A tailored approach to emerging markets
The term “emerging markets” can be slightly confusing, as it can refer to a market which has opened up due to regulatory changes, or it could be a market where a particular product such as racing is not a mainstay of sportsbooks in that particular territory. You have to treat the markets individually and assess the dynamics in each one.
A key consideration is that no two emerging markets are the same. The US and Sweden may both be emerging markets, for example, but the former is slowly opening up to land-based sports betting on a state-by-state basis and the latter is regulating online betting. The US is not a market where people need to be introduced to racing, but there may soon be an increased opportunity for people to bet on it, whereas in Sweden, it may take a bit of time for bettors to become more familiar with racing.
Denmark, Sweden and Italy are territories with opportunities for gallop racing, but there is no reason why betting on racing cannot be successful in any market where sports betting, and particularly live betting, is popular. Racing is short-form content, meaning the result is known in a few minutes and there is a high volume of events throughout the day. This can appeal to bettors and can help target millennials who are attracted to short-form content, regardless of whether they are in a hotbed of racing or not.
How should the products be offered?
It is important not to overload bettors in new territories with too much jargon or racing terminology. This is where we believe derivative markets such as head-to-head or odds vs even betting could be an important offering, as these are very simple markets to understand and can provide an almost casino-style spin and win type bet. This can be gently introduced to them with horse or greyhound racing.
In markets where there is not a heritage of racing, bettors will not be as interested in the historical significance of some of the biggest global races as they will be in other emerging markets like the US, where this will have a bearing on the betting turnover for events. This is why it is important to understand the nuance of each market. For example, focusing messaging around Royal Ascot or Cheltenham may work in the US, but it might not matter in Azerbaijan, as the turnover may be higher on a meeting at Chelmsford City. The focus simply has to be on giving bettors regular content that is competitive and has a range of markets to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
Providing 24/7 content is key
Betting will not take off in these markets if there is not enough opportunity for people to place bets, as there needs to be familiarity with the content. For suppliers such as ourselves, we aim to make sure operators can offer the option to bet on racing at any time of the day. With racing content from six continents, we are able to offer pictures and data that can appeal across multiple time zones. Racing content is far more likely to appeal to bettors in an emerging market if it is readily available, and operators do not want to have sizeable gaps in their schedules.
It is also beneficial for operators to have suppliers who can provide an end-to-end betting solution, so that they can benefit from access to everything they need to offer their customers. SIS can provide operators with live pictures, data, enhanced pricing and derivatives, and we can supply competitive content throughout the day, which also includes six of the 10 highest rated races in the world.
It is important for suppliers to identify the right solutions for operators by market, as and when these new markets open up, and so long as the approach to these markets is carefully thought out on a case-by-case basis, we will expect to drive greater interest in racing and ultimately, greater revenues for operators.