‘Entertainment and Engagement’ are keywords that reflect your company’s philosophy. Can you explain more about these concepts and how your company applies them in its offering?
Entertainment and Engagement are key aspects that Esports betting needs to attract the younger generations. You cannot simply offer a few betting odds and expect that 25-year-old users will start betting. These players are very demanding with the online products they use. They spend their time on Netflix, Twitch, and other platforms that allow them to choose what they want to watch, at any time. We believe Esports betting should be like that, an entertaining product that can be truly engaging. To deliver this kind of experience, you need to give the users the full package in the same way content on demand platforms do: multiple options on which to bet, a wide coverage, live-streaming, and, of course, live odds that are available almost all the time during the game, not often suspended, which is what we currently see. We have built a solution that covers all these aspects while simultaneously being very entertaining and engaging for the younger generations.
Over the last months, Oddin has closed partnerships with companies such as BtoBet, BetX, Sirplay, Tipsport, and Arland, among others. What value does this bring in strategic terms?
Our goal is to bring engaging Esports betting to fans globally, through the partners with which we cooperate. We are very happy to partner with new as well as established companies in the industry that help us realize our vision. It doesn’t matter if it’s Europe, LatAm, or North America: Esports is a global phenomenon and every operator from every country has the potential to attract massive Esports audiences to their sportsbooks. We are ecstatic to find that Oddin solution is extremely effective in this regard and can multiply the Esports betting volumes for our partners. We will thus have many more announcements in the upcoming weeks.
Stats say around 80% of Esports betting happens live. In that sense, through your iFrame solution, your company distinguishes itself from its competitors by providing a greater number of Esports live markets and uptime. Why this is an essential added value and how it can help boost the betting volume and the profits of a bookmaker?
An entertaining live betting experience is crucial for Esports betting. Users like to watch the games in streaming, and then place bets as they want to show their opinion about what’s happening DURING the game. For this experience to be fully entertaining, you need to have the lines available almost all the time. Otherwise, it can become a frustrating experience that will make users leave the sportsbook and watch the matches directly on Twitch without any incentive to bet, even though they originally wanted to. The uptime is an essential aspect that many providers are not tackling properly. The number of live markets, as well as the quality of live markets, are very important aspects. We create tailor-made markets that are specific for each Esports game. For example, special bets on Dragons in League of Legends. This is another way to engage the audiences that have many different options to place a bet. This is particularly relevant when the matches are one-sided and the main markets are not that interesting. Even in that case, we provide multiple betting markets that keep the punters engaged and drive the volume like number of kills over/under or match duration over/under.
Recently, Oddin has received funding from an important investor group led by Alex Igelman and Jeff Sagansky. How does this benefit your company when planning new projects and expanding your R&D activities?
We are constantly improving our product, not only in terms of performance, coverage, or addition of new betting options, but also including new features and verticals. It is fantastic to have Alex and Jeff onboard, as their feedback and insight into our initiatives from the perspective of betting, entertainment and US angle is priceless. Both of them have their own ideas on the elements of our products, and advise us on whom to speak to about specific topics we tackle. There is a much bigger play we have on our road plan, but, for obvious reasons, I cannot get too much into the details.
Other relevant news for your company was that the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) certified Oddin as an ‘anti-corruption supporter’, safeguarding pro-Esports interests against the threats of match-fixing and manipulation. How to focus on safety and harm prevention in times when there is a rise in the number of players, who are also getting younger and younger? In which way your technology can grant proper integrity monitoring and help fight match-fixing practices?
We take integrity issues in Esports very seriously. We’re working together with ESIC to help fight corruption within this industry and we encourage other companies to do so as well. Our technology is capable of detecting suspicious behavior which can be analyzed and reported to the authorities. It is very important to work together with other companies so we can share information about these unfortunate events, detect suspicious users quickly and take appropriate actions.
Which are the Esports titles Millennials and younger generations play and bet the most in? How to motivate older, traditional sports fans and gamblers to be interested in this new betting segment?
Three Esports titles stand out above the rest: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and DotA 2. Their popularity varies depending on the country. For example, Counter-Strike is massive in Brazil, while DotA 2 is very popular in Colombia. It is difficult to introduce older generations to games like League of Legends or DotA 2 since they are very complex and require a lot of time and practice before one can fully grasp the game. However, we see Counter-Strike as a game with the potential to attract traditional sports fans. The game is easy to understand, yet complex to master: two teams shoot each other until one is defeated. With the rise of channels like Twitch, we have seen how older generations are starting to be interested in other kinds of content, specifically FIFA, which they can relate to. Some of them are even becoming streamers themselves. Twitch is the perfect showcase for Esports, so we expect that the interest in games such as Counter-Strike will increase for traditional sports fans and gamblers alike.
How can you advise bookmakers, as well as online and land-based operators in Latin America, to better understand Esports’ possibilities and players’ needs to provide a competitive Esports betting experience? In which way Oddin can help them monetize this niche by thinking of a long-term strategy with the right approach?
First, I recommend they have a closer look at how Millennials are spending their time. Have a look at Twitch statistics in your country, how many people are interested in Esports. Once you find out how relevant it is for your business to be appealing to these users, it’s time to think about how to attract them. Do you have wide coverage? How often are your live markets suspended? How many live markets do you offer to your users? At Oddin, we allow operators to launch a new Esports product that can be truly engaging. Whether it is based on odds feed or iFrame, your Esports betting experience will stand out against the competition, allowing you to become the favorite sportsbook for the younger generations in your region. In the long term, this can be a key strategic decision. However, even in the short term, your betting volumes and profits will increase greatly as other operators have experienced when integrating our solution. I would also advise to partner the proper solution with Esports-centric marketing that will attract the right audience to your sportsbook. This is a topic itself for a couple of chapters. If I were a casino, I would ask myself, whether I have a sufficient age diversification of my clientele and whether I am ready for the generational shift that is happening.
Undoubtedly, Esports will be one of the most significant drivers of growth for the betting industry in the following years. What will your company do to lead this trend, keep on being innovative and prove operators that it is necessary to invest in this vertical with a clear vision of the future?
Our team is made of data scientists, developers, traders, but all of them have something in common: the passion for Esports. This is absolutely necessary to be at the top of the Esports betting industry. Given that Esports is a very fast-changing vertical, a lot of work is required to stay at the top of your game. There are also new games which are trying to break into the top three every year. Even the core Esports titles are constantly changing with new patches. The industry is growing and new tournaments are being created every year. For us to be leaders in the Esports betting industry, we need to have the flexibility to adapt to all those challenges. Since we control our own proprietary technology, we are well positioned to do so. We will make sure to stay up to date to continue delivering the most engaging Esports betting experience in the market, and constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. There are already a couple of verticals we have been building that will reshape the industry. We are happy to contribute in the matter of raising Esports awareness. We currently have partners that didn’t realize Esports had such a massive audience already, but once they saw the data, they decided to invest in improving their Esports offering. We believe all operators will recognize the potential of Esports sooner or later, but those who decide to invest now, will have a clear advantage over the rest for years to come.