Retail betting has taken a heavy hit over the past few years, as more customers move online, regulatory developments affect its operations and the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a  major blow.

For speakers at the recent Betting on Sports Europe (BOSE) event earlier this month, the answer to the retail industry’s woes is the adoption of an omnichannel approach to customer engagement.

Moderated by Bettormetrics‘ Commercial Director Paul McNea and sponsored by Golden Race, the ‘Improving the retail betting experience’ panel saw Star Sports’ Head of Retail, Matt Davies, explain his company’s implementation of an omni-channel strategy as it copes with the retail-online migration.

“We were actually very successful when we transferred our telephone business to online and we still have a very successful telephone business,” he detailed. “If we can get all three of those channels with the retail a big part of that we will be in a good place, and I’d imagine in two or three years time we will be somewhere we really want to be.”

Davies did find an area of disagreement with Jamie McKittrick, VP Commercial Operations at Kambi, as his co-panelist maintained that omni-channel offerings could alienate traditional retail bettors.

The Star Sports retail chief responded: “I actually don’t see any downside of the omni-channel customer, so probably slightly disagree with Jamie. You get a reduced percentage of the margin but you get all of the business and you build relationships and loyalty, so I really don’t see too much of a downside.”

Asserting his view, McKittrick said: “The last thing you want to do really is take a retail customer that’s quite happy betting 20 folds on a football coupon or filling out a Lucky15 coupon or whatever else that might be, and move them to a different environment where you’re going to encourage them to operate at a lower margin. That’s probably one of the big risks.”

Despite this, earlier on the discussion the Kambi VP shared a number of views in favour of the omni-channel customer, and he held the same opinions as his fellow speakers that the adoption of such an approach was the best means of salvaging retail betting.

He observed: “The people who want to have a spin on the roulette are still there, they just migrated to digital, so if you can use that omni-channel experience to capture a greater share of wallet, it’s a much cheaper cost per acquisition compared to some of the three, four or five figure sums you would have been looking at for the kind of pure digital acquisition.”

Detailing his experience with omni channel betting offerings, Carlo Di Maio, CEO Romania at Fortuna Entertainment Group, highlighted the UK as being home to the best example of the product he had encountered. 

He explained: “In terms of omni-channel, we managed to implement a new platform where we managed to have digital, especially within wallets, make that wallet available and those funds available all across the different channels – over the counter on SSBTs and also on digital. 

“That experience, all the work and the trial and error in  the first few months gave us the advantage by giving the customers a true omni-channel experience, a seamless experience in terms of products.”

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Star Sports’ Matt Davies at BOSE: No downside to omni-channel customers