Micro-betting Gains in Popularity

Micro-betting is an emerging phenomenon in the U.S. It is a type of in-game betting that describes a bet on an event within a game. This could include a pitch or play. Although the possibility to place a bet on any play in a game is still a novelty, it is likely that in-play micro betting will be the most popular way to wager on sports in North America in the coming years. 

Micro-betting, once real-time technology becomes available across all sports leagues and operators, will bring in exponentially more revenue. It could find a place right beside NFL stats and other data. By 2023, it will have generated billions of dollars annually. This is because there will be more bets placed per game. 

There are some assumptions, though. For example, if viewers streamed sport increased by 15% in 2019, then a 20% annual gain would be reasonable.

It is quite common to be able to place wagers on multiple in-game markets and know in seconds whether you have won or lost. For example, it is quite common for European tennis fans to place bets on specific points or games during a match.

Market Maturation

The U.S. market maturation is the reason micro-betting has emerged. In the three years following PASPA, the majority of resources were spent by sports betting operators ongoing live, vertically integrating their proprietary tech stack and customer acquisition. 

The industry is now at an inflection point. The reality is that operators are selling the same product, and there is intense competition for market share. It has become a race to be the best: who can spend more?

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In order to lower customer acquisition costs and best serve their growing user base, sports betting companies have turned their attention to product innovation. They include the integration of micro-betting markets, as well. 

It is now more feasible to invest in technology and products that will allow operators to cut down the game in a way that gets more predictions out there and can accurately lay some odds on the outcomes. Micro-betting is now viable due to advances in the data feeds supporting it.

It is expected that micro-betting will not become a household name in the country for some time. In-play betting is more popular than 70% in Europe, and sports fans have shorter attention spans, so this will likely be the most common way they wager on games.

The European in-play handle doesn’t just include micro-betting wagers. It also includes money lines that move during the match. It could be that soccer is the most popular sport in Europe, and because of its constant flow and low scoring, it can be difficult for operators to create micro-betting markets. 

These sports are better suited for micro-betting because of the natural breaks between plays and pitches in American football and baseball. However, this doesn’t mean that micro-betting options won’t find their way into the U.S.-based sports leagues. 

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More Options To Select

There have been many acquisitions of technology providers and affiliate companies due to the perceived “sports betting gold rush.” Operators could target companies that use machine learning to generate odds and probabilities feeds (such as Simplebet, Swish Analytics, or Angstrom.bet), with the goal of shifting their focus to product development. 

The run on micro-betting market players may actually have started. PointsBet spent $43 million to purchase Banach Technology in March. This acquisition was part of its effort to increase the number of in-play betting options. Simplebet, a B2B product design company, launched NFL micro-betting products on DraftKings Sportsbook in Week 1. DraftKings customers in several states, including Colorado, Iowa, and Tennessee, can now access these products.

As micro-betting grows in popularity, operators are not the only ones who will benefit. Micro-betting’s popularity should be a boon to broadcast networks and pro-sport leagues via free-to-play and fan engagement. 

Nakisa Bidarian, the founder of BAVAFA Sports and operating partner at Anti Fund Investment Fund, explains that micro-betting will allow sportsbooks to gamify their game, creating meaning for every play, which in turn will drive viewership and engagement and ultimately revenue. It’s the ultimate intersection between live sports, mobility, and social media, as well as gamification.

Johnny Thompson

Johnny Thompson is a senior reporter for Generator Research in Los Angeles, reporting on technology, business, finances, and more. He previously worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

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