The rapid growth of the online gaming industry in North America has opened up major opportunities for companies like Pariplay. As a leading iGaming aggregator and content provider, the company has established itself as a key player in this burgeoning market.
Shivan Patel, Pariplay’s Vice President of Operations in North America, has been at the forefront of the company’s success across the region. In this exclusive interview, Patel provides insight into Pariplay’s standout moments in the US over the past year, the future outlook for the provider and what we can expect to see at ICE next week.
Looking back at the last 12 months, what have been Pariplay’s standout moments within the North American market in terms of growth and performance?
This past year has been remarkable for Pariplay in North America, marked by significant partnerships and expansions. Key milestones included our collaborations with major gaming studios and extending our reach into new regulated states, which have been pivotal in our growth strategy.
Notably, we’ve expanded into three new markets: Pennsylvania (PA), British Columbia (BCLC) and Atlantic Canada (ALC). Our presence has also grown with seven new operators going live, and an additional eight operators signed, with plans for 16 more in 2024. Furthermore, we’ve established connections with 12 new suppliers and have 21 new connections in total.
This expansion has translated into a substantial increase in revenues, with a 153% rise on Fusion YoY, and an impressive 200% increase in GGR on Fusion for the same period. These achievements underscore our commitment to growth and excellence in the gaming industry.
How do you plan on continuing to uphold this success and strength within North America throughout 2024?
Looking ahead across 2024, a key focus will be expanding the variety of our proprietary content. We plan on releasing a range of new titles from our Wizard Games studio throughout 2024, with a number of these games bringing innovative mechanics and features tailored specifically for the US market.
We also plan to enter new regulated state markets in 2024. Our flexible open architecture makes it easy to integrate with new operators as legislation evolves. Being a first mover and gaining market share quickly will be a priority.
At the same time, we will continue improving our player engagement tools and data analytics to provide the most entertaining and customized experiences. Features like gamification, achievements, and bonuses help drive retention, and applying insights from our tools allows us to optimize game performance and serve up the best content for each user.
Are there any states in particular that you’re looking to prioritize?
With several states in the process of regulating online gambling, we are keen to prioritize entering new markets as quickly as possible – an example is Arkansas, where the market is expected to launch soon. We have already built relationships with major operators who will have a significant presence in the state, and being ready to go live early with our top content will be critical for securing substantial market share from day one.
Overall, being prepared to quickly deploy our top-tier games and technology into new emerging markets will allow Pariplay to continue accruing substantial market share across the US in 2024 and beyond. Our priority is being at the forefront as states shape the future of iGaming.
Could you give us any hints as to new products you’re excited to launch within the North American market?
We have several exciting new products in development that we can’t wait to launch in North America throughout 2024. While I can’t share specifics on the content side, our studios are working on new slot titles that incorporate interactive elements and mechanics for added engagement.
Overall, we have some very exciting products in the works that leverage cutting-edge technology and address the evolving landscape. I’m confident these new additions will further strengthen our position in the market throughout the next year, and I look forward to revealing more details soon.
What can we expect to see from Pariplay at ICE? Will North America take center stage in terms of what you’re showcasing?
ICE London is always a key event for Pariplay, and 2024 will be no different. With North America being our largest strategic focus, attendees can expect to see the region front and center at the show. Our booth will heavily showcase gaming content tailored specifically for the North American market. This includes titles from our Wizard Games studio, featuring cutting-edge mechanics and interactive bonus features that are sure to impress.
We’ll also hold private meetings with key existing partners to discuss our roadmap for the region. We have an active agenda booked with operators yet to launch in states like Ohio to demonstrate how our content and platform can help them hit the ground running. That said, we remain focused on growth across Latin America and Europe, and we’ll be showcasing localized content and features relevant to those markets. We hope to connect with both existing and prospective partners to discuss our latest innovations.
While North America garners much of the attention, our team will be coming to ICE prepared to have productive conversations about how we can collaborate to drive success across all our key regions in 2024 and beyond. We can’t wait to see what the show has in store.
Super Bowl – how have providers approached the 2024 edition?
Super Bowl LVIII is upon us and will undoubtedly be one of the biggest betting events of the year. Operators and their third party vendors are sure to have been busy preparing for the Big Game, so we caught up with Callum Broxton, Head of Operations at Checkd Group, Kevin Nunn, Head of Trading – Americas at OpenBet and Mark Nerenberg, COO at Simplebet, to find out how they’ve approached the 2024 edition.
How does the Super Bowl differ from other US sports betting events?
