Sports betting: Elevating The Entire Casino Ecosystem

By Guest Author:
Sarah Robertson
Senior Business Development Director

It has been more than two years since the repeal of PASPA, a regulatory development which has elicited an unprecedented range of opportunities in sports betting for all manner of organisations.

However, while regulation has been efficiently rolled out in a number of states, there have of course been frustrations and examples of it being done less effectively in states including Oregon.

Tribal communities should hold the cards to how sports wagering can expand through compact negotiations. As sensible regulatory frameworks are established, the right insight from trusted partners can lead to significant bottom-line growth not just in sports betting, but across the entire casino floor.

Broadly speaking, tribal operators have two routes open to them when it comes to deploying sports betting. The first is a partnership with a B2C brand, which will involve handing over day-to-day management of the sportsbook to an existing operator, alongside the database and brand building opportunities that go with it.

For those tribes that believe in the strength of their brand and want ownership of the sports betting value chain, the second option of partnering with a B2B provider capable of providing all-important regulatory certainty and swift, hassle-free deployment can the first step on the road to sports betting success.

It should be emphasised that neither option for launching sports betting is necessarily the wrong way to approach this opportunity. No tribal community is the same, but what is certain is that the most important aspect will be planning strategically for sports wagering and considering partners who are both experienced at working with tribes and operate with the highest levels of integrity.

Introducing a new product vertical is understandably not a light undertaking, particularly one with dynamics across both margins and player engagement that set it apart from more traditional casino verticals such as slots and table games.

However, it is important not to view sports betting in isolation. Although on-property sports wagering outside of Nevada remains nascent in the grand scheme of US gaming history, it has already demonstrated its potential to act as a conduit for driving revenues not just from the sportsbook, but throughout the entire casino ecosystem, while also attracting new customer demographics with provably higher long-term value.

Enhancing the entire casino floor

An engaging on-property sportsbook, with a well-managed blend of over the counter and kiosk services can help to draw in a younger clientele and future-proof growth by promoting higher levels of engagement across gaming and hospitality as well.

Taking control of the sportsbook with a B2B partner empowers the casino with a full 360 degree view of casino and sportsbook customers – enabling them to see how they intersect and how to most efficiently drive cross-sell between the two verticals.

By way of example, Kambi partner Penn National Gaming is finding that on-property sports betting is proving a significant catalyst to both gaming and non-gaming revenue. On-property customers who engage with both casino and sports betting have been found to generate five times more value than those who engage with casino only, while revenues from table games have noticeably increased at those properties that have introduced sports wagering.

Furthermore, offering a free sports bet if the customer spends a certain amount on food and beverages, or a discounted night in the resort with a winning sports wager are two clear examples of how an expertly integrated B2B sportsbook partner can boost property-wide engagement.

What the B2B providers in this scenario must prioritise is ensuring that the process is as consultative as possible, building on the individual requirements of each tribal partner and learning what’s needed through ongoing dialogue and genuine partnership. No aspect of a tribal casino’s offering is a bolt-on, and for those with trust and confidence in their own brand, sports betting need not be either.

Bringing new players through the door and protecting against financial and health risk

Aligning a high-quality mobile product with the on-property offering can also deliver significant uplift. A casino’s players will naturally find their way to mobile and online sports wagering as regulation allows, and developing a mobile and online sports offer consistent with the tribe’s established brand is the best way to beat the competition to the punch and develop even greater brand loyalty, extending into a vertical that resonates with new and existing players.

Particularly now, in light of Covid-19, casinos may be encouraging greater use of mobile on-premise. Solutions such as Kambi’s unique Bring-Your-Own Device technology, which enables customers to build bets anywhere before scanning a QR code at the property, can facilitate a contactless wagering experience, consistent with current social distancing measures while providing an engaging introduction to a tribal operator’s online presence and offering.

The benefits of this are already being felt by operators such as Seneca Gaming Corporation and Four Winds Casinos, as well as tribal operators who have partnered with B2C brands including Rush Street Interactive, who work with a number of tribes including the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and Parx Casino, who are partnered with the Gun Lake Tribe of Michigan.

Developing a meaningful online connection with the customer is an excellent way of protecting future growth – for example, rewarding an online customer with a land-based bonus which includes food and beverages or a night at the resort can help to boost the long-term retention of a new breed of player.

Put simply, partnering with a proven B2B provider can be a valuable means of achieving lasting success and unlocking the full potential of the opportunities the regulation of sports wagering presents.