US expertise gives Bet.Works home advantage


Jay Rood, Chief Risk Officer at Bet.Works.

Jay Rood has more than 25 years’ experience in North America’s sports betting industry having risen from a ticket writer in Lake Tahoe to the boardrooms of Las Vegas.

Now the Chief Risk Officer at Bet.Works, the Nevada-based iGaming and sportsbook platform supplier, he previously held the role of Vice President of Race and Sports of MGM Resorts. 

Bet.Works is a Business-to-Business (B2B) sportsbook technology supplier that provides fully-managed turnkey solutions to its sportsbook clients. Bet.Works recently entered the New Jersey market when it powered the launch of theSCORE’s online sportsbook product after signing a multi-year deal with the Toronto-based media company at the end of 2018.

Here Rood discusses how Bet.Works’ knowledge of the US market gives it an advantage over its rivals in the fast-growing sports betting scene.

Tell us about Bet.Works and the services it offers to the sports betting industry.

“Bet.Works manages all aspects of running a sportsbook. We offer a market-leading turnkey solution that is effectively a plug-and-play operation. What separates Bet.Works from others in the same space is the combination of that cutting-edge technology and expertise within the US gaming industry. Our team is rich in experience in all aspects of sports wagering with a strong background in compliance and legal matters.”

How does your knowledge of the US industry give you an advantage in terms of product?

“We are able to develop a custom strategy for each operator in order to account for the sportsbooks’ distinct risk profiles. Online wagering activity and brick-and-mortar are very different. A required skillset is the ability to handle high-value customers in a casino setting where the average wagers are likely to be much larger. This will therefore need an experienced team to maximize the profitably of those wagers and minimize the volatility. This will happen with online and mobile, as well as the industry matures.

“CEO and Founder David Wong wanted to create a service designed to meet the needs of US operators. In contrast to the European suppliers looking to bring their products from one continent to another, David and the team have built from the ground up a truly dedicated US product designed to attract US players.”

And what advantage do you have in terms of compliance and regulatory matters?

“With expertise and contacts, Bet.Works is in a great position to be able to provide guidance to clients as they navigate the regulatory process. Members of our team have been in and around the regulatory environment in Nevada for years and have helped to shape policy and collaborate with regulators. Developing those relationships is critical for operators of all types in order to be agile and adapt to an American gambling landscape that will be very fluid.”

How does the US gambler differ from those from Europe?

US gamblers act and wager very differently to Europeans. Firstly, Americans tend towards a much higher average wager possibly due to the environment in which the American gambler operates – historically in a casino where the focus is on gambling activities. This type of activity has developed in Las Vegas’s mega casinos and it requires a unique skill set to handle the action of high-value individuals.

“European punting is more focused on the mass-market wager. There’s a much lower average stake,

leading to a model in which a more automated approach of trading can be implemented.”

What are Bet.Works’ targets over the coming year?

“By 2020 I expect Bet.Works to be a leader in this industry. With the partnerships Bet.Works has already announced, such as the entry into New Jersey with theScore, you will see a Bet.Works-managed sportsbook in most states that have legalised sports betting.

“It is not about the quantity of clients, it is about the quality. While we expect to have a significant number of customers, we believe that the standard of our clients means that any one of them could ultimately dominate the space within the coming years.”

You joined Bet.Works in June. What attracted you to this venture?

“I would have to say that the most intriguing thing about Bet.Works is the development of its in-play offering. The comprehensive nature of the offering is something new for the US consumer.

In the past American customers have been limited with their in-play betting options and I am excited to work with a more advanced tech team who can develop what will be the next generation of in-play player propositions that US gamblers will enjoy.”

What is the appeal of in-play and how do you think it will evolve?

“I believe that in-play will develop further as the betting market matures due to people looking to wager on the go. It is appealing because it is there whenever the consumer wants to bet. They may miss start times due to their schedule but will be able to get a wager in after the game has started. Also, it appeals because it offers the chance for the bettor to use their expertise to place their bet when they identify particular conditions in the game that may present a good wagering opportunity for them .”

What are your thoughts on the increasing use of automation in the setting of odds across the sector?

“Again, this is connected to experience and creating a product that works for each operator. Automation can be beneficial, but one needs to ensure tight controls around monitoring and that the offering reflects the conditions that exist in the game. There have been numerous cases of well-documented pricing errors over the last year. In-game injuries and ejections can affect the flow and conditions of the game that do not translate well in the algorithmic-world and need the attention of an experienced trader to handle those situations.

“At Bet.Works we have that balance of advanced technology and the experienced traders to manage all aspects of the process.”

What has surprised you most about the development of US sports betting since the repeal of PASPA in 2018?

“The biggest trend, which is a surprise to me, is the rate at which states are legalizing sports betting. I would have thought it would have been a little slower process, but many of these states have a fear of being left behind if they don’t move quickly. We have seen that fear in discussions that have taken place among legislators and operators in the heavily populated north east of the US. Delaware and New Jersey were in there straight away following the PASPA ruling and then Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York and more. It seems a long time since it was just Nevada where gamblers could legally bet on sports.”

Different states are imposing different regulations as they allow sports betting: what challenges does this create for suppliers and operators? Do you favor harmonised rules across the country?

“Yes, I would be in favor of a more harmonious set of rules from state to state. This would serve both the operator and customer well. Having rules that allows for activity in one state to be “illegal” and just fine in the next sends a very confusing message to the consumer.”