IGT is “all in” on sports betting explains Charles Cohen, VP of Sports Betting for IGT PlayDigital, while the company’s experienced team will be on hand at G2E Las Vegas to help operators looking to enter this lucrative space.
Casino Review: What do you know now about the US sports betting market that you did not know this time last year?
Charles Cohen: Everything! We’ve gone from a handful of states to 13, all across the country. There are millions of Americans who are now within an hour or two drive from a
legal sportsbook, or have the option pick up their smartphone and place a bet. A year ago they’d have to jump a plane to Vegas to get a bet on sports. Like everyone else, IGT is still processing this change and adapting with it. The most important learning is that this is just the first innings of a very long game.
CR: What is the most important piece of advice that you would give an operator considering adding sports betting to their current offering?
CC: I would advise them to start their research a relationship building now – regardless if they think they’ll be offering sports betting in a matter of weeks, months or even years. The competitive landscape is transforming at a rapid pace, while the state-by-state and compact-by-compact adoption of sports betting is moving at a less predictable cadence. Even if you doubt the feasibility, profitability or relevance of sports betting for your business, do your due diligence. Similarly, if you plan to launch your sportsbook with only retail betting, make sure you align with a platform provider such as IGT that will allow you to scale your solution should your business objectives or regulatory framework change to allow mobile wagering.
CR: What will the IGT PlayDigital team be showcasing at G2E in terms of sports betting?
CC: At G2E we’ll highlight the many, convenience- driving, self-service IGT PlaySports technologies and demonstrate how our solutions can deliver a unified customer experience across channels. In addition to demonstrating the quality, flexibility and usability of our platform, we’ll showcase several products that give sports bettors choice and convenience. For example, we’ll showcase a spectrum of sports betting peripherals that range in user experience, footprint and capital investment for our customers. From the VIP experience of the CrystalBetting Terminal, to the simple, tablet-based PlaySports pad, we have a solution for any betting preference and any sportsbook model. We also plan to debut a new hardware concept that will serve operators seeking a turnkey sports betting solution.
CR: IGT continues to pick up new customers, in new states. What do you believe is the key driver(s) of IGT’s momentum in the market?
CC: Honestly, it’s because we have demonstrated that we are serious about sports betting at a very deep level in the company, and that we bring many years of experience from other regions to this expansion of sports betting. IGT is not a company that partially does things. We are all in, or not at all. I think a number of people were initially sceptical that adding sports to our portfolio was a tick box exercise – that we wouldn’t invest, we wouldn’t go the extra mile. A year, nine states, and dozens of successful launches into this, I think there’s no doubt that IGT has gained people’s attention not by virtue of what we have said, but what we have done, and what we will continue to do going forward. Some of the innovations we will showcase at G2E I hope will further reinforce that reputation.
CR: IGT and FanDuel continue to announce new partnerships in new states. Why do you think that business arrangement works so well?
CC: FanDuel is a tremendous IGT partner. They are incredibly skilled bookmakers, marketers and operators. We knew them well through PaddyPower in Europe for many years and they have brought those skills to the US whilst respecting the many cultural, legal and regulatory differences in these markets. Best of all, FanDuel is constantly challenging us and themselves to do better. The pace of innovation, refinement, the attention to detail, the relentless focus on success – this is what we thrive on.