The US market is already highly active in terms of discussions being held and deals being agreed, but there is still much business to be done with potential partners and investors alike, says Hervé Schlosser, founder and CEO of Sportnco.
Having attended the Betting on Sports event in New Jersey just two weeks ago and as I prepare for ICE North America next week, it is clear interest levels in all things igaming remain very high in the US.
The FOX Bet agreement announced this week is a sign of the activity and the level of the deals being struck, but in truth the US igaming market is still in its earliest stages and there is much business to be done.
At state level, New Jersey has wholeheartedly embraced the sector and despite only regulating sports betting last year (and online casino in 2013), it has been a driver of gambling regulation for other states. This of course is great news for a company like Sportnco as US gambling groups explore potential solutions and partnerships.
This level of interest is also replicated in the investment community stateside and I am looking forward to meeting and speaking with many of these executives at the ICE North America Investors’ Day on Monday 13 May.
When it comes to the product offerings US casinos are planning for their customers it really will depend on their requirements and strategy.
As igaming consultant David Sargeant recently wrote, do they want their sports betting products to act as recurring acquisition tools or do they view betting as a run-through into casino, across multiple states and channels with single wallet payment options?
In truth at Sportnco we are neutral to those scenarios, because our solutions are adaptable to our clients’ business requirements and, importantly, the regulatory environments they work in.
The experience we have gained in France, Spain or Portugal means we tailor our odds to suit specific tax levels and regulations. For the US market it means offering solutions that enable our clients to target players regardless of the state they operate in; whether it is in more business-friendly New Jersey or in Pennsylvania, where the tax rates are higher.
This is a situation we are used to dealing with in Europe – for example in France the tax rate comes to more than 50% of gross gaming revenues (GGR) whereas in Spain it is around 10%. In practical terms it means tailoring odds and managing the liabilities with the types of bets accepted. It also translates into bespoke marketing solutions for our clients with price boosts for specific events and sports.
And of course Sportnco is fully transparent when it comes to our legal and shareholder structure. This provides a level of assurance to US clients and regulators that is not always as prevalent as it could be in our industry.
Discussions with US colleagues have so far been very encouraging and we are confident our experience and success in Europe can be replicated in the US. And while there has been an initial rush to sign agreements stateside, there is still much business to be done.
This will play out in the coming months and US industry events such as ICE North America play a key role in bringing stakeholders together and pushing the US industry forward.