By Matthew Hosman, U.S. Director, Kambi
With more regulatory frameworks being established across the U.S., launching sports betting with the right insight from trusted partners gives Tribes the opportunity to drive greater returns, not just through the sportsbook, but across gaming and hospitality as well.
Tribes essentially have two options open to them when it comes to launching sports betting. Firstly, they can hand over the day-to-day running of the sportsbook to a B2C operator – along with the customer database and brand-building opportunities that go hand-in-hand with this, given that the B2C operator’s brand would be used for the sportsbook instead of the Tribe’s brand. The second route is a partnership with a B2B provider, which enables those Tribes who want to harness the power of their brand to take full ownership of the sports betting value chain.
Sports betting has been proven to bring new demographics through the doors of the casino property, driving greater share of wallet and future-proofing the operator’s business by enabling the engagement of a new breed of customer. Illustrating this, Kambi partner Penn National Gaming found 59 percent of sports betting handle was driven by players under the age of 40 at its Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast.
Bringing these players into the property and introducing them to the casino’s brand has also been proven to drive greater cross-sell opportunities, lifting returns across every aspect of the casino floor. Kambi’s casino partners have seen engagement with table games rise significantly since going live with our on-property sports wagering product. Additionally, Penn National Gaming has found that on-property customers who engage with both casino and sports betting generate five times more value than those who engage with casino only.
Furthermore, launching an online sportsbook under the Tribe’s established brand offers the chance to tap into these new audiences in a meaningful way. A casino’s players will eventually find their way to mobile and online as regulation allows, and Tribes have an excellent opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this trend and take full advantage if they have the right partnerships in place.
A core asset that Tribal operators can take advantage of is the recognition and trust in their brands. Partnering with a B2B provider to launch online sports betting can empower the Tribe to leverage that trust and harness the full power of their brand. At the same time, it can significantly boost the brand’s reach and widen the customer acquisition funnel – something that would not be possible if the Tribe gives control of the sportsbook to an existing B2C operator.
In addition, the right B2B partner can further enhance this by seamlessly integrating with any existing guest loyalty program that the operator has in place, which was a key factor in why Penn National Gaming and Four Winds Casinos selected Kambi.
Finding the right partner
If a Tribal operator has selected the B2B route, the priority for the B2B provider must be to ensure that the process is as consultative as possible, prioritizing an open dialogue that ensures the sports betting offering fits seamlessly with the Tribe’s established brand. The extensive differentiation capabilities offered by Kambi’s open APIs, for example, mean that our partners can build a front-end that coalesces seamlessly with their existing offering and brand.
Operators ultimately need a partner that they can trust to consistently deliver, offering regulatory certainty and hassle-free deployment alongside a deep, proven sportsbook capable of driving consistent engagement.
Kambi, more than any other sports betting partner in the U.S. market, has demonstrated its caliber in this regard. We are live in 13 states, having delivered market-firsts in 10, and most recently launched with four partners on day one of online regulation in Michigan. We define commercial success not just in terms of aligning with new partners, but launching them quickly. By way of example, we launched sports betting in all three of Four Winds Casinos’ Michigan properties within just two weeks of the ink being dry on our partnership agreement, and it was the first of many land-based partners that Kambi safely and successfully launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the pandemic-enforced suspensions to the calendars of major sports throughout 2020 emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong offering in sports from all over the globe, as well as traditionally more niche events.
While the most popular leagues to bet on in the U.S. may naturally be the likes of the NFL, NBA and MLB, U.S. bettors demonstrated diverse sporting appetites throughout 2020. Table tennis drove the sixth largest number of bets of any sport across Kambi’s U.S. partner network, while the PGA Tour, ATP Tennis and Italian Serie A soccer were all in the top 15 most popular leagues for U.S. customers.
Kambi is the trusted sports betting partner to more than 30 operators on six continents, and we prioritize having a deep offering in sports from all over the world. As such, our partners in the U.S. know that they will be getting a first-class offering on all sports leagues, and that they can have full confidence in our pricing.