Gaming Innovation Group’s (GiG) first move in the U.S. with the Hard Rock brand proved to be something of a false start. The group has now refocused on B2B sports betting and is ready to go again.
To get the lowdown on its plans, Wedge News spoke to GiG’s director of business development Martin Collins.
We started by asking whether the first stage of supplying the sportsbooks was now over.
Collins pointed out that “there are literally 50 unique markets to consider”.
“Therefore, although the regulatory process is accelerating… there are still many differences to account for throughout a technical application process.”
Back to school
In terms of lessons, Collins points out that the market has woken up to the potential of online partly because of the effects of the pandemic.
“Online is growing but it is still a small slice of the overall cake and until COVID, was not a major priority or concern for land-based operators,” he says.
“Everyone is still learning,” he adds. This is even the case in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the leaders in gaming-friendliness on the Wedge Index.
Specifically, with online off the agenda for so long, the strategic planning needs to be “defined and established”.
“Every actor in the scenario is learning and iterating as they go.”
This includes learning about state-by-state processes on regulation.
“Speaking from experience at GiG, having certified in multiple US states, it is far from simple and requires deeper consideration in comparison to a lot of ‘non-US’ markets and regulations.”
One step at a time
Speaking like a dance instructor, Collins says “slow and steady beats fast and furious”.
“The market initially has rewarded those who have been more conservative and calculating, against those who have fully committed to the market.”
The issue of brand equity has been a huge factor, he adds.
“The various partnerships that have been created between US powerhouses and European brands.”
These partnerships are learning to “spend intelligently” with granular player segmentation ensuring that no lead goes to waste.
The widening of the debate to online gaming as well as sports betting is to be welcomed, Collins suggests.
“If casino and poker became staple parts of the regulation in each state there would be more revenue and taxes delivered.”
But to get to that point, he adds, the sector needs to ensure the appeal is mass market as opposed to convinced gamblers.
The challenge going forward is for operators to understand the nature of the individual markets and quickly.
The temptation to project nationally should be resisted, he believes.
And lastly, he thinks that digital transformations are, to coin a phrase, easier said than done.
“Given the number of media-driven organizations making moves to enter the market, there is a huge learning curve,” he says.
In this sense, B2B platform providers can provide support in these areas and a valuable USP to the inexperienced challenger brands.