In August 2019, BetVictor announced the launch of Smart Cards – the latest addition to their horse racing product offer. Here, we talk to BetVictor’s Director of Product Eoin Ryan, about the story behind the development of Smart Cards and the how BetVictor positions itself in the betting industry.
How was the innovation of the Smart Cards product developed and how did it originally come about?
At BetVictor, we have a strong heritage in horse racing and many of our product team members are horse racing enthusiasts. This means that when there’s a gap in the market, we are quick to become aware of it. The idea of the Smart Cards product came about when we realised the modern-day horse-racing punter was not receiving the latest information in an effective and timely manner. Specifically, we noticed that the traditional race card was lacking real-time, up-to-the minute statistics, which are crucial in allowing punters to place informed bets.
We’ve been working with Timeform – one of the world’s most respected horse racing data providers – for a while and we saw in their highly informative and insightful Smart Stats data an opportunity to tie it in with our own stats and pointers to create something new and unique, and that is how the Smart Cards product was developed. Furthermore, we’ve partnered with jumps jockey Rachael Blackmore, flat jockey Nicola Currie and National Hunt trainer Jamie Snowden to tap into their knowledge and help amplify the reach of the product.
Why is the Smart Cards product important for BetVictor?
Nowadays, a horse racing punter is increasingly turning towards statistics in the hope to make better-informed betting decisions, however, the traditional betting experience within horse racing relies on information that is largely static.
This is where the Smart Cards product comes in, as it turns horse racing betting into a more engaging and dynamic experience for punters. It also provides them with data points typically unexposed to consumers, and unlike traditional race cards online, this data is provided in a digestible format. The data may be originally complex, but Smart Cards presents it in a packaged format, so the customer is able to access only the most stand-out, stat-driven pointers and insights.
This, combined with the constant stream of informational updates, tips and race day trends, such as eye-catching trainer/jockey partnerships, allows a punter to feel more confident and informed while making their betting decisions.
You’ve been at BetVictor for eight years and have worked in the industry for years before then. What would you say has been the biggest change in the industry in recent years?
The biggest difference I have seen in recent years is definitely the emergence and evolution of the smartphone. This has had a huge impact on our industry and will continue to have such an impact.
When I first joined BetVictor, our top priority was the desktop site, and most of our transactions were carried out on that channel. However, we have recently decommissioned our desktop channel and replaced it with a responsive version of our mobile site, which really demonstrates the shift in customer behaviour. On top of this, the use of data and statistics within sports betting has become hugely important. Nowadays, our customers expect this to be incorporated more and more into what the industry is offering. At BetVictor, it underpins all that we do.
What makes BetVictor, the brand as a whole, different from its competitors?
What sets us apart from our competitors is our strong focus on product development, innovation and customer experience. Whilst most of our competitors rely on web applications or hybrid solutions, we have developed fully native iOS and Android applications, which puts us first in terms of functionality and speed.
We also strive to be an industry leader in technology innovation, which we do by developing products in-house on our proprietary platform. Having full control of our own tech platform enables us to respond quickly to customer demands and industry trends.
You’ve highlighted the importance of customer experience – what does BetVictor do to ensure its customers are gambling responsibly?
Customer protection has always been at the forefront of our business. Thanks to our proprietary technology we’re able to apply the same innovation to our compliance products as we do to our betting products. As we have full control over our customers’ data, we can analyse betting behaviour and apply machine-learning technology to detect individuals’ activity and therefore whether they are at risk of experiencing gambling-related harms. These algorithms, thanks to an evolving regulatory environment, are continuously improving. Meanwhile, we also have a safer gambling team who offer 24/7 support to our customers to ensure they’re in control of their gambling.