As the largest sports betting event of the year draws to a close, Colossus Bets’ COO David O’Reilly examines the betting trend that has helped bookies eschew the ‘race to the bottom’ on odds: partial cash-out.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a saturated market, every point of differentiation matters – whether it’s personalised offers, unique markets or generous odds – but not all customer acquisition strategies truly pay off for the bookmakers. That might be part of the reason why so many operators – and their punters – are embracing innovative cashout models, giving bettors a chance to aim high while minimising risk for both parties.
According to David O’Reilly, chief operating officer at Colossus Bets, the explosion in the popularity of cash-out bets is clearly marked in a comparison between the 2012 European Championships and this year’s tournament.
“The most obvious changes since Euro 2012 are mobile becoming the dominant betting channel and cash-out becoming a sports betting juggernaut,” he told Betting Business.
“The staple diet of football punters has become the 1×2 accumulator and I expect this to continue into the next season. By enabling punters to shoot for the big win from a multi-leg bet with the optionality of banking profits along the way, partial cash-out is accelerating the growth of multi-leg betting generally.”
Colossus Bets’ sports pools offer aspirational jackpots – up to £10m in its biggest pool, The Colossus – with a partial cash-out feature that allows punters to guarantee themselves a set amount of money while also aiming for the all-to-play- for prize.
According to O’Reilly, the partial cash-out trend came into its own during the main UK football season, as punters took advantage of shortening odds while still hoping to win life-changing amounts.
By enabling punters to shoot for the big win from a multi-leg bet with the optionality of banking profits along the way, partial cash-out is accelerating the growth of multi-leg betting generally.
“Cash-out (or partial cash-out to be more accurate) is now an essential component of any sports betting operator’s product mix,” he said. “Many players with the first two legs of a treble in the bag will look to take their stake back via partial cash-out throughout the tournament, a theme we saw throughout the regular season. Take that a few steps further and a player with a life-changing jackpot payout in sight does not want to risk walking away with nothing.”
It’s been a busy few months for Colossus, who have recently secured landmark deals with sportsbook provider BetConstruct and football pools firm The Football Pool. As operators continue to expand their cash-out offering, O’Reilly is hopeful that the notorious odds-slashing competitions between bookies at events like Cheltenham could soon be a thing of the past.
“I didn’t expect Cheltenham or Leicester to have an impact on pricing for the Euros but the race to the bottom in terms of abusable sign-up promotions might be on the wane,” he said. “More inventive promotions such as BetVictor’s ‘Million Pound Goal’ are likely to be the way forward.”
And while big jackpots can drive huge levels of engagement from punters, O’Reilly suggests that the risky nature of the ‘battle of wits’ between odds compilers and bettors has become an outdated concept – meaning that offering big money and partial cash-out can go hand-in-hand with securing decent profits.
“Top tier football is the ideal betting medium. Not only is it of global appeal but pricing is pretty stable and reliable, though a raft of winning favourites will hurt every operator,” said O’Reilly.
“In any event, the quality of pricing, risk-management and platform software which can now be purchased means that many sportsbooks, particularly those with a regional focus, have become marketing firms with their software and risk powered by service providers. In the context of Colossus Bets we are enabling some of these firms to offer the world’s biggest and most volatile sporting jackpots, without absorbing any risk.”