Callum Broxton: There is no event quite like the Super Bowl in the US. Over half of the country will be tuned in to watch the game. Every other sporting fixture pales in comparison and not only does betting on the game attract great interest, but it is the only event in the US where novelty props can catch attention from bettors.
Only during the Super Bowl will fans be betting on whether the national anthem will go over or under a certain length, or on what song Usher will be performing first during his half-time performance. The 49ers are favorites with the spread currently sat at -1.5. The Super Bowl is such a unique event compared to any other due to the intersection it causes between the dedicated and casual sporting fan, many of whom will be placing a bet for the first time.
Kevin Nunn: The Super Bowl is the single largest and most wagered-on betting event in the United States. It combines the pinnacle matchup of the most popular sport with a plethora of side bets that keep fans of all interests engaged. It is not just a football game – it is a massive entertainment event.
This year, we’re elevating our content with 500+ markets, which appeal to existing bettors and those who simply want to enjoy the fun of Super Bowl wagering with limited knowledge of the game.
Compared to other US sports betting events, the Super Bowl means planning year-round to ensure we can guarantee a robust, scalable product that withstands the huge increase in load. Last year, we processed 65,000 bets per second, marking 145% growth in volumes.
Mark Nerenberg: The Super Bowl is far and away the biggest betting event of the year in the U.S. It is an American tradition to go to a Super Bowl party and most likely gamble on squares or prop sheets, so while betting volume is substantial, the larger opportunity is user acquisition and activation.
The Super Bowl presents a chance to attract and engage a large portion of the U.S. population that otherwise is more difficult to reach. Sportsbooks not only look to maximize exposure leading up to the Super Bowl, they also want to maximize the value of these new users by converting them to engage more often.
Similar to the Sportsbooks as a whole, the Super Bowl is a chance for Simplebet to expose a wider audience to micro betting.
Have betting trends evolved from last year’s event and over the course of the regular season? What are the most popular bet types right now?
KN: Betting trends have evolved over the years. In the past, bets were overwhelmingly on the main outcomes of the game, but we have seen a marked increase on player-based markets. Super Bowl will be no exception to this trend.
The main game lines for the outcome of the game are still the most popular, but there is a large uptick in betting on touchdowns, scorers and other player statistical categories, such as how many passing yards.
MN: I think we are still in the early stages here with new states opening up each year, so the trends that are somewhat unique to the U.S. have continued to accelerate. Specifically, Same Game Parlays (SGPs) continue to be the primary focus for operators and thus continue to grow faster than any other form of sports betting.
The majority of SGPs include player props as predicting and following individual athlete performance has been a significant aspect of sports consumption in the U.S. for decades. Unsurprisingly, player prop micro markets have seen the most growth in the micro betting category over the past year.
CB: One trend we will be keying in on during this year’s game is the advancement of in-play betting. While in-play betting has been a staple during the Super Bowl for the past decade, with improved technology and more available betting markets, this is an area that will see great growth this year.
Those bets might be focused on a team that is down making a comeback to win, whether an exact drive for a team will result in a touchdown, or even if a player will catch a pass on a certain drive. We have also seen the rapid growth of same-game parlays and this is a trend that will continue for this year’s game for casual bettors. Despite the margin being weighted more favorably towards the operator, these bets add an extra incentive to watch for the neutral and often younger bettor, who sees an opportunity to win big from a small stake as being particularly attractive.
What markets are you providing for your own operator partners to help differentiate their offering?
MN: In addition to the micro player props mentioned earlier, “Same Drive Parlays” are a unique offering where we see big potential. This combines the SGP experience with micro timeframes, allowing users to predict multiple outcomes in a singular drive. For example, “Purdy will get sacked, Kittle will catch a pass and McCaffrey will score a Touchdown” is a bet that fans can make for any 49ers drive this Super Bowl.
CB: Our SmartPicks technology, found on both the FlashPicks website and app, provides bettors with a reason to place a bet at a partner site. It’s based on the highly successful Smart Acca product we have both rolled out within our own Betting Hub app and licensed to operators in the UK. SmartPicks uses historical statistics and betting data to indicate which teams have been performing well – or poorly – allowing users to make more informed betting decisions across moneyline, spread and total markets.
It is a product that has developed quickly since launch and we have big plans to increase its scope in the coming months and years, providing further value for operators by engaging with a demographic of bettor that understands sport while not necessarily being familiar with online betting. Smart Picks makes the process of betting simple, empowering the end user to use their own judgment. The benefit to the operator is clear, too. 11,000 SmartPicks searches were made during December with users then able to click out directly to their favorite sportsbook, with the margin on these bets compounded with every additional leg a customer includes in their selection.
