New bookmakers and casinos are entering the UK and global markets on a regular basis as an already crowded sector gets even larger. Over the course of a calendar year, you could maybe expect at least 20 new players as they look to gain a foothold.
Admittedly this is a very lucrative area for those that can make their mark but just how do they compete with the established brands? Enter the betting market and you will be up against the likes of William Hill who have been around since 1934 or Ladbrokes, who were first involved in horse racing way back in 1886.
Both of those are true household names and they are able to spend lavishly on advertising budgets to keep their name firmly entrenched in the betting community. There are plenty more such as Coral and Betfred with long histories so just what does a new sportsbook need to do to get itself noticed?
The New Kids
There are certain benefits to being new: regular bettors will always be curious about a new brand and to see what it has to offer. Daily players are likely to have anything up to 100 accounts – possibly even more – although many may be dormant.
To further enhance their chances of gaining some early sign ups, the new sportsbook should be looking to offer a generous welcome bonus and this is an area where they can definitely compete against the big boys.
Let’s look at some of the opening deals that were being quoted by established brands at the start of 2016: 888sport were publishing an enhanced treble odds offer on your opening bet and while that can be great if you win, a losing first stake means you get absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile, Paddy Power give you 3 x £10 free bets if you open and bet with £10.00. Others are very similar with Coral offering £20.00 in return for a £5.00 stake and William Hill doubling your initial £10.00 to £20.00.
Those are fair deals and easy to claim but when compared to other bookmakers – particularly those focussed on mainland Europe – they aren’t that lucrative.
Two relatively new operators have taken advantage of that: Betway give you a no-nonsense 100% matched bonus up to £30.00 while bet365, who may seem long established but were set up as recently as 2000, offer up to £100.00 as a generous ‘Hello’.
In fact, those two bookies should be a great example to the really new boys: Start with a great welcome deal and you can win a good batch of early punters.
Once a customer sets up an account, there are several key factors that will make them stay. Firstly, the bookmaker has to offer them a wide range of markets. OK so everyone quotes for football but do they cover all the matches from around the world and are their enough side markets to keep the player interested?
For a major football match, the established bookies could be quoting more than 100 side bets so it must be important for them to go into such detail.
The same applies for other sports and it helps to cover some niche events such as pool, snooker and maybe even chess while some politics and entertainments markets are also useful. Not all bookmakers will do this and this can be a disadvantage for the newbies.
Secondly, the odds must be competitive. Customers want value in all areas of their consumer life and when it comes to betting, that means strong prices in all markets.
One of the disadvantages for new bookmakers is their absence from the main comparison site Oddschecker. This is where the majority of punters go in order to see who is quoting the longest odds for a particular event but it’s full of established names such as Ladbrokes, bet365, Coral and 888sport.
Therefore, in order to check out the new boys, the bettor would have to log on and try each one individually but few will have the time of the patience to do so.
Ongoing promotions are also important for those looking to back up their welcome offer with some more value. Look at the likes of William Hill, Coral and 888sport and you may well find up to ten promos going off on any particular day of the year. This is an area where the new boys do struggle to compete as many have just one or two regular deals.
However, those isolated bonuses can be very generous so it’s worth hanging around. Big Bet World are a good example here with an Acca Boost offer called SuperPay Bonus which could enhance your profits by as much as 80% on winning multiples.
Into the Unknown
The big disadvantage for a brand new bookmaker is their low reputation as they come into the market. It can take some time to build that up but it will develop as customers test them out and hopefully leave positive reviews about their experience.
Clever marketing campaigns can also help and while there won’t be a huge advertising budget to start with, there are other outlets and Betsafe’s clever YouTube channel is a good example of what can be done to get yourself noticed.
But there is certainly hope and we’ve already mentioned Betway as a good example of this. Established in 2007, the company quickly established their brand and in less than ten years they have set up a big TV advertising campaign while a 2015-16 sponsorship deal with English Premier League side West Ham has also attracted a wider audience.
They now feature on the most popular odds comparison site while their list of markets and competitive odds sees high customer retention among its account holders.
It certainly is a hugely competitive world but for those who have established a sportsbook in the last two years or will be looking to do so in the near future, there is plenty that can be done in order to make their voices heard.