[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1 link=same] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]

Skip to Content


Roundtable: looking great in close-up

By - 8 October 2021

As bookmakers adopt a mobile-first approach, technology evolves and video streaming becomes front and centre, the sportsbook aesthetic of 2021 is a far cry from a decade ago. In our latest roundtable, we ask industry experts from Pronet Gaming, Aspire Global and BETBY how they see betting interfaces developing in the years ahead.

What is the trendy, contemporary sportsbook aesthetic in 2021?

Leonid Perstovskiy, CEO at BETBY: The interface of a modern betting product, just like any other long-established online service, must simultaneously be understandable to a conservative audience and attract a new one.

It should aim to be modern while at the same time be easy to navigate to traditional customers. In the last couple of years, betting interfaces have also been influenced in part by the rise of e-sports, which in turn has made video streaming a key part of the interface.

Along with the entire online industry, bookmakers have moved to a mobile-first approach. When mobile traffic is already generating more than 80 per cent of revenue in almost every country in the world, it’s clearly the right thing to do. It is important to maintain full functionality of the product on any device and at any speed of the end user’s Internet.

And technology, of course, drives the desired aesthetic. Web development is progressing incredibly fast. If you do not follow the new technological solutions of the IT business giants and stop developing your own product for a year or so, you can easily find yourself behind the curve, and it will be very expensive and difficult to catch up later.

Morten Hauge, Head of Sports at Aspire Global: We are seeing some operators move towards a personalised frontend, aiming to present the users’ preferences in predominant positions, whether that be the sports they enjoy most or the kinds of bets they like to make.

When a customer that enjoys basketball logs into the site, the first thing that should appear is a basketball game and betting options that the player would usually place. The biggest challenge here is reworking the frontend to represent an ever-growing database.

We need to work off a lot more player data points in order to facilitate this. Certainly, an operator needs AI and a very strong segmentation engine to be able to achieve this.

It’s probably the number one factor that is keeping operators from having this kind of frontend. That being said, I expect to see this become a lot more common in the next year or so as wielding this much data becomes more manageable.

Thomas Molloy, Director of Sportsbook and Trading at Pronet Gaming: There probably isn’t a single answer to that, as it depends very much on where the sportsbook operates. At Pronet Gaming our strategy is to offer a very localised product to ensure a bespoke look and feel. Our operator UI/UX requirements in Africa differ significantly to those in Canada, for example.

African clients tend to go for a minimalistic, less data heavy approach, that is focussed on pre-match markets and easy to understand. In Canada, like many of the more mature markets across Europe and LatAm, the focus is on slick front-end design and personalisation, with in-play betting being a central pillar. But there can be more subtle differences too.

Our front end in Nigeria displays expected modules key to this territory, which differ in Tanzania or Kenya. Our platform’s flexibility has been key to our achievements in the last two years. By building out our modular front end we are able to adapt our aesthetics to suit the local market and offer bespoke UI/UX.

How has the ‘sportsbook look’ changed over recent years? What has driven this change?

Thomas: This also depends on the individual market the user is in. Many years back the focus was desktop only, but the introduction of mobile, the rise of In-play betting and, more recently, personalisation, particularly in the more developed markets, has changed that.

The focus for frontend UI/UX designers when it comes to in-play betting is to make it easy to place a bet, whilst also ensuring the process is attractive to the user.

Our Fastbet functionality, (which allows a user to skip out the betslip completely) has driven In-play betting numbers by over 200 per cent. Our Popular Leagues, Popular Events and Pre-made Multi Bets all sit in prominent positions on both mobile and desktop.

Operator desire to steer customers into higher margin markets, such as multiples, has been another driver. We can now offer whole leagues via neat and tidy tables that allow for multiple bets with fewer clicks.

This drives revenues up and provides a much better user experience and was the reason BetBuilder came about. On top of BetBuilder, we also offer the opportunity to send users to the most popular bets of the day.

We can populate areas on our front-end with these automatically. The issue designers tend to find is how and where to place the ever-growing list of products which continue to roll off the conveyor belt.

From Cashout to BetBuilder, the main question is always, ‘How can we display this in a way which doesn’t detract from the core betting offer but adds to the user experience.’ Here at Pronet Gaming our fully modular platform allows us to adapt our aesthetics accordingly.

Morten: If you look at the last ten years, then it has changed dramatically because it was predominantly desktop-first. Now companies adopt a mobile-first strategy and delivering a good mobile user experience is of utmost importance in today’s market.

It’s becoming more obvious to everyone that data is the key factor in delivering a sportsbook that looks good from the customers’ point of view. Dealing with incoming player data has become a lot easier in the last few years so that makes presenting the information in an aesthetically pleasing way more intuitive.

Through an API, an operator can use this data to inform their frontend in a lot of different ways. Some bookmakers are offering an incoming bet feed, for example. This will become more common as operators will be able to show their players what is being betted on in an easy-to-digest way.

Leonid: We have found that five factors have had a fundamental influence on the bookmakers’ interfaces in recent years:

1. The increase of mobile traffic in the world
2. The increase in internet accessibility of mobile devices for the world population in developing countries
3. The development of regulation and legislation in developed countries and as a result more legal advertising and penetration in different layers of the population
4. Millennials and Gen Z generations have now grown into a target audience for bookmakers, but they grew up with e-sports, social elements and new values that must be respected in interfaces
5. New technologies and more native integrations into users’ devices and OS (widgets, pushers, apps, etc.)

Putting it all together, we can formulate that today’s modern sportsbook should have a healthy balance of mobile-first, fast, understandable, functional, and flexible components, aimed at casual players and accessible all over the world.

At BETBY, we strive to balance and take all the factors into account. We’ve even made several different interfaces available to our clients to hit the audience and geographical preferences more accurately. There is no universal recipe for 100 per cent audience satisfaction, some will always be dissatisfied. Our approach reduces the level of dissatisfaction to a minimum.

There were a lot of attempts to make “betting-Tinder”, “betting-Netflix”, “betting-Uber”, but all of them remain at the experimental stage. So far, the customer is voting with his money for evolution, not for a revolution in betting interfaces.

Is the look, accessibility, and usability of a sportsbook more important than the offer itself?

Morten: No, I don’t think so. You can have the prettiest, most accessible sportsbook, but if the market is suspended while the end customer is trying to place their bet then none of that really matters.

The back-end functionality is equally important, as our BtoBet strategy proves. As well as enhancing our tournaments, our bet recommendation engine is taking all bets and identifying a lot of useful trends. For example, it will flag if a customer has made a huge bet on one match or suggest a combination of bets that has been made by a lot of players.

Ultimately, the operator wants the best up-time as possible and this is achieved by having high quality data sources. The most important functionalities come down to the backend. Of course, they go together, but the priority is the brains – not the looks.

Leonid: No, the look is not more important on its own. Design and interface are a tool to deliver the right content in the right way to the user, but it’s the content itself that matters the most in the first place. The service that the user is provided by the bookmaker.

Different companies put emphasis on different elements of their product – some companies don’t change anything in the design for decades (not always intentionally, but rather because of legacy), and some companies enter the market with innovative UI/UX, but give mediocre odds, coverage, or risk management. But one way or another, over time, everyone comes to realise that they need to work on both.

Thomas: They go hand in hand, so it’s hard to say what is more important. Obviously having a good UI/UX but nothing to bet on is doomed to fail. But you can have the best products in the world and if people can’t find them then you’re in just as much trouble.

Poor navigation, difficulty in placing bets, too many clicks and too much scrolling will have an effect on any brand’s ability to retain users. Again, location plays a part here. We have effectively regressed our technology to build out a new Light UI/UX allowing many of the African players to continue to enjoy a great experience, albeit via a very light website.

With data costs pivotal in Africa, our aesthetic has been adapted to allow users to bet at less cost but importantly keep many of the same products that are available via a mobile+ website.

Looking forwards, what is the direction of travel? How do you see the sportsbook aesthetic evolving over the next few years?

Leonid: Everything has been going towards personalisation for quite a long time. This is evident in the interface, and the content, and even the margins put into the odds. There is such focus on automation, but right now, it’s more like a “blooming fern” – everyone is talking about it, but so far no one has seen it.

We’re focused on this as well, devoting a lot of resources to research and experiment, and working with data, clients, and users. The user, even the new one, must see what they need and in what way they need it. And this is the sensible way to evolve betting interfaces.

Thomas: Mobile will dominate further and increasing personalisation will become more prominent. Each customer is likely to see only the betting coverage which is suited to them via AI based models pushing out desired content.

The battle for market share will continue to drive operators into looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors via new products and slick new website features. Here at Pronet Gaming we are coming off the back of a record-breaking Euro 2020 tournament which was all driven by our new proprietary Euro 2020 widgets.

These offered everything from Events, Groups, Outrights and Specials all available via our mobile and desktop homepages. Whatever route things take next, Pronet Gaming will continue to be at the forefront of innovation long into the future.

Morten: The personalisation of the frontend is key. A great deal of companies are working towards developing a platform that is similar to what Netflix and Spotify have constructed. There are so many markets that could improve if the information was displayed better, rather than the end user having to go and find it for themselves each time.

As well as that, the bet grid needs to be more intuitive. To achieve this, companies are going to need to use data that is aggregated on the player’s level to display the most in-demand bets and events.

At the moment, a sportsbook might just flag a basketball match. But each player values certain statistics and bet types over others. They need to see the event they are interested in as well as the kinds of bets they would normally place.

I would love to see an option for both teams to score inside a bet grid. It shouldn’t be in a separate statistics section, but it always is. Those functional and intuitive aesthetics are the next steps.

Share via
Copy link