Fall season 2021 – News from the European gaming industry

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The growing value of esports

Sports betting has exploded in popularity over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down, with a large number of in-game markets now available to players. In this round table, Alexandr Yaroshenko, CEO of BetBazar, Sergei Tsukanov, Head of Sports Betting at Betby and Rohini Sardane, Head of Product Proposals at SIS, discuss the driving forces behind the fastest growing vertical in sports betting.

Sports betting has grown tremendously during the hiatus from sports last year, but what are the factors behind its continued appeal?

Rohini Sardana: “The entertaining experience that esports betting offers is what ultimately keeps bettors coming back for more. The suspension from live sports last year no doubt helped bring him to the attention of a wider audience, but his continued commitment wouldn’t be possible without a solid product in the first place. In fact, demand is greater than ever for our content. Thanks to our sports betting product, SIS Competitive Gaming increased event production by 800% compared to the same period last year, due to strong customer demand, with feed downloads for our events always. very high. It is safe to say that esports betting has established itself within the larger sports betting ecosystem and the demand continues to grow.

Alexandr Iaroshenko: “The players had time to get to know a new product during this period which they now love. The past year has shown the need for entertainment and filler activity. A lot of it is timing, but our time to market played a huge role here as well. We are very proud because although it is a popular product because other forms of entertainment were scarce, it continues to be appreciated in large numbers. It’s a solid offer that was in the right place at the right time to start. “

FIFA and NBA2K are particularly popular as a betting option for sports betting customers, but is there a gap between these disciplines and followers of other Esports events?

Alexandr Iaroshenko: “People want to bet on live events and it becomes vital that they get their results quickly. This is what has helped the popularity of esports grow so quickly. When it comes to games like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients – which are not sport-based – results can vary widely depending on different demographics. The new generation of gamers are focusing more on the “computer game” elements of esports, such as Battle Royale or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. However, it’s fair to say that esports bettors based on traditional sports like soccer and basketball are much more reliable bettors than those who follow. MDR Where Dota.

Sergey Tsukanov: “Of course, the most popular sports have always attracted players who are different from the followers of the more traditional esports markets. The FIFA and NBA2K markets, perhaps unsurprisingly, have a much larger following among football and basketball fans than among followers of other esports markets, and for this reason, FIFA and NBA2K have become a staple of our classic market offering. That said, it should be noted that despite their differences, players at both ends of the spectrum universally prefer it when competitive games are played without real players, instead using AI-driven technology to add to the random nature of the games. results.

Rohini Sardana: “The basics of the product remain the same whether you’re offering FIFA 21 matches or first-person shooter events. The availability of quality live streams and a variety of markets, all backed by strong integrity, are the key fundamentals required for every sports betting opportunity. Of course, sports-themed games are more likely to resonate with existing sports bettors given the familiar characteristics. We have had great success with our NBA2K head-to-head games given the global appeal of basketball. Going forward, we are planning additional titles to help us expand our content offering, which will further help operators generate profitable revenues. “

What are the challenges of offering live streaming and live betting at esports events happening 24/7 around the world?

Sergey Tsukanov: “The challenges vary from place to place, but they are the same for all elements of iGaming, not just for esports. Internet penetration, mobile gaming, streaming latency, etc. However, the benefits of providing clear, accessible and above all popular content for users clearly have a positive impact on products and bottom line. This is the key to maintaining our audiences and attracting new users.