KN: We provide our operators with as much content as possible to appease a bettor of any interest. Whether they demand a bet that has instant gratification, player-based bets, novelties, or game outcome bets, we will make them available. One element that differentiates the Super Bowl from other events is that we will also offer large odds on outcomes that are difficult to achieve. This way, if history is made in the game, bettors have a chance to claim they bet on that certain historic moment and won, providing even more satisfaction.
Viva Las Vegas: Super Bowl touches down in Nevada
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar not just in the US but the rest of the world. And as all eyes turn towards the Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, gambling companies will be looking for new opportunities to elevate the experience for bettors.
We spoke to Allan Petrilli (Managing Director at Acquire.bet), Troy Paul (Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of SGG Media) and Jamie Shea (Chief Marketing Officer at Strive Gaming) to get the low-down on all things Super Bowl.
This is the second year that the Super Bowl is taking place in a state where sports betting is legal. From a betting perspective, are there any lessons that could perhaps be taken from last year’s event in Arizona?
Allan Petrilli: While I do not have much to add comparing to last year in Arizona – Las Vegas is the MECCA of betting. When considering whether any lessons that can be learnt, my first thoughts went directly to the experiences that brands can offer their VIP customers, and particularly the acquisition-focused promotions that they can run in the lead up to the event – think giveaways, trips, hospitality experiences etc.
It may be a bit late to start rolling out these experiences now, but who doesn’t want to go to Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl?
Troy Paul: Everyone bets on the Super Bowl! Even those that watch one game per year. However, any serious gambler will already have a wagering account- so it’s not really a time to sign up massive numbers of new accounts. However, the Super Bowl is a great time to incentivise your players to make their biggest wagers of the year.
We have seen young fans like “Prop” bets and Parlays- so the Books with the best prop and parlay odds and the best web site from a usability standpoint is paramount. If you have a user site that is not player friendly the gamblers will just go back to the sites they understand and find easiest to navigate.
Jamie Shea: The Super Bowl will be very different from last year’s event. In Arizona, companies like DraftKings had a significant presence. However, DraftKings isn’t present in Nevada; FanDuel does have a retail location, though. In Nevada, you must register in person to wager online. This year, I think BetMGM might emerge as one of the big winners—they have retail locations and an online sports betting presence.
Since people won’t be able to bet with the other big national operators, BetMGM and Caesar’s have a tremendous opportunity to make their product known to the influx of people coming to the city for the Super Bowl. It will be intriguing to see how those coming into Las Vegas from out of town, who are accustomed to brands like FanDuel or DraftKings, will react. It will also be interesting to see if out-of-towners’ experiences with the BetMGM app might influence them to switch to that app after they return home. This could significantly impact player conversion.
This year will certainly be quite different from previous years. I’ve grown up in this industry, having run sportsbooks at retail locations for years. Nevada, formerly the only place in the country to bet, has maintained its requirement for in-person registration, a mandate not seen in other states. This makes it challenging in Nevada. However, unless regulations change, I fear Nevada might not thrive as much as other states.
In your opinion, what new opportunities / challenges does hosting the Super Bowl in Nevada present for sportsbooks? Could this be the year of ‘record bets’?
Allan Petrilli: In my honest opinion, I don’t necessarily believe that the location of the Super Bowl does, or should, have an impact on the volume of bets place. Of course, if we’re looking at the land-based industry in Nevada, then sure, we may see more bets placed at brick-and-mortar casinos. Although Las Vegas has always been a popular destination on Super Bowl weekend, regardless of where the game was being played.
That being said, I do believe that there may be some challenges around the lack of pure mobile betting in Nevada. Across the Silver State, players need to create their betting accounts in-person; so, I wonder if sportsbooks will be able to handle the increased volume of bets on gameday in a manner that doesn’t resolve in massive lines.
Troy Paul: Absolutely! Super Bowl LVIII certainly has the potential to be the year where we see a record number of bets placed.
Jamie Shea: Every year is a year for record bets. Since the repeal of PASPA six years ago, the understanding and popularity of sports betting have steadily grown. I believe this trend will continue, and Nevada, in particular, might see a record year for sportsbooks. Station Casinos, local to Nevada, will likely see a record number of sports bets placed. Nationally, with the sports betting industry’s substantial growth, massive numbers of bets are expected through major operators. Those not traveling to the game as well as those getting their bets in, in their home state before traveling, will be a big number indeed. The promotions have been fantastic, further fueling the growth of sports betting. The popularity of the Super Bowl is influenced by various factors like team matchups, halftime show performers, and fan bases. The industry’s continued innovation, including popularizing prop bets and live betting, will keep the Super Bowl engaging.
