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HPLDS CEO Ed Moed: “Imagine doing research and place bets in one platform!”

This week USBR.com got introduced to Hot Paper Lantern Digital Sports (HPLDS), a group focused on sports betting and fantasy sports customer acquisition and engagement. In addition to providing services to companies operating with this niche, HPLDS conduct research in the field and are interested in understanding the motivation, habits and personal preferences of new and emerging sports bettors in the U.S.

CEO is Ed Moed who took the time to answer a few questions about the new American sports betting market.

The market has exploded since the PASPA repeal. What’s your view on how the media publications have moved into the sports betting market over the last year and a half?

Moed. It is a fascinating time to be in the business of sports betting for two reasons. First, It’s a land grab for the media. Whereas in the past, a sports site may just have the Vegas lines within a story passively, there are now specific carved out sections of a site, like ESPN’s The Chalk or standalone sites like The Action Network, dedicated to betting news. So the landscape to find news and content is growing rapidly.

The second factor is the actual content. Look to any sports news site and the articles cover just about every single aspect of the sport. What started as coverage of scores and highlights has evolved to a full spectrum of content that includes player backgrounds, weather and injury reports, sports science and fan human interest stories. Sports betting coverage is still trending on expert predictions and the straight reporting of the lines, but eventually, coverage will be as robust as it is for all sports.

The user experience is everything. Invest heavily in creating the best user experience possible.

This is why we created Hot Paper Lantern Digital Sport. Betting sites need to better understand their market.  Who is the sports bettor? What makes them tick? How can we create a better experience for them? As competition among betting platforms and media outlets surges, it will be critical to understand the essence of the sports bettor and use that knowledge to create the content and experiences that this market demands.

What do you think is the right way to introduce real money sports betting to a fantasy sport audience? 

Moed. We are in the process of fielding an original survey, that will come out in March, that is going to measure who the new sports bettors are (their betting preferences, needs, wants, etc.)  and if fantasy sports is a conduit for sports betting. There is a lot of data about what bets are made, but no third party data describing the new sports bettor. We’re going to fill that void. We can provide a more comprehensive answer when we launch our report in March.

New technology is being developed to cater for a new U.S. sports bettor, with apps and platforms popping up monthly. What is the right way to attract the different types of bettors? 

Moed. The user experience is everything. Invest heavily in creating the best user experience possible.

In August of 2019 we released our first ever Fantasy Sports Loyalty Index, which measured how daily fantasy bettors felt about the platforms that they used. What we found supported our conviction that user experience is King. While the biggest brands owned the largest market share, users were most loyal to smaller brands with a better betting experience.

This industry right now is the wild west and new platforms are popping up left and right

So awareness is important in that it can give your brand notoriety and market share, but it doesn’t guarantee that a player or bettor will stay loyal to the platform. Players want a platform that is easy to access and use, utilizing the best and most secure technology to give them any edge, and is supported by superior customer service.  And that converts to long-term growth.

In the survey, we also found that increased loyalty translated to larger bets and site referrals. So players on sites like TradeFan and RealTime Fantasy Sports reported significantly higher willingness to increase bets than industry giants DraftKings and FanDuel.

This industry right now is the wild west and new platforms are popping up left and right. Customers and users are loyal to things that work and that they enjoy using. Betting sites need to worry about how the platform performs and take their time understanding and growing with users’ needs to outperform the competition.

2020 will be a year of new regulatory expansion and market development. When do you think we’ll see offshore operators being fully replaced with legalized, U.S. sportsbook?  

Moed. It’s only a matter of time. The interest from the public is too high and the jobs created and tax revenue collected by states is too real to ignore.

Regional limitation and budget aside, what would the ideal sports betting experience look like to you?

Moed. The ideal platform experience would combine sports betting news, content and betting capabilities into a one-stop shop experience. We work with a sports community app, Fantasy Life, which provides up to the minute news on injuries, trades and all things NFL, plus opinions from a knowledgeable community.

Can you imagine being able to do research and place bets without switching platforms? The ability to have an all-in-one news center and the ability to make bets in the same place would be a game-changer.

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