Takeaways from ICE 2019 and Looking Towards ICE London 2020

Already looking forward to ICE London 2020

After a week in London, Chalkline Co-founders Daniel Kustelski and Jason Foster discussed three themes from their experience at ICE 2019: US Sports Betting, the Competitive Landscape and Product Innovation. Each gave their perspective and highlighted some key notes to consider.

THEME 1: US Sports Betting

Daniel’s Take: F2P Games are now a central part of the US customer acquisition mix.

Lately, the popularity of F2P Sports betting games in US media has increased. Almost all of the active US operators have launched F2P Sports game platforms, and are supported by a mix of internal resources and external vendors. In London, there was plenty of talk regarding these free-to-play games. In particular, SkyBet’s Super6 F2P game generated lots of buzz at the conference.

Jason’s Take: US sports gambling products have grown in leaps and bounds.

Less than 10 months since the US Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting, many operators are delivering products that are starting to fit the needs of the evolving US market. There’s much work ahead to achieve the full promise of the US product-market fit, but it feels like considerable progress is being made.

THEME 2: Competitive Landscape

Daniel’s Take: So many new products, categories and industries are connecting with sports betting.

From a product standpoint, sports betting is getting integrated into an endless range of products and institutions, including lotteries, casinos, and more. From a data standpoint, DraftKings’ impressive numbers in its online casino are not surprising: bettors play casino and vice versa.

However, sports betting is more deeply integrated into an even wider mix of consumer products: mobile games, video, media, voice products and loyalty. Sports betting is in so many places, and the fundamental game mechanics continue to find new and interesting places to land as our entertainment options expand. With increasing geographic impact, there is much more expansion and growth ahead for sports betting, and in so many directions.

Jason’s Take: Established gaming platform providers are providing integrations for new products faster than they’re building new product lines.

In 2019, integration is the name of the game for platform providers. Platform providers have the demanding task of expanding product lines for task-master operators that are chasing differentiation and customization in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Specifically for sports betting: the US market calls for software providers to roll out multiple clients in aggressive time frames.

Theme 3: Product Innovation

Daniel’s Take: New ad technology products are launching and evolving, adding powerful tools for operators intent on acquiring customers.

The most noteworthy innovative product developments are coming from ad tech.

• Our friends at Fresh8 signed a deal with FanDuel, adding yet another client to their slick ad tech platform.

• Sportradar, a company used to managing massive data sets, launched their ad:s product.

• During our discussion with Kambi’s product leaders and operators, new customer acquisition tools came up several times, and Rickard from Adssets delivered several great examples of using past betting behavior along with a mix of other data points and context to deliver high-performing ads.

Jason’s Take: Sports betting products are being integrated into many new places.

It is striking how deeply sports betting is integrated into many other types of traditional casino games, and how many casual bettor customer products have been launched or are in the late stages of development.

A few examples:

• Small stakes, big payout sport betting games for lottery players.

• Extensive American-focused player props, effectively marrying daily fantasy and sports betting.

• SBTech’s ‘Exploding Jackpots’ product.

In short: There’s a lot of opportunity AND a lot of moving parts. A focused strategy and great execution will probably yield results, but you better wear a helmet if you want to make it long-term in this space as things shake out. Interesting times ahead.


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