The Trustly team made their way to the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey to attend one of the world’s largest betting conferences, SBC Summit North America. Here are three key takeaways from the event.
1. Differentiation is Key
There are about 45 sports betting operators in the United States, each vying for a piece of the pie and creating an increasingly competitive market. The term “differentiation” came up across several panels during the conference, and technology will likely be the primary driver for the evolving sports betting space.
Given the industry's infancy, the look and feel of sports betting apps can seem very similar to a player. Operators will need to reexamine how they present themselves to keep up the momentum for their brands and products. Education, engagement, and retention will be essential. How this is achieved, though, will come from technological advancements and consolidation. Although the pace of mergers and acquisitions has slowed over the past several months, consolidation – another hot topic across panels – is inevitable. Operators are looking to become “stickier”, and technology will be the key. As companies come into the space with innovative ideas and products, consolidation will occur to help create a more unique footprint and differentiation for brands.
2. Payments as a Competitive Advantage
Operators are spending what FanDuel’s CEO, Amy Howe, described as “unsustainable” amounts on player acquisition and retention. However, payment options are being viewed as a major opportunity in terms of acquiring and retaining players. SBC, recognizing the importance of the sector, created a dedicated track to payments during the conference.
Being able to deposit and withdraw funds instantly is one of the most important factors sports bettors consider when selecting an online sportsbook, and whether they decide to come back. Panelists confirmed that if the payment journey is not smooth and seamless, players will simply go to a rival brand and are unlikely to ever return. Additionally, players will likely abandon a brand if a player’s preferred payment method is not available.
While it is good to have several payment options available, it is also important to ensure a payment journey that is swift and intuitive. To do this, operators must find stable, robust, and reliable payment partners. Streamlined, frictionless deposits and withdrawals will be of fundamental importance to the industry’s success; and choosing the right payment partner is critical.
3. Knowing Your Customer is More Important Than Ever
KYC — “Know Your Customer” — is generally known as part of the anti-money laundering requirement when a player is onboarded, but it has really begun to encompass all interactions with players. Those interactions include payment transactions, loyalty programs, and fraud prevention. As the industry continues to expand and grow, fraudsters are also becoming more common, and it has become a major worry for companies and regulators.
The first interaction a player has with a sportsbook is when they open an account, which requires them to prove their identity. Similar to payment options discussed above, a clunky or less than tolerable onboarding experience can lead a player to abandon the sportsbook before they even make a wager. However, KYC is an absolute requirement.
Artificial Intelligence and customization were discussed on several panels as a means for accomplishing a safe, robust onboarding experience, while also protecting the operator from fraud. Education of players on the methods and reasons for KYC was also championed.
As an indication of enhanced KYC requirements to come, New Jersey, and soon Pennsylvania, began requiring multi-factor authentication when players login to their account to enhance security. The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has reserved the right to define other authentication strategies as “strong,” so long as they’re more secure than a username and password alone. New AI and KYC innovations will be a space to keep an eye on due to the demand for greater security and protections.
If you are interested in learning more about the U.S. gaming market and about what Trustly can do for your business, continue the conversation with one of our gaming and payments experts.
Also, be sure to stay tuned to the Trustly blog for more regulatory updates!