US Micro Betting on Upswing in 2023, but Latency Challenges Remain

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl 57, Simplebet used the first three rounds of the NFL Playoffs to track the success of team- and player-based micro bets at its partner sportsbooks, including Caesars and bet365.

The betting market for “Who will score a touchdown on this drive?” generated $1.5 million in total betting handle during 12 playoff games.

Simplebet’s “Script” market allows bettors to predict whether the next play will be a run or pass — and if it will result in a first down or not. That micro market produced $1.3 million in handle.

“The amount of traffic we saw on key markets from major partners such as Caesars and bet365 proves the appetite is there among wagerers for micro betting and instant gratification, and we can’t wait to see what the Super Bowl has in store for us,” Simplebet CEO Chris Beviliacqua said in a statement.

Micro Betting’s an Emerging Trend in US  

The revolution of micro betting is coming, and it will be televised. In fact, nVenue CEO Kelly Pracht’s company provided the technology that allowed Apple TV+ to integrate odds probabilities into its MLB streaming broadcasts last year. nVenue provides predictive analytics and micro-betting tech solutions for both media and sports betting companies. 

nVenue, MLB stream

Pracht (pictured below) is something of an evangelist for micro betting, which she gravitated toward naturally due to her sports fandom.

“I wanted to engage in the next play,” Pracht told Gaming Today. “When I look around at the ballpark or sports bars or even at home, we’re all engaging and talking about the next play. I found that the gap was the technology to do it, which just so happened to be my specialty in life.”

Pracht left her job as an engineer at Hewlett Packard and co-founded nVenue. Solving large computer problems has always been her business, but she’s no longer helping customers predict the nuclear stockpile or local weather patterns. Pracht is bullish on the future of the micro-betting industry. 

“We know in-play matters from the example in Europe,” Pracht said. “We also know it just by watching fans in the US today — whether it’s legal or not — engage and interact. In-game is going to be a huge part of that (micro) component, and we expect that to grow to be 78% of total handle.”

Fast Forward to the Future: Personalization of Micro Bets   

Pracht and some of her team members were in attendance to watch the Pistons-Mavericks game on Jan. 30 at American Airlines Center. Do-everything guard Luka Doncic went off for 53 points, as Dallas defeated Detroit, 111-105.  

Pracht believes personalization marks the next big challenge for micro betting, and that technology will get us there. She used Doncic as an example. 

“When Luka’s on the court, give me Luka bets because that’s what I’m watching, that’s what’s relevant, and he’s on fire,” she said. “Don’t give me a hundred bets for every player on the court. Surface up Luka bets, know that I’m a Mavs’ fan sitting in American Airlines Center, and I’m going to bet on Luka.”

Pracht was quick to note that sports betting is not legal in Texas, but perhaps it will be by the time this technology and level of personalization exists. It was in Chicago when Pracht took in a Bulls game and had difficulty locating her chosen in-game bets at DraftKings due to the sheer volume of offerings. 

“I couldn’t really find what I wanted to bet on,” she said.

Can you imagine having personalized in-game bets popping up on your phone in real-time? For her part, Pracht can, and you should expect nVenue to be at the forefront of that technological development.

Latency Makes Micro Betting ‘Only Viable During Commercial Stoppages’ 

Pracht acknowledged that there are plenty of challenges that exist in what she calls micro betting’s current “1.0” stage in the states. 

“Technology is not the biggest one,” Pracht said. “I believe we’ve solved all of the technological problems of speed and scale. There’s even solutions in the market today that solve things like near-zero latency for streaming.”

Latency remains a challenge, but Pracht says that “enormous gains” have been made on that front. She also believes “packaging our technologies together” will help the industry move forward faster.      

“If you watch streaming right now, it can be 30-40 seconds slower than what’s happening in real time,” Pracht said. “Some of the cable (broadcasts) might be 12 seconds. Our feed is really close to real-time, but you need real-time video — or near real-time video — to accompany it.”

She added, “Our tech updates in under a second once it receives the signal from the field. The next step for the future of true watching and betting in real-time is leveraging low-latency video. That technology exists today, and we look forward to seeing how it is adopted by media and broadcast.”

Phenix Real Time Solutions, which could be a catalyst for low latency being realized in micro betting, performed an analysis of last year’s Super Bowl that revealed significant delays compared to Verizon in-stadium users.

The goal is to have a synchronized stream – even if it’s a second or two behind — so all viewers are watching the same part of a given game at the same time.

Captain Jack Andrews is a professional bettor and co-founder of Unabated. Andrews is one of the industry’s most respected authorities, and his professional opinion on the current state of latency affairs and live bets is unequivocal.

“It’s still only viable during commercial stoppages,” Andrews said in a text to Gaming Today. “For all the advances, there’s been more of a paradigm shift to viewers utilizing streaming services instead of network or cable TV. The latency for cable is still 30 seconds, the latency for streaming software is north of a minute.

“Just no way to make a viable product out of live in-play wagering when one side has that much information asymmetry.”

Unlike the lightning-fast odds that fuel micro betting, the maturation of the industry will take some time in the US.

“We’ve got several years before this reaches max capacity,” Pracht said.

About the Author
Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson

Senior Writer
Kris Johnson is a senior writer at Gaming Today with more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist. Johnson's work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and other publications. He also authored a sports betting novel titled The Endgame.

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