Exclusive interview.- Focus Gaming News talks over the expansion of the US and Canadian sports betting markets with Evan Schaffner, general manager and head of partner success for the Americas at Kambi.
Sports betting revenues continue to soar in the US and more states are expected to launch regulated markets by the end of the year. Focus Gaming News caught up with Kambi’s general manager and head of partner success for the Americas, Evan Schaffner, to learn more about the sport betting service provider’s approach to the market.
Schaffner provides direction for Kambi’s teams of partner success managers, who work directly with major operator partners to provide support and guidance to help them optimise their sportsbooks.
That kind of support could become invaluable to operators in the growing US market as more states come online and competition hots up in mobile sports betting.
“In the US there are so many states that are on the verge of regulation or regulating the mobile product, which is really the foundation of Kambi,” Schaffner says. “We got our start with an online product, so that’s a core competency and a major differentiator for us.”
Kambi’s choice of sports betting partners
Kambi has a reputation globally for not operating in unlicensed markets and for being selective about who it does business with – something that seems to have gone down well with regulators in the US.
“We really look for organisations that are like-minded with Kambi in terms of being highly reputable.”Evan Schaffner, general manager and head of partner success for the Americas at Kambi.
“First and foremost, we’re looking for market leaders,” Schaffner says. “These are organisations that are either already market leaders or have the potential to become market leaders.
“We really also look for organisations that are like-minded with Kambi in terms of being highly reputable, very well respected in their communities, focused on regulatory responsibilities and so on.”
Speaking of regulators, Kambi has also benefitted in the US from its experience in working and adapting to a variety of different regulations in different licensed markets.
“State by state is actually tailor-made for what Kambi does,” Schaffner says. “We’ve been throughout Europe, throughout the rest of the world, adapting to different regulatory environments.
“We’ve gotten very proficient at understanding what state requirements are, and working with the regulators because we’ve done a great job building their trust, to try to make sure that what they’re putting out there makes sense for the municipalities as well as the operators and the consumers themselves.”
In-gaming betting in the US
Schaffner believes live and in-game betting are going to be the next big battleground in US sports betting, and Kambi is ready for it.
“I really believe that the US market is starting to become comfortable and familiar and excited about the potential for in-game and live betting.
“Being able to bet and enjoy the experience throughout the event and not just pre-match is really the future for the business.”
The Canadian sports betting market
As well as the US, Kambi sees great things coming in Canada as the country moves to legalise single-event sports betting.
“We’re super excited about the opportunity in Canada,” Schaffner says. “A number of our operators already have a presence.
“The market’s already there for single-game betting in Canada. Unfortunately, a lot of the business is being taken offshore, so this is an opportunity for the municipalities and the different provinces across Canada to really drive revenue and provide a better experience for the players and the operators in the market.”
In Canada too, Kambi sees a need for its abilities to adapt to state-by-state nuances, while the scalability of its offering also gives it an edge.
“We know the market is asking for it, and we believe Kambi’s core competencies in terms of our developments and the scope and the scalability of our offering is really going to enhance the experience, not only to attract these bettors but also to retain them.”
As for the southern half of the American continent, Kambi has partnerships with Betplay in Colombia, Rush RSI, and recently launched in Argentina with Casino Magic. Schaffner’s particularly excited about the potential of Brazil.
“There are a lot of eyes on Brazil and the potential for them to regulate and the scope of that market opportunity,” he says. “I know a lot of operators that are currently in Latin America and perhaps elsewhere are looking at Brazil as the next great frontier in that part of the world.
“It’s a very different market in a lot of ways but our approach is somewhat agnostic. We establish a local presence, we work with local regulators and we make sure that we’re dealing with partners that are the right fit, that have the same ambitions and the same values in terms of regulatory compliance and protecting their consumers, and so far we’re off to a very good start.”