Matt Holt: bettors still yearn for physical sports wagering experience

While mobile betting remains the big area of focus for US sports betting stakeholders, there is still potential for providing a premium experience for those who want to bet in-person at a brick and mortar sportsbook.

That view was underlined by Matt Holt, President of US Integrity, during last week’s SBC Webinar dedicated to “Data Collection Among Sports Betting Consumers” where he spoke alongside Jim Kahler, Director of Sports Gambling Education at Ohio University and Adam Heinz, SVP Business Intelligence at Monumental Sports and Entertainment.

He commented: “If you look at some of the new states that recently launched since the repeal of PASPA, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado – they’re doing big handle. A significant amount of the bets are coming via mobile app. And that’s just how people bet standard. And COVID plays a big part in that.

“So then everybody says that all the bets are going to be mobile. But we have had mobile betting in Las Vegas since 2010. And still from 2010 all the way to 2020 it was about 50:50, 50% of the bets made on mobile devices, 50% of the bets made in person. That’s because the experience for that in-person, walk-up bettor was so good here.”

Environment, atmosphere and the crowd experience are key factors according to Holt, who added: “The idea that you can walk up, make a wager, participate in a large venue with a bunch of people who are all rooting and cheering with premier food and beverage opportunities – that atmosphere is tough to beat. And that atmosphere alone drives people who wouldn’t normally be a sports bettor to participate in sports wagering.”

The current health crisis is also responsible for driving some of those incredibly high mobile betting numbers, said Holt. “The reason that we’re seeing these mobile numbers right now in states like New Jersey, where 91% of bets are placed on mobile devices, is partly because of COVID and the pandemic and the fact that people aren’t able to get out.”

While Holt stopped at saying those numbers are artificially high, he predicted that once the pandemic begins to subside and life returns towards normality, walk-up betting will be more prevalent.

“I think what you’ll see is that in these states that are heavy, heavy mobile – upwards 90% of bets taken on mobile devices – as the pandemic ends and people are able to get back out and these sportsbooks and teams and venues build the best user experience, people will go to those venues again and place those in-play wagers.

“Because that atmosphere is hard to replicate sitting on your couch or hanging out with your friends. It’s a unique atmosphere. For those people who’ve done it they yearn to continue to do it.”

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