SECAUCUS, N.J. — DraftKings CEO Jason Robins ruffled some feathers this week when he said his company is not interested in serving winning sports bettors, and that DraftKings’ bread will continue to be buttered by recreational gamblers, those who view the activity as entertainment and thus have little to no chance to be profitable over the long-term.
While his comments did not sit well with many bettors, some other industry leaders agree the uber-casual bettor is where the business should be putting its resources, and that sports betting is indeed entertainment.
“The next opportunities will be more of an integrated experience, where for anyone watching the game, the casual fan, can feel like ‘Oh, I can place a wager’ or ‘I’ll predict what will happen next,’” Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim said in his keynote at the SBC Summit North America here in New Jersey on Wednesday. “It’s going to be more luck-based, less skill-based.”
The “addressable market” of sports bettors has been wrongly defined, according to Kim, and broadening that addressable market will add fuel to an already skyrocketing industry.
“What is the addressable market of people willing to put $1,000 on a football game? I think that’s actually not that hard to market,” he said. “But if you define sports betting as ‘Hey, let’s watch something happening and bet on it’ …. and make it less about skill and handicapping and more just about fun … How big do you think that market would be? I think that market will be multiple times larger than any of these estimates.”
Sports Betting Leaders Panel
In the SBC Leaders Panel that followed the keynote, BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost, Penn Interactive Head Jon Kaplowitz, and DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz also hit on trends that operators are watching to help bring sports betting more into the mainstream.
Sportsbooks able to provide seamless technology and the best transactional experiences for customers are the ones likely to succeed.
Prevost pointed the “cash out” feature, wildly popular in Europe, that allows a bettor either to lock in winnings or minimize losses before a game ends.
“When (cash out) was first introduced in the U.K., there was this scramble from every operator to turn around and offer cash out. I think you’re going to see similar patterns emerge in the U.S.,” Prevost said.
Kaplowitz said Barstool Sportsbooks, which Penn National Gaming acquired last year, offers a social media feature that appeals to casual bettors certainly more so than those looking to win — shareable bet slips.
“We give our consumers the ability to post our bet slips on social, and someone can click on it and consume that bet, and it automatically populates to their bets.”