Betting on Sports week has begun, and we’re continuing to catch up with our sponsors.
Chatting to David McDowell, CEO of FSB, he told us that FSB plans to promote its sportsbook throughout the event, and that this will be the year when artificial intelligence (from trading to marketing tools) and data collection finally align for progressively effective modes of personalisation
What are you looking forward to at Betting on Sports?
After the thrilling combined crescendo to both last year’s Premier League and European Cup campaigns, Betting on Sports provides a timely think tank for the recently renewed football season and how the industry can best provide operators and bettors with engaging, innovative betting experiences across these tent-pole revenue-driving events – not forgetting many other sports, of course, notably the current NFL campaign stateside and the Rugby World Cup.
Betting on Sports also offers some fantastic networking opportunities with senior peers to discuss some of the most topical and pressing issues. Whatever’s on your mind: one year on from PASPA milestone repeal stateside, regulation closer to home, player engagement, retention strategy, acquisition and bonusing alternatives, football-betting impact, the rise of tennis as an in-play bulwark, social media marketing… it’s fantastic to trade thoughts on broad plans and specific innovations with other industry leaders, in order that we can collectively converge on the best path forward.
What are you promoting at Betting on Sports?
At FSB, we are showcasing our state-of-the-art sports betting platform, which can be deployed for a wide range of business cases. Our enterprise solutions are being used by licensed operators whose growth strategy is premised on bespoke trading solutions, while our multi-tenanted solutions are perfect for smaller operators for whom operational efficiency is a key priority.
We will also be showcasing our market-leading platform, CMS, CRM and safe gaming solutions for customers who are interested in the full tech-stack.
We’ve enjoyed some great partnerships of late which specifically speak to the Betting on Sports audience and we will be sharing some of our case studies with prospective customers. These range from new deals with a wide variety of leading UK independents to deploying our definitive sportsbook and trading tools for the UK’s foremost pools provider, The Football Pools, a household name which has been at the bedrock of football betting for 95 years.
I look forward to welcoming you, alongside our friendly team of delegates, at Stand Q18.
What industry innovation will capture the most attention in 2019?
I feel this will be the year when artificial intelligence (from trading to marketing tools) and data collection finally align for progressively effective modes of personalisation. If your system truly knows and understands your customer from the log-in, a personalised or customised experience is just around the corner. In fact, I believe high-volume AI systems present a key battleground of the future for marketeers implementing successful strategies. After all, if intelligence is just a matter of data-processing, the gap between man and the machine is growing by orders of magnitude.
At FSB, we’ve made our reputation around harnessing such automation, building the most advanced, responsive platform around understanding the workflow before trying to make it more efficient. Employing technology in the most efficient way is one of the reasons why, for example, just 14 of our traders can oversee 35 brands across 8 platform implementations, each trading over 100,000 live events annually.
Indeed, we’ve staked our business model on processing these economies of scale with the industry’s most scalable, flexible, and efficient sports betting and gaming platform. Allied to the latest and fastest feeds – as the data wars rage on between the likes of Sportradar, Perform and Genius – our operator partners will always win the day.
Which sports betting operator has impressed you the most in 2019?
With so many operators continuously producing great results and innovation across the industry, it’s hard to differentiate between them all. However, Sky Bet have perhaps impressed the most. They constantly seem to be moving and modernising at a fast pace. The Sky Bet interface is very easy to use – intuitive UI is something we always seek to facilitate at FSB – while the latest addition of ‘Group Bets’ looks to add a great social and competitive aspect to sports betting. Sky Bet have been marketed very well, too, and the use of the Sky Sports platform has allowed them to become a very recognisable and respected brand.
What sports betting partnership has stood out in the past 12 months?*
Somewhat self-servingly, I should mention that in July FSB sealed a growth capital investment from the Canadian private equity fund, Clairvest Group. This milestone investment will be used by the company to pursue profitable growth opportunities to supply its sports betting and internet gaming services into regulated markets, with the US market (now over a year removed from PASPA’s landmark repeal) a particular target. We are really starting to accelerate, and our year-on-year growth has already put FSB near the top of the TechTrack100 ranking (13th spot) of the fastest-growing tech firms in the UK.
Looking outside of FSB, with so many promising partnerships the past year, it’s really difficult to pick a winner. Particularly because none of them has truly collided with long-term reality yet, which is always the test! Above all in the States. I remain extremely optimistic about the U.S. market for sports betting, though. Sure, it may prove a long and winding road but when you’re looking to harness a market worth some $5billion or more, it’s well worth the effort. For this reason, I would have to go with the FOX Bet tie-up between FOX Sports and The Stars Group, which has real potential to put sports betting into the mainstream media, and the partnership should benefit from the knowledge built up at SkyBet. I just hope for Rupert’s sake that they do better than his last attempt in the sector with SunBets!
If you could attend one sporting event, what would it be?
I may have lived in the UK for the last 25 years, but my heart is still in the Midwest and nothing comes close to the atmosphere of the NCAA tournaments. I’d have to opt for tickets to the Rose Bowl or the NCAA basketball finals, provided that either team from Michigan was represented! For the non-US readers, you need to experience a capacity football crowd at UofM, the second largest stadium in the world and only ranking behind the 1st of May Stadium in North Korea (where they also sell out every week, but for different reasons).