Structuring campaigns around major sporting events is nothing new to sportsbooks and affiliate marketers but, to date, the Olympics hasn’t been an event that has influenced much investment. Will this summer’s Games change that philosophy?

WE ARE CURRENTLY in the middle of the UEFA Euro 2012 Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine with European sportsbooks bracing themselves for a month of fervent betting activity that they hope will eclipse that of the preceding two major international championships.

Indeed, many within the industry will point to the 2008 UEFA European Championships in Austria and Switzerland as the catalyst for the online sportsbetting explosion. Many more observers will point to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as the true reference point for what is now driving revenues in the sector to ever higher levels: mobile betting.

Both of these major football tournaments have served as landmarks in the development of the sector thus far; firstly for online and latterly for the mobile segment, with both sharing a common denominator - in-play betting.

What the current European championship should provide operators is an opportunity to see how these sufficiently matured channels work together and whether this tournament can provide yet another springboard to further growth for the sector.

The Olympics

The advance of technology and the propensity of people to bet on a wider range of sports due to greater accessibility, air time and, notably, an increase in live streaming has many believing that the London Olympics will present the best betting opportunity of any Summer Games to date. Our panel of experts will share their views on this in the feature on the opposing page and will differ slightly in opinion. Operators may continue to see London 2012 as a market laden with one-off bettors that will prove difficult to retain given their passing interest in the event, making any developed strategy requiring investment a risk for the bookmaker.

The contrasting argument is that the Games could influence the UK public in the same way that the Grand National inspires many people to make their solitary bet of the year; generating lots of one-off bets on specific events like the 100m final, the men’s football tournament and on British gold medal hopes. It may not be a market flush with potential for retention, but it can provide another touch point with a demographic that rarely engages with betting activity. As James McMaster points out in the following feature, “if the Olympics doesn’t take off as a betting medium this year then it likely never will.”

Restrictive landscape

Another key area that will be discussed in this feature is how limited operators and affiliates are in promoting and marketing around the Olympics in accordance with the guidance set down by the ‘Organising Committee’. Gambling Law specialist, Peter Wilson, will provide an overview of the guidelines that prevent certain associations with the Olympics and the London 2012 brand which makes for essential reading for all those implementing campaigns around this summer’s Games.

We will also look into some statistics and psychology behind the driver of sportsbetting’s meteoric rise: in-play betting.
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