Corporation and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. Our partners look to Kambi due to our B2B market leadership experience in the US. Acting as a springboard to visionary sportsbooks and facilitating partner success is a cornerstone of our reputation in regulated markets. We never overpromise or under-deliver – we simply deliver. Operators can look to Kambi and see a partner which has enabled the likes of DraftKings, BetRivers and Unibet to be successful not only in sports betting, but also across icasino as well given the cross-sell possibilities which the Kambi sportsbook unlocks. Our regulatory expertise and speed to market has been another important string to our bow, demonstrating the value Kambi can swiftly bring to new partners. Having processed the first legal online wager in the US post-PASPA, we have gone on to record an impressive series of market firsts, most recently in Colorado, Michigan and Illinois. We are able to launch both online and land-based operations rapidly. By way of example, Four Winds’ three Michigan properties were live with sports betting within just two weeks of our partnership agreement. You’ve gained significant expansion in the US in the first part of this year, do you hope to continue to build that presence? Absolutely. Having cut the ribbon on our Philadelphia office in early 2019 our US workforce continues to grow, as we aim to provide the most high-quality and responsive service to our US partners. We have a finely-tuned US strategy which has helped us to become the clear leader in the provision of sports betting services in the country. Our partner Penn National Gaming will be launching its Kambi-powered Barstool sportsbook in Q3 of this year, and we have a number of additional exciting developments in the pipeline. Do you think new sports betting can play a role in helping US casinos recover from the Covid-19 crisis? The pandemic has brought about a series of challenges for all manner of industries, not least the land-based casino sector – presenting issues for day-to-day operations with the importance of social distancing set to remain for some time yet. An effectively deployed sports betting offering can play a pivotal role in their path to recovery, and ultimately resurgence. 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. Furthermore, our unique Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology 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. They can do so using the QR code generated on their mobile either at a Kambi kiosk or at the counter, enabling the wager to be placed without touching any other screens or surfaces. Furthermore, it goes without saying that a strong mobile and online sports betting offer, as regulation permits, can provide a valuable means of driving greater brand loyalty, protecting and diversifying revenues in a landscape where on-property performance has become more unpredictable. 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. What other markets do you think offer good growth opportunities for Kambi? Although much of our recent commercial expansion has naturally been focused on the US as more states regulate, Kambi is a global company, and we are always assessing opportunities in new and existing regulated markets. Latin America is a very important region for us. We have laid down a marker in Colombia, where we now power two of the three market leaders in BetPlay and RushBet, and are continually monitoring regulatory movements as we aim to partner with tier one operators and those with the potential to rise to the top. We are also keeping a watchful eye on developments in Canada, which may look to regulate sports betting given its neighbour’s regulatory movements. What regulatory developments do you foresee in the coming months? Do you believe advances in regulations will continue to facilitate Kambi’s expansion in the US and elsewhere? In the US, we have already seen Michigan look to expedite its online sports betting regulation, and it would not be a surprise to see others follow suit in the months to come. Outside of sports betting, I do think that those US states which have already passed regulation will now be looking to advance discussions regarding poker and icasino. Sports betting can play a role in generating greater tax revenue to help with recovery from the current pandemic, and US states will not be alone in looking at this. What’s your take on the growth in esports betting during the Covid-19 pandemic? Can the sector continue to grow? Amidst the lighter global sporting calendar resulting from the pandemic a bright spot has been the evolution and growing popularity of esports, showcasing the ability to offer an exciting and fast-paced betting format. The vertical has huge potential, and Kambi has always had a strong esports offering which we were able to capitalise on with the recent spike in interest. Regulation in the US does cap the potential of esports betting, as in many states it is not permitted. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen some state regulators soften their stance, but it remains to be seen if esports will be regulated more widely. Originally posted on 2020-08-18T11:56:04+0100 On-property sports betting – Maximise your casino floor The inexorable rise of sports betting across the USA since the repeal of PASPA in May 2018 shows no signs of wavering. As a growing number of states put regulatory frameworks in place, the opportunities it brings to enhance engagement with every aspect of the casino floor are becoming ever clearer. Kambi’s partners have found that our sportsbook produces a ‘sportsbook halo effect’, delivering clear enhancement to the bottom line not merely through sports betting, but by boosting customer interaction with all aspects of the casino. To provide an example, Kambi partner Penn National Gaming experienced a rise in table gaming and slots revenues after going live with our land-based offering at the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg. Furthermore, offering rewards such as a free sports bet if the customer spends a certain amount on food and beverages, or a discounted night in the resort with a winning sports wager, are two clear examples of how an expertly integrated B2B sportsbook partner can boost property-wide engagement. Kambi’s sportsbook can also be seamlessly integrated into a casino’s VIP or loyalty systems – for example, the strength of our open APIs and ability to seamlessly support Penn National Gaming’s existing player loyalty system was a key factor in our partnership with the country’s leading multi-state operator. Facilitating the most efficient in-play experience is also key in retaining on-property players. The traditional casino sportsbook has not been conducive to the fast-paced nature of in-play betting. However, through the Kambi kiosk, casino patrons can now quickly get their bets down on the next three-pointer in basketball or result of current drive in NFL, providing a similar thrilling experience found elsewhere on the casino floor. For Kambi, commercial success isn’t merely defined in partnering with multi-state operators and local leaders, but ensuring they reap the benefits of sports betting as quickly as possible. For example, Four Winds Casinos’ three Michigan properties were all up and running with sports betting within just a couple of weeks of the ink being dry on our partnership agreement. Delivering enhanced value The US casino industry has faced new challenges in recent months. However, in embracing sports betting with an experienced B2B provider, operators across the country can give themselves the best possible chance of meeting these challenges, setting themselves on the path to both recovery and resurgence.  Kambi’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology can be of significant help in a world where social distancing is set to be of paramount importance for some time to come. Unique to Kambi, the technology enables bettors to view lines and construct bets from anywhere, on or off property – generating a QR code which can be scanned at the counter or a Kambi kiosk, reducing queues and eliminating the need to come into contact with any other surfaces. BYOD is a further element through which casinos generate greater share of wallet across gaming and hospitality, giving players the opportunity to construct their bets while at the bar or searching the casino floor for their favourite 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. Some of our partners are seeing up to 40% of on-property bets being placed using the technology, underlining its ability to protect betting volumes while allowing sports wagering to be conducted in a safe manner which keeps physical touchpoints to a minimum. Furthermore, needlessly long queues only work to reduce player turnover and satisfaction, running the risk of diverting patrons to other local casino sportsbooks. Alongside the Kambi kiosk, our BYOD reduces queueing and makes the sportsbook more inviting, quickening the player journey and thereby optimising turnover. For more information on how to maximise your casino floor speak with Kambi  2020-08-05T09:54:32+0100 Kambi secures double EGR B2B Awards win Kambi was named both Sportsbook Platform Provider and Sports Betting Supplier of the year at the prestigious EGR B2B Awards in last week’s virtual ceremony held over three days. The awards recognise the highest perfoming companies which power the betting and gaming industry, with Kambi taking home the event’s headline sports betting prizes.  Recognising Kambi’s “impressive commercial and financial success”, alongside “high stability, scalability and focus on pricing”, the judges found the Kambi platform to be “geared up for the best in class”.   Kambi scored highly across all key criteria in the two categories, including commercial success, product development & delivery, innovation, UX/UI and back office/reporting. The provider secured a number of key milestones throughout the judging period, adding to its series of US market firsts in states including Colorado, Michigan and Illinois, signing new partners including Penn National Gaming, Seneca Gaming Corporation and BetWarrior and becoming the first sports betting technology provider to attain membership of the International Betting Integrity Association.   Kambi also continued to refine and its enhance its sportsbook with the launch of the Kambi Multi Builder, as well as its unique Bring Your Own Device technology.  Max Meltzer, Kambi’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “At Kambi, we pride ourselves on being the partner visionary sportsbooks across the globe can trust to springboard them to success, providing all the technology and flexibility required to help them to achieve market leadership. “We are very proud that the success we have delivered for our partners over the judging period has been recognised with two hugely prestigious award wins, and I would like to thank all of our staff and partners for making this possible. We look forward to building on this over the coming 12 months.” 2020-07-28T21:30:16+0100 Interview with Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén 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 Kambi enters long-term partnership with 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 Tribal sports betting - to B2B or not to 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: 2020-06-25T10:35:41+0100 Realising the potential of 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 Sports betting’s role in the 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