Sports betting has been around for about as long as there’s been competition. In ancient Rome, wealthy patrons placed wagers on chariot races and gladiator battles.
The legalities around it, however, vary depending on where a bet is placed. While wholesale betting is legal in the US and EU, states and countries have exercised their right to allow or prohibit sports betting as they see fit. And with online betting technology maturing at a rapid pace, betting is a mainstream activity that people engage in wherever, and however, they choose.
What’s next in the evolution of sports betting innovation? All signs could point toward microbetting, an industry on the rise that could account for $20 billion of bets by 2027. This in-play option allows sports fans to go as big (or small) as they want, adding real-time stakes and excitement to any viewing event.
What Is Microbetting?
Rather than focusing on a game’s outcome, microbetting involves wagering on specific moments throughout a game. One of the biggest drivers of the current microbetting boom is the more of it—more options for bettors and more bets placed.
Even with the challenges that come with more bets (i.e., data transfer, increased need for resolution), the future is bright for this sports betting subset.
“Microbetting will see huge growth in the US and by 2024 will account for over 50% of all bets placed,” Todd Kobrin, CEO at bet placement app Oddsium, told The Street. Kelly Brooks, CEO and co-founder of sports betting AI platform Quarter 4 agrees. “Microbetting engages fans as well as bettors, due to the instant satisfaction of betting on live play-by-play events,” Brooks said.
How Microbetting Boosts Fan Engagement
The best microbetting platforms are simple and offer consumers a low-risk point of entry with a near-immediate result that can encourage greater participation.
Traditional prop bets are aimed at teams, players and games and must wait until games end for settlements. Microbetting happens in an instant, providing another level of excitement and immediacy.
Plus, fans don’t have to understand an individual sport’s rules or wait for the game to resolve. They can bet on micro-moments for things like:
- A basketball player making or missing their next shot
- Whether a goal will be scored in a specific time frame in a football match
- A baseball game's next at-bat ending with a single, double, triple, home run or an out
The possibilities are nearly endless. There’s an immediacy to these bets that can entice fans with quicker payoffs. The faster microbets resolve, the faster fans are back in play for another bet. Winning microbets can trigger excitement and encourage a more rewarding experience than waiting for a game or match to end.
Challenges of MicroBetting
That’s not to say there aren’t some obstacles to deploying microbetting. At the top of the list is the technology to drive microbets at scale and resolve bets immediately. Reconciliation can no longer wait until contests are over.
Other challenges include:
Microbetting focuses on moments in sports. As such, latency becomes a significant issue in delivery. Delays can frustrate bettors and cause bets not to be placed. You also need sophisticated engines to execute microbets efficiently, start betting cycles and queue up new bets and payouts.
The immediacy of the bets and potential payouts are attractive for bettors, so the technology must be able to deliver.
Attractiveness of Bets
Another challenge will be the attractiveness of the bets and the available odds. Betting whether the next batter will hit a home run may wear out quickly after a couple of losses. However, AI in sports betting can be deployed to make bets more interesting, especially when you deploy personalization.
Microbetting companies will have a wealth of data at their disposal about the types of bets, teams, players, outcomes and fan behavior. A data-driven culture can help craft personalized bets that will be more attractive to fans and create a more customized experience. As such, the role of marketing operations in operational support roles will become even more crucial for sports wagering operators.
The sports betting experience grows more complex with microbets. While it opens up deeper, immersive betting options for fans, it requires robust technology to manage the required level of product diversification to attract the widest audience.
Microbetting necessitates a deeper, more personalized structure for player account management systems and wallets, for example.
Any time you’re talking money and technology, people are trying to game the system to commit fraud or steal someone’s money. Robust cybersecurity must be a key component of any microbetting solution. Users must be confident that their money, accounts and personal information are protected.
Unfortunately, betting platforms are an attractive target for cybercriminals. Within the past year, credential stuffing compromised user accounts at DraftKings while a vendor breach exposed user data at FanDuel. There are also fake sports handicappers and fraudulent betting syndicates that are trying to grab social media users with instant bets.
Microbetting platforms will need a high level of cybersecurity and vigilance to ensure fraudulent bets and practices stay out of the stream.
Alex Russell, an associate professor at CQ University in Australia and a member of the Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, shared his concerns about the potential for addiction. “We found that there’s a very strong link between microbetting and gambling problems," said Russell. He notes that people can easily fall into a pattern of continuous betting or chasing losses. Continued betting makes it harder to keep track of how much money is being spent or lost.
In a survey of microbettors, more than 7 in 10 people were classified as problem gamblers, and a further 17% were classified as having a lower risk of gambling problems. Just 5% did not show signs of gambling problems.
As such, platforms will need to put guardrails and regulations in place to help prevent gambling addiction due to the speed and availability of bets.
The Future of Sports Betting
Microbetting is the future for sports betting, but it will require robust and sophisticated technology, well-architected frameworks and rock-solid processes to overcome these challenges, best serve customers’ local needs and optimize the potential.
As the betting industry faces tightening regulations and a major shift to online gaming, organizations have an opportunity to rethink their approach to customer acquisition, retention and engagement.
By putting the customer at the center of their operations and moving away from quick-win acquisition strategies, betting organizations can generate long-term customer value, design safer betting experiences and win customers’ trust—all while remaining compliant.
For more than two decades, we have been redefining how people interact with technology to create applications that are safer, more engaging, responsive and efficient for players. We help companies develop the solutions—and processes—necessary to bring more engaging microbetting products to market.
Our team can help streamline operations, secure functionality and protect transactions to create platforms that are user-friendly and updated with the latest security and compliance needs so bettors can pay (and play) with peace of mind. Contact the Endava sports and entertainment team today to discuss your project and how our experience can help.
Delivery Partner, Sports and MediaNeill is responsible for the delivery of Endava's services for sport and betting clients across Europe and has been with Endava since 2019. He's a lifelong Everton fan and former scout who enjoys running and hiking in his spare time.
31 October 2023
Using Tech to Maximize the Impact of Major Sporting Events
12 May 2023
The Business Impact of Fan Engagement: How to Leverage Technology to Improve Loyalty
18 November 2022
How Tech is changing Sports betting for the better