Following its agreements with Golden Nugget, Churchill Downs and Resorts Casino, Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech, speaks to Gambling Insider about the supplier’s US market plans.
How satisfied are you with your current position in the US market?
SBTech has just launched five retail properties for our partners Churchill Downs, Golden Nugget and Resorts Casino in Mississippi and New Jersey respectively. Over the next few months, we will be onboarding new clients in new states and we will see our customer base grow at an industry leading level. We are pleased with our progress so far, but there is lot more to come and we are looking forward to maintaining our edge on our competitors.
To what extent did you prepare for the PASPA repeal before the Supreme Court made its decision?
We started to take a serious look at the US market in January 2017, and as part of this due diligence process, I attended the inaugural American Gaming Association sports betting task force meeting in Washington in March 2017. It was quite clear then that momentum was starting to build and so when the Supreme Court announced in June 2017 that it would hear arguments in the state of New Jersey’s quest to legalise sports gambling, thereby overruling the US Solicitor General’s opinion that the case was not worthy of its time, SBTech management then made the decision to start accelerating our US market entry strategy.
Has the speed of development in the market since the PASPA repeal surprised you at all?
It has not surprised SBTech. We were prepared for multiple outcomes and our base case was always for a full PASPA repeal. In hindsight, I can say we made a good bet, as we laid a lot of groundwork in the preceding 12 months, which is now allowing us to reap the rewards of those investments as demonstrated by the partners we have so far contracted with.
How likely is it we will see more sports betting activity from SBTech in the US? What are the chances you will agree deals with more operators in New Jersey, Mississippi and other states?
SBTech will continue to invest in its product and employees in the US market and our expectations are to increase the number of partners in this important market, although it’s about working with the right partners, that share our vision and have the same growth/investment aspirations as we do.
Why do you think SBTech was chosen ahead of other suppliers when you agreed partnerships with Golden Nugget, Churchill Downs and Resorts?
At SBTech we live and breathe sports betting. It is the core DNA of the company and I think this resonates significantly with partners. In addition, when you couple this with the industry’s deepest and widest event and market coverage, leading unique product features such as “Odds Boost” which increases the pay out on bets, our vast experience in regulated markets around the world and our highly configurable responsible gaming features, we believe we have an unrivaled complete sports betting offering.
Our modular platform approach, flexible architecture, together with our recent experience of rapidly managing entry into complicated newly regulated sports betting markets in Europe will also have been important factor, as was our team and the passion that they bring to each partnership clearly gave comfort to each of our clients, who saw a group of highly-talented individuals all committed to the same goal of building the best consumer experience possible for the marketplace.
What alterations, if any, have you had to make to your sports betting offering in the US from the platform you provide in other markets?
Our sports offering was already US-centric. The main adaptations we have had to make for the US are based on regulatory restrictions that have limited some sports and events that we offer in other markets. We are so far pleased with the response by US sports betting customers in New Jersey and Mississippi to our US sports offering and we will continue to work with regulators to bring the most entertaining products to them.