Betting on Sports America – Digital has kicked off in high-profile style today with William Hill US CEO Joe Asher taking on opening duties as part of a fascinating conversation with Howard Stutz, Executive Editor of CDC Gaming Reports.
Setting the tone for what will be two full days of conference activity, Asher covered considerable ground to talk about his early days in sports betting, the relationship between stakeholders and official sports leagues and other big issues around the state-by-state approach to legalized sports wagering.
While much has been said and written about the pace of change stateside, Asher remains unsurprised by the swift rate at which states have moved to go legal in the wake of PASPA’s demise. He told delegates: “The one thing that I pick out as being a bit of a surprise for me is the firmness of the embrace from the professional sports leagues for sports betting. To go from fighting it so strenuously in the courts to embracing it so firmly is probably more of a surprise.
“We operate a sportsbook inside the Capital One Arena in Washington DC. That’s where the Wizards and the Capitals play – sort of equidistant between the White House and the United States Capital. To go from fighting sports betting to having a sportsbook literally inside of the arena is quite a shift. It’s been great to see the industry – how far it’s come in those 30 months – and and we know it’s going to go over the next 12 to 24.”
Asher also addressed the importance of media and the part it will play in building fan engagement with sports betting, specifically in terms of product. He noted: “Fundamentally we’re investing a lot of money around technology and the product. In my view, over time, product is going to win in this market. And it’s going to be about who has got the most compelling product.
“Promotional activity wanes over time – product is going to be so critically important. And so we’ve been investing a tremendous amount in product. But then you need a way to get that product into the hands of customers. And what do the media companies have? They have customers. They have folks who watch their platforms, go on their sites and so forth and that’s why you’re seeing these media sports betting deals.
“Because it’s a way to get people who are going to be inclined to bet on sports to a betting product. That’s clearly the way we’ve focused on it and I think others have as well. You want to be integrated with a media partner as best you can to make it seamless for people to come over to the betting options.”
BOSA-Digital, on December 1 & 2, 2020, offers an eight-track conference with a lineup of 130 expert speakers, comprising operators’ senior executives, regulators, affiliates, suppliers, teams, leagues, and advisors.
The event also features an interactive product display area where operators can learn about the next generation of products and solutions from international suppliers, talk to suppliers’ expert teams, and experience the products directly through demos.
There will be further opportunities for delegates to connect and build their network in the burgeoning US betting industry in the virtual networking lounge, the meeting rooms in the virtual networking bar, and at the program of themed networking roundtables.