etby is an international B2B sportsbook software provider that works with machine learning & AI algorithms, and whose products are live in over 20 countries across the globe, including Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is one of the sponsors of SiGMA Americas, which will take place on September 13-14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is one of the company's moves to show its interest and growth plans in the Latin American market.
"From the very first moment, we knew that our growth is very possible to come from emerging markets, like Latin America. And I'm saying this because even if we just look at the numbers and nothing else in Latin America, we are talking about almost 10 percent of the population of the world, we're talking about an audience that is super passionate about sports, and our business is sportsbook. So that was the plan from the beginning," Nikolopoulos tells Yogonet in a video interview.
Betby basically provides three different things, he explains. A data feed, which is the odds, the pricing, the statistics, all the math behind the sportsbook; the backend, with all the tools and the functionalities about management operation; and the frontend, or the website itself, as seen by the end-user.
Back in March, Betby launched its latest sportsbook layout, featuring "all the benefits of a ‘classic’ sportsbook design," according to the company. "If we look at B2B sportsbook providers, when they deal with the frontend, the website part, the vast majority works with the same frontend, maybe with different colors, to target different markets like Chile, Peru and Tunisia, and Ghana and Russia. And it doesn't work like that. You need to have a personalized approach, a distinction that you can make. And you also have to understand what the business case is. And what I mean by that, there are clients who come from a casino background, where we most probably won't see the advantages of a classic sportsbook layout. Most probably in the casino type of client, we can give some more modern, funky type of solution," Nikolopoulos says.
"But there are other clients and there are other markets that are more focused on traditional sports betting where the bettors are used to specific designs and functionalities. For this type of client, we need a different layout, a different approach. That's what we did. Eventually, we ended up with three different layouts and a fourth one, on the way. The last one, we launched a couple of months ago, is the one with a classic layout."
The feedback and performance of this new layout has been "great", with clients using different layouts and now asking the company to switch to the new layout. It took nearly half a year to create the new product, but the actual development was the easy part, according to the CCO. "When it comes to sports betting in general, it's about numbers, it's math. It's a mathematical game in a way, and we're also talking about data, and being able to talk with that, understand what the data means and based on those data predict what is going to come, is very important for any sportsbook in the industry."
"We do R&D, we have our own team of data scientists, and do machine learning, data analytics. And we use this to understand what the users want. When we create, for example, a new layout, it took half a year because we need to understand and analyze the whole player journey. What a player clicks? Why he clicks there? So all those data are being analyzed, there is a special team that is working with it. And not only that, even from a risk management perspective, to maintain a good profitability, working with the data is very, very important because you are able to detect betting patterns from particular app users and protect yourself."
Before the pandemic, Betby had already started planning and developing its own in-house Betby.Games, a series of 24/7 games that covers football, basketball, tennis, Rocket League, "now we're building some fighting game, cricket, different games which are actually based on the actual video games and being developed using our own in-house algorithms, and are being priced up by our traders. And we were lucky to be able to go live with these titles exactly before the pandemic."
Considering the percentage of the turnover on each specific sport, since last year and until one month ago, Betby.Games was the company's top-performing game, even now that sporting events are not postponed or canceled anymore. The CCO notes that normal virtual sports in the platform make 0.5% of the GGR, while Betby.Games generate 25% of the GGR, "so we're talking about a product being 50 times more than average. "
"It performs better than football, tennis, basketball. It's crazy. We didn't think that a game that is a hybrid product between virtuals and esports was going to perform so good. Apparently, because there are a lot of special things about it. There's live streaming, a lot of realism, the real players, the real stadiums, even the real referees." The provider also creates local content for each market in particular, including local teams, local players, local coaches, local stadiums, etc. "So this speaks to the player, this makes a difference."
In LatAm, Betby has been working with operator Juegaenlinea for a couple of months, in a partnership that covers markets in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. "For us it's our first real experience working with Latin America as a company," Nikolopoulos tells Yogonet. "The important thing for us is not to work with everyone. We don't want to create one same solution that would be available with every single operator in the continent or anything like that. We want to select our partners carefully. We prefer to have fewer operators but good real business which is being conducted in a mutually profitable way. And I think what makes really the difference is that we listen to the needs. A lot of providers like us have their own roadmap and they don't change. We are a provider but we like to think as an operator, we want to understand what the operators need and we want to help them in that aspect, because our growth is very, very possible to come through their growth."
As for the next steps, Betby plans to participate in all the events that are coming over the next 12 months in Latin America, and it is considering hiring some local people in the region, who help its expansion.
"In terms of markets, I believe Colombia is the example now in sports betting for the whole Latin America. It looks like the countries, like Brazil maybe, would follow Colombia's lead in that aspect. We are monitoring very closely the situation." Betby sees a lot of interest in the region, with emails from operators and a lot of enquiries. "So I believe it's just a matter of time that you see us live with some more partners from Latin America," Nikolopoulos concludes.