It’s easy to forget about the companies behind the scenes that make sports betting possible. However, anyone who enjoys sports betting has benefitted from Scientific Games’ work. Scientific Games creates products and provides services that many sportsbook operators use to run their sportsbooks.
In May 2021, Scientific Games announced its acquisition of SportCast, which produced a popular product called BetBuilder. That has many important strategic implications that bettors will eventually notice in their sportsbooks. We reached out to Scientific Games Digital CEO, Jordan Levin, via email to understand what that acquisition will mean for bettors.
Which Scientific Games Products The Acquisition Will Improve
Scientific Games has sports, technology, and content for sportsbooks to use. However, there are two products that the SportCast acquisition will disproportionately impact.
“The acquisition of SportCast significantly elevates both our OpenSports and OpenArena offerings, providing us with an important component of the sportsbook,” wrote Levin. “SportCast completely revolutionized the outright and pre-match markets within the sports betting sector, including the development of the original BetBuilder product that has grown to become hugely popular with bettors.”
OpenSports is a section of Scientific Games’ portfolio that’s made of about half a dozen products sportsbooks can use to build their platforms. OpenArena is one of those OpenSports products.
But SportCast gives Scientific Games new ways to reach bettors. It would allow sportsbooks to offer easily customizable bets. Scientific Games could also offer other SportCast products to sportsbooks. But most importantly, this acquisition will allow Scientific Games to profit from what used to be a smaller competitor’s products.
“SportCast’s wide range of products and services complement our existing portfolio and ensures we have the ultimate end-to-end solution to power the world’s leading sportsbook operators,” wrote Levin.
Specific Improvements Coming To Scientific Games Products
While certain products benefit more from the SmartCast acquisition than others, there’s one function that has been at the center of Scientific Game’s attention for several years.
“SportCast will sharpen our pricing capabilities for sure,” wrote Levin. “Similar to how the 2018 acquisition of Don Best Sports revolutionized our trading on U.S. sports.”
In October 2018, Scientific Games announced its acquisition of Don Best Sports. It was a data company that supplied game and pricing data in real time. It furthered Scientific Games’ apparent goal of becoming a one-stop-shop for sportsbook operators.
Scientific Games’ acquisition of another company whose products improve pricing suggests a focus on pricing. It’s possible that Scientific Games is looking to give oddsmakers more flexibility in how they set lines. New pricing capabilities could allow oddsmakers to set more functions to run automatically. That would allow oddsmakers more time to focus on sports betting financials.
Or reduce the number of oddsmakers sportsbooks need to employ.
Whatever the reason, line pricing seems to be an ongoing project for Scientific Games.
Why BetBuilder Is So Important
BetBuilder was one of SportCast’s most successful products. It allowed bettors to easily build their own parlay bets. Bettors loved it and sportsbooks loved offering it.
“The flexibility and freedom in allowing bettors to build their own bets is fundamentally what’s driven its success,” wrote Levin. “Players crave that personalized experience and BetBuilder was one of the first products to allow consumers to shape the way in which they wagered on their favorite sports.”
That personalization is crucial to engaging bettors. When bettors can wager how they’d like, they become more engaged in sports betting and in the game they’re betting on. That high engagement keeps sportsbooks profitable during popular games. So, sportsbooks maximize their profits, bettors enjoy themselves, and companies like Scientific Games earn enthusiastic business.
Why Live Betting And Same-Game Parlay Bets Are So Popular
BetBuilder’s success is partly because of two types of sports betting that American customers can’t get enough of: live betting and same-game parlay betting.
“There’s unquestionably more to come from the live betting experience,” wrote Levin. “In Europe, in-play has stagnated somewhat with little progress as to how bettors can wager on live games. But the U.S. is driving change within this space.”
It’s no coincidence that live betting is so popular in the United States. It gives bettors the chance to read the game and bet on where they think it’ll go. Live betting draws bettors into sports matches and lets them reap the rewards of their confidence. (Or rue the follies of their overconfidence.) Same-game parlay bets are popular for similar reasons.
“Same-game parlays are hugely popular in the U.S. right now,” wrote Levin. “In fact, we’ve seen U.S. bettors embrace this type of product far quicker than when it was first introduced in Europe.”
It’s clear why predicting outcomes during games appeals to bettors. But it’s unclear why European bettors haven’t embraced live betting and same-game parlays the way that Americans have. But sportsbooks are still shiny new toys in the United States. Major European countries either legalized or updated their sports betting laws in the early 2010s. The period of trying new and risky bets could be over in Europe. But it could just be beginning in the United States.
What Uncompetitive Sportsbooks Are Missing
As a popular vendor, Scientific Games has an inside look at the sports betting industry’s best and worst sportsbooks. However, some sportsbooks struggle, which is surprising in a booming industry. But Levin offers a few insights into what sets unsuccessful sportsbooks back.
“The availability of comprehensive markets across all sports is incredibly important,” Levin wrote. “Bettors who are unable to find odds on the sporting event they’re interested in will simply switch brands. So sportsbooks need to ensure they have the right content on offer.”
This problem is especially prevalent in small homegrown sportsbooks. It’s easy to set lines on the most popular leagues. But sports bettors don’t only want to wager on the most popular leagues. Many will wager on whatever’s available. (Yet another reason live betting is so lucrative.) But finding oddsmakers who know sports like cricket well enough to set odds on them isn’t unrealistic for small sportsbooks. DraftKings and FanDuel can do it easily because they have the resources to find that expertise.
But more important than sport selection is app reliability.
“It’s apparent that some U.S. online sportsbooks are failing to deliver on this, which is leading to disgruntled customers,” wrote Levin. “We’ve seen instances of operators reporting downtime during key sporting events, as well as difficulties in paying out winnings to those with legitimate betting slips. Platform reliability is key to delivering a frictionless service.”
Unsuccessful sportsbooks find ways to disengage bettors from sports and betting. But Scientific Games and its successful customers do the opposite. They reel bettors in and keep them glued to the game. They create products that not only work but also offer bettors everything they could hope to find. As Scientific Games continues building its portfolio, bettors can expect exciting new innovations from their favorite sportsbooks.