And how about casinos, are they going to miss out on the action? or is there opportunity for cross-selling casino to sports bettors, and vice versa?
Allan Petrilli: The land-based venues are obviously going to benefit from the increased footfall that weekend. But I don’t believe that there is a significant opportunity around pure casino acquisition during the Super Bowl.
That being said, acquiring new players during Super Bowl weekend is relatively “cheap” for online betting and gaming companies, especially given the organic interest around the game and the widening of relevant audiences. But generally speaking, this type of traffic tends to be lower quality and, quite often, churns quite quickly.
That isn’t to say that there is absolutely no opportunity for casino acquisition, however. For brands with multiple verticals, there is a great opportunity to potentially acquire casinos for a low price and, at a later date, cross-sell other products. This strategy is much easier said than done; if brands want to do this effectively, they need to be creative and timely in their offering.
Troy Paul: There are opportunities for casinos, but only those situated in Las Vegas. Over Super Bowl weekend, players flock to the Mecca of sports betting that is Las Vegas for a bit of entertainment. And many big gamblers would much rather spend their money on wagering in the casinos than on an expensive ticket for just one day! So there is no doubt that sports fans in the city will also have a flutter on casino games too.
Jamie Shea: Regarding casinos, I don’t think they will miss out on the action. Everyone coming to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl will likely stay at a casino property, exposing sports bettors to casino games. The excitement will be palpable. Who doesn’t want to play craps alongside excited fans of their team or of the NFL, in general? The sports bars, slots, table games and restaurants will be filled to the hilt with enthusiastic fans.
What more can, or should, the gambling industry be doing to capitalise on the hype surrounding major sporting events such as the Super Bowl?
Allan Petrilli: For me, it always comes down to personalisation. Acquiring new users and getting bets placed for the Super Bowl is sometimes seen as being “easy”, but converting those users into long-term, loyal customers is quite the opposite. It is very difficult. This is then made that bit harder because those newly acquired customers are then looped into the same CRM and loyalty schemes as the more traditional bettors, but you need to approach these players very differently.
One way to keep these players engaged is by offering interesting, unique markets for future bets – whether that’s politics or even entertainment. This is really important. What you also need to ensure is that you educate these users and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel safe and not alienated. This is why personalisation is so important.
Troy Paul: Firstly, the gambling industry should make sure that they are promoting the products that their audiences want to see – namely prop bets and parlays. If you give players what they want, then they will certainly be happy.
Secondly, sportsbooks should offer Bonus Boost bets for the markets that they have on offer; if you do that, players will certainly show up.
And thirdly, this is more specific to the casinos, but have lots of TVs and places to sit. This might sound like a simple idea, but it will be very effective – players want to be comfortable when having a bet. They might even pay a fee for the luxury of having a comfortable seat. But just make sure you don’t make that fee egregiously high!
Jamie Shea: The industry is already maximizing the Super Bowl hype through promotions and marketing. Operators like BetMGM and Caesars should ensure easy account registration on their properties. While promotions and advertising are crucial, the long-term success hinges on offering a superior product.
The Super Bowl presents an opportunity to attract new customers, making it essential for sportsbooks to provide user-friendly and appealing platforms. Additionally, the industry must prioritize responsible gambling, ensuring sports betting remains a safe and sustainable form of entertainment.
And finally, if you had to make a prediction on who will win the game, who would you guess?
Allan Petrilli: I think that this might be the year for the Chiefs.
Troy Paul: Taylor Swift versus Patrick Mahomes … now that’s too tough to call!
Jamie Shea: Regarding predictions for the game winner, I’m caught up in the Taylor Swift hype. Her involvement brings fresh eyes to the NFL, introducing the sport to a new demographic, which is fantastic for sports engagement. In this sense, Taylor Swift has already won the Super Bowl in my eyes!
Sportingtech’s plans for expansion in 2024
Sportingtech is continuing to enhance its reputation across the globe and is the number one provider in LatAm, with more plans to grow now that regulation in Brazil imminent. Senior Director of Emerging Markets, Mark Schmidt, outlines what lies ahead.
Tell us about your new role in a nutshell?
