While plenty of operators have managed to combine products from sportsbook and casino, there is an untapped potential for many looking to achieve critical engagement from both key verticals. 

As part of SBC’s Sportsbook Tech Digital Innovation DayYoel Zuckerberg, CPO at Soft2Bet, and Matt Garrigan, Senior Director of Sports Betting & Business Development at Underdog Fantasy, took part in a panel titled ‘Helping casinos to make the most of the sports betting jackpot’. 

Moderated by Ivan Kurochkin, Partner at 4H Agency, the panel discussed the effective ways to convert players between verticals, the benefits of appealing to all players and the challenges faced when aiming to be all-encompassing. 

Kurichkin kicked off the conversation by questioning whether it is more challenging for operators to convert players from casino to sports betting, or vice versa. 

“It depends on whether the customer has been acquired casino-first or if their first game of choice was on the sportsbook side,” answered Garrigan. 

“Usually if you’re a sports-first customer that also happens to cross over to casino, that’s a pretty high crossover rate, but if you’re one of those customers that are casino-first, it is a little bit tougher to get those over to sports betting.”

Garrigan explained that the crossover from sports betting to casino is usually 60 per cent, but only around 20 per cent in the other direction. 

“Sportsbook is a time-limited event, while with casino you can come and play whenever you want,” responded Zuckerberg. 

“The idea is to find a way to move the customers from casino to play in extremely time-limited events. What we’re seeing that is working very well is moving players to table tennis, because it is very quick for all the points.”

Garrigan then focused on the impact of offering a strong range of content for casino companies looking to branch out into sports betting. 

“If you have an online casino product and you’re thinking about releasing your brand into the sports betting space, content is important,” he said. 

“If you don’t have table tennis or some of these other unique sports, it is tough and it is limited. The sporting calendar in some months is really strong, and in other months it’s not.

“Being able to have that content on hand for a casino player willing to place their first sports bet is important because otherwise, you’re really relying on those key tentpole moments, your Super Bowls, NFL launch days and March Madness, but those come and go.”

“It’s not just about launching an online sports betting product, it’s about launching a product with enough content and enough games to keep players engaged and willing to cross over from casino.”

Looking at the difference in demographics for both verticals, Garrigan explained: “What we are seeing is that casino-first customers or casino-only customers are usually a bit older and more females are interacting with casino products.

“player value for casino is much higher than a sportsbook player”

Yoel Zuckerberg, CPO at Soft2Bet

“On the sportsbook side, there are more males and they’re a bit younger, with a higher propensity to cross over to casino. You don’t need the right times, sporting calendar and offers.”

Discussing how operators can appeal to sportsbook players with casino content, Garrigan suggested that “having table games is important” as “there’s data out there that shows if you’re a sports betting customer willing to try online casino, your first shot at it will usually be on a table game”.

Zuckerberg then emphasised the importance of marketing, explaining how “marketing is actually very critical” with companies needing to not only use marketing “to attract customers, but to advertise the product”.

Looking into the player value behind both verticals, Zuckerberg commented: “Player value for casino is much higher than a sportsbook player, we can see that in Europe definitely, and looking at marketing and acquisition costs, player lifetime value is much higher for casino.”

To compare with Zuckerberg’s analysis of European plate value, Garrigan noted that he has seen similarities in the US. 

He stated: “Yeah, it’s the same. Casino customers are going to be four or five times higher than a sports bettor for GGR over a period of time. As mentioned, the costs to acquire those users on the casino side are much higher than on the sports betting side. 

“This is part of the reason why cross-selling is so important, we need to keep some of those acquisition costs down to be able to get people to play across both. 

“Seasonality doesn’t matter on the casino side as much as it does on the sports betting side. You can have a cohort of active users who are consistently playing on your casino at different hours of the day, working around the flexibility of someone’s schedule. 

“When operators are able to make sportsbooks easy to understand for all players, then it will be a different game”

Yoel Zuckerberg, CPO at Soft2Bet

“You can play these games 24/7 if you want to, but on the sports betting side, aside from things like table tennis and some leagues overseas, you’re limited – especially from a casual perspective. 

“Looking at the most popular US sports in the space – football and basketball – you’re limited to the seasonality and the times that work for people, as well as the match-ups. Throughout all 12 months of the year, casino is much more consistent.”

Before the session concluded, Zuckerberg suggested that conversion rates between the two verticals may have something to do with the simplicity of casino gaming, as opposed to often convoluted sports betting pages. 

“Casino is pretty easy to understand, and sportsbooks can be very difficult to understand. When operators are able to make sportsbooks easy to understand for all players, then it will be a different game. 

“This is something that my team is working on, we tried to be able to change the look and feel of a sportsbook to be much more user-friendly, and I think this is something that is missing in the industry today.”

To watch the full panel session and hear both Garrigan and Zuckerberg explain how a frictionless journey is critical for conversion, as well as the need to combine two strategies for both verticals with a holistic approach overall, click here.

The next SBC Digital Day places a key focus on the casino sector, to find out more about the event, click on the banner below.