BtoBet: Betting is ‘closing the gap’ on other entertainment industries

The rise in digital technology – such as electronic payment methods and mobile betting – have altered consumer behaviour but have also changed the perception of the gambling industry from an entertainment perspective. 

That’s according to Alessandro Fried, CEO of BtoBet, who spoke to SBC Events ahead of this week’s SBC Digital – Africa. In a chat, Fried gave us a sneak peek into what BtoBet will be showcasing at the online event before explaining why he’s most looking forward to the South African track.

What are you looking forward to at SBC Digital – Africa 2021?

Digital summits have been key to maintaining connections with our peers, due to the travel restrictions that had to be brought into effect to control the Covid-19 pandemic. I look forward to gauge the insights of how the pandemic will ultimately change the iGaming landscape, especially for Africa where retail has been the predominant sales channel for operators.

What are your predictions for the gaming industry in 2021?

The pandemic has surely expedited the expansion and growth of retail to online. Throughout the past months we have already seen a clear intent from retail-based operators to leverage their presence through the online channels. All this whilst established online operators are opting to expand their content offerings as they seek to deliver an optimal betting experience to their players. 

Consumer habits have also undoubtedly accelerated the industry’s perception from an entertainment perspective. Digital, as well as the increasing use of electronic payment methods, is now firmly established in consumer behaviour. It’s based on these key areas that I expect the industry to really focus on throughout the coming months.

What are you promoting at SBC Digital – Africa 2021?

BtoBet will be launching a set of tools based on advanced AI and ML, allowing for a more player-centric betting experience. These tools provide the answers to a lot of the conundrums which operators and their teams are facing on a daily basis.

Through in-depth data analytics based on a various elements – such as player betting behaviour, betting preferences, amounts deposited and staked amongst many other filters – operators would be able to increase the engagement of their players through a more personalised approach, recommending bets based on individual preferences or other trending events that would interest the player directly.

This data analysis also proves very hard in terms of protecting the operator against fraudulent behaviour, and the player himself by avoiding betting patterns that could lead to problem gambling.

Ultimately through these data-based recommendations operators would be able to increase the Player-Lifetime-Value far more effectively.

Another interesting tool that will be launched with the new product add-on portfolio will be sportsbook gamification through tournaments. These could be either pre-defined by the operator himself, or created by the individual players and shared with their friends even on social media.

Another add-on tool that is expected to have a significant effect in terms of increased player engagement, retention and acquisition are free-to-play sports games and tournaments. Available for all the major sports and leagues, this tool is highly engaging and also determining from an acquisition perspective.

Last but not least important is the AI Writing tool that provides operators with the solution on how to automatically populate their site with in-depth sports news, based on statistics. This highly advanced tool allows operators to provide detailed news items covering any sport, in multiple languages, without the need to employ a legion of writers!

What industry innovation will capture the most attention in 2021?

The industry has set its eyes on closing the gap to other entertainment industries, and truly deliver a betting experience that is tailored to the individual player. Those operators who will be able to harness their players’ data and aptly use it to deliver a tailored approach will be in an optimal position to gain a significant market share. 

Which operator has impressed you the most over the last 12 months?

When it comes to operators who have stood out in the past months, I would say Betfair and William Hill. Their expansion into LatAm – which is still considered as an emerging market – is a clear sign of how the market landscape is set to change in the coming years, with larger Tier 1 operators set to take on these emerging scenarios and push the UX to new heights. I also expect similar expansion strategies to characterise the African market.

What partnership has stood out in the past 12 months?

Mergers and acquisitions have stood out as the prevailing model during the past 12 months and will shape the industry’s future business landscape for the post-Covid era. This has been the case also for BtoBet, which since September 2020 forms part of Aspire Global, with the consolidated group now in a position to bring to market a holistic product covering all the elements of the iGaming value chain.

Which parts of the conference agenda have caught your eye?

I am particularly interested in the South African track, and being one of the speakers in one of the planned panels, I look forward to discussing the local market characteristics in terms of sportsbook whilst also opening how the market could register exponential growth should it regularise its online casino sector.

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