Seizing the US opportunity, Sarah Robertson speaks with Intergamingi

April 02, 2020 / Kambi

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