Betser puts social in the sports picture

Betser puts social in the sports picture

Friday, October 14, 2016
New sports-betting offering from Hero Gaming

Genuine innovation within online sports-betting is a rarely sighted beast of late. Some honourable exceptions aside – Commologic’s BetUp product with Unibet, for instance, or some of the initiatives coming out of BetVictor of late – offerings are trending towards the same broad sweep of products with very little by way of true differentiation.

Enter, then, one of the more innovative companies in the casino space, Hero Gaming, which has recently branched out into the sports arena with Betser.

Matching the social and gamification aspects of the company’s Casino Heroes gaming site, Betser takes its inspiration from the interaction that comes with fantasy sports and social betting, and brings it to the online sportsbook.

“We’ve long been under the impression that innovation related to sports-betting has in many respects been standing still in recent years, where only minor changes have been made to existing products,” says Hero Gaming chief marketing officer Kristofer Bergdahl talking to TotallyGaming.com. “We see a great opportunity to create a truly gamified experience where the competitive element of sports-betting is raised to a social level.”

Specifically, Betser has introduced a feature called ‘Balls and Brains’, whereby players can unlock free bets in their virtual locker room depending on how they bet, rewarding their courage and skill. There is also a league system, allowing players to compete against their friends.

Hero Gaming was helped in putting its vision into practice by its choice of platform supplier, SB Tech, which Bergdahl says was willing to also “push the boundaries” of what was possible.

Ian Bradley, the head of platform at SB Tech, tells TotallyGaming.com the company understood from the beginning Hero Gaming’s push towards greater gamification and the desire to come up with a product that engages the consumer at a deeper level.

“The sports-betting world is just starting to adopt this strategy and I’m sure that there will need to be adjustments along the way to adapt to the mentality of a sports bettor,” he says. “The challenge is not to make it intrusive and naturally align to how the customer likes to behave.”

Bradley points out the obvious issue with innovation – that it comes with a greater degree of risk. “New ideas and innovation doesn't always work, though we are always searching for new products and features with our R&D teams,” he adds.

“With all new products we look to closely analyse our KPIs,” says Bradley. “We then look at quick iterations to optimise the features to maximise the performance.”

As with Betser, SB Tech says that developing alongside the operator can minimise the risk. “Obviously product and innovation offering is important but developing that in partnership with providers minimises the risk,” says Bradley.

“More and more of our focus is towards providing flexibility for our operators giving them the tools to manage their business using local expertise to optimise the experience,” says Bradley.

“This goes from semi-managed trading solutions putting power in the operators’ hands to unique custom CRM campaigns bespoke to the user. It is important for us to maintain our innovative approach and adapt to the changing trends in this dynamic market to support our operators.”

Totally Gaming says: It is interesting to see SB Tech and Hero Gaming put the emphasis on innovation being a risk, suggesting that collaboration between operator and supplier is one way of mitigating some of the issues that can arise. Whether it is Betser’s social experimentation or other new innovations starting to hit the market, the next battleground for sports-betting is engagement and retention.

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