In part two of a discussion with SBC Americas, Amelco’s Head of US Brandon Walker was joined by BetSwap Co-Founder & CEO Brent Winston and BetSaracen Chief Marketing Officer Carlton Saffa to discuss the growing popularity of secondary betting markets across the US.
The trio discuss the reasons why betting companies should be looking towards secondary markets as a means of offering a unique experience for players, before outlining some of the benefits these markets can offer for sportsbooks looking to build on bottom line figures.
SBC Americas: In your opinion, what role do secondary markets play in driving bettor engagement in the long term?
Brent Winston: A prime example of this can be seen via Darren Rovell’s ‘The Action Network’. Darren is a hugely successful sports business analyst, heading up a business that has grown exponentially over the past five years. He is extremely active on his own Twitter handle, constantly giving his thoughts on the best bets (including parlays) on the markets and any of the movers and shakers within all sports.
This in my opinion is what makes BetSwap so exciting – betting is a very social environment. It’s evolved into sharing bets and discussing positions with friends. The next step is to allow for the swapping of positions that you hold with others who like the look of the bet you’re currently holding or taking someone else up on a position they have.
We can truly change the dynamic around sports betting, as well as creating a real buzz around the sportsbook. A great example of this would be the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl a few years back.
That bet could have been around 80/1 at the start of the season. As the Bengals progressed throughout the season, their odds began to drop because they looked more and more like a contender, meaning that the original bet can then be offloaded at a higher value than it was originally struck at.
Brandon Walker: It’s a great selling point over the competition. When it comes to an operator like BetSaracen, it gives them so many more options to engage their players in ways that other brands in the market cannot.
Not only that – it can also seriously boost engagement when you add in additional ways of promotions. Take what Carlton and his team are doing by seeding the market with comps and one-of-a-kind experiences to go alongside the bets.
This means that not only are you giving players a high-margin way to collect cash by selling their bet back to the market, but you’re also offering an online ecosystem where players will be motivated to participate long-term as they’re getting so much more than just a high-margin way to successfully exit their bets.
Carlton Saffa: The moment that I heard about BetSwap from Amelco – I knew it would be great.
BetSwap is a real game changer because it’s a completely new way to engage users. Not only that – it’s also simple, intuitive and easy to use for the customer, which means you’re ticking all the boxes for a hugely successful product.
What we’re doing is something people have been doing in a number of forums and in the gray market for years. Take for example, a PickSix with racehorses. Across the US, it’s long been commonplace to see people at the track looking to buy bet slips for pennies on the dollar when five out of the six horses have already come in. That is what BetSwap is, but in a safe and legal environment for sports wagering.
The whole world after all is about having options – so giving a player that is always going to be a serious driver of engagement. As well as offering a differentiator, you also attract so much more traffic online, and we’re really seeing the difference due to the amount of options Amelco has provided us with so far in the marketplace.
As I’ve mentioned – I believe anyone who doesn’t have BetSwap in a few years will be as much an omission as being a sportsbook that doesn’t offer same-game parlays. The idea is genius in its simplicity.
SBC Americas: Carlton, you’re one of the first US brands to pioneer BetSwap’s technology, which enables a secondary marketplace for players to exit their bets – what results are you seeing so far?
Carlton Saffa: I think if we fast forward five years from now, if a sportsbook does not have a marketplace function for a player to sell their bet to another player, it will be seen as a major product deficiency.
In short, the beauty of BetSwap is two-fold. First, imagine a player with a multi-game parlay looking to sell the wager before the final game he’s betting. In addition to the handle that ticket generated, there is incremental revenue to the sportsbook earned through commission generated from the sale of a ticket from one player to another.
However, the biggest value proposition is not incremental revenue. It is when a player is at a decision point. For example, Book A has BetSwap and Book B doesn’t have that option. Only with a book with BetSwap does a player have the flexibility to be able to exit the wager.
Players love options, and we believe BetSwap will be a big time product differentiator that, all other things being equal, will push smart parlay and future bettors to BetSaracen by itself.
With BetSwap’s marketplace, the player is being paid for being smart, and not necessarily right. Normally you have to be right to win in sports betting, but a ticket for something in the future often rises dramatically in value, and with BetSwap through BetSaracen, a player can profit before the game just for having made a smart wager. The results we’ve seen so far reflects that, and I have no doubt that it will prove to be a phenomenal success.
SBC Americas: Given how saturated the US market is becoming, Brent, how can secondary markets such as those available on the BetSwap platform help betting companies to stand out from the crowd?
Brent Winston: It can be a fantastic differentiator as you can find a whole new range of ways to engage bettors. Take what we’re doing with Bet Saracen, we’re offering prizes and experiences that come with using the marketplace or the bet itself, such as sporting event tickets, celebrity experiences and the like.
So, if a bettor takes the bet and the prize, then that’s a fantastic way of offering something truly unique to the bettor base. Not only do they have a winning position they can sell to another player, but also an experience that comes with it, meaning you’re offering a product that can make it a proposition that no-one can find anywhere else.
SBC Americas: Is there a particular ‘type’ of bettor that chooses to bet on secondary markets?
Carlton Saffa: I expect we’ll be seeing all types of players using it – and I think it will be especially popular with smart punters. In effect, it’s exactly the same tactic you see used by smart folks on Wall Street, which is the ability to exit a position just like an options play.
We loved this product because it offers a true edge over the competition. Of course, a standard cashout option exists but they are never perceived by the player as a good deal. BetSwap, of course, is far better – as a player you can enter and exit bets on your own timeline, as well as selling your position to another player rather than back to the book.
Also, last but not least – looking at Responsible Gaming, we know players have a fixed budget for wagers, so this perfectly suits those players with that – i.e. giving them an option to exit a wager through the marketplace and be able to bet again without having to add to their original betting budget.
Brandon Walker: I have no doubt that this is going to be incredibly popular with all types of punters. The product is completely new to the marketplace, and Amelco is going to be the first provider globally to be showcasing this.
I’m sure that there will be especially huge demand among recreational punters to use this. In short – we’re offering a betting proposition that comes with the knowledge and security that you can exit your bet anytime you like – as well as selling it for more than it’s worth down the line if it increases in value.
Again, throw in these fantastic promotions that BetSaracen are seeding the marketplace with too – and you’ve got the opportunity to entertain so many different sports betting demographics – recreational, sharp punters, and indeed those who wouldn’t usually make use of such a function but wanted to win a one-of-a-kind experience!