Blog 53 Gaming

Is 2020 the year for exploring social betting apps

23 January 2020

Apple has thrown a few spanners in the works over 2019 when it came to the updated App Store Review Guidelines. This has shifted the industry focus on improving app design and functionality. It feels like the industry as a whole is in a rush to make their products more app-like for a continued slice of the App Store market.

Aside from this, where do we see the gambling industry evolving and providing customers with a new experience? I believe there will be more of a focus on sports streaming this year, so let’s take a look at it in more detail.

Streaming is more accessible than ever before

With the roll out of 5G this year, providing consumers with faster data speeds is more possible than ever before. On top of this, phone companies are now starting to introduce larger data packages of 30-60GB a month for £10-15.

With the cost of phone contracts/SIM lowering and increasing data speeds with 5G, consumers have more liberty to stream video content on their devices without worrying about running out of data. But that's just looking at apps on mobile devices, what about TV apps?

Can operators engage their audiences through smart TV apps?

As more and more consumers see the benefits of smart TVs, Amazon Fire Sticks and Google Chromecasts, a new opportunity arises in the gambling industry.  

Let's look at football punters. A large proportion of them place bets with friends and go to the pub or a friend’s house to watch a match. Sky Bet has built on this idea in 2019 by developing Sky Bet Group Bets - a way to share and track accumulators with friends.

This is the first step in creating a shared social experience around betting, but what's the next step for Sky Bet? Sky Bet has the potential to make a smart TV app that provides users with sporting event streams and betting. Think Netflix with additional betting functionality. Imagine those football punters previously mentioned, switching on the Sky Bet app on their smart TV, being able to watch a live stream of their favourite sports and check bet updates. Cashing Out an acca could become even more exciting when you have lots of people cheering you on!

Expanding the social betting experience

Betting through connected apps could provide a better social experience. For example, customers would no longer need to check their phones for updates but continue watching TV with results displayed directly there. It would be as simple as casting a song to the Spotify TV app or a video to the Youtube TV app. There would be no need to sign in on the TV app and the customer would just cast their content through a shared wifi connection.

This helps create a stronger sense of community for a group of people having a shared experience around one focal point (the TV), rather than solo experiences (their mobile devices, paper betslips).

Another benefit of having one screen to focus on is being able to watch the match, while having the ability to easily check in and keep track of your friends’ accas and your own. Why go on another channel to watch a football match, when you can stream the game from a betting app to the TV along with viewing Cash Out fluctuations. It brings an added layer of personalisation and excitement to watching it at home.

What is currently available in the realm of social gambling?

Kwiff has a refer a friend scheme similar to Uber. Customers can share a code with friends to sign up to Kwiff to receive a free £10 bet. This campaign uses the power of social sharing to increase their customer base

Bet Bull’s unique selling point is their social betting community. It’s a brilliant concept where their customers can follow and subscribe to tipsters, get notifications on their next tip and view tipsters’ wins and how many people have won by following them.

People can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours on a largely emotional rather than rational basis. If someone has won £36,051 thanks to a tipster’s advice, some customers would be more swayed to place a bet after reading this information, than going off their own knowledge. Bet Bull also makes use of a lot of gamification but that’s for an upcoming blog.

Wager is a relatively new product on the market that is aimed at people who want to place bets with their friends. Customers can add their friends to the app, send each other bets and receive “instant pay out”. While this concept is unique, it feels like it’s trying to solve a problem that isn’t there. If someone wanted to bet with a friend, they could easily do this through speaking to each other, then transfer the money directly through a banking app or in cash. If someone needs a specific app to pay them back because of a winning bet, then maybe they shouldn’t be betting with that person in the first place.

We can look at the success of Playstation Playlink, Spotify, Apple Arcade or YouTube when exploring connected devices/apps.

Great opportunity for enhancing the betting experience

In a time when streaming is increasingly accessible thanks to numerous providers, higher internet speeds and allowances on devices, and smart technology capability, there could be a great opportunity for operators to jump on this to cash in on social betting.

Creating an app that punters could use for streaming and betting directly from their phones to a TV as easily as casting a show on Netflix, could really extend the engagement around sport and betting. A sports betting app for TV could display live bets, accas, results and Cash out options directly from the screen instead of only being available on the app. It could really enhance the social betting experience between groups of friends as well as keeping the focus on the TV screen for many customers.

While betting through connected apps is a fun and social way to bet, operators will still need to provide responsible gambling tools to these products. From one point of view, it’s helping to remove the “solo gambler” aspect and make it more of a group event. However, maybe betting with friends would introduce new social and financial pressures. If a problem gambler were to view social gambling as a chance for one-upmanship, they could risk potentially betting larger sums than they can afford just to outdo their peers. This avenue is definitely worth exploring, but there needs to be a right balance between making social betting activity fun and responsible.

If you'd like to explore social betting or discuss its potential further, drop us a message to see what we can do!

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