A growing number of Americans are now allowed to bet on sports – but many of them still won’t know how. Justin Parks, CEO of RotoQL, says his consumer-facing data services can help bridge the gap – giving consumers the confidence to play for the long term.
As states continue to legalise sports betting, research suggests that (regulations permitting) around three quarters of America’s blackmarket bettors will soon transfer from offshore sportsbooks to newly licenced firms. So far so straight forward.
But when it comes to the second wave of player acquisition – onboarding the mass market, many of whom will have never placed a bet before – people may need more of a leg up before putting their money down.
Justin Park CEO and co-founder of RotoQL Inc, a B2C sports data company, thinks his company can play a defining role in prepping America for mass market sports betting.
“We think of ourselves as a ‘Bloomberg Terminal’ for sports analytics,” says Park. “Our customers pay us a monthly subscription to access historical data and tools to help them make better pre- dictions.”
Park, along with co-founded Frank Kim and Mike Shiekman set up RotoQL in 2015 to “democratise” daily fantasy sports.
The trio recognised a shortcoming in the DFS genre, similar to internet poker. Effectively a handful of “sharks” – pro players armed to the teeth with sports data – were winning all the time. Casual players weren’t having much fun and newcomers didn’t stick around long.
To level the playing field they developed a consumer-facing data service, that removes that competitive advantage
“There’s a learning curve to playing daily fantasy sports, and the vast majority of people don’t get that far along it, or if they do it’s not that far up. Our mission has been to lower that barrier so you have more people being able to be more effective.”
RotoQL is now a rapidly expanding seven figure revenue business, with 16,000 customer paying monthly subscriptions. But like most entrepreneurs in the sports sector, Park sees the roll out of US betting markets as a huge opportunity to propel the company.
Not only does this same data disparity exist in sports betting, he reminds, but having been unable to legally place bets virtually everywhere outside of Nevada, many Americans would find a sports- book daunting.
“If you look at the sports betting market in Europe, they were only really able to scale up because you had content providers that educated sports bettors and allowed them to be a little bit more sophisticated and give them more confidence to play,” Park adds.
“Those companies are now very large affiliate businesses. So in the US market you need to have the same information hubs that help sports bettors move up the learning curve – similar to what we’ve seen in DFS and poker.”
RotoQL is perfectly positioned to do that, he says: “We’re helping people to get better through data and mobile first data product as opposed to just content. So we see ourselves as a very important ingredient to the whole evolution of betting.”
RotoQL Inc now consists of three consumer-facing data terminals – RotoQL for daily fantasy players; SquadQL for season-long fantasy; and now BetQL for traditional betting – all of which feed into the hype around betting.
“One thing people tend to overlook is seasonal fantasy,” says Park. “They forget that the season long fantasy audience is around 50 million – it’s been around for much much longer has a very strong track record of loyal users. I would say here is a lot of room for innovation and people are not really looking at it.”
Park aims to draw from these different audiences, building a “middle class” of sports fans, and migrate them to BetQL with “free to play games, our own content hub,” as well as “other methods to attract and acquire a sports betting audience.”
“Can we launch or build product that are innovative at user experience level, and gamify the sports betting experience?” Park asks.
A lot is “yet to be determined,” but “it’s not really been done to the extent that it could, even in Europe. And the US is a brand new open terrain where you can really do interesting things.”