(Exclusive interview).- Lorenzo Caci, Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships in South Europe and Latin America at Sportradar, talked with Focus Gaming News before ICE North America.
ICE North America is set to kick off its first edition on May 13-15 in Boston, Massachusetts. The event, which is organised by Clarion Gaming, is set to become one of the leading shows of the industry. Taking the name from the ICE brand, the North America event wants to be a pillar for the industry and copy the success of the biggest event of the gambling industry, ICE London.
Lorenzo Caci is the Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships in South Europe and Latin America at Sportradar. He also focuses on the Indian, Italian and Turkish betting markets and media markets. Caci talked with Focus Gaming News days before the launch of ICE North America and told us about the company’s expectations for this show and about his industry assessment.
Sportradar was one of the first companies to support ICE North America. What do you consider will be the biggest impact of the show?
It will be a great opportunity to get the latest intel from industry experts at the many speaker sessions, especially now that it has been 12 months since PASPA [was revoked] to open the US to legalised betting. We will have two speakers at ICE North America, including our CEO, and, as the market leader who has been working with the major US sports leagues, operators and legislators, we are really looking forward to sharing our insight as we continue to help support a US betting market that is beneficial for all parties.
We are really looking forward to sharing our insight as we continue to help support a US betting market that is beneficial for all parties.
Sportradar is also a leading company in the sector. The company has been innovating the business with new technology, alliances and operations. How do you evaluate the sector in the US and Europe? Do you think the legislative experience in those markets will extend sports betting in legal markets around the world?
With almost two decades in the sports data and wagering industry, our strong presence in established markets, such as Europe, is part of what makes us prepared to be able to offer our services and expertise in emerging markets such as the US and LatAm. But while it’s good to apply what works in the more established markets, and use it to guide what can happen in new markets, you also need to take into account that regions, countries, states obviously differ and therefore you need to ensure regulations suit the local market