by Matt Steer, Operations Manager from Eurobet.com

With more than 180 online sportsbooks competing in the marketplace, the push for differentiation and cut-through in product and marketing has become greater than ever.

Sportsbooks compete on price and product on a wide range of markets; however, with the advent of betting exchanges there are fewer opportunities to compete on price. A wide range of product shows breadth and depth — and is an appealing acquisition tool for niche audiences — however, most sportsbooks operate on the 80:20 principle: 80% of turnover is generated from 20% of the markets.

With the next football World Cup a year away, betting and gaming growth predictions suggest that current economic conditions will have little impact on levels of business around the tournament. This will foster an ever-increasing search for a competitive edge between operators.

The next phase for sportsbook development, and one that is being built into Coral and Eurobet's new platform, is to fully embrace and deliver a personalized web experience. Delivering information directly to a user's desktop, home page, personal website or social network will not only enhance the gaming experience, but build and retain brand and product loyalty.

Personalization works hand-in-hand with contextual data and information; delivering betting opportunities and calls to action in the most appropriate method and format for the individual user. No longer is a “one size fits all” mentality suitable for the maturing betting and gaming sector.

A personalized web experience enables users to consume information and perform interactions and transactions in the interface with which they are most comfortable. Moving away from a prescriptive web experience will enfranchise users. Why not let users customise a menu to prioritize their favorite sports or games? Why not let users integrate operator content within their own content? Other sectors have successfully implemented this type of enfranchisement and these sectors can provide a blueprint for gaming.

Working within current and established licensing and security frameworks still provides huge scope for gaming companies to develop user interfaces, widgets and modular user tools to allow even greater user choices over design, lay-out and content.

Widgets — downloadable interactive virtual tools that provide information to a user in a non-intrusive manner — develop a more direct relationship with users and add a viral aspect to drive user referrals. The considered use of widgets is a content enabler and makes best use of newer web technologies; without placing operational constraints on the core business.

User tools — a series of user controlled and user produced applications — enable users to generate and publish personalised content. These applications offer extended peer to peer interaction and extend user session time. By tying a user tool platform into a gaming operator's platform users can create and manage personal profiles, avatars, uploads, blogs, vlogs, peer-to-peer messaging and chat, wikis, polls, quizzes, surveys and calendars. All of which assist in disseminating gaming content through a media rich environment.

Personalization and recommendation form the basis of the next stage of web development and a comprehensive web offering from gaming operators will encompass this in the very fabric of the solution. Personalization, integrated with best of breed content, contextual betting opportunities and media-rich data and information will be the benchmark for the sportsbooks of World Cup 2010.

Matt Steer is the Operations Manager from Eurobet.com. For more information on Eurobet affiliate program, please click here.


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