PointsBet Gambles On Industry Rookie Kyle Christensen To Seek Out Casual Customers

Written By Mike Mazzeo on November 2, 2021
Fans watch the action on the seventh hole during a practice round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Kyle Christensen’s goal as the new Chief Marketing Officer for PointsBet is simple: bring in customers like himself.

Before joining the sports betting industry — following stops at Facebook, National Geographic and Netflix — Christensen considered himself a casual sports gambler. He’d make a few bets in Las Vegas and wager on the Super Bowl. That was pretty much it.

“I’m probably the consumer we really want to start to bring in,” Christensen told PlayNY on Day 4 of his new job. “The people that have been betting for a while, we just really need to give them a lot of things they need and continue to enhance it. But what’s the incentive for somebody like me to come in and really start to use it more and more?

“I think that’s the nut to crack. And I’m excited to dig in on that.”

How PointsBet can get back on track

PointsBet is banking on an outsider providing a unique perspective as it tries to make up for lost ground. The company’s share price dropped 18% in its latest earnings call. Christensen said his goals in the short- and medium-term are product focus and message simplification.

“We’re not going to be able to kind of throw all the money that somebody like DraftKings is doing,” Christensen said. “We don’t have the database that somebody like BetMGM has. But what we do have is a superior product, and our focus on in-play betting is really what we’re trying to optimize right now.

“And then simplifying the message. You see these promos running every weekend, and if you closed your eyes you couldn’t tell who’s who. And so how do we zig when others zag so that you can get out of this sea of sameness which is promo offers?

“Don’t get me wrong, promo offers are great and really help to get people to engage, but how can we create messaging that is frankly different than our competitors?”

Spending smart the key for PointsBet growth

PointsBet’s focus has been utilizing its partnership with NBC and expanding its in-play betting for golf.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Christensen said. “And I’d even take it a step further — one of the things I’ve been joking with my friends about is we can bet against each other, or ‘fade’ as they say in the industry, each other’s bets. So not only have a wager on what’s going to happen, but also kind of double that if you will, and engage with your friends in order to up the ante and the experience a little bit more.

“We’ve really just scratched the surface.”

PointsBet spent barely $20 million on marketing in its last quarter. It needs to be more creative than some of its larger competitors, though the brand has spent up to acquire ambassadors like Allen Iverson and Drew Brees.

“This is really where I rely on my Facebook experience and understanding the customer,” Christensen said. “Meeting them, understanding what they need, and delivering it to them. And that goes back to a more focused approach, but we think in the long-term we get more quality consumers, long-term bettors, and more share of the wallet at the end of the day.

“I don’t want to make it seem like it’s easy but that’s the goal right now: spend efficiently and get the best consumers in the door.”

As for what’s to come, Christensen said, “We’ve got unbelievable people, and they’ve got an appetite to make this company succeed. Stay tuned. We’re strapped to a rocket ship, and it’s gonna be fun.”

Lead photo: Matt York | AP

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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