I have now worked at Sportingtech for 18 months, previously as Sales Director, Africa. In my new role, I will be driving the company’s expansion into new and developing markets, with an increased focus on Latin America. I will also continue to drive growth in Africa. I am responsible for formulating and executing market entry strategies, establishing key partnerships, and ensuring regulatory compliance in targeted emerging markets. This means staying abreast of all regulatory developments in Brazil, particularly over the next 12 months, as we gain a clearer picture of the country’s regulatory framework and licensing plans.
What constitutes a new and emerging market for Sportingtech and how does the brand decide to increase its footprint in that area?
An emerging market for us is one that shows exponential growth and has untapped potential. For Sportingtech, this covers both LatAm and Africa. Although both markets are showing significant growth, our award-winning platform will ensure our partners push further and establish themselves as market leaders. Our continued success over many years is due to our understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach never works. We provide a solution that is unique to each operator across all regulated markets and we succeed at this by using our years of local research and knowledge
On the back of our huge success in Brazil, the decision to increase our footprint in the region was an easy one.
Being the number one platform provider in Brazil didn’t happen by accident, we have invested heavily in infrastructure and technology. We have also gone to great lengths in hiring the best people who love what they do and understand that precision, passion, and urgency are fundamental when working in such a demanding market. We have laid the foundation now and we will not be standing still. We will be continuing to look at ways of improving all facets of our offering to maintain the high standards.
What learnings have you taken from your role of Sales Director Africa and how can these experiences be applied when tapping into other locations?
There is a definite crossover between the betting markets in Africa and LatAm. I have been fortunate enough over the last 15 years of being in the industry to work for Tier 1 operators across both B2B and B2C.
Understanding market dynamics is crucial, ensuring best practice is followed. The key thing is to understand that every operator has their own unique needs and delivering products or services that are fully aligned with those needs.
Sports betting has exploded in Latin America, much like it has done in Africa and understanding this proved to be popular as we made our presence felt. Of course, LatAm is a different beast with comprehensive regulations, but following the same patterns should result in commercial success for our partners.
Regarding LatAm, many of our competitors see the region as an opportunity, but fail to actually get meet operators and hear about their plans first hand. This is something we do differently as we believe in partnerships and understand what makes our partners tick. This is something you can’t find out over email or a video call.
As has been the case for the last few years for Sportingtech, our commercial and technical teams will be out travelling to meet existing and potential customers, not just at the industry shows but also for dedicated visits.
LatAm is a huge focus for the industry, and with Brazil recently giving the green light to regulation, what do you expect from that market in 2024?
First and foremost, market growth. With increased accessibility and a legal framework in place, more operators are likely to enter the market. This will lead to a broader range of gaming options for consumers. This increase in activity will have a positive impact on the economy, which can be significantly boosted through tax contributions and the creation of new jobs.
More licensed operators mean more options for the customer, and stiff competition between brands. With operators vying for a strong foothold in the market, they will be striving to create the best products and services to differentiate themselves. Unsurprisingly there will be a lot of interest from international brands who can bring expertise, capital, and perspectives from different markets to enhance the industry in the region.
To help maximize this engagement, the technology offering must be reliable. The integration and utilization of technology across all devices can enhance the betting experiences for players and this can be accelerated if the appetite is there.
Just because regulation provides a legal framework, there are still challenges in enforcing these regulations. There is still work to be done by the authorities to ensure a safe environment. Make no mistake, there is a huge opportunity to implement comprehensive measures for both operators and players, and ensure the region thrives.
Finally, the societal impact of gambling, both positive and negative, may become a subject of discussion. Advocacy groups and policymakers may address concerns related to addiction, social inequality, and the overall impact on communities.
It is essential to keep in mind that the success of the regulated gambling market in Brazil will depend on the effectiveness of the regulatory framework, responsible industry practices, and the ability to balance economic benefits with social and ethical considerations.
Are there any other regions in LatAm that you deem to have untapped potential?
Mexico already has a well-established gambling industry, but there is still potential for growth, particularly in the online and mobile betting sectors. The Mexican government has been considering regulatory changes to accommodate new forms of gambling.
Colombia was one of the first countries in Latin America to regulate online gambling. The market is considered relatively open, and further growth anticipated, especially in the online casino and sports betting segments.
Peru’s gambling industry, including casinos and sports betting, has been growing steadily. The government’s openness to regulation and the country’s economic stability make it a potential area for further investment.
Sportingtech’s success in Brazil means that these areas bring their own opportunities and is the next natural step for us to enhance our already outstanding credentials in LatAm.
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