Our record-breaking ‘The Return of the Leaders and Legends’ webinar saw six of the industry’s most recognised leaders share their insights and opinions on the topics and trends having the greatest impact on the global iGaming sector.
Perhaps the biggest topic is the US sports betting opportunity and how the various stakeholders are approaching what is considered to be one of the largest betting markets in the world.
Our Managing Director for the Americas, Nick Nally, reflects on the discussion and provides additional insight into how Continent 8 has established a technical and support infrastructure across the US and how this is enabling our partners to succeed.
The US sports betting market has captured the attention of the industry since PASPA was repealed in 2018. But the market has really ramped up over the past 12 months and Continent 8 is now live in over 20 states with more sites set to launch this year.
During the webinar Jordan Levin of Scientific Games Digital explained two key changes in the American market. The first being “step change happened during lockdown with more states passing laws, regulating”. The other being eCommerce trends and the accelerated use from a consumer perspective, from payments to interactivity. He believes both have contributed to accelerating the US sports betting market.
The pace at which states have flicked the switch on legal sports betting – both land-based and online – has caused headaches for operators. On occasion, they have launched in two states simultaneously, putting tremendous pressure on resources and teams.
Speaking during the webinar, FanDuel CEO Matt King said that the company was now in a position where it could easily handle such scenarios.
“We rolled out two new states – in Virginia and Michigan – over a span of 18 hours, and I think when we started this journey in sports betting it took us six months to do the first two states.”
Aiding this ability to enter multiple states at the same time and leveraging the first mover advantage has been down to the improved technical infrastructure that operators can take advantage of; this is something Continent 8 has prioritised since the US market first opened.
We are now live in 20+ states allowing operators to move quickly and we offer a range of service options including private cloud. This includes compute, storage and network services which we make available on a dedicated and managed infrastructure platform. Environments are bespoke and built to suit three-year requirements in an isolated co-location rack which is provisioned and managed up to the hypervisor level and on an OPEX model.
We can also support AWS Outposts deployment, bringing customers AWS Services in a dedicated 42U rack which is managed via the AWS UI and tools. We can connect this Outpost to both local in-state services and remote private connections out of state to AWS directly.
In New Jersey, dubbed the sports betting capital of the world, we offer partners a regulatory approved Public Cloud, enabling compute, network and storage as a service on a shared platform with dedicated connectivity for regulatory monitoring as well as in-state and out of state public internet and private MPLS services.
These services and infrastructures allow operators to ensure they can handle the rise in demand for sports betting that we are seeing as the market continues to grow.
Indeed, during the webinar Shimon Akad of Playtech confirmed the US market as “the biggest opportunity” for iGaming. While Yaniv Sherman of 888 holdings PLC remarked “we’re now seeing a super-accelerated trend”.
He added: “It doesn’t really matter whether the numbers right now are 10, 20, 30 billion dollars, everybody now understands this is the single biggest opportunity over the next few years.”
Matt King also said that the industry is quickly moving towards being part of the mainstream.
“There are changes going on in terms of acceptance,” he said. “If you look at the first game back of the NBA season after the pandemic shutdown in August, you had Charles Barkley talking about the FanDuel odds on the Turner pre-game show – that would have never happened the year before.
“So, I think we are starting to see the gradual introduction of sports betting, not just in the local sports conversation, but also in the national sports conversation which creates some really exciting opportunities,” King added.
This was certainly reflected in betting activity during the Super Bowl with record-breaking numbers reported.
To ensure that our partners were able to cope with this increase in demand, we took additional steps which included bringing in more support staff throughout the weekend as well as NetOps and SysOps resources available online for immediate response.
These resources ensured we had full coverage throughout the evening, including the build-up to the game as well as the game itself.
We also undertook a network review prior to the event which resulted in a number of actions and preparatory tasks that were completed ahead of the Super Bowl to ensure optimum operability.
The result was a smooth and seamless Super Bowl for our partners and customers who in turn were able to provide their customers with an uninterrupted experience in the run up to and during what is the biggest sporting event in the US. The same goes for March Madness, which reportedly accounted for a 559% surge in sports betting app downloads in March.
You can find the full recording of our ‘The Return of the Leaders and Legends’ webinar here