How Sportsbooks, In Michigan And Beyond, Can Reach The ‘Typical’ Sports Bettor

It’s the first rule of advertising – know your customer. One New York agency surveyed 4,000 bettors to do precisely that.

“Learn something new during lockdown,” said the self-help gurus. HPL Digital Sport decided to learn what the typical American sports bettor looks like.

Using data acquired from 4,400 gamblers over the first quarter of 2020, plus insights from industry experts, the consulting agency has published The State of the New Sports Bettor, a study that offers a snapshot of the sports betting landscape.

It reveals the typical sports bettor as a man or woman who’s likely to bet at least once a week and wager over $100 a month. They’re almost certainly a fantasy sports player and more likely to be smarter than the popular perception of gamblers allows.

And know this, sportsbook operators: You had better seek them out online because the days of them coming to your counter seem numbered.

Sportsbooks In The Dark About Sports Bettors

‘Need-to-know basis’ has a very different meaning when you’re a sportsbook in a country that is just beginning to embrace legalized gambling.

“In this period of growth, we spoke to clients, media and many industry experts regarding the future of fantasy sports and the rise of sports betting,” HPL explained, “and a common theme kept resonating: ‘We understand the fantasy sports landscape, but we don’t know much about the common bettor.’”

This study plugs that gap, by revealing the demographics and mindset of those who bet sports.

COVID-19 has brought the study’s findings into sharper focus. The coronavirus slammed the brakes on a gold rush that saw over $13 billion legally wagered on sports last year. Those sports will return, but the crowds who come to see them may return more gradually, consuming sports through their TV instead.

Should social distancing endure, it will only accelerate the current trend towards betting online. The study claims that 63 percent of U.S. bettors already bet through their phone and 46 percent say they sway towards betting platforms that offer a mobile app.

Typical Sports Bettor Seeks Informed Bets

Convenience is not the only thing driving bettors online. The study suggests that they also want guidance. Of those surveyed, 69 percent want to see tips on their betting platform, while half would welcome engaging editorial content and a third wants the option of contacting other bettors through an on-site social network.

This could tie in with the study’s findings that 51 percent of those surveyed have at least a bachelor’s degree (the national average is 33 percent) although it seems we are yet to see this education parlayed into an obvious edge over the sportsbooks – 69 percent of bettors contacted make less than $100,000 a year.

Women Bettors Need A Different Pitch

The study indicates that marketing to women must have a different slant than marketing to men.

The most popular sports bet on by men follow a predictable ranking – NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA Football, and boxing.

Women’s preferences, though, see the NFL and NBA followed by boxing, horse racing, and NCAA Basketball. The last three of those, HPL suggests, revolve around big events, like a popular boxing match, the Kentucky Derby, or March Madness. The study concludes that women bettors are more likely to bet sports based around a big social occasion.

Another discrepancy arises whenever bettors assess a new online betting provider. The study suggests that men evaluate such platforms based on ease of payouts, then security, followed by brand reputation. Women, on the other hand, only consider brand reputation when they have considered ease of payouts, security, compatibility with banks, ease of use, and customer support.

“As many of the messages developed and implemented in the market are geared towards a male audience,” HPL concluded, “a huge opportunity for a betting operator lies in focusing and tailoring efforts towards a potentially growing but under-served segment of the marketplace.”

So What Can The Typical Sports Bettor Expect Now?

It won’t just be the industry that finds food for thought in this study. Keep an eye on the politicians, too.

Many states will emerge from lockdown with struggling economies. Tax revenues from the ongoing legalization of gambling would fill some large budgetary holes.

As for the sportsbooks, expect mergers and buyouts as the industry looks to recover lost financial ground through growth.

Don’t be surprised if betting websites become much more than mere vehicles for striking bets. Even recreational bettors aren’t just ‘going with their gut’ nowadays. Many want evaluation and analysis and the sportsbook that provides such content will gain by keeping them on its website or app for longer.

Further deals between sports media and sportsbooks are therefore likely and expect sports betting and fantasy sports to dovetail further. Not only do almost nine of every 10 bettors play fantasy sports but 87 percent of them say that the knowledge gained in fantasy sports informs their betting decisions.

While they reach out to the fantasy sports industry, sportsbooks are also likely to develop ties with sports teams and leagues. Everyone is hurting financially now, and new streaming or subscription ideas that increase fan-engagement could be one answer.

Finally, look out for increased promotions and better odds, as the books strive to win customers new and old, at a time when disposable income for many is severely squeezed.

Other Findings From The State Of The New Sports Bettor:

  • 27 percent of bettors surveyed bet more than $1,000 a month
  • 51 percent bet multiple times per week
  • 57 percent of men bet several times a week
  • 37 percent of women bet several times a week
  • 60 percent of bettors would be more interested in betting if they knew how the tax on their bets was spent
  • Women made up 28 percent of bettors contacted
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