Close-up of an American football

In-game betting makes up a large part of the experience of watching and enjoying sports for fans, particularly in the current climate, and the ability to place a wager from your pocket is one of the draws for many supporters.

Neale Deeley, VP of US Sales and Gaming at Sportradar, detailed how in-play betting can enhance the individual supporter’s experience at the recent Betting on Sports America – Digital conference as part of a panel entitled ‘advancing the in-play live sports betting experience’.

“I think if you look inside the US market, there are a few factors of play that mean it’s a little bit less today in terms of the overall adoption, which is partly down to the newness of in-play betting for some of the consumers that are here,” he explained.

“Some of the US sports, particularly American football, are maybe not serviced as well on an international level in terms of product. But there has been a lot of ramp up. We’ve been involved in that in terms of being able to improve the breadth and quality of the in-play product that’s on offer. That’s helping to drive it as well. 

“I’m sure that all of the trend lines are pointing in the right directions for the US market to mirror those more established markets around the world. In terms of the adoption of in-play betting, it’s more a question of time rather than anything else.”

Dan Zucker, panel moderator and President of Zucker Media Group, insinuated that sporting leagues and divisions are ‘integral’ to the expansion of in-game betting, which drives deeper engagement for both parties. He also discussed the industry’s wider ecosystem and how the two intertwine.

He said: “The way I see it, the leagues are an absolute integral part of the betting ecosystem within the US. It’s great to see the engagement that the leagues have with the betting companies and with the sector in general. 

“I think they’re obviously in a better place to give their position on in-play betting than I am, but I would say that ultimately what a league is based around is fan engagement. One thing that in-play wagering generates is substantial fan engagement. 

“Anyone who just had a bet that they’re waiting on the outcome of will be significantly more engaged in a game than those people who don’t. The statistics on that has been well documented many times over. 

“So I think from the leagues’ general perspective, betting brings with it a higher level of engagement with fans, a higher level of interest and more ‘talk around the water cooler’. That’s only going to be a good thing for the product and the sports.”

Deeley concurred that the combination of in-play wagering and mobile betting creates an ‘extremely engaging product’, which will help to grow both the gambling industry and sports clubs and leagues.

The slow uptake in interest in play-betting was put down to the ‘newness’ of the product by the Sportradar VP of US Sales and Gaming. However, he predicted that mobile betting will enhance this experience and draw in new users and fans.

“The journey of in-play betting has been well documented,” Deeley continued. “Whilst it was already growing in the digital space prior to the explosion of mobile, the rise of mobile betting has really just accelerated it. It’s the natural place to bet. 

“In-game is also the natural place to wager because you get to see whether your team is performing as you expected, you can react to price movements based on events on the field and you can also give yourself that added interest in the game. 

“I think it’s an extremely engaging product. For that reason, it is not surprising that it is dominating the handle and also the hold outside of the US.”