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No live sport – now gamblers need to get their fix elsewhere 

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Jarvis Todd, MD of World Telemedia, outlines why now is the time for eSports – and offers a unique opportunity to own the space.

A great friend of mine is a hopeless gambler, but don’t feel too sorry for him. He’s in his early 50s, pretty much retired, very high-tech and he’s got pots of cash to lose – although “apparently” he always wins… He loves nothing more than working through his vast array of daily bets – football, cricket, horses, greyhounds, golf, rugby, poker – you name it, he’s got cash on it. Until now, that is.

The view here at Telemedia HQ is that we’re about to witness a seismic shift in the profile of virtual gambling and eSports, as a viable substitute for traditional live options – and so my friend will have no choice but to start getting his daily fix in the virtual world. It is either that or having a flutter on the “maximum daily temperature” in Bangkok, London, Moscow etc [this is genuine]. And, whilst the temperature in your favourite city is not without some interest, the sheer variety of content, formats and ways to pay make the digital world infinitely more compelling.

For the last few weeks, pretty much every major gambling operator has been pushing the hell out of their digital or virtual promotions … and why not? There are jackpot lottery-style games, casinos, slots and even cash betting on eSports – which are also attracting vast worldwide audiences.

In fact, Juniper Research predicted that unique viewers of eSports tournaments (competitive playing of video games) would reach 858 million views by 2022 – but that was way before coronavirus. And then there’s “Let’s Plays” (tutorials and talk throughs of game content) which drive interest in eSports and introduce the concept of trading and notional gambling in the form of skins betting. This is where the skin or personalisation characteristic [weapons, powers etc] become a perfectly usable [crypto]currency or tradable asset, even across other compatible gambling platforms.

So, we’re now seeing the evolution of a commercial digital gambling portfolio that’s providing almost limitless variety to suit every “connected” size, shape, age, interest group and pocket. In fact, you could easily argue, that digital potential far exceeds the traditional limitations of predicting the outcome of actual living mammals – trampling around in a muddy field on a Saturday afternoon [to reference my own beloved but consistently abject – Plymouth Argyle].

Also, as consumers become increasingly turned off by virus-ridden dirty cash they’re embracing contactless and mobile payment options as standard. So, with potential customers primed and ready to try new digital propositions – now is the time for operators to review their mobile strategies and seriously think about integrating mobile into their acquisition strategy for new high value, high- tech punters?

We certainly think the opportunities are huge and will shortly be preparing a white paper designed to make the case for deploying far more carrier billing and mobile engagement technology across a range of key verticals – including games, gambling and sports.

So, as we all turn towards a more digital reality, these new formats and payment options will have become as real to gamblers as the traditional “real thing”. In fact, when you think about it – is there actually much of a difference? And when the restrictions on public gatherings are lifted, might consumers have developed a new perspective on the tangibility of what “exists” in a digital environment and what’s actually “happening” in the real world? I mean before Covid-19 it’s not as though gamblers where typically profiled as “lovers of the great outdoors”. They weren’t collectively leaping out of bed and heading out of the house to get their regular fix whilst enjoying the action live and in the flesh – certainly not since the internet came along!

So, today’s top tip – I bet gambling operators will acquire more new customers, reduce basket abandonment, increase credit card conversion and increase revenues by integrating carrier billing and other mobile engagement technologies into their 2020 virtual gambling strategies.

And that’s a dead cert!

For more information on our series of Myth Busters white papers – click here or contact jarvis@worldtelemedia.co.uk if you are interested in providing a case study or promoting directly to the online gambling sector.

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