(Exclusive interview).- Kambi and Penn National recently announced a long-term sportsbook partnership agreement and Max Meltzer, CCO at Kambi, talked with Focus Gaming News about this new milestone.
It’s not an everyday thing when the leading global sports betting supplier and the largest regional gaming operator in North America announce a long-term sportsbook partnership agreement. Kambi and Penn National revolutionised the sports betting industry late in July by announcing the partnership that will see Kambi provide Penn National its online and on-property sportsbook and services.
Max Meltzer, CCO at Kambi, talked with Focus Gaming News about the partnership and the challenges that such a deal brings to the company. Meltzer also discussed the current situation of the sports betting industry in the United States.
In a territory like the US where operators have been considering their options since the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, Kambi managed to strike a deal with the largest regional gaming operator. Kambi, as the world’s leading sports betting supplier, seems like the obvious choice for any operator. Is it easier for you to move forward with a partnership of this kind when both companies are leaders in their own field? Is it more challenging?
If anything it makes it easier. The combination of Kambi’s high quality and flexible sportsbook married with Penn National’s technical ability, marketing expertise and local market knowledge, puts the partnership in a strong position as it looks to capitalise on the opportunities regulation in the US presents. Both organisations share a vision for providing fun, safe and secure sports betting experiences, and we are both excited about the agreement’s potential.
We will be providing Penn National with our full suite of sportsbook technology, encompassing our sportsbook platform, pricing and trading, risk management, player analytics and integrity monitoring. This stretches across both online and on-property and will support the operator’s dedicated loyalty program. Driving retention is a core part of the proposition we offer to operators, and through Kambi our partners have the freedom to grow and realise their sportsbook ambitions.
Through Kambi, our partners have the freedom to grow and realise their sportsbook ambitions.
To expand on this, Penn National recognised the value in building on their own IP, rather than outsourcing their sports betting operations to a B2C brand. What we bring to the table is the ability for operators to add huge amounts of intrinsic value to their brands through our open platform and APIs.
In partnership with Kambi, Penn National will build a truly unique sportsbook, having put together a commercial and technical team which really understands how to build a highly engaging sports betting website. Their developers will have total control over the frontend, essentially giving them a blank canvas upon which to innovate.
The capacity for differentiation available through our technology also extends to the backend, and Penn National plans to take full advantage of our bespoke pricing and risk management to tailor their sportsbooks in each individual state, providing the best and most competitive experiences for their players.
Penn National operates more than 40 gaming facilities across 19 US states. In what ways, besides financially, do you think the partnership will benefit Kambi as sports betting continues expanding in the country?
What we have found in Penn National is a partner which has a fantastic team of experts in venture building and what it takes to create an exceptional sports betting offer. We are proud to be supporting the growth of North America’s largest regional gaming operator, who from day one will benefit from the full breadth of our experience in providing sports betting services and software.
Signing with an operator as highly regarded as Penn National cements our position as the number one choice for operators seeking a high quality, flexible sportsbook. Since processing the first legal sports wager in the US post-PASPA, we have continually underlined our credentials as the premier sportsbook supplier to operators targeting long-term growth in the country.
We are proud to be supporting the growth of North America’s largest regional gaming operator.
We have significant agreements in place with operators including Rush Street Interactive, Parx and DraftKings, and this deal with Penn National further underlines our standing as the go-to sportsbook for ambitious betting and gaming brands. Ultimately, it is a landmark partnership which proves that we are a true multi-channel provider capable of offering players a seamless sports betting experience, whatever environment they choose to play in.
How important is the relationship with state regulators when launching new products? Do you take this into account before striking a new partnership?
We continue to have ongoing dialogue with a large number of regulators so we can build strong relationships and, in some cases, help them understand the intricacies of sports betting so they can develop sensible regulatory frameworks. We have built a world-class legal team to keep the company’s finger on the pulse of developments in the US and beyond, which has been key in enabling us to secure market firsts in states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
Making sure we have everything in place to meet each individual state’s requirements is a key part of securing any partnership, and our commitment to the highest standards of corporate probity and sports betting integrity was central to our agreement with Penn National.
Making sure we have everything in place to meet each individual state’s requirements is a key part of securing any partnership
You’ve recently said that Indiana and Iowa are good places for Kambi to start in. Besides being the latest states to approve sports betting, what makes them unique enough to have such importance in the kick-off of this partnership?
We launched in Iowa on 15 August, with Indiana to follow imminently before going live with online in 2020. Why these two states first? Penn National have great properties there and therefore – when combined with the markets opening – it made sense to initially focus our efforts here. Everyone at Kambi is excited to be getting this partnership underway in Iowa, and we will be collaborating closely and supporting them in accordance with their strategy. This is just the start – our speed to market has been central to the excellent reputation we are building in the US, while the scalability of Kambi’s underlying technology stack enables our partners to seize opportunities in regulating jurisdictions ahead of the competition.
This agreement is the fourth one in just eight months, after partnerships with other leading operators such as mybet, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and BetWarrior. Can we expect more announcements in the second half of the year?
We’ve been very pleased to agree partnerships with an array of talented and experienced operators in 2019, and we are of course continuously in discussions with operators who share our passion for delivering bespoke and engaging sports betting experiences. We have also signed a number of contract extensions, including Rank Group, DraftKings and NagaWorld, which we are very pleased with. In terms of new customer signings, I can’t give away any details at this stage, but I would encourage you to watch this space.
Our speed to market has been central to the excellent reputation we are building in the US.
Can you shed any light on your plans for G2E?
G2E is one of the most significant events in the sports betting calendar, and we’ll have a full team on hand at Booth 2230 to chat to delegates about the “Ultimate Freedom” we can offer operators to unlock their sportsbook ambitions.
It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and establish valuable new connections – when it comes to learning and networking, G2E is nigh on unparalleled, and we plan on taking full advantage.