SG Digital’s Keith O’Loughlin: Banking on a solid platform

SG Digital’s Keith O’Loughlin: Banking on a solid platform

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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This year's Grand National saw a record number of bets processed through the OpenBetTM platform

Keith O’Loughlin, SVP Sportsbook and Platforms at SG Digital, on how platform reliability is the key for driving revenue and customer retention during major sporting events.

The Grand National is one of the busiest days on the calendar for sportsbook operators, and this year’s event was no different. A record number of bets were processed through the OpenBetTM platform, while the industry as a whole reported healthy wagering figures.

SG Digital’s market-leading sportsbook processed more than 34 million bets across all channels during the three days of this year’s festival at Aintree, proving to be one of its busiest ever.

Compare these numbers to similar non-gaming events where high volumes of transactions are processed, and it’s clear the scale of the Grand National is at the top end of digital transaction peaks across all industries.

A leading online retailer reported 6,000 orders per minute across the 24-hour period on one of its exclusive discount days, one of the busiest for the ecommerce giant. This is considerably lower than the 20,000 peak bets placed per minute that OpenBet reported for just one of its sportsbook customers.

The annual horse racing fixture is highly attractive among recreational bettors looking to have a flutter in the hope an outsider wins. With so many consumers wanting to place a bet at peak times during the National, it puts a tremendous amount of load on a platform having to process such vast volumes in a short space of time.

Downtime simply isn’t an option for bookmakers. The Grand National and other major sporting events are a huge revenue driver for operators as the figures show, but technical issues are sure to leave some falling at the first hurdle and suffering from loss of transactions. Customers expect to be able to transact and engage with their bookmaker of choice at the peak times, as well as their normal custom.

Today’s saturated sports betting market means consumers don’t have to search too long to find a site to place a bet with. While price can often be a key battleground, providing excellent customer service should be a high priority during such big sporting events.

This is particularly true when understating the habits of the recreational audience, who are likely to switch sites should they encounter a technical problem placing bets or depositing funds into an account. Equally, existing customers may lose faith if they have difficulties parting with their money in the lead-up to such a grand occasion.

In a marketplace where there are plenty of sportsbook providers vying for position, those with a solid platform and robust performance during major occasions will prosper.  

Land of opportunity

Looking ahead to the potential regulated U.S. sports betting opportunity, platform reliability is sure to be a key theme for those hoping to gain a head start in the new market.

Competition will be fierce if the market opens up, ensuring much of the focus in the early stages will be on large-scale early customer acquisitions. It means lengthy technology projects are likely to take a back seat, with operators instead trading product options for speed-to-market, as well as a platform they can trust to perform.

Excellent customer service will be very important, particularly as the U.S. customers already have high expectations when purchasing goods online or eating out at a restaurant. Ensuring a seamless user journey will go a long way to appeasing bettors over any price or product variations.

At SG Digital, we’ve been preparing for potential U.S. regulation by evolving the OpenBet product portfolio so that we can now offer a turnkey solution.

This combines the trusted and reliable sportsbook platform with our Managed Trading Service (MTS), including 350,000+ pre-events and 250,000+ live events per annum, with a full range of markets for each. The OpenBet MTS also includes full risk management across retail, online, mobile and Self Service Betting Terminals (SSBT) channels.

With some major sporting events including the World Cup just around the corner, as well as the potential of regulated U.S. sports betting, there’s huge opportunity for operators to drive revenue and gain market share. Those with robust and scalable platforms combined with products based on customer insight will have the necessary foundations and the confidence in their approach to succeed in such a competitive marketplace.

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