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10 things we learnt at Sport and iGaming

Matt Bourn (Managing Director, Braben) gives us some highlights from the Sport and iGaming Conference.

Presented by SportBusiness Group and iGamingBusiness, and attended by a selection of movers and shakers in the rapidly growing world of sport and online gambling. 

As background, online gambling brands are the fastest growing sponsor of professional sport. In the UK alone, 28 per cent of Premier League and Championship football clubs have a gaming company as a shirt sponsor.

The following are 10 nuggets that Matt picked from the day’s presentations and discussions:

1.     Steve Keall, Pinsent Masons LLP, revealed that 9.9% of the UK population participate in some form of igaming. His session included discussions around the Gambling Commission and its role as a restrictive rather than permissive body.

2.     Andrew Croker, Perform, presented the Watch&Bet service, an online TV service for bookmakers facilitating in-running betting, which he likened to the old world equivalent of a TV in the corner of the bookies.  In-running betting represents 90% of the betting market in Asia.

3.     Key sports for in-running betting are football and tennis because they appeal to all territories and have multiple betting opportunities during the match. 

4.     Alex Gough, Professional Squash Association, outlined the strategy to sell squash through a much-improved TV product.  They started by realising the value of the betting rights and built a TV property for the Watch&Bet service using the content available.  This has allowed them to fast track the growth of the sport to the point where they can begin to properly market the sport rights to TV.

5.     During ‘The changing face of iGaming’, Mike Falconer, Bettorlogic highlighted the big change for bookmakers was that they were now interested in all content to bet around to provide a 24/7 offering to customers.  This was highlighted in anecdotes around the interest in Filipino basketball because it is scheduled for a Wed and Fri at 10am.

6.     It was also suggested in the same session that the regulated betting markets deal with issues of cheating in sport and that the current issues (in particular, for cricket) are being caused by the unregulated markets.

7.     Kevan Moretti, Racing Post, raised an interesting point as to whether taxation levees on betting can be used in such a way as to protect live sport against virtual sport, which is having an impact on sports and betting.

8.     In ‘The challenges in iGaming’ session, Nick Hawkins, Danoptra observed that sponsors want sports to be clean and that this will be an issue for sponsors around the next England v Pakistan test series.  He stressed that online bookmakers do not cause the fault for this failure in cricket, that the opposite is true as they provide unprecedented levels of data for audit trails and that this needs to be highlighted to the anti-gambling lobby.

9.     Mike Shaw, Comscore, presented a comprehensive set of data on online gambling sites highlighting that the UK is one of the most active gambling nations in the world with 18.5% of UK traffic goes to line gambling sites.  The 365mediagroup had the highest representation of heavy gamblers in the UK.

10.  The day was rounded off through case studies from Betfair and Bodog about their experiences of sponsoring Manchester United and Fulham FC respectively.  The Betfair City v United campaign delivered for the derby in April 2010 was fascinating and well worth checking out.

Matt Bourn, Managing Director, Braben (the PR Partners of SportBusiness Group Conferences and Events).

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