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What's on the Horizon for Sporting Solutions

Tuesday 31st October 2023

Since taking the reins at Sporting Solutions two years ago, CEO Andy Wright has been an instrument of change for a company that has seen significant developments throughout his tenure, from entering new territories, new products, new partnerships and even a new headquarters. We check in with Andy to see what’s on the horizon for Sporting Solutions.

Firstly, we hear that your B2C business Sporting Index has been placed under strategic review earlier on in the year. Do you have any news on this?

That is correct, the Sporting Index brand is the pioneer of in-play betting and sophisticated trading processes dating back 30 years. But at this point in our evolution, it is not part of our strategic direction.

Obviously, we will retain much of this capability and experience as we now shift our focus exclusively to B2B in the future. We have allocated a buyer and are now wating for regulatory approval to proceed. Once we have that we will be able to communicate further.

What new developments are on the horizon for Sporting Solutions?

Sportsbook is a highly commoditized vertical, and with safer gambling regulation reducing marketing and sponsorship activity the ability for operators to stand out from the crowd is limited. We see an opportunity to evolve trading and risk management to play a key role in differentiating sportsbook providers of the future.

Through this we have developed Odds Service Plus, which is an exclusive enhancement to Sporting Solutions renowned pricing that can generate a further competitive advantage for operators of any size, in any regulated market. It combines an operator’s real-time event liabilities with a deep understanding of the skill of each player placing the bet, to return an optimised feed of price updates that are unique to each operator’s sportsbook.

How does Sporting Solutions differentiate this offering from other suppliers and operator’s in-house solutions?

The central element which sets us apart is Sporting Solutions’ in-house machine learning algorithm “Profile” that has been fine-tuned by the real-world expertise of our traders to calculate an accurate rating of the skill and long-term value of each player, on a per sport basis.

Ultimately, through smart automation Odds Services Plus delivers sportsbook pricing that reduces volatility, drives margin, and mitigates exceptional risk, giving the consistency and capability to scale quickly that ambitious Sportsbooks desire.

The most popular trend in sports betting is player props and bet builder, can you tell us more about Sporting Solutions product plans?

Improving customer experience and delivering trading innovation in a meaningful manner is a key part of our strategy and we are very excited about the multi-sport bet builder we are launching now, which includes soccer and the major US sports. This is the must have product for all operators and combines key areas of Sporting Solutions heritage with player props, modelling and pricing, meaning we can deliver a superior service to the market.

Whether pre-canned or dynamic bet builder, the inclusion of pre-match and in-play player props markets such as shots, passes, tackles, saves etc. utilising our sharper pricing is driving significant interest. Bets such as same and multi-game parlays create an infinite number of combinations across markets and players which is extremely complex to deliver prices accurately and our partners have complete trust in our ability to be the best in class.

With the emergence of more automated and intelligent trading technologies, how do you think this will influence an operator’s stance on in-house vs outsourced trading?

Clearly, we can see that, due to economies of scale and the complexity of building a progressive trading function, operators and suppliers alike are looking at 3rd party providers to fill this hole in their eco-system. Outsourcing can be beneficial but maintaining control of margins based on risk and performance at a local level, is critical to a differentiated and successful sportsbook.

We can look at the recent transaction between Entain and Angstrom as a demonstration of an operator that identified a clear gap in their product offering and plugged it through acquisition.

We at Sporting are the pioneers of in-play trading and the number one early adopter of the benefits of ingesting data and automated trading. Increasingly we find this allows you not only to price competitively but in managing volatility and liabilities more efficiently it helps forecast more accurately as an overall business and optimise any marketing expenditure.

Do you feel these new technologies creates a stronger argument to outsource vs in-house?

If as a business you have the time, patience, budget, and capability to build this from scratch then in house may be the way to go, but there is no certainty around the outcome in a fast-moving dynamic industry.

I believe it’s far better to partner with a business that already has a large and geographically diverse client base on the operator side and one that is agnostic to any data provider thereby allowing the operator to be confident as data rights packages change hands there will be limited impact to their roadmap pipeline

Also, partnering with a supplier that has broad distribution, any new client can obtain the insight of additional operators around the globe and the margin that they produce by sport, even down to market level. How they then apply that themselves within their own jurisdiction provides them with greater confidence to customise margins locally and gain a competitive advantage.

How will these new trading technologies shape the future of the industry?

Back to Odd Services Plus, there is a growing obligation for operators to provide a dizzying array of content in terms of sports and markets, this comes with an operational challenge that cannot be managed manually. In addition, it’s difficult for operators to localise strategies when faced with .com operators, sharp business and sophisticated syndicates, in a sector rife with inflexible risk tools and rigid technology.

To put it simply, the machine is faster and more efficient than humans, especially at scale. Sporting Solutions has developed a service that is reflective of real-time bets, liabilities and player skill.

We have listened to our partners who require the flexibility to manage risk at event level, configure their own margin settings, include new markets such as player props, and proactively manage run up liabilities to mitigate against the nightmare last leg scenario.

It goes without saying Bet Builder is driving massive player engagement and appeals to both a recreational and new demographic of audience who are more player focused. The popularity of fantasy sports in North America has led to rapid innovation and we see this continuing, with new sports, leagues, player and market types being added to the established portfolio. We have a strong data partnership with Stats Perform for soccer and with our new multi-sport Bet Builder we are incredibly well placed to take advantage of the future opportunities in this space.

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