Rohini Sardana: “The lack of resources with specialized knowledge of esports betting seems to have been one of the main challenges for operators. Sports betting solutions are still in the early stages of the product lifecycle and there is an element of risk for sports betting on such events, especially the possibility for sophisticated bettors to gain the upper hand. Partnering with third party vendors such as SIS who have relevant esports knowledge is very beneficial, giving operators confidence that the products offered are reliable and relevant. At SIS, we have over 30 years of experience in live streaming and data distribution, and we partner with 400 clients in 45 countries, giving operators the peace of mind that SIS Competitive Gaming is an esports betting product they can count on. We have low latency live streams available for our content, running all day to serve our global customer base. Frequent and high availability betting opportunities have proven popular with operators and bettors in several markets in recent months. “

Alexandr Iaroshenko: “It’s our specialty and we can take two approaches. First, there is the live broadcast. There are a lot of challenges that a trader needs to be prepared for. Organizing the right people and the right level of play to make the product popular and make it work 24/7 can be difficult. There has to be a product available that can consistently engage players. One should be focused on growing our existing player base and the other should be on retaining them. In terms of organizing these events, we have partners in Europe who have created their own Esports academy to help develop the players of tomorrow and create tournaments and other high profile activities. Second, there is at stake. These are the odds and the infrastructure to provide sports betting. We have a team placed to exchange and price constantly. It can be difficult to provide underdogs or favorites for events, which motivates players to play. We are working hard to offer this and the latest technology to price these games like never before. It means investing in the best mathematical models to make sure we can deliver.

How does AI impact, both from a probability perspective and human content production versus AI?

Rohini Sardana: “The accessibility and accuracy of data play a key role in establishing the usability of a betting product. Esports games are visually rich and provide more data points than sports betting would consume with other sports content. This large amount of data must be processed to create a good user experience, and processing a large amount of data efficiently requires the use of technological advancements such as AI.

Alexandr Iaroshenko: “In terms of betting, we have mathematical models which are based on statistics and give us a concrete prediction via an algorithm. This involves so many variables and no less than 15,000 events each month, which allows us to constantly learn and evolve to better understand and evaluate the games. As a result, we are able to provide some of the most accurate odds on the market. We take this very seriously and when our traders join us they go through a vigorous player program to prepare. Live-to-human AI has a striking similarity to RNG compared to live-action. In this case, the operator relies on an RNG bot originally created by EA Sports, which has nothing to do with the betting world. It’s simply a black box inside the game that determines the action. The players just feel less confident about it.

Sergey Tsukanov: “At Betby, we mainly use AI technology to acquire live data. We want to use AI to create mathematical models to produce improved odds, but when generating odds it doesn’t differ too much from traditional aspects. What sets AI apart is driving results with innovative AI software to ensure our products are available 24/7 in all markets, providing users with the best possible environment to place their products. paris, at any time.

What, if anything, can the traditional sports betting world learn from the new generation of fast sports betting opportunities?

Sergey Tsukanov: “If you compare the traditional sports betting markets to these modern AI-based esports solutions, you can see some differences. The new markets are available around the clock, use innovative mathematical models that make games more efficient, and offer a variety of new markets for users – there really is something for everyone. For me, it’s not even betting, but rather the phenomenon of football and basketball declining in popularity among young people. Officials really need to figure out how to bring young people back to football, and they could do so with faster game formats or the equivalent of an all-star game. When it comes to betting, with the current format of football and basketball competitions locked in place, it’s very difficult to invent anything new. Instead, we explored the possibility of making our platform more efficient and user-friendly to help players place bets as efficiently as possible, and it has paid off. “

Rohini Sardana: “For sports betting, offering esports betting opportunities has now become a necessity. The high demand for this type of content and the resulting levels of engagement mean that these events cannot be ignored. Sports betting already appreciates the quick betting opportunities offered by horse and greyhound racing and virtual sports, and esports events can provide a similar format with results within minutes of placing a bet.

Alexandr Iaroshenko: “In sports betting we see a lot of hype for a lot of products and more often than not it runs out quickly. Looking at the most popular esports titles right now, including Counter Strike, LoL and Dota – these are now making esports history and I think they are here to stay. Live sports and esport have achieved a synergistic cooperative relationship, where, for example, esport sustains the hype for a global event. There is no threat that esports cannibalize sport. In fact, what we have seen is that it works as a complementary product.


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Sylvester L. Goldfarb

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