With the delayed Euro 2020 tournament now well underway across the continent, sports betting brands are bracing themselves for a huge increase in demand and revenues.
This is definitely one of the safest predictions for the gambling industry in 2021, particularly after betting during Euro 2016 saw brands like Unibet deliver record-breaking numbers in terms of gross winnings revenue.
But what else should we expect from sports betting in the UK through the next six months, and which trends are having the most significant impact on individual punters?
Leveraging Date to Create Betting Systems
If the big data evolution has achieved anything, it has been to place huge swathes of organised data at everybody’s fingertips.
Make no mistake; we now have access to technology that can analyse huge databases and gather detailed insights across a range of applications, and online sports betting is no exception to this rule.
Of course, UK betting sites have used big data for a while now, particularly when formulating market odds and developing the most competitive (and ultimately rewarding) welcome bonuses.
While this application of big data is considered slightly controversial given the competitive advantage that it affords to operators (who already retain a clear house edge), punters are at least starting to leverage this technology to benefit themselves.
More specifically, players can now deploy algorithms to devise a data-driven betting system, with some capable of delivering a 77%-win rate.
Even on a fundamental level, the basic analysis of broad datasets pertaining to specific markets can create more informed wagers and betting systems, which in turn translates into a higher win rate over time.
In certain markets, it’s now also possible to track the performance of specific players, particularly with regards to fitness statistics and long-term form.
This is especially effective when wagering on individual sports such as tennis, and it can definitely help to inspire more scientific decision-making.
The Rise and Rise of eSports
The eSports market will also continue to offer opportunities to operators in 2021, having recently grown at an annual average rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019.
This sector also supported an impressive £111.5 million in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2019, while the market was also one of the few to thrive despite the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Make no mistake; eSports is already an incredibly popular market amongst players and fans alike, but last year saw it also experience a considerable spike in global viewership figures across all major platforms.
What’s more, it’s thought that the global games live-streaming audience will peak at 728.2 million by the end of this year, with this having grown by more than 10% in relation to 2020’s already impressive figures.
This is significant for the iGaming sector (especially in developed economies such as the UK), as a larger and more engaged eSports audience provides a captive market for established operators. The only obstacle that remains here is lack of awareness and understanding amongst mainstream bettors, but we’re likely to see this challenge overcome in 2021.
In fact, we should expect sports betting brands to utilise their large social platforms to educate punters about eSport wagering and the various markets on offer, while also promoting prominent events and providing access to live streams where possible.
The Increased Popularity of Live Streams
There’s no doubt that members of the Gen Z and Millennial demographics are more likely to wager on their smartphones, with this having also driven a rise in the demand for in-play betting.
Similarly, it has encouraged some operators to offer live streams of various events to their customers, with this feature having been widely available for years now.
However, 2021 will see bookies continue to tailor and improve their service, initially by increasing the number of live transmissions and covering more niche sporting events from across the globe.
What’s more, brands are improving the process of facilitating in-play betting through live streams, so that players can wager while they watch without having to transition from one screen to another.
In addition to enhancing (and modernizing) the typical sports viewing experience nationwide, this will also enable operators to optimize their earning potential and fully leverage the value of in-play betting.