INTERGAMINGi explores what’s new for players in the world of sports betting. This interview looks at the latest innovations including in-play betting, simulated reality and virtual sports by speaking to Thomas Molloy, Sportsbook and Trading Director at Pronet Gaming
Could you tell us about the company and how it started?
Pronet Gaming offers next-generation iGaming and retail solutions that deliver the gaming experience of the future. Armed with a market-specific online sportsbook, plus all-encompassing casino and retail solutions, we combine a technology-led approach with vast industry know-how to provide clients with a rapid and reliable service tailored to their needs.
In which markets does the company currently operate?
We recently expanded our commercial operations to sharpen our focus on markets in Africa and Asia, with bases in London, Johannesburg, and Singapore, as well as development centres in Ukraine, Bulgaria and Malta.
Our casino portfolio features more than 6,500 of the world’s best casino games from more than 90 of the industry’s leading suppliers, while our sportsbook solution provides end-users with thousands of betting opportunities across more than 1,500 markets, with 55,000+ In-Play events every month and 500,000+ Pre-Match events per year.
For those not in the know what’s new in the world of online sports betting?
Our new bet stimulation tool Bet Assist has been massively well received. The automated sports insight data feed covers more than 100 popular betting markets, both pre-match and live. It is powered by both historical data and AI analysis and is designed to heighten customer engagement, retention and turnover rates by supplying tips in a feed or widget on the operator’s site. A fully integrated bet slip aids quick navigation and we have already seen very positive results since we included it as an option for operators within our platform.
The product provides a breadth of targeted insights for the bettor that has not been seen before within the industry. Information is put in front of them seamlessly within the traditional layout of a sportsbook.
What are the most complex aspects of entering new markets with such unique products?
The most challenging aspect of entering new markets is that no one is completely similar to another from a regulatory, compliance and cultural point of view. Our aim is to produce a solution that is appropriate for the particular conditions of any given market.
More often than not from a content perspective, the solution is a more localised approach and the implantation of tools that allow the operators to target their customer’s needs more accurately.
Conversely, what have been the most enjoyable aspects the company has discovered while expanding its horizons?
It was incredibly enjoyable to top off 2021 by reaching our three-year goals within 18 months. There was a wide range of factors working in unison to make this achievement a reality. For one thing, our platform solutions proved increasingly popular across global markets, including in Africa and LatAm, which resulted in a two-fold rise in turnover. In total, we have signed over 35 new clients in the past 18 months.
As well as that, we saw successful content integrations with providers including Golden Race, UltraPlay and Sportradar, which helped our esports and virtual sports product lines achieve significant growth. Our industry-first, in-house developed features such as FastBet and Popular Bets and our proprietary betting widgets introduced during Euro 2020 and the Copa America last summer all helped maximise the player experience.
Crucially, by offering an entirely modular system our customers have been able to customise the sports betting features that suit their specific needs in regulated markets.
What elements do you believe go into making successful products?
In our case, by offering an entirely modular system our customers have been able to cherry-pick the sports betting features that suit their specific needs. This has been extremely influential in the success of our products in regulated markets. It has allowed our customers to provide a consistently superior experience for their audience, enabling them to increase revenues while retaining and engaging players.
As well as that, we continue to focus our efforts on customisation, speed-to-market and product innovation, a strategy that continues to yield effective products.
Why do you believe your company resonates with players?
Our rapidly expanding workforce includes expertise that covers the full width and breadth of the gaming industry and we have been keen to make sure that diverse knowledge base is reflected in our product. I think that definitely resonates with end-users.
What do you feel are the issues some companies face that can turn a potentially successful product into one that doesn’t succeed?
The success of a promising product is still at the mercy of a provider’s flexibility and the understanding they have of their customer’s requirements. Our clients want a sportsbook to reflect their needs no matter the sport their customers are betting on.
Many sports bettors in Africa, for example, enjoy placing wagers on the Premier League just as much as punters in the UK. We provide clients with bespoke UI tools to maximise the reach and impact of their brands, while offering a range of payment methods that players in a particular locality will be able to utilise.
One of the biggest issues in Africa is data, or a lack of it. Our Mobile Lite innovation, compatible with multiple devices and browsers including Opera Mini, negotiates many of the hurdles that have stood between mobile sports betting and mass adoption in Africa. It achieves this by ensuring a less data-heavy betting experience but crucially, keeps most of the exciting features that come with the mobile experience. This ensures players can still enjoy a rich content and feature set but streamlined, so players can place bets at speed while using less data.
What are the most interesting trends you’ve noticed in the fast-paced online sports industry?
With so much choice on offer for the end-user, it is important for operators to avoid over-reliance on one vertical. Our experience in mature markets, especially as they approach higher levels of saturation, is that differentiation is key to separating the wheat from the chaff. Localisation is vital, therefore; fragmented regions like Africa can exhibit vastly different player profiles and demographic trends, meaning a detailed knowledge of the intricacies of each market is essential.
Our new Popular Bets and Popular Events widgets promise flexibility of use, allowing operators to display to different areas of their sites, and are optimised for both mobile and desktop. They auto-populate bets according to each given operator’s own traffic, creating a hassle-free, personalised engagement tool. This follows our highly engaging and successful sports betting widgets that were rolled out ahead of Euro 2020 and Copa América.
Where do you see the industry headed in the next year?
As always, we will get a laser-sharp picture of where the industry is and where it is going at ICE London. Those in attendance at the show this April will benefit from speaking to our team about our latest innovations. The core focus of Pronet Gaming’s attention at the event will be on products, covering both online sportsbook, casino and retail solutions.
What exciting news should your customers be looking forward to in the near future?
A special section of our enlarged 400m2 stand at ICE London 2022 is devoted to our new managed services solution, Focused, a user-friendly system offering top-level management capabilities that enables operators to sharpen their approach to the player experience. There will also be a dedicated area devoted to our retail offering. On top of that, we have big plans for Asia that attendees can expect to hear a lot more about at the show.