How to Start an Online Sports Betting Business

Thinking of starting an online sport betting business?

Here are the Top 7 factors you need to get right.

  1. Generate an overall Business Strategy
  2. Research and choose the Sportsbook Software platform you actually need
  3. Agree your Product Portfolio
  4. Assess your Marketing capabilities
  5. Optimising your data – make business led decisions
  6. The customer experience you deliver
  7. Your people, your most important asset

1. Generate an overall Business Strategy

  • The importance of a realistic strategy cannot be underestimated?
  • How are you going to compete?
  • How are you going to leverage your existing capabilities?
  • Is speed to market important to you
  • What will be your positioning?
  • What is your total budget?
  • What margin do you expect to deliver?

The answers to the questions above (and more) should then inform your marketing, product, technology, supplier, financial and trading strategy and more.

A realistic business plan is also a must-have requirement – with budgets, costs, customer acquisition targets, margins and unit economics all essential.

2. Research and choose the Sportsbook Software platform you actually need

Sports betting platforms can be about more than the sportsbook. You will need to consider such requirements as regulations, customer registration, payments, KYC, responsible gaming, bonus and trading tools.

Maybe you have a platform already and you want to swap out the sportsbook. At Digitain we offer a number of options, including a sportsbook API – a data feed that can be quickly integrated into an existing platform.

Also consider the type of platform supplier you want to partner with. Do you want to be a small fish in a big pond or would you prefer to work with a supplier where you can influence development priorities.

Cost of future development is something to consider – you will want or need to add further developments to your sportsbook platform, as you compete in new markets or new opportunities arise – how much do you need to budget for this?

Build your own iGaming platform and sportsbook.

Pros: Owning your own technology can be a competitive advantage in terms of ability to innovate, differentiate, flexibility of product development.

Against: Time-consuming, expensive and carries a great deal of risk.

Getting to market quickly may be your priority and marketing your business may be your strength – so a build strategy may not suit your priorities.

Buy / License a sports betting platform or sportsbook from a trusted sportsbook software supplier?

Pros: Speed to market, proven technology and less risk. Flexibility, scalability and cost are benefits. Experience and technical capability underwritten

Against: Not all platform suppliers are equal. Costs of platform, minimum monthly guarantees and localisation potential, are just some of issues to be considered.

Choose a sportsbook software provider that is flexible, fast and economic in terms of delivering your future product development roadmap. Look at range of products and associated content and customer tools available. Is the combination fit for purpose for the markets you are targeting? Are all the sports and markets covered off? Is the live betting coverage comprehensive?

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3. Agree your Product Portfolio

When European company Ikea expanded into the US in 1985 they were very keen not to adapt their product / service mix. Why change a winning combination developed over many years, right?

However their strict strategy of not localising any of their products wasn’t universally successful. A significant issue for the Philly customers (used to a big gulp) was the relative “tiny” sizes of the drinking glasses available in the shop – so they started buying the Ikea glass vases as drinking vessels…

Inevitably Ikea had to adapt to the market – change their “standardised” approach and localise.

You will need to have a sportsbook product that can be localised and is responsive across all channels.

Be “Mobile First” – consider native app development  if not for launch, then later. This approach will give you opportunities to engage directly with your customers. At a minimum ensure that the mobile web version contains all the main functionality available to players on the web version.

Consider the other key products you want to add to your platform – online casino including specific slots, live dealer / live casino, virtual sports and eSports have all become staples of an online betting and gaming business, so make sure your platform supplier can meet your requirements.

4.Assess your Marketing capabilities

The most successful online betting and gaming businesses are masters of digital marketing.

Unfamiliar with digital marketing?  Then you’ll need to build this capability – perhaps supplementing them with experienced digital agency.

Depending on your location, will you develop an affiliate network? Consider building your own network, or out-source to an existing experienced provider.

SEO, PPC, programmatic advertising, Google regulations, Facebook advertising – knowing how these work and how the regulations apply or don’t apply to your operation – is key. Work with your platform supplier – at Digitain we are experienced in giving new operators a helping hand, guiding them from initial concept to market entry.

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5. Optimising your data – make business-led decisions

A benefit of an online sports betting platform is the amount of business data available.

Invest in a Business Intelligence capability in order to optimise this opportunity –  and make data-influenced decisions. 

Your product development roadmap should be informed by the data you have gathered. You may be tempted to just copy what your customers do – but be careful of a “me too” strategy, copying from your competitors without knowing their “secret sauce”.

6. The customer experience you deliver

Your customers have a choice – your competitors are one click away.

So, build a long term relationship with your customers.

Develop a customer experience strategy to drive continual improvements. Surveys, focus groups or customer feedback – listen and act on the information.. Customer Services are your ears – every member of the overall team need to spend time each quarter in Customer Services, listening to the feedback about your products and services.

7. Your people, your most important asset

The most important element – take time and recruit the best people and build a team.

Train and develop.

Share data on performance, on customer views, new product priorities with them – and be prepared to act on their feedback.

If you’re not talking regularly to customers – you should listen to those in your team who are.

By the way – talk to customers!  Regularly talk to a few customers about their views to sense check what people around you are telling you!


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