Off the back of a unique European Championship in 2021, the upcoming Qatar World Cup represents a distinct challenge for operators.
Although it holds relatively engaging kick-off times for a UK audience, a Winter tournament is something that can significantly wilt the engagement of punters.
Speaking at the Betting on Sports Europe Conference at Stamford Bridge, the most efficient strategy was dissected in detail by a host of leading operators.
Commencing the panel, Pinnacle’s Trading Director, Marco Blume, reflected on Euro 2020 describing the tournament as ‘a real mixed bag’ in terms of results, citing that so many of the favourites came through in the early stages of the tournament to cost betting operators.
He also revealed he felt pessimistic about Qatar, Blume and feels it will be ‘a disaster’ in terms of turnover, pointing to the competitive nature of betting markets at the time, with the sport having to compete with NBA and other more traditional winter activities.
William Woodhams, CEO at Fitzdares, underlined that at the heart of their tournament success was creativity and innovation with offers that engaged players, underlining that the industry needs to ‘start thinking differently about offers’.
He also stated that the focus for the tournament may need to shift from traditional match betting, attracting punters with player props and even teasing innovative bet-builders featuring VAR bets.
Nonetheless, Woodhams was keen to laud the Premier League product, as well as the overall global football offering with a wider consumer base of all ages possessing a far deeper understanding of European clubs now, something that can inevitably benefit operators as we move into an international tournament.
Anthony Cousins, Head of Sportsbook Commercial & Control at Kindred Group, detailed the growth of stats betting and unique player props, which he feels can be key at the Qatar World Cup.
Interestingly, he also revealed that bookmakers have benefitted from turbulence at Barcelona – with punters continuing to back the Spanish giants, in spite of their woeful form this season.
Billy Cook, Sportsbook Director at ComeOn Group, agreed that he just didn’t feel like there was anything new at the tournament – emphasising his hope that creativity can come to the fore at the upcoming World Cup.