When FSB won the coveted EIG LaunchPad award for best start-up back in 2008, it was the beginning of an amazing journey for us.
The exposure we gained over night was enough to attract investment. That allowed us to put in place our plans to change the face of sportsbook provision by harnessing new technology and pushing the boundaries.
Seven years later and we are still growing. Just last month we secured significant funding from SportsMEDIA Technology (SMT) which will give us an even stronger hand in developing new capabilities that give our clients exactly what they need to stay on top.
But so much has also changed since 2008: the industry has not stood still and neither have we. The way bettors engage has changed. Device technology has revolutionised seemingly everything we do as punters and as an industry and we have all had to adapt. With the global online gambling market predicted to grow by 10% every year for the foreseeable future, worth a staggering £37bn by the end of 2018, it’s no wonder that the industry is buzzing with would-be disruptors.
For the sportsbook operators who get it right over the next few years, this world of opportunity could open up; for the established players, moving with the times and revamping existing platforms will be key. In either case, success can be elusive. Developing a new sportsbook in such a fast-moving environment is no mean feat.
Understanding modern trends; taking on new data and analytics tools; keeping up with regulation; embracing new technologies; all are vital to getting even the basics right, before you even begin to market your product and engage with players.
So what advice do I have for operators looking to stand out in these turbulent times? Other than the little touches that we can help build in to make the site your own via our APIs, there are some basics you have to get right under the bonnet.
For instance, it’s never been more important to use data and analytics to shape your designs. Harnessing the power of data in the 21st century is a bit like harnessing the power of new technologies in the early days of the industrial revolution. Players are sophisticated and their habits complex; data can guide you through all this and allow you to be right up-to-date with the 21st century revolution.
By the end of 2018 an extra 100 million people are predicted to be playing on mobile devices, which will account for 40% of all transactions. But mobile technology hasn’t only changed where and the how people are accessing sports betting sites, it has also dramatically affected the way those sites are being designed.
The modern sportsbook needs to adaptable enough to use across channels and devices. For anyone coming into the market with a new sportsbook – or for the operator looking to relaunch – if you aren’t 100% sure the site will be suited to modern mobile sports betting, stop right there.
And finally, flexibility is key. We understand that some of our clients need a fully-managed service. Others prefer to take control of certain elements. But above all we know that for any licensee, whether they are a media company, a sporting body, or a gaming operator, the modern sportsbook needs to offer cutting edge trading services, marketing support, CMS tools, fast accurate results, live data feeds, and mobile app development.
It’s been a phenomenal journey for FSB since 2008. For the start-up in 2015 things have changed dramatically since then; technology has moved so quickly and so has the way the industry engages with players. But the principles that won us the recognition from our peers back then still apply now. There are plenty of challenges but there are more than enough rewards to be had as well.