Neale Deeley, the head of US betting at SportRadar, refers to the next cycle of online sports betting in this country as the “innovation wave.”
Currently, the US exists as the “product wave,” according to Deeley. States legalize sports betting, and then apps become introduced to new or existing bettors. Products have also been improving and getting slicker.
“The innovation wave is going to be interesting because I think the US is going to start leading the world in the kinds of things you’ll see,” Deeley said.
But what’s next?
How does the future of sports betting tech look?
Well, Deeley didn’t want to make any predictions. Yet same-game parlays — with PointsBet offering the live, in-game version — are certainly examples of innovation. And there will be more to come on the technological-advances front.
“Most Americans are betting through apps (as opposed to mobile web browsers or desktops),” Deeley said. “And it’s through a native app that gives a much greater technological capability to build out slick functionality on how they consume it.
“There’s talk of using voice to bet, things of that nature. So moving away from the menu-navigation type thing. A huge amount of work is also going on in terms of personalization — so decluttering the interference to just what a particular bettor is interested in (favorite teams, players, etc. …).
“Big Tech solved this problem to some degree in other sectors — it just needs to find its way into betting, and that’s starting to happen.”
For a statistical data provider, touchscreens also hold the future of sports betting. Consider possible wagers flashing on the game broadcast and then placed with a simple click.
Any innovation must face, conquer latency issues
But there are still latency issues — especially with the amount of cord-cutting that has happened. Streaming delays don’t exactly work in terms of the live-betting experience.
“We’re a tech organization that understands that latency matters, so we’re heavily involved in that process,” Deeley said. “It’s not a new challenge. It’s been around for a long time, and is well understood. But if you’ve cut the cord and you’re 30 seconds behind the action and your bookmaker app is telling you what’s happened, that can be an experience that’s not the most enjoyable.
“I think there’s a lot of work that ought to be going on in terms of the latency side — on the streams and broadcasts — to bring that more in-line with real-time, notwithstanding some of the issues around Janet Jackson (the Super Bowl halftime show controversy) in the past, I think you’ll start to see those gaps close and the latency in terms of the second screen and the app closing quite considerably over time.”
Innovation wave of sports betting has already begun
During a November 2021 conference, Ken Wachtel, chief business officer for the NHL, said that the league was looking to ramp up its own in-play betting structure with help from SportRadar’s puck and player tracking data.
“I think where you get to with technology helping to facilitate (in-play betting) is in a number of areas,” Deeley said. “1. Creation of additional markets and new bet types, and 2. By having tracking information, we get a much richer set of data on which to base the algorithms and what’s going to happen, and therefore you can keep prices on the board a lot longer.
“I think the tech is going to flow its way through, and you’ll start to see suspensions in your inability to get your bet off. No (bettor) likes the idea that they missed on a winner because they were waiting for the whole circle to accept a bet. You’ll start to see that drift off into being memory rather than being an everyday occurrence.”