The modern sportsbook landscape requires lotteries that offer sports betting to evolve their strategy to compete with large-scale private operators. Ed Peace, Head of Commercial at the Sporting Group, sees their future success lying closer to home.

The pressures facing lotteries that offer sports betting are considerable and, in many cases, unique. A newly-regulated domestic market attracts private operators with an established scale offering and often a head-start in customer engagement strategies. Investment is required in technology and best-of-breed content to stay competitive—whilst at the same time margins are being squeezed and costs increased. Furthermore, lotteries often find themselves on an uneven playing field as they are bound by restrictions that don’t apply to private operators—the semi-liberalized Swedish market being a case in point.

However, lotteries with sportsbooks can thrive against this backdrop of intense competition. To protect market share, lotteries have to compete strongly on the provision of global content against their corporate competition, but also run a differentiated local strategy that ensures they remain leaders in their domestic market.

Whilst outsourcing products and services has become ubiquitous in the sports betting market over the last 10 years, it is vital that lotteries maintain their ability for differentiation and flexibility, avoiding an initially attractive but ultimately damaging commoditized, white-label offering.

Global content based on official data is a must-have, but even more important is the market-leading provision of local content. Often, corporate operators will not have the deep local-level expertise of an incumbent lottery. Local specialization should therefore become a key component of a lottery’s strategy, leveraging the in-house expertise it already possesses to drive differentiation.

Furthermore, these is no denying that as the market has grown, so has the importance of personalization and brand tone of voice. Keeping control of a differentiated channel strategy becomes much harder for operators that follow a white-label route to market and again, often sacrifices long term success for short term financial decisions.

Lotteries maintaining a competitive product set and differentiated local offering, aligned with an own-brand tone of voice will be secure in their footing, providing a foundation for future growth. However, in the current climate with rising costs and competitive pressures, driving sportsbook margin remains paramount.

The solution to this is to offer the best prices underpinned by bespoke algorithms overseen by expert traders. “This is what Sporting Solutions recently launched Risk Management Services (RMS) provides, incorporating the risk function into an operator’s existing technology stack alongside analytics and price coverage, and we are delighted to have signed Danske Spil as our first RMS partner,” said Peace.

As a lottery, the task of building a market-leading sports-betting proposition is a very difficult one. Lotteries need to decide whether they have the resources to deliver premium, varied content, while maintaining brand differentiation, and improve margin and market share. If not, products and partners are available to them which can empower them to execute a successful strategy with substance and style.