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This is tomorrow calling

This is tomorrow calling

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As ever, much of the talk at ICE London 2024 was about the growing trends, and developments that could well transform the industry as we know it.

Two areas that have dominated such discussions for some time have, of course, been live casino gaming and – in terms of customer acquisition and development – affiliate marketing. It would be fair to say that both are now industry ‘sectors’ in their own right, and this will be reflected in an update to the navigation of the Global Gambling News website, with both receiving dedicated sections and coverage of their own.

But moving on and exploring those areas that have not yet fully matured, one area that stands out as being ripe with much further opportunity than has yet been exploited is live streaming.

Changing the way we engage

Live streaming is already changing the way that the wider public views and engages with the sports and gambling industries. By combining the proliferation of high-quality internet connection with the latest camera and software technologies, it has become possible to provide viewers with live action and real-time data from events, studios and even casino gaming floors.

But live streaming is about much more than simply user convenience. The opportunity to significantly enhance engagement and also attract entirely new audiences is immense. Enabling spectators and bettors to watch events unfold in real-time, and place well-informed bets based on live data, has the potential to totally transform the future of sports and esports betting, and casino gambling as a whole.

Unprecedented convenience

Now that all online gambling is so primarily ‘mobile-first’, with smartphones/tablets joining the other five organs considered vital for human survival, the combination of live streaming and mobile technology has begun to accelerate the sports betting sector on to new levels. The ability to access live events and place bets any time, any place, anywhere delivers unprecedented convenience and ease of use.

Reach & Accessibility

Live streaming brings unparalleled accessibility to sports fans and bettors. With global live events now available on personal devices, irrespective of location or time of day, fans can now connect with their favourite sports at their own convenience and operators can provide this new audience with betting opportunities that never previously existed.

Engagement & Loyalty

Live streaming provides a perfect vehicle for instant and constant interaction between events, teams and fans. Interactive features such as social media and live chat further enhance the fan experience, whilst enabling the events, teams and betting operators to better understand the needs of the audience. By obvious definition, this vastly increases engagement and so builds loyalty and revenues.

Data & Analytics

Live streaming is a two-way street, broadcasting content whilst constantly receiving data for analysis and action. Audience locations, viewing times and peak hours, as well as preferences, behaviours and engagement patterns, are incoming on a 24/7 basis. Operator ‘gut feel’ and ‘hunches’ are minimised as the data drives the decisions, and organisations evolve content strategies according to the science.

Marketing strategies and tactics can be tailored by audience segment, and the overall user experience can be optimised for maximum engagement and spend. This data-driven approach is also applied in live casino gaming – a totally streamed product – with game menus curated according to user analysis.

Obstacles & Challenges

Live streaming in 2024 faces challenges that need to be overcome. Technically speaking, utilisation of bandwidth must be managed, and broadcast quality maintained with a strong – and not inexpensive – infrastructure. Sports fans are used to TV quality, and anything less is at risk of failure.

Creatively also, the audience is accustomed to a premium quality output. Fumbling presenters and shaky cameras will not get the job done. In short, success requires significant investment in both talent and technology. And this means cameras, audio equipment, production software, anti-piracy measures and, of course, proven professional personnel. Live streaming is no ‘side hustle’, it is the real deal and, like the majority of business investments, “if you buy cheaply, you will pay dearly.”

Fortune favours the brave

The synergy between live streaming and betting and gaming has the potential to elevate the opportunities for developers and operators to new levels. With player engagement and interactivity now ‘de facto’ requirements, a service that delivers live, real-time, high-quality action, on a globally unrestrained basis, possesses the key ingredients for success.

As with many new ideas, current industry leaders may be cynical. They may wait while the pioneers learn from mistakes and then steal the idea once perfected. Or, as is also often the case, wait for the pioneers to get it right and then buy them. For the sake of fortune favouring the brave, I hope it is the latter and that those who have bitten the bullet early have an exit plan that makes them rich.

Live streaming is here to stay, it is going to continue to evolve and accelerate and, ultimately, it will be the means by which the world’s majority of viewers engage with, and place bets upon, all sports.