Study: Smart Sportsbook Operators Will Offer Far More Than Just Betting Options

A report by HPL Digital Sports suggests a new model for online sports operations, including a lot more helpful information and entertainment.

Forward-thinking online sports betting sites ought to begin offering a broader experience for their customers than just giving them a way to place wagers.

That’s the key advice contained in a new study from HPL Digital Sport, which recommends that operators find a way to blend betting options with helpful advice for the pastime, interesting information about sports, and networking opportunities among players.

The New York-based marketing and communications firm tied to the sports betting industry surveyed 4,400 sports bettors across America early this year. It led to a 19-page report, The State of the New Sports Bettor, available on the firm’s website.

The surveying was done both before and in the early stages of when the sports world ground to a near-halt from COVID-19-related shutdowns, but HPL Digital Sport believes the key findings still hold.

Combine info, entertainment with betting

In essence, it concluded that sports bettors increasingly watching sports on their couches instead of visiting stadiums and arenas in the near future will want a new experience from the betting sites they use.

When the bettors were asked what different features they would like to see on the online/mobile platforms, 69% desired betting tips, 50% wanted more engaging editorial content, and 34% asked for the ability to communicate with other platform users.

“This is an opportunity for platforms to come out of quarantine stronger, as our data found that bettors want a robust user experience while betting,” the report said. “Bettors want to utilize their platforms for more than just placing a bet.”

It cited crossover deals such as recent ones between Penn National Gaming and Barstool Sports, and between William Hill Sportsbook and CBS Sports, as the kind of collaborations that should become a trend.

“As interest in betting becomes stronger among Americans, the frequency of bets also correlates with the need for advanced content to keep these active bettors engaged and utilizing the operator’s platform for more than just placing the bet,” the report said. “The opportunity to keep users in one location to fulfill their need for information, entertainment, and betting functionality will help grow that user base and may even increase the frequency that people bet.”

The survey found that 75% of sports bettors place wagers at least once a week and 70% bet more than $100 monthly, with 27% risking more than $1,000 per month.

Many cross state lines or use friends to bet

Though fewer than half the states as yet have legal sports wagering, plenty of individuals in the non-legal states find ways to get legal bets down.

“We found that 44% of bettors who live in states without legal sports betting either travel to a state with legal sports betting or place bets via friends who live in states with legal betting,” the study said.

Already, 63% of bettors across the country use their phones to wager on games, even though the minority of states with legal sports wagering yet have online sportsbooks in operation. That percentage is thus expected to only grow.

The survey identified a strong crossover between fantasy sports play and traditional sports betting. It found 89% of sports bettors also play fantasy sports.

“Not only do bettors play fantasy sports, but they feel that playing fantasy sports provides them with a strong base knowledge for participating in sports betting,” the paper stated.

The respondents’ top five types of competition on which to bet involved the NFL (83%), NBA (68%), MLB (44%), NCAA football (41%), and boxing (40%).

As far as how consumers find preferences among competing sites, the report said: “Bettors’ #1 concern in picking a platform is ease of payouts followed by security, then brand reputation. Betting platforms can leverage functionality and security as a differentiator when trying to attract new users.”

As to who’s doing the betting, the survey found 51% of the respondents had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 33% of all Americans. They were not “ultra wealthy,” however, the report stressed, with 69% making less than $100,000 a year in total income and only 6% exceeding $200,000.

Photo provided by Shutterstock


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