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SVG Sit-Down: SimpleBet's Chris Bevilacqua on the Need for Sports Productions To Embrace In-Game Micro-Betting

23/02/2024

SVG Sit-Down: SimpleBet's Chris Bevilacqua on the Need for Sports Productions To Embrace In-Game Micro-Betting He foresees a truly personalized experience' for the bettor By Jason Dachman, Editorial Director, U.S.

Friday, February 23, 2024 - 4:02 pm

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This May will mark six years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), opening the door for states to legalize sports betting. Since that moment in 2018, the sports-betting market has grown exponentially, and all expectations are this trend will only continue.

That same year, sports-media vet Chris Bevilacqua launched his own sports-betting company, Simplebet, with an eye on what many expect to become the industry's golden goose: micro-betting. Instead of betting on the final outcome of games, SimpleBet's products allow fans to wager on individual moments in a game.

SimpleBet's Chris Bevilacqua: The betting experience could be entirely different by 2030 as well. Who knows if people will even be looking at a big, old television screen by then.

As an enterprise-software B2B data and technology company, Simplebet sells its technology to consumer-facing businesses with its main vertical being in online sports betting. Simplebet's real-time betting technology allows every pitch and every at-bat in a baseball game, every play or drive in football, or every shot or possession of a basketball game to become an actionable wagering opportunity for users. The combination of data, technology, and automation delivers gamification around live, in-play wagering for the company's online sportsbook partners.

SVG sat down with Bevilacqua, who made his name launching the first 24/7 college-sports network (CSTV) and negotiating groundbreaking sports-media-rights deals, to discuss the increased popularity of micro-betting, how it can be better incorporated into live broadcasts, the impact of latency, the future of betcasts, what can be learned from Europe's sports-betting market, and what sports broadcasts will look like in 2030 as it relates to sports betting.

Have you seen the popularity of in-game micro-betting in the U.S. grow over the past year? Two years? How much do you predict micro-betting will grow over the next 12-18 months (and beyond)?

Yes. As a matter of fact, it has grown quite rapidly in the little over three years that we've been live. One of the ways that we track growth of our micro products is by observing our percentage of the live Gross Gaming Revenue handle of any of our operator partners. When we first started, there were extremely limited offerings that could be categorized as micro-betting. We were a very small percentage of the live GGR handle for any of our operator customers at that time.

Now, a few years later, as in-play [betting] overall is growing in the U.S., we've seen data [showing that], depending on the sport and customer, we're now between 15% and 20% of their live GGR; in some sports, there are cases when we are almost 40% of live GGR. This has all happened over the last 24 months, and we see that trend continuing to increase over time.

Have you seen streaming outlets and/or broadcasters make a more concerted effort to integrate betting (especially micro-betting) into their live-game presentations over the past year? If so, what is a good example?

We've seen it quite a bit. We have two innovation partnerships. One is with LIV Golf, where this year we're going to be rolling out a product which will have low-latency video together with our live, in-play micro-betting markets. This is a cool innovation that we will continue to see more of. We're doing something similar with the Indoor Football League (IFL), which we did last year and will be doing it again for them this coming season. Also, for the past two seasons, we had a very successful single-screen watch-and-bet free-to-play experience available in the YES Network app during Yankees games.

More broadly, the NFL and Genius Sports, with their new BETVision product, are offering live, low-latency video to all of their sportsbook customers in the live betting environment. It was just rolled out halfway through this season. We've seen Caesars using it, and they've been featuring our micro-markets below the live, low-latency video in the Fire Bets feature of the app, which saw solid traction this season.

Next year, you're likely to see that most of the major sportsbooks have a low-latency video in their apps with live markets underneath the video, so the user can have a true single-screen experience ; before, it has mostly been a second-screen experience where you are watching video somewhere else and have latency issues. I think we will continue to see innovation around that feature in not just football but also baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc., as the technology becomes more widely available.

What is your opinion of the betcasts that have been produced on both a regional and a national level over the past few years? Do you believe these types of alternative broadcasts will continue to become more popular, and, if so, how can micro-betting be more deeply integrated into them? Do you think they hinder the evolution of betting in the main broadcast by ghettoizing the betting angle?

In my opinion, this is where a lot of future innovation is going to come. Obviously, each sport is different: the cadence of a football game is different than the cadence of a soccer game. I think, over time, we're going to see a lot of innovation and a lot of experimentation. At a high level, we're moving from a mass-media world (one broadcast for all) into what I would describe as personal media (broadcasts tailored and customized to the individual).

Betting and in-play gamif
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/02/23/svg-sit-down-simplebets-chris-b...
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