As Europe continues to be gripped by football fever and the EUROs group stages draw to a close, the real tournament excitement is about to get underway. 

Yet, whilst fans cross their fingers and ride the roller coaster emotions of tournament football, sporting events, like the EUROs, can be seen as a major opportunity for slot developers to embrace the passion of the fans and produce content tailored to fans. 

During this mini series, SlotBeats will look into the impacts of sports-themed slots during sporting events. In this edition, we will be joined by Paul Malt, head of games and studio at Betsson, who claimed it’s ‘no surprise or secret’ that major sporting events are a ‘big opportunity’ for driving customer engagement. 

He noted: “Many fans will want to place a bet during the tournament and a large number will turn to online casinos that also offer betting to do this.  

“Once they have placed their bet, the customer can then enjoy the wide range of online casino content on offer from slots to table games, live dealer and more while they wait for the result.

“Slots is one of the most popular casino games and the majority of operators now offer 1,000+ titles of varying complexities. For a new player this can be a little intimidating, but with the correct selection and positioning of relevant sports themed slots, the familiarity of the event can break down some of these barriers.”  

Moving onto the popularity of sport-based slot titles and the impact of events, Malt pointed to seasonal themed slots, such as Halloween and Christmas, as an example of potential exposure for titles.

“Sporting themed slots are given great exposure during these major events via dedicated lobbies, promotions and banner support and their popularity increases as a result,” explained Malt. 

“Cross selling games between sports and casinos can see customers that have not  previously shown an interest in playing standard high performing slot content do so for the first time. So naturally there is a massive spike in popularity.

Delving into the thought process from developers when tailoring a title to a sporting event, Malt noted that very few slots are developed for a single sporting event; instead, they are built for many different tournaments. For this reason, Betsson’s head of games stated that the title’s design ‘needs to be fairly generic’.

He continued: “Football slots are a perfect example; during the EUROs we will reposition more than 20 football themed slots into a dedicated Euro’s lobby, some of which are more than five years old and have previously supported the World Cup, Champions League and Copa America events.”

Yet, what happens to sports-themed slot titles following the conclusion of a major event? Malt revealed that post event, games are removed from their dedicated lobbies and promotions and are repositioned back into the generic slot lobbies. 

He concluded: “At this point we see a natural decay as you would with any game new or old that has been positioned and promoted well in previous weeks. 

“Sports themed slots don’t have universal appeal. They appeal to specific niches and their popularity can be revitalised among these audiences via positioning, promotions and cross sell with each similar sporting event. This results in recurring spikes in performance which is the key driver of their ongoing and overall success.”