The sports betting industry was one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States up until mid-March of this year. The coronavirus pandemic quickly shut down live sports in the United States, leaving sportsbooks searching for games to offer.
Since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018, states were working quickly to legalize sports betting, and come up with laws to regulate the industry. Sports betting companies from all over the world were flooding into the United States, looking for a way to capitalize on the growth.
There was more than $15 billion wagered at sportsbooks in the United States in 2019, and many expected that number to be smashed in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic might have shut that growth down temporarily, but sportsbooks and experts expect a major resurgence when sports return.
Sportsbooks enjoyed the rapid growth in 2019, but there was still some key information missing. Sportsbooks and industry executives did not have a clear understanding of sports bettors, and they were looking to find more information.
HPL Digital Sport came up with a program that they titled, “The State of the New Sports Bettor.” Under this program, they set out to find out what the average sports bettor wants and how they operate.
HPL Digital Sport surveyed more than 4,400 sports bettors to try and understand the needs of the new sports bettor. The purpose of this program was to supply sportsbooks and industry executives with the information needed to reach the new wave of sports bettors flooding the market.
There were seven major key findings that HPL Digital Sport organized and shared that information with the appropriate people. The seven main findings are:
- Seventy percent of sports bettors noted that they spend more than $100 per month. Twenty-seven percent of bettors surveyed estimated that they spent more than $500 per month.
- Bettors also expressed a desire for more capabilities on the betting platform. Sixty-nine percent of bettors wished that betting tips were included. Fifty percent of bettors wished for more engaging editorial content, and 34 percent of bettors wished for an internal social network to communicate with other sports bettors.
- Seventy-five percent of sports bettors acknowledged that they are betting at least once per week. Fifty-one percent said that they are betting several times per week.
- There are 33 percent of Americans that have at least a Bachelor’s Degree. Of the bettors that were surveyed, 51 percent of them have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
- Sixty-nine percent of the bettors that were surveyed make less than $100,000 per year. Just six percent of the bettors make more than $200,000 per year.
- The top concern for bettors when choosing a platform is the ease of payouts. This is followed by security and then brand reputation.
- Eighty-nine percent of all sports bettors that were surveyed also participate in fantasy sports.
This information should give sportsbooks the tools that they need to create a better overall user experience. Many sportsbooks are using this “time off” to upgrade their platforms and make necessary improvements.
Thoughts On Shutdown
We discussed with Edward Moed, CEO of Hot Paper Lantern, and wanted to get his thoughts on what really took him by surprise when the sports world shutdown:
“I knew people would miss sports and betting due to the shutdown, but I didn’t quite see the voracious appetite there is for betting in general. I read stories about bettors finding action on Belarusian soccer and Ukrainian table tennis, searching for any league still open in the world.
“It shows you the absolute power of this industry that even in the most devastating times, the market for this type of product holds strong. This pandemic put a big spotlight on just how vibrant this industry is and how we’ve only scratched the surface of its true potential.”
We then asked him if any specific response shocked him:
“I’m not surprised but truly impressed that certain companies, operators, platforms, vendors and start-ups, saw the shutdown of sports as an opportunity, to come out of the pandemic a stronger and take a true competitive edge versus their competitors.
“Some of them are reshaping or enhancing their brands to do just this. Though revenue streams from live sports were shut off, some innovative companies were able to sit back, invest in themselves, and say, ‘What can we do to make ourselves better?’ Those companies developed strategic business partnerships, created technology upgrades to build out more robust user experiences, and listened to their customer base on what was important.
“Monkey Knife Fight became the official daily fantasy site of the Milwaukee Brewers and Enthusiast gaming. DraftKings went public despite the downturn, and fantasy/sports betting information site FantasyLife has been upgrading its technology and platforms anticipating sports return. It’s the investment and work that companies like that put in during the downturn that will pay dividends once sports come back online.”