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How analysing player experience can shape sportsbook success

| By Alice Soule | Reading Time: 5 minutes
Sportsbooks are undervalued, according to GR8 Tech’s chief executive officer, Evgen Belousov, and head of global sales, Yevhen Krazhan. But why is such a lucrative igaming vertical being overlooked? Belousov and Krazhan believe that it’s because operators aren’t utilising powerful sports betting products that gives them the ability to analyse player experiences.

A recent Gambling Commission report showed that online casino games still dominate the sector, bringing £4bn in global gambling yield (GGY), of which £3.2bn is from slots games alone. In comparison, sports betting brought in £2.3bn, with two sports dominating the field — football with £1.1bn and horse racing with £733.5m. However, despite these favourable statistics, Krazhan feels that operators are not using sportsbooks to their full potential.

He has noticed this trend first-hand – “What we see time and time again is that sports betting, despite being popular, is still hugely undervalued.”

For operators, not having a sportsbook could prove costly, especially if they’re looking to grab a significant percentage of the igaming market share. For Krazhan, however, this hesitancy is due, in part, to a misconception of sports betting.

“I think there is some competition going on between casino and sports and sometimes sport is considered more of an acquisition tool, while we see it’s a huge monetisation instrument. It’s our philosophy to really promote sportsbook and really provide the tools to make it a real money-making engine.”

Analysing player experience to predict future demands

Though sportsbooks may well be ‘money-making engines,’ there’s still a vast amount of work that needs to be done in the backend of this product offering to ensure operator success.

For Belousov, unlocking the potential of sports betting is down to understanding and analysing player behaviours on sportsbook platforms. Are players preferring to place a bet on one sport over another? How do they navigate the site to find the bet they want to place?

Getting access to these key data points can prove challenging, especially if the platforms used by operators don’t provide this information.

GR8 Tech identified the need for a sportsbook platform that delivered on this fundamental far before the rest of the industry. But Belousov doesn’t believe that this means it’s time to down tools. Instead, extensive research forms an integral part of GR8 Tech’s continuous product development work, helping to shape an understanding of player and, in turn, operator needs.

He highlights, “We research, we collect the data, we analyse and we implement the solutions and extend the sports product and casino product based on all this data.”

The power of communication

In order to fully understand what players and, ultimately, operators want, Belousov believes in the power of regular conversation with GR8 Tech’s operator clients. Not only does this allow for regular feedback on products already in use, but it provides a communication chain to support the development of future solutions.

“We are constantly conversing with all our existing clients, not only through the client management team but also through certain specific threads of conversation, including sportsbook and risk management.” 

“It’s regular communication to listen to all the challenges, problems, and pains that operators might have. We can combine all the information together and develop our product and our services in a way to satisfy most of the operator’s needs.”

This emphasis on communication may go some way to explain GR8 Tech’s unique approach to testing products on partner’s live sites. 

“We do have several operators that are actually ready to test, to experiment together with us and use our new products for operators and implement all our new player features on their websites or applications.”

Differentiating local player experience and preference

“I think the next year, 2024 and 2025, we will be dedicating ourselves to customising sportsbooks for specific regions because we’re seeing local players need different ways, different lines, different views, and even different content.”

With increasing opportunities to globalise sportsbook offerings, operators are keen to expand into newly regulated markets. With Latin America (LatAm) proving popular for many operators’ expansion strategies, it is imperative to distinguish between each unique market within the region. As Krazhan confirms, LatAm is not “one big market.” And while many countries within this region are Spanish-speaking, this is largely the only commonality that binds them together.

“It’s not just simply the region of LatAm; it’s a number of different countries with different rules, different regulations, different products, different preferences, different penetration of online igaming, the different ratio between offline and online.”

Disregarding particularities such as preferred sports and local regulations may result in an operator struggling to find its feet in a new location. For Belousov, this is a common misinterpretation from many operators in Europe wanting to succeed in emerging markets.

“We really adapt the product for every country, even within Latin America, and from our experience, this adaptation could take from two to six months. So, this is a reality that, in practice, shows a huge difference between every country in Latin America. And you cannot ignore this if you want to achieve success here as an operator or as a platform”.

How to analyse player experience in specific markets

“Brazil is the rising star of LatAm.”

Understanding player experience and preference in emerging markets may be a vital tool in marketing the right products to the right audience. One such market is Brazil, which Krazhan feels is yet to reach its full potential.

In particular, understanding the preferences of an audience with a historically strong affiliation with certain sports. In this case, football and, most notably, esports. 

Krazhan explains that Brazil is where GR8 Tech will be focusing its near future efforts, despite general enthusiasm around a host of other LatAm regions, like Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. Supporting operator partners with GR8 Tech’s region-specific sportsbook feed to reach this untapped market and to offer its new portfolio of esports titles.

Krazhan adds that the team aims to “bring something new, something exclusive that completely changes the setup.”

Understanding player experience in Africa

Another region attracting attention that Krazhan recognises as containing a unique player experience is Africa. While it may be underestimated in terms of potential and revenue, he feels that with a strong interest in sports, there is demand for targeted sportsbook offerings.

For GR8 Tech, the key to success in this market is to “understand what competitors do, what operators do, what kind of pains they feel, and what pains we can help uncover.”

Developing a customisable sportsbook solution

Despite being experts in the field, Belousov explains that GR8 Tech does “not do technology because of technology.” The team caters to a range of needs, creating solutions that are adaptable and customisable to fit any igaming business model.

“This adaptability towards any type of client need is, I think, our strength.”

One such product that serves this purpose is GR8 Tech’s iFrame, which is customisable and can be integrated into an existing platform in as little as one week. 

“iFrame is very popular in terms of a quick integration of sports into any igaming platform.”

For Krazhan, it’s important to allow operators to navigate their own customer journeys. In this regard, GR8 Tech’s CRM allows operators the freedom to adapt the front end from a newly updated and automated back-office suite.

The team’s three-year strategy looks to ensure that operators will ultimately be able to manage 80% of GR8 Tech’s solutions independently. Though Belousov highlights there is still the option to reach out for support. 

“If they’re growing step by step, they can hire their own technical team and start to use things by themselves gradually, change the front end, enable certain modules, disable certain modules, design their products in a way that it’s casino first or sportsbook first, even disable casino completely if there is no regulation in certain countries.”

“We’ll do everything we can to offer you the best possible product in the region.”

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