New Research Shows Sports Bettors Want More From Their Online Experiences; Betting And Fantasy Sports Platforms Need To Adjust

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“The State of the New Sports Bettor” Study From HPL Digital Sport Offers Insights as “New Norm” Begins in Sports -- An Increased Need for Mobile, Betting Sites that Provide Both Advice and Relevant Content and the Ability to Cash Out Easier

“‘The State of the New Sports Bettor’ clearly indicates that users want and expect more from the platforms on which they choose to bet or play.”

Hot Paper Lantern Digital Sport (HPLDS), a specialty group within Hot Paper Lantern focused on helping fantasy sports and betting brands become more relevant, has released a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative study of American sports bettors. The study provides robust insights into how bettors' attitudes and actions will change how they bet, what they are looking for in betting and fantasy sports platforms and what operators need to understand as they look to re-engage and re-build loyalty among bettors and fantasy sports players. The full “State of the New Sports Bettor” study took into account interviews with more than 4,400 sports bettors, scores of industry experts, as well as secondary research into current trends and issues as sports open up again after the COVID-19 shutdown. The research was collected from February through April 2020.

For the first time, study findings help illuminate changing demographics, education levels and betting habits in this area. The findings also answered a long-standing question: Is the fantasy sports player and sports bettor one in the same? The answer is an emphatic yes, as almost 90 percent of sports bettors surveyed said they also play fantasy sports. The study’s data and insights focus around three key areas that are now on the minds of sports bettors:

1. What’s most important in selecting betting or fantasy sites and what attributes will build loyal returning users?
2. How can platforms add greater value to provide users with the best possible experiences?
3. How will bettors/fantasy sports players be impacted by the “new normal” through mobile access, changing state regulations, and less disposable income?

“As professional sports finally re-emerge, we are in uncharted territory due to social distancing measures and a depression-like economy and yet, sports bettors and fantasy players are itching to jump back in as quickly as possible,” said Edward Moed, CEO of HPLDS. “‘The State of the New Sports Bettor’ clearly indicates that users want and expect more from the platforms on which they choose to bet or play.”

Does functionality trump brand?

In some cases, the answer is yes. A majority of study respondents felt the two most important reasons they stay engaged on a particular platform are the ease of pay-outs (63 percent) and security of their money and personal information on the site (62 percent).

However, the importance of both knowing a brand and feeling that the brand is reputable and innovative is also important to those surveyed (58 percent). Other important factors into selecting platforms are: The ability to choose between a variety of betting options (53 percent), the platform works with the user’s bank (51 percent) and good customer support (50 percent).

“Users haven’t always had the ideal experience when pulling their winnings. Now they expect it to be seamless and secure, or they move on to another platform” Moed said.

Bettors want an “all in one experience”

One thing is clear -- the days of solely offering a betting or fantasy platform, without other value-adds, is coming to an end. Study findings show 69 percent of those surveyed want to see betting tips on their platforms. Additionally, 50 percent want engaging editorial content and 34 percent want to have the ability to communicate and build strategies with other users on the platform.

In the absence of these content benefits from sports betting platforms, respondents are currently using multiple online sites and social media platforms to research and discuss their strategies. Facebook is the most popular, and is used by one third of the respondents to communicate and discuss sports betting. When asked where they read their favorite sports betting content, again Facebook ranked highest with 55 percent, while another 52 percent go directly to their favorite online media outlet. And, 53 percent of Generation Z bettors said they use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter equally to source content.

“Before COVID-19, we began to see merging of relevant content, betting and entertainment through deals like Penn National Gaming and Barstool Sports. These types of deals will become more frequent based on rising user expectations and because of the need to have users spend more time and money,” Moed said.

Mobile will be the norm, not the luxury to deal with a depressed economy.

We know that mobile betting is the future. But, “The State of the Sports Bettor” study demonstrates that these audiences want mobile now, especially in light of the current pandemic. Study findings showed that 63 percent of sports bettors across the country use their phones to place bets. Additionally, 46 percent of those surveyed strongly agreed that they would choose a betting platform if it had a mobile app.

In New Jersey alone, 84 percent of bets are made on a mobile device. And, it is estimated that one out of five bets in New Jersey come from New York bettors who cross the state line because of restrictions on mobile betting access.

“For a host of obvious economic reasons to increase tax revenues, we believe that states will accelerate passing mobile betting laws in 2020-2021,” Moed said. “In many cases, acquiring new customers will be about creating mobile brand experiences and applications that are easy to use, provide more content benefits and offer the ultimate convenience for bettors to bet from their phone (for states that offer it).”

States and operators could both face challenges because of current depressed economic conditions. Pre-COVID-19, the sports betting world was increasing at a pace never seen before. In 2019, the state of New Jersey cleared more than $100 million in taxes related to sports betting. Our study found that 75 percent of sports bettors bet at least once a week and 70 percent bet more than $100 each week, with 27 percent spending more than $1,000 per month. “Bettors simply won’t have as much disposable income available now to maintain these levels across the board,” said Moed. “This means that discounts, incentives and new creative ways to win will keep sports bettors coming back.”

The State of the New Sports Bettor study revealed a number of other interesting findings, including:

  • Bets by popularity. Straight and point spread bets ranked first and second among all ages. Futures bets are popular among Gen Z and Millenials; over/under bets are popular among GenX and Baby Boomers. The least favorite bet is the permeation bet.
  • Take notice: Women are a growing demographic of bettors. Our study included 4,430 sports bettors, and women made up a full 28 percent of our sampling. This indicates to us that women are an important and growing population that operators need to take seriously.
  • Bettors are interested where taxes go. 60% of respondents said that they'd be more interested in sports betting if they knew where the taxed revenue of the bets in their state were being allocated.
  • Sports bettors may be more educated than you think. More than half of bettors (51) have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while only 33 percent of all Americans hold the same. And, 84 percent of those who bet more than $500 per month can claim the same education level.

Please find the full report in the following link.

About Hot Paper Lantern Digital Sport:
Hot Paper Lantern Digital Sport is a specialty group within Hot Paper Lantern (HPL) that works with fantasy, sports betting and e-sports brands to gain a competitive edge and acquire new audiences. The group’s unique value proposition is how it integrates specific services such as: strategic branding, customer research/analytics, digital marketing, public relations and social media strategy, experiential and creative design to maximize building brand, while acquiring customers for its clients.
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