Paul Mills, SBC Events chief operating officer, talks through the whys and wherefores of September’s Betting on Sports conference.
Betting Business: Why is Betting on Sports a must-see event for anyone in the betting business?
Paul Mills: It’s a fantastic opportunity for individuals across the betting industry to get together in one place and share their experiences, network and gain a great deal of insight from expert speakers.
This year promises to be our busiest conference yet, with more than 1,200 delegates and 160 speakers attending across eight conference tracks.
BB: How does your line-up reflect how you view the global industry in 2017?
Mills: We’ve got a truly global line-up for this year’s event, highlighting the international appeal of sports betting. C-level individuals speaking at Betting on Sports stretch from the UK, Eastern Europe and both South and North America, where regulation is a hot topic right now.
Our CEO panel features the key people from brands from all over the world: Pinnacle, mybet, Parimatch, Favbet and BetBright.
We’ve also secured a coup with Sky Bet CEO Richard Flint appearing on a panel discussing social responsibility, with the operator a major player in the UK market as well as moving into new territories in Germany and Italy in recent times.
BB: A dedicated esports event alongside suggests you see this is as a major growth area. What developments/challenges can we expect over the next 12 months?
Mills: We’ve had sessions on it before, but this is the first year we’ve had a whole conference track dedicated to esports, and we know this is a fast-growing vertical which offers huge potential for operators. According to gaming market research company Newzoo, esports has a global audience of 385 million people and is worth $696m, a figure they are predicting will reach $1.5bn in annual revenue by 2020. These are significant numbers that has already attracted a large number of operators to offer esports markets, with many more set to follow suit in the foreseeable future.
While some operators have introduced esports markets, I think improvements can still be made to provide a quality user journey which matches those of traditional sports betting experiences such as football and horse racing. For many, esports is still an unknown entity and we’ve got a number of panels which look into regulatory issues, marketing and data when it comes to the vertical.
BB: What would be your top five things to do at BoS – those you’d least like to miss?
Mills: In no particular order, my top five things to do at BOS are:
The Betting on Racing track is shaping up to be a cracker. The sport and the business has been at loggerheads for far too long in the UK and hopefully this day of discussion will help promote more cooperation than conflict. But there could well be some sparky conversation.
There’s a huge exhibition area at BoS, which will showcase the latest products from 60 of the industry’s leading suppliers, including 22 first-time exhibitors. With no fewer than 1,200 senior executives, Betting on Sports is the perfect opportunity to form new business partnerships and re-ignite existing industry relationships. From the leading operators to the largest sportsbook affiliates, key suppliers and sports clubs, everyone will be gathered in one place.
For this year’s event, Golden Race is introducing the Alpine Bar with beers and schnapps, while Grind Coffee Society, one of London’s leading coffee roasters, will be serving coffee in the OPTIMA coffee bar area. There will also be draft beer at the Racing Post cafe, and engaging digital game competitions from the likes of Digital Fuel and Millennial Esports in the Esports area.
The official Betting on Sports Networking Party is one not to miss, held at the extravagant location of Altitude 360, with stunning views looking over London. And of course, there’ll be plenty of drinks on offer.
I’m sure there will be a lot of interest in this already, but the panel looking into problem gambling will be a must attend discussion. Particularly with the industry under increased scrutiny from all quarters, operators and regulators need to work more closely than ever before. We have a stellar line up with GambleAware CEO Mark Etches, Sky Bet’s Richard Flint, Graham Weir director of player protection at Ladbrokes Coral, and Fiona Palmer, director of social responsibility at the Remote Gambling Association all appearing.