BetGames becomes top goalscorer for exciting new T-Kick release
Bend it like BetGames
For over a decade, BetGames has worked to deliver wow-factor entertainment by supplying live-dealer betting games. Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, its team has strived to balance simplicity with complexity to provide household games that get players excited.
One such game is the successful, basketball-themed T-Basket, released last year as part of Twain Sport, one of the many innovative brands under the BetGames umbrella. Having amassed a loyal following of millennials and Gen-Z bettors, the game’s success has now inspired the brand to develop and release a football-themed equivalent: T-Kick.
So what is T-Kick and how does it work?
In layman’s terms, T-Kick brings together two athletes for a head-to-head shoot-out with the audience betting against the result. Each facing one goal, the competitors try to score the most points in 60 seconds by shooting balls at a series of illuminated targets within the goal.
The game is three things at its core: simple, engaging, and most importantly, live. By concentrating on shooting and ignoring any complicated build-up or lag in play, T-Kick keeps its audiences fired up for short, snappy moments of time. Add the fact that the traditional obstacle of a goalkeeper has also been removed (to make the challenge identical for both competitors) and you have a game that even those who know nothing about football can play. Ian Catchick, BetGames’ chief product officer, believes these attributes are the foundations to a successful game.
“First and foremost, the key principles of Twain Sport are speed, excitement and energy. When we built the product, we were actually looking at a longer game. When we started to research and understand the market, we discovered players want something full of energy and adrenaline but they don’t want to spend a lot of time watching it. So this is how we got to the 60-seconds format that has been optimised and simplified.
“What the players are saying is ‘I want to have a short, sharp and entertaining experience. I want to have a few bets but I don’t want to spend many minutes playing. I want to have four, five, six bets and use this as entertainment.’”
All bets are on: How betting on T-Kick works
T-Kick is conducive to casual betting and seeks to complement tier-1 leagues. However, creating and hosting the sport has not been without its challenges.
“What you have here is a professional sports operation,” Andreas Koeberl, CEO of BetGames, explains. “Every sport has 30-plus professional athletes that the league needs to pay. This is not like presenters in the live casino space who you can train; these are professional athletes, top-tier football players.
“Then of course there is the entire operation behind it. You need referees. Sportradar is monitoring every single match. There are even physiotherapists because it’s a high-intensity sport. They are trained permanently and the Hybrid Sports League has to comply with VADA’s anti-doping regulations.” Luckily, we on the BetGames side only deal with the betting product.
Real-life events in real time with Twain Sport
Twain Sport is already hosting 10,000 T-Kick and T-Basket matches a month, broken down into one game every two minutes within tournaments lasting just one hour. As a supplier of cutting-edge igaming technology, BetGames has partnered with the Hybrid Sports League who created and run these high-frequency tournaments.
By virtue of the agreement, BetGames has exclusive rights to build the betting product based on the Hybrid Sports League’s content, and in exchange BetGames pays a licence fee and helps to distribute the game globally.
“The key is that it’s a live and competitive sport,” Catchick says. “People often ask us when these events are being recorded. They’re real-life events happening in real time. We’re finding that particularly when you have moments in the sporting schedule when there’s not too much going on, Twain Sport is really popular, so it’s great for operators who are trying to find content for their players during off-peak periods.
“At the moment the sport is on YouTube, on Twitch and the league is in negotiations with some sports broadcasters to take the content because what we see is that even across Europe, there are periods where there is no new content, only repeats of past classic matches. There is actually a lack of live content and HSL is looking to create a buzz about the sport itself by organising live coverage.”
The clamour for streamed electronic sports games is now immense. According to streamscharts.com, FIFA 22 and FIFA 23, the two most current versions of the popular football game, amassed a combined 348 million hours watched on Twitch last year and now Twain Sport has become the latest brand to compete for an audience share on this platform.
Can T-Kick become another slam dunk?
There are key learnings to be had from Twain Sport’s T-Basket that can help BetGames to drive T-Kick to the dizzying heights of success that it is looking for, as Catchick explains.
“With T-Basket we’ve spent six months learning about how players enjoy the game and their likes and dislikes,” he says. “Because the Twain Sport content is similar – with head-to-heads, 60-second bursts of life – we’ve really focused on trying to generate that high-quality excitement and ensuring we’ve got the right betting markets for our players.
“Overall, with the schedule being optimised to make sure there is a game every two minutes in every hour, alongside all the polishing and studio production to make the product easy to view on both mobile and desktop, I think we could have developed something which is by far the best in the market in terms of quality, high speed and high action.”
In addition to shaping the format and rules of T-Kick, BetGames has reflected on its strategic rollout of T-Basket and adapted its distribution plans for T-Kick to penetrate a variety of new markets.
“For T-Basket we tried to focus more on basketball-savvy operators and countries,” Koeberl points out. “We looked at global betting data and basketball is one of the top three markets in terms of betting. We tried to focus on the Baltics, Brazil and Greece because of the sport’s popularity there.
“In terms of T-Kick, our biggest market is South Africa. We’re already live with Betway and Hollywood Bets there, and then we’ll focus on the emerging markets, especially T-Basket in Ontario, Canada. We are fully licensed there now, so that will be our big test for North America. If it works there, the chances are very high that it will work in the US.”
