“Authenticity is one of those words that as soon as it comes out of your mouth feels inauthentic to say.”
theScore CEO, Aubrey Levy, summed up how many brands and bettors may think about authenticity. Bettors may not be able to put their finger on what authenticity means. But they notice it when a gambling site achieves authenticity. Online gambling companies of all stripes try to make themselves feel authentic to bettors. But three thought leaders in this space have some insight into what it means to be an authentic sports betting site.
Does This Sports Betting Site Follow Fair Rules?
“Authenticity, for me, boils down to trust,” Anika Howard, President and CEO of MPI, said. “People need to trust the brand. They need to trust the platform and trust the experience and trust that it’s fair.”
Before getting into marketing issues, authentic sports betting sites should work. They should have clear rules that bettors not only understand but also agree to. A shady online sportsbook that refused to pay winning bets would be flagged as inauthentic in a heartbeat. Following basic rules is a low bar to clear. But it’s also the first check that bettors make when they sign up for new sites.
Once a sportsbook site covers basics, like working, it can focus on the branding that sets it apart from competitive commercial books.
Does This Site Sound Like A Sportsbook?
Authenticity is a marketing buzzword as much as a safety term. Companies want to create products that feel authentic, but few bettors, and even some companies, don’t understand what that means. One of the biggest aspects of it is language.
“As a media business, authenticity was talking about betting content back when it wasn’t fashionable to talk about betting content,” Levy said.
Back when theScore was a TV channel, it would display odds while commentators spoke about sports. theScore filled a need that other sports broadcasters didn’t. This made theScore feel like it really understood sports betting and the role it played in sports for so many fans.
When it launched theScore Bet, it used that same media brand to reinforce its sportsbook. It remained focused on sounding like a sports media company that understood sports, sports bettors, and sports betting.
Giving bettors everything they need to try sports betting is critical too.
“What that cadence and communication looks like,” Howard said. “What are the different things you are doing to make it easy? Here’s how to play and here are the things that you can do.”
An authentic sports betting site will include instructions on how to place sports bets. Licensed sportsbooks have help sections with guides on how odds work and what the different types of bets are. They make it as easy as possible for bettors to learn their products.
“Understanding that you’re going to get that same [user] experience no matter what [platform] you choose [to bet on] but [also] really [making] sure that the players feel empowered,” Howard said. “That’s a big piece of it.”
Does This Site Focus On My Favorite Sports?
Few sports are so niche that only a few giants can afford to pay oddsmakers to price lines on them. (Major commercial books don’t offer lines on preschool sack racing.) Every serious sportsbook will offer lines on the most popular sports and leagues. But the best sportsbooks cater to local bettor preferences.
For example, PointsBet has one app that bettors in all their legal markets download. Everybody downloads the same app. But within this single app, PointsBet gives the locals what they want.
“Your left-hand featured menu in New Jersey, you’re going to be getting the Yankees game against whoever.” Patrick Eichner, Senior Director of PointsBet Canada, said. “In Colorado, you’ll be getting the Rockies game. Same exact way around promos, pricing, etc.”
But PointsBet goes a step further and allows bettors to submit their own bets for oddsmakers to price. PointsBet’s Name A Bet has a few restrictions. However, this is another way that a major brand like PointsBet can cater to local and even individual preferences.
The Biggest Pieces Of An Authentic Sports Betting Site
An authentic sports betting site should look and sound like a professional site. It should be licensed by the state that bettors are trying to access it from. (And if it’s not licensed in a bettor’s state, then it should block that bettor’s wagers.) There are a few layers to authenticity. An authentic online gambling site should:
- Pay winnings fairly and follow clear consistent rules.
- Use language that shows an understanding of sports betting and sports bettors.
- Offer sports that are popular nationally while catering to local preferences.
Authenticity isn’t one feature. It’s a combination of features that makes customers feel comfortable with a brand and confident that brand is worth trusting money with.