Sometimes when someone tells you something about marketing that is so obvious you hadn't really thought of it before, it kind of sticks with you.
So, I'll always remember an experienced
marketing exec from a sports betting company admitting to me, off the record, that the biggest problem the industry has is people generally either gamble or they don't. There's obviously a massive
middle ground of people who'll join in the office sweepstake for the World Cup or put a couple of quid on the Grand National. However, such occasional gamblers are actually more of a drain on the
industry than a boon. Accounts are created that are never used again until the person requests a reset for a forgotten password in a year's time, twenty minutes before they get underway at
In terms of regular customers, people generally are gamblers or they aren't.
So, the task Brothers and Sisters is being given, by Betfred, to broaden the appeal of
gambling is actually a lot more challenging that it would appear, I believe. As the Premier League football season starts and various well-known brands tell us to get in on the action, the vast
majority of the budget, in above the line, is likely to reach people who just aren't gamblers and never will be.
It's very tempting to refute this and, funnily enough, making the
statement goes against an internal voice that keeps saying that with the spread of 'in game' betting offering smartphone users more opportunity than ever to guess the winner at Ascot or the next goal
scorer, massive growth just has to be out there.
But, this isn't just a hunch from me, nor a battle weary gambling marketing exec, it's actually in the figures.
Deloitte is a
good authority here and to shave a few per cent off here and there, to make things simpler, their latest figures have Asia and Europe (excluding the UK) each accounting for about a third of all
gambling and betting. The USA has a 10 per cent share, as does the Rest of the World and the UK weighs in with an 8 per cent share. Given American restrictions on sports betting, it's not surprising
that the UK has a similar sized market despite having something like only a fifth of the population.
Where the surprise comes in, though, is when the experts look at UK online sports
betting figures. This is the market the big names in gambling have been fighting hard to win over as people have moved from the bookmaker to the web and the phone in their pocket.
monetary terms, there is a modest rise in revenue across sports betting over the next two to three years -- in fact, it's worth noting that sports betting is the same size as interactive casino games,
poker and bingo combined.
However, the inconvenient truth is, as far as Deloitte's projections are concerned, online has peaked since 2012 at around a third of total sports betting. Come
2017, Deloitte still estimates that it will account for a third of the market. Not only has online reached a plateau, sports betting in general is only estimated to have very modest growth between
2012 and 2017.
Indeed, the Deloitte summary of its latest figures suggests operators are probably a little 'over confident' about mobile.
So, as one very well known brands turns
to a new agency to broaden the appeal of gambling and, more specifically, sports betting, I am reminded of the single sentence that summed up one man's many years in the industry.
come to my mind throughout the coming weeks and beyond as the start of the new football season see ad spots screaming at us to grab our phone and 'get on it' with offers of odds and bets for the
season and upcoming games.
There's about to be millions spent on putting a seasoned campaigner's summary to the test.
If people really do fall into two separate camps of gamblers
and non-gamblers, it could be a very expensive test.