Kicking the market into touch with T-Kick
Since launching its first game, Lucky 7, in 2012, BetGames has built relationships with over 200 global partners – relationships it has used to market Twain Sport products like T-Kick quickly and effectively.
“In terms of rollout and distribution, for us the low-hanging fruit was the existing BetGames distribution,” Koeberl says. “We are on up to 1,500 websites globally as BetGames has a fairly solid distribution, so the simplest thing to do was approach our existing partners and brands such as Betway, Hollywood Bets and STS and offer them the games.
“Distribution is everything. You need to get the content out, and it’s a major advantage that we already have such a solid distribution with the BetGames portfolio. Given the fact that Twain Sport is basically built on the same platform, the integration for existing BetGames partners is very easy and simple.”
Adjustable margins for big-game players
BetGames prides itself on prioritising players and placing them at the heart of everything it does, from game development to marketing activities. It listens to their needs and develops unique gameplay experiences based on the feedback they share – and it has already embedded this ethos into the Twain Sport brand.
Acting on player responses, Twain Sport now hosts 14 T-Kick tournaments per day and uses simple graphics to showcase how scoring works while the game is being played. In addition, there is minimal waiting time between the bettor placing a bet on a match and seeing a result, unlike with a 90 minute real-life football game. There is no home or away advantage, nor can any weather conditions impact the action. And the best part? BetGames is even offering lower limits and adjustable margins to satisfy its players.
Operators are lapping up the opportunity to offer T-Kick to their customers with the likes of Hollywood Bets, STS and Betway integrating the product on their platforms.
Measuring success: No VAR needed
In sports, and sports betting in particular, success is subjective. Take Lionel Messi as a prime example. One of the most prolific goal scorers in world football and the winner of individual and club titles galore – but for some critics he couldn’t be named among the sport’s all-time greats until he’d won the World Cup with Argentina. So what quantifiable criteria will BetGames use to measure the success of T-Kick?
“It’s going to be down to players and how they react to the product and whether they enjoy it,” Catchick says. “There are two perspectives. First, we need to make the betting product compelling and interesting. And from the perspective of the sport, we are focused on making sure this is enjoyed and distributed globally, building a strong following of sports fans.”
Koeberl’s focus is on the data. “I think for us the key success metric are the player numbers,” he says. “Are they coming? Are they staying? Everything else will follow, like revenues and GGR. So long as you make sure the math models work – if the players come, if they like it, if the retention is high enough – that’s the ultimate metric we look into every day when we go into our results because all the rest will follow.”
Sport has a natural ability to thrill huge audiences around the globe, and with Twain Sport having only delved into two of world’s most popular games, there is vast untapped potential to explore more areas of the sporting landscape.
“We’re going to focus on launching the T-Kick product first so we’ve got two high-quality products on the market,” Catchick says. “In parallel, we’ll start to use that rich content we already have to build some other games. There are lots of other sports and market opportunities. The Hybrid Sports League is in charge of the sports content and based on our learnings and market interest, they will dive into further opportunities – we are here to build a betting product based on their content.
What we see is there is a massive thirst from the market for new content. innovation is something operators resonate with; that’s why they sign contracts straight away, because this represents real content innovation in the field of sports.”
BetGames’ decision to focus on T-Kick in the short term can be supported by the huge global appetite for football. According to FIFA, the 2022 World Cup final was watched by an estimated audience of 1.5 billion people, and this demand is being reflected by operators whose enthusiasm for the product is at fever pitch. It’s something that’s not lost on Catchick.
“The key message is football’s the biggest sport in the world, so it’s obvious that we needed to focus a lot on T-Kick as it was also an expensive product to build,” he says.
“The focus is now to achieve some commercial success with T-Kick. We have 60 contracts signed already for Twain Sport with operators. We are live with over 40 brands at the moment, so the rollout is in good shape and making good progress, and I think probably in the second half of the year we will also have enough insight to see if we need more market-specific content.”
The league leaders: BetGames
So, there you have it: the latest and greatest football offering on the market. Take a moment to think about the most dramatic game you can remember and it’s likely that one or more of the goals were scored in the closing stages to completely change the outcome of the game. T-Kick lives exclusively in that space, creating last-minute conditions that keep you on the edge of your seat.
Ian Catchick has spent over 20 years working in senior roles within the gambling sector with extensive international experience, having worked previously in the UK, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Belgium and Spain.
Having started his career with UK lottery operator Camelot Group, Ian has since held Director roles with Gala Coral, Ladbrokes and Playtech, and was also formerly the Chief Product Operator of OPAP.
Ian Catchick has a broad range of experience in both B2B and B2C facing organisations across a mix of sports betting, casino, bingo and lottery products, and has been responsible for the development of multi-channel and digital/retail strategies in several European markets.
As Chief Executive Officer of the industry’s leading live dealer betting games supplier, Andreas Köberl’s brief is to lead BetGames into its next level of growth.
Köberl joined the firm from Playtech Sports where he started out as Commercial Director before leading the Trinity Bet Group, operating the Germany and Austria-facing sportsbook brand HPYBET.
Having cut his teeth with several B2B industry leaders over the past decade and built up a B2C operator in a highly competitive market, Köberl’s wealth of experience across both the retail and online sectors equips him perfectly to ensure BetGames remains unique and continues its impressive development.