Omnichannel is a common theme in this sector. The term has been with us for a while now – the simple concept of offering the same product via different channels. Now, when the words innovation and evolution are mentioned, it is imagined that reference is being made to developments many years down the road. However, with omnichannel, this paper will suggest that the future is now.
When it comes to his gaming and betting experience, the consumer has high expectations and this report explains how any operator can deliver on these right now, using existing technologies.
That technology is artificial intelligence or A.I. for short. A technology will help operators attract players and – vitally – attain high degrees of brand loyalty.
The following pages will give an overview of how an effective next-level platform, based on A.I., can help to generate additional revenues via a ‘thinking’ omnichannel platform, able to calibrate player offers and produce suggestions according to each player’s personal preference, whether that is mobile, online desktop or retail.
What can Omnichannel already provide to players today?
- The same level of service via every channel
- A unified betting engine
- Differentiated betting content according to each channel
These are important aims. However, for the future of omnichannel we need to look at what operators will be requiring from their systems in the future. These include the ability to:
- Collect same quality of players’ data through every channel
- Operate cross channel-data analysis
- Settle automatic marketing and fraud prevention actions according to the player’s channel in use (online, mobile or retail)
- Deliver a totally one-to-one customized experience, different for each channel, according to every single player’s behavior and preferences.
The technology method
The real innovation lies in being able to give the player the power to decide where to bet/play and on which product. It is about knowing what the clients prefer and using that information to inform future offers to gain their attention, trust and ultimately their loyalty.
Today’s bettors are ever more demanding and are now cross-channel users. They play in shops, online and mobile.
When they enter a shop to make a bet, the operator ideally wants to know:
- As much information as possible about his customers
- To recognize them immediately as mobile or online players
- To understand their betting preferences, which team they support, and which type of match they like to bet on
- To have the tools and adequate technology that can help you to recognize your bettor’s aptitude, and if they are also a mobile or online player know what they normally stake money on.
The key is to have the right tools available to, first, collect the data and second, transform the raw stats into actionable information about a player. It means an operator can provide a tailor-made offer and a satisfying gaming experience, regardless of the channel that player is using to arrive at the product offering.
Artificial intelligence plays a central role in this process
A.I. is crucial to provide personalized and satisfying offers cross-channels and it works through four fundamental steps:
- Collecting data from players/bettors when he is on the site (as his age, his preferred teams, his preferred bets and events, etc.)
- Collecting data also in shops through the CASHIER ASSISTED BETS SYSTEM
- Analyzing the data and player behaviors and categorizing players by their similarities
- Automating offers that are tailored to the interests of each individual player segment
Importantly, this is a continuous process – a flow of information, analysis and suggested bets that can be offered to each player regardless of channel – and which can help operators’ direct traffic between mobile, online and retail.
The agent opens an account for the bettor and places the bets directly into his unified account. The bettor can play via mobile or online, and cross-channel via a single account (and wallet). The gaming intelligence monitors the user’s behavior and, thanks to the Recommendation Engine, suggests the best bets, events or games that it predicts the player will like.
No matter if the bettor decides to play in a shop, online or mobile, operators can be supported by the gaming intelligence to deliver the most appropriate gaming offer at any moment through technology, increasing the player loyalty and brand’s revenues.
Further aspects to consider
The evolution of the technology has advanced beyond simple player management systems that enable operators to acquire and analyze a player’s data and behavior. The innovation of A.I. – and the related concept of the Recommendation Engine – enables operators to automatically cluster users according to their interests and preferences, managed across all channels and providing them with cross-channel marketing solutions.
The combination of A.I. and R.E.
A closer look at the concept of A.I.
A.I. is fundamental for analysis and personalization. Through sophisticated algorithms, A.I. can interpret key player information (player’s happiness level, type of player and player segment) and enable a dynamic segmentation of gamers according to their behavior.
The Recommendation Engine (R.E.) becomes the essential solution to retain players.
