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Sergey Portnov predicts the future of sports bookmaking

2 min to read
Sergey Portnov predicts the future of sports bookmaking

Change is on the horizon - very soon there will be over 100 new betting sites targeting the 18-25 years old demographic, representing a 70% chance. As a result of such a saturated market and shifting dynamics; user experience, marketing strategy, and a risk-taking approach will become vital to bookmakers’ competitiveness, let alone gaining market share. Speaking at World Gaming Executive Summit 2019, Sergey Portnov gave his take on what is coming down the line for sports betting.

Sports betting is booming, driven by increased accessibility (mobile betting), emerging games (eSports) and advances in technology (improved user interface). With growing marketing budgets and loan-to-value ratio, bookmakers will become a unique source of sports and game content. Betting businesses will run sport competitions to ensure an “always-on” live-betting proposition, meaning that fast sports will dominate.

In order to drive innovation and re-energize company culture, many betting businesses will also transform their senior leadership teams. Leaders will need to be willing to take risks, be hungry for success and move away from the status quo. The probability of such changes is 62%. With new leaders will also come new vision, and major bookmakers will reconsider branding, adapting their brand voice and product offering to appeal to the new generation of players.

The next major industry shift will be in payments, with the launch of new payment solutions. Bookmakers will finally start building USPs around payment methods. In the past few years, the online gaming industry has been driving innovation in online payments and global payment technology has allowed betting providers to expand into new markets quickly. However it is no longer enough for payments to be safe and secure; payments must be quick, allowing for withdrawal in minutes, with next-level integration with PSPs and banks. In this way, payments will be a key differentiator between bookmarkers – even more important than odds.

Sports streaming will also be disrupted, for the better. Streaming will become higher quality, with HD visuals, a highlights feed, interactive stream and capability for replays. Increasingly, customers want access to a variety of broadcasts, with no time delays, in order to facilitate a wide-ranging and seamless live-betting experience.


There’s lots of debate around offshore markets vs regulated markets. It’s a fact that offshore markets grow faster – they have the flexibility to adapt and establish their own ways of operating. This trend will continue as long as players in these markets are unrestricted by regulation – which is often when payment solutions and digital marketing perform best.

Finally, and this will surprise and scare many in equal measures, cybersport will no longer be the newcomer, and will account for 10% of revenue for betting operators. The industry is worth over $1 billion in marketing revenue and attracts a loyal young audience. Fans flock from all over the world to major tournaments, and so we will see more and more sponsors capitalize on the meteoric rise in the sport’s popularity.

One thing is for sure, the tide is turning and bookmakers face two options: innovate or die.

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