Originally published in Sigma World.
Dasha Kirilishina, Senior Sales Manager at PandaScore, says that adding esports gaming to an existing sportsbook is not without its challenges but given the huge potential the vertical offers, operators should integrate products now to get ahead of the game
Over the next 12 months, esports gaming will emerge as a significant betting category in its own right and savvy operators will want to add esports betting products to ensure they are in the driving seat to capitalise on this high-growth vertical.
But integrating esports betting products into existing betting platforms is not without its challenges and operators will need to take a considered approach if they are to get it right and deliver the quality experience esports bettors expect.
This starts with having a deep understanding of their betting platform and how compatible it is with third-party esports suppliers serving the market. When it comes to esports betting, operators will want to work with specialist technology, data, and odds providers.
Integrate esports betting products successfully
If an operator is reasonably well established with its own proprietary platform, the technical team should have the understanding and experience to be in a position to easily integrate new partners.
But if the operator uses a white label sportsbook platform they will need to check with the supplier to see how easy it will be to add the esports provider to the tech stack. They will also need to ensure flexibility within the supplier’s roadmap.
This is because priorities change and having flexibility will ensure the operator not only stays ahead of the game but also its rivals.
Operators must also not underestimate the resource required to successfully integrate esports betting products. In fact, the most common issues arise when customers have small technical teams or teams that are stretched across multiple projects at the same time.
The best way to complete the integration of esports betting products is to focus resources only on that as this will avoid delays in getting to the point of go-live. In my experience, this is usually an issue with operators that have their own in-house platforms.
Of course, those using third-party platforms have their own issues to contend with and the most common here is the reliance on their partner’s roadmaps and their willingness to prioritise these types of projects.
In some instances, this can lead to substantial delays while the platform provider works on and completes other projects.
Legacy tech also causes headaches for both operators that own their own platforms and those that white label them. It can be incredibly challenging to integrate modern products such as esports betting into old and tried platforms.
That is not to say it can’t be done – we have never failed to complete integration – and having experienced teams on both sides (operator and PandaScore) has often been the driving force behind a successful integration.
Experience also helps when it comes to knowing how many people to allocate to the integration and how much time it will likely take to complete.
Integration teams working on multiple projects need to plan how to use their time effectively to avoid any unnecessary delays prior to launch. Having someone lead the process is absolutely the most effective way to ensure the integration happens within the timescale set.
Not only that, but it will ensure the integration is done in line with the regulations and requirements of the market the operator is targeting. It is important to highlight that 95% of the technical work carried out by operators is on being compliant in existing and new markets.
Esports is no different from traditional sports in that different games are popular in different markets and that is why we have gone to great lengths to ensure our suite of products, markets and odds excites and engages players on a local level.
Factors to consider when integrating esport products
Other factors operators need to consider when integrating esports products is age verification and esports player exclusion. For example, in countries such as Italy, operators are limited to the contests they can take bets on based on the ages of the players taking part.
In fact, age verification and player exclusion is something we have identified as a key feature that needs to be accessible to all of our customers – our clients have all player age data at their fingertips and can comply with requirements in each of the markets they target.
Successfully integrating esports products is not without its challenges, but given the tremendous potential the vertical has to offer, operators should be working with specialist esports providers now to ensure they are ahead of the game.