In sports-betting and online casino, players are provided with a huge range of sports, events, bets and games. The selection of events and games must be quick and the customers need suggestions to access their preferred content, all in a one-click. The R.E. – working alongside the A.I. programmer – can predict similar bets and games that the player will be interested in. The consequence? The combination of A.I. and R.E. enables operators to easily build the best marketing strategies and most effective specific promotional activities. Moreover, it reduces cost.
The combination of A.I. and R.E.
The combination of the Artificial Intelligence and the Recommendation Engine brings countless benefits for both players and operators.
A.I. helps licensees to:
- Monitoring of the player’s data, activity, preferences through the sophisticated and precise algorithms (based on the human brain system and processes)
- Analyze an immeasurable amount of key player information (player’s happiness level, type of player and player segment
- Micro-segment gamers dynamically according to their behavior
- Automate actions for marketing strategies and risk and fraud management.
The RE enables operators to:
- Collect and analyze the information on player behavior, activities and preferences
- Predict what players would like to bet on next
- Offer quick automatic suggestions to customers to access their preferred bets in one-click
- Offer specific automatic one-to-one marketing campaigns
Sportsbook and casino R.E. characteristic.
Looking more closely as the characteristics of both the sportsbook and the casino recommendation engines, it is notable that there has been wholesale adoption of REs in e-commerce – but it is not so prevalent in the online gaming sector. Indeed, from BtoBet’s analysis of the current state of the market the evidence shows that very few operators have developed REs for their own operations. Meanwhile, in the gaming supplier arena there is even less evidence of R.E. adoption. BtoBet is the amongst the first companies in the sector to offer both casino games and sports-betting REs.
Depending on the algorithm used, recommendation engines can mainly be defined on the following lines:
- Collaborative Filtering
- Content-Based Filtering
- Hybrid Recommendation Systems
BtoBet’s B Neuron System is a hybrid recommendation engine, which can provide more accurate recommendations than the two other (pure) approaches. It is based on both content and collaborative methods. This is extremely useful when you are looking to overcome common problems in recommendation systems such as cold start and the sparsity issues. Recent research has demonstrated that a hybrid approach, combining collaborative filtering and content-based filtering could be more effective. In example, the Netflix Recommendation System is based on just such a hybrid recommendation engine.
The BtoBet sports-betting R.E. (available for online and mobile betting) can control and suggest bets or events, including virtual, live and eSports. It will acquire and analyze the bettors’ behavior according to sport, category, tournament, competitors and market-type preferences. BtoBet’s recommendation engine is regularly re-trained on an extremely short timeframe – adding in accreted new data and player behavior – and can fully and precisely update the system and every single player’s profile.
The Casino R.E. recommends all games according to their similarity, comparing the attributes of the games – such as theme, volatility and category – and matching it with player preferences. For new players, the recommendations are strictly based on the collaborative approach: it follows a filtered method, then collects and analyzes a large amount of information on players’ behaviors, activities or preferences and predicts what players will like giving social-proof recommendations.
The benefits of innovation through AI and RE
Innovation through Artificial Intelligence and Recommendation Engine brings lots of benefits to both, players and operators.
- feels unique after receiving suggestions based on preferences, cross-channel
- enjoys a dedicated one-to-one front-end, designed according to preferences
- has more time for playing and enjoying the betting experience – less time searching
- receives one-to-one marketing offers, tailored by behavior channel-by-channel
- enhanced user experience
- gains detailed and select knowledge about the player, channel-by-channel
- paves the way for better marketing and business management plans
- increases players’ loyalty to the brand and life-time value
- increases revenues
Affiliate Superstars: Dan Bâra of Pariuri1x2 (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
Meet Dan Bâra, a sports betting/tipster/editorial veteran who’s been active in this field for many years!!! Dan used to write for a famous newspaper, hosted a radio and TV shows as well.
Name: Dan Bâra
Living in: Bucharest
Favorite Food: Spaghetti
Must Read Book: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson
Profession/Job title: Journalist
Hi Dan, tell us a bit about yourself, we would like to know who Dan Bâra really is, one of the main persons behind Pariuri1x2.ro. What was the key idea of developing this great betting, tipster website?
Dan: Hi and thank you for your interest in our project. There are many ways to look at a game and people have different ideas and a lot of subjectivity. But what is the common element in this? That is what I always wanted to find out and the result I think is a very good start for making a bet. I was looking to simplify the knowledge and the ideas to one simple truth, like the one a 10 year old can tell in a heart beat.
Tell us a bit about your past, and we refer to your past in the betting/tipster industry!
Dan: I started by playing sports games. Especially football, but I was no stranger to any activity involving effort. I think I have a lot of energy and I need to spend it, so cycling, running, body building and playing tennis were current activities when I was young. Then I started to watch sports on TV after the Romanian 1989‘ so called Revolution. The TV programs were more generous with sports than they were before and I was eager to watch everything. A turning point was when I heard about sports betting. That looked very simple at the first glance. I was amazed how my friends were loosing on their tickets so I wanted to help. Therefore I started an website with sports analyzes and betting tips.
What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?
Dan: In 2006, after one year of struggling on my own, I had the chance to get a job at the Gazeta Sporturilor newspaper. They had an opening in sports betting so we started to walk together on a 9 years long road. First, I had the chance to write on their website and soon I even made my debut in the newspaper. Again, an year latter, I was on TV and radio. Amazing opportunities! However, it wasn’t easy. I had to overcome my stage fright, I had to change and adapt, to learn more and to become very disciplined.
Next to your website you’re also hosting a TV show called “Un Pont Pe Zi” (A Tip per Day). Let us know how the show is going and also from where came the idea for it?
Dan: I left Gazeta Sporturilor in 2015 because of the changes in the press field. I wanted to start something new and I teamed up again with my old friend and colleague Sabin Pîrvan (from my previous job) in a new project. We knew that we had the experience on our side and still a lot of new ideas to put into practice. We started with a Internet blog and then we created our own website www.pariuri1x2.ro, our Facebook page and our TV show. They were the next logical steps. Now, they are all top quality products because we do it for our people, the ones who need them and the ones who are following us. We respect them and offer our best efforts every day.
We have surfed your website (Pariuri1x2.ro) and found some pretty high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing for you?
Dan: Our main advantage was that we had a lot of trust in us. We invented before a lot of things in the betting editorial area and we felt that our approach makes a difference. So we kept doing our thing. Soon, we started selecting people for our editorial team. Only the best of them were selected and they are working with us now. Together, we make a very solid team, the best in the country and one of the best worldwide.
How do you keep the content fresh and devoid of clutter when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?
Dan: We are journalists and we do solid documentation. We check every information and we also have our very own point of view. The team is always watching the sports events and the ideas are at the first hand.
How about your Youtube Channel, we know that a couple of days ago the channel had it’s first million views?!
Dan: The Youtube channel is the biggest of this kind for the sports betting fans in Romania. It has an impressive increase and all of it it is natural, organic increase. At the time of answering this, it has over 1,2 mil views and 6k subscribers that receive daily updates. The channel hosts parts of the TV show ( most interesting moments ) , a weekly podcast , selections from a new sports TV show where I am co-host ( Unspe Metri ) and a twice per week episode series made by a very popular person in the betting world – Doru Craciun which is also commentator for the Liga 1 matches.
We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?
Dan: The relationships should be based on trust and stability. We only work with long term deals and we select closely the partners which we work with. As we invest tremendous work and money into our project – we expect that our partners to take this into consideration and work with us to improve performance. A little over 2 years ago we started being a very low profile website and now we are number 2 in the market. This should say a lot to the affiliate managers that work or want to work with us.
How do you see the future of the online sport betting industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?
Dan: Well, it is already a global phenomenon and as everybody saw in the last years everything is shifting more and more into online and mobile. Biggest names in the market already have over half of the bets coming from mobile. The expansion to e-sports and other new type of bets shows that this industry constantly adapts and grows no matter what. So betting is here to stay, to increase and to be a part of any new technology or gadget that might appear.
What is your opinion in regards to licenses for online gambling/betting affiliates? How does the Romanian market look, and how do you feel about the present legislation?
Dan: Not to leave the „betting“ field, I would say that the legislation for the online gambling in Romania was a winning bet placed by the government. The licensing costs for affiliates are not the lowest ( 7000 EUR/year ) but any decent person who has a little knowledge can do an affiliate business that would recover this money in a year. It is also a guarantee of trust between operators and affiliates and it ensure a fair competitive market.
How about the situation of the Romanian sports betting market, how does it look in the present, and in which direction is it evolving?
Dan: Regarding the market – it shows a month-to-month increase since the „regulated“ era has begun and based on the size of the traditional land based market it will continue to go up. Players are more and more attracted by the online and companies invest big part of the money in advertising.
Can you name one change that you want to see in the sports betting affiliate ecosystem?
Dan: Taking into consideration that affiliates account for 15-30% of an operator’s revenue I think that affiliates should have a stronger voice in regards with what an operator plans. Being in contact with the players all day long, an affiliate has a great feedback and knowledge of what the market wants and can constitute the key to delivering a more appealing and successful product which in the end would benefit everybody.
What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?
Dan: The best advice is that they need to be ready to change, adapt and improve every day. It is not a complicated business and it still can generate a good income – even if started from 0, but as in every industry – success can be achieved only after many hours of hard work and study.
Who is your favorite celebrity/sports person?
Dan: I grew up with some incredible sports legends and the best of them was Diego Armando Maradona. Old school!
If you would just open your YouTube search bar, what would you search for?
Dan: Iron-man contests from Kona, Hawaii.
Back to work. Do you attend any online gambling/sports betting conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Dan: Yes, I am attending to conferences and if I am not present then my partners or the marketing team are present. The most constructive ones are the London conferences and the most fun are Amsterdam and a long time ago Barcelona.
How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotspot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
Dan: It is for sure that this region will influence a lot the face of the gambling in Europe. Compared with markets like UK, France, Italy, Spain or Denmark which are saturated and competition is very big – Central and Eastern Europe is like a virgin market. We could compare it with the gold rush. The only problem that this region has it’s the geopolitical stability and sometimes the fact that the markets are not really predictable. ( any day you can be put in front of a situation in which a country decides to ban online gambling )
Alright, here comes the fun part…., where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favorite destination around the world.
Dan: Moscow, I think, from the Eastern Europe. Also, from the rest of the world I would like to see the beautiful city of Rome and travel to Africa.
Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Dan: There isn’t such place.
What is your opinion about GAV (gamblingaffiliatevoice.com)?
Dan: I will be very short and clear about this. I think that it should go on and should evolve into an association at EU level which could stand up for affiliates and the industry. This is something missing since a long time and all affiliates must understand that even if we are all competitors on the same market – together we are stronger and only in this way we can fight for our rights.
Event Report: Affiliate Grand Slam – Mission Accomplished, Wheel Reinvented! (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
The demand was there for all to see, then the organisers behind SiGMA came up with the magic formula: limit the conference to five affiliate managers and open the flood gates (with strict due diligence) for affiliates.
Affiliate Grand Slam represents the first conference in the history of affiliation where affiliates could apply for an all-inclusive VIP treat, including flights, five-star, two-night stay at the Hilton, excursions, lunches, dinners, and parties thrown in the mix.
Only five operators were allowed to host the Grand Slam, plus another five non-operators were allowed to sponsor it.
The event started off with 250 affiliates flying in to Tallinn from all corners of the world on Thursday 27th April. The SiGMA crew greeted each affiliate at the brand new, five star Hilton Park.
That same evening, each operator sat down privately with give-or-take fifty affiliates for a dinner within the hotel itself. Betting Gods, Olybet, PlayOJO, Quasar and Videoslots lavished with affiliates and nurtured new working relationships in a friendly environment. Good wine in abundance.
The night was far from over. After dinner, all guests headed down to Olympic Casino within the Hilton itself for welcome champagne, dark chocolate, cigars and a free-roll, networking poker tournament.
The organisers were hoping the night would end there and that affiliates won’t head out in the wilderness of Old Town, but, as anticipated, half their hopes went up in flames.
Still, next morning, breakfast was brimming with activity and all affiliates, bar a few casualties, seemed eager for the conference to start. Each operator gave a small presentation, followed by a series of quality workshops. Mini stalls, an exquisite buffet lunch table, coffee and Baltic treats cluttered the meet-market outside the conference hall, where handshakes and business cards were being exchanged.
Following a few hours at the Hilton spa, it was time for the big traditional dinner! Everyone headed to Olde Hansa, walking through the narrow, cobble streets of charming Old Town, for a feast back in time. Traditional cuisine made its way on all tables for everyone to share while more business cards exchanged hands.
Shortly after dinner, the closing night awaited at the Olympic Casino for a VIP, strictly by invite nighter-bender. Few guests joined the party, but the organisers would not elaborate. We can only guess how the night unfolded with 250 affiliates in this charming Baltic city.
The success of Affiliate Grand Slam was such that the industry won’t wait another year for the organisers to launch the second edition. A new city to uncover, new hosts, new affiliates. This is Affiliate Grand Slam. The wheel has been reinvented.
Log on to www.affiliategrandslam.com or www.maltaigamingsummit.com for details about the next event. If you’re interested in hosting or sponsoring the next AGS get in touch with organisers on +356 99263626, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by skype at eman.pulis.
Event Report: First International VR|AR Gambling Conference in Prague (EEGReport Magazine – Issue 6 – June – September 2017)
On April 3, 2017 in Prague, Smile-Expo held the first international specialized VR|AR Gambling Conference, dedicated to implementation of innovative technologies in gambling.
Smile-Expo is a leader in carrying out large exhibitions and conferences in the field of advanced technologies. We’ve set a goal to create a communication platform for specialists of the gambling and AR/VR technology markets, and achieved it: our event brought together leading experts from all over the world (the USA, Spain, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands).
The conference included two subsequent streams: Business and Developer.
This section included presentations of six experts:
- founder of Advir.co Samuel Huber;
- founder of ViARsys Konrad Gill;
- CEO at Games fortuna Tal Zamstein;
- co-founder of Alea/SlotsMillion Alexander Tomic;
- owner of KWP Limited Kevin Williams.
The audience marked the two latter speeches with the following topics: “VR in eGaming” and “Mixed Realities Gaming’s Technology Jackpot”.
By the way, Kevin Williams thanked our company and marked that VR|AR Gambling Conference made invaluable contribution to the industry development.
Reports of this section were informative and topical as well. The floor was taken by:
- Artur Sychov, angel investor at I-MMERSIVE GmbH;
- Alexander Bragin, creative director at VR2GO;
- Amir Ebrahimi, team leader at Unity Technologies.
Lectures were practical and held attention of the audience from the beginning to the end. People have even taken photos of the presentation of Amir Ebrahimi from Unity Technologies on the topic “State of the VR Industry in 2017” in order not to miss useful information and apply it in practice.
We have chosen an ideally targeted line-up of speakers and guests, so VR|AR Gambling Conference was carried out in the format of a lively discussion: audience asked clear questions and received vivid answers.
There was a network demo zone from such companies as Advir, I-MMERSIVE GmbH, VR2GO, etc., which became a convenient platform for establishing relationships in the field of gambling. Visitors were able to test the latest developments of VR/AR products there as well.
The event organizer, Smile-Expo that always implements the most innovative and interesting projects, expresses gratitude to all guests and participants for their interest and engagement in the event. See you at the next conferences!
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