Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS, analyses the growing popularity of racing amongst bettors within new and emerging markets
There’s no denying the global popularity of horse and greyhound racing within the sports betting industry, with its exciting action drawing in billions in betting revenues every year. Although the betting revenues are significant, much of that is from regions where there is a strong racing heritage, such as the UK, which hosts some of the world’s biggest race meetings.
Now, however, it is encouraging that interest is increasing within territories where racing is not typically a staple betting product, pointing to a change in consumer trends.
This has been evidenced recently, with a number of Spanish operators boosting their racing offering, including Codere, who has committed to integrate the SIS 24/7 Horse and Greyhound Channel into its online and mobile offering. It’s not just in Spain where racing is enjoying a surge of interest, but further afield too with operators from Africa to Latin America identifying racing as an effective way to increase engagement levels with their customer base and drive betting revenue.
So, why are these betting events attracting increased interest, and viewed as a way for operators to attract and retain new customers?
The answer perhaps lies in how these events are now being delivered to consumers, with frequent quick-fire betting opportunities now available whether they are popping in the nearest retail outlet or scrolling through the latest markets via a mobile device.
The short-form format of both horse and greyhound racing also meets the growing trend within the industry for bettors wanting to access quick-fire events, where outcomes are decided within a shorter period of time.
Making racing easy to understand
In markets where horse and greyhound racing enjoy a strong foothold, such as in the UK where over £3.9bn is bet on each year, the product is optimised for audiences who are more familiar with racing and its nuances.
However, for racing to grow in popularity amongst bettors in new and emerging territories, a different approach to how to market the product is required. With our strong heritage in the UK and Ireland, we know how the historical significance of major events such as the Cheltenham Festival or the Grand National are key traffic drivers.
However, replicating that strategy won’t necessarily suffice in other territories, where the festivals may be less well known. Instead messages need to reinforce the simplicity of betting on these events. The sports are relatively easy for newcomers to get involved with, providing the option to pick a winner or an each-way bet from a selection of horses or dogs, or simply choose from a spin and win style market like odds vs evens.
At SIS, we’re going the extra mile to support partners globally to help them educate their customers in betting on racing, with in-shop point of sale such as ‘how to bet’ guides, which are helping them drive more betting revenues.
Content accessible 24/7
The way in which horse and greyhound racing are packaged are also a factor within racing’s future growth in emerging markets. Online and mobile wagering will continue to grow in popularity, particularly as connectivity and speeds are ever improving across the globe. For our industry, the advances in technology mean we can improve the way in which we stream live sporting events for people to place bets on.
But given how other forms of entertainment have driven a culture of “on-demand” content, where consumers can access a new film release or TV boxset at the click of a button, that shift in consumer behaviour is now becoming more important within the betting sector.
Having access to live action around the clock will always heighten the enjoyment of a sport, and this is especially true of an event you’ve placed a bet on. That’s why at SIS we have launched a range of 24/7 Live Betting Channels that allow operators to stream live racing pictures online, globally and throughout the day across all time zones, with a betting event every three minutes. The channels provide live pictures and data, are delivered with low-latency and are optimised for retail, online and mobile to ensure bettors have a great betting experience, which in turn will drive incremental revenues for operators.
Horse racing and greyhounds are fast becoming an essential mix of an operator’s sportsbook offer all over the world and knowing how to package the product is the key to unlocking its potential.