What will the long-awaited Euros mean for the betting industry?
With less than a week to go before the start of the European Championship, 5 Star caught up with Aspire Global’s Head of Sports, Morten Hauge, on what to expect from the delayed tournament and how the company’s supporting its operating partners throughout the event
This year’s European Championship will probably be watched more in people’s homes and online than any before it. What do you think this will mean for the sports betting industry?
There’s pent-up demand from bettors for the rescheduled tournament and this will be hugely positive for the sports betting industry, which has endured a challenging trading period over the previous 12 months.
In fact, this will probably be the most watched European Championship in history because we’re all craving new forms of entertainment after months of lockdown restrictions. People are tired of scrolling through streaming platforms and a great sporting tournament like the Euros provides ample betting opportunities for those looking to elevate their matchday experience. With that in mind, sportsbook operators that utilise scalable, cloud-based platform technology will be at an advantage as we anticipate a huge influx of new customer sign-ups and existing bettors re-engaging.
Our gaming PAM (Player Account Management) solution AspireCore has passed the biggest of tests across the past year, recording a 99.97% uptime that has seen us process over €3bn in transactions every month. We’re ready and prepared to provide our sportsbook partners with a seamless experience throughout the European Championships with our market-leading PAM platform.
Do you think the lack of crowds will impact the outcome, or make it less enjoyable for viewers at home?
This was certainly an issue when sport first came back. It always helps a team to hear a stadium full of their supporters. However, like everyone else, the players have adapted to the new normal and have gotten used to this by now. It will just be business as usual for them when they get onto the pitch. That being said, some teams will have adapted better than others.
What will impact the games, however, is the fatigue that many players will be feeling after a tough domestic league campaign. More substitutions will be allowed and squad sizes have been increased, and it will be interesting to see how teams cope with this. I also expect to see a few high-scoring matches – lots of goals being scored is my number one prediction for this tournament.
How can operators retain customers after the tournament?
A main priority during a major sports tournament like the Euros, is focusing on making sure all Aspire Global services, across the board, are primed to enable our partners to benefit from a successful Euros campaign. To that end, we have developed a nine-stage customer cycle plan to make that process as seamless as possible. The best way to retain customers is by making sure they consistently have a pleasant experience using the service in the first place, and that’s what this plan will achieve. We also cover how to take care of the customer post-tournament and instruct on how to engage and monetise them in the lead up to the start of the football seasons.
With every sportsbook competing against each other to attract new customers, how can an operator differentiate themselves this summer?
Competition will be fierce and unless you have a significant marketing budget at your disposal, it’s a challenge for most to cut through the noise. However, bettors are always intrigued to experiment with new products and this year’s tournament is the right time to present them with new concepts.
Aspire Global’s BtoBet has added an industry-first sports betting solution called AspireBattle, which is aimed at casino players that might be interested in the Euros. It’s a free-to-play game where players make match predictions. It’s similar to a sportsbook layout, with statistics and match previews and even the ability to “follow” other users in the game. This onboarding and community strategy will ensure more players after the tournament as well.
Huge tournaments like these are great opportunities to encourage first-time bettors. How are you helping operators to make the most of this?
AspireBattle includes a robot that cheers you on while making bets to make the experience a bit friendlier, which is perfect for newcomers who are familiarising themselves with a sportsbook offering. As well as that, when players make one of their five free bets, the robot will comment on the activity, directing them somewhat and will give them status updates as the bet plays out. For newbies, this will make the process a lot clearer. We will definitely be pushing a free-to-play strategy as well, which we have found to be far more effective than bonuses.
There is also the live in-play betting feeds, which really helps to make sense of what a customer can do at any one time. We have also integrated with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Steam and Instagram so customers can log in directly from those, completely independently of our platform, which is something first-time players prefer.
Under all these new circumstances, who will win Euro 2020 and who else would you put a bet on?
I was really hoping I would be able to put a bet on Norway this year, but once again that is not a possibility. Belgium are looking really strong. They are one of those teams that have all the talent, skill and fitness to go all the way but for some reason, they never seem to be able to get over the line. But I think this could be the year that for that to happen. Eden Hazard had some issues with his fitness, but if he is able to get back to top form by the time the tournament starts they will be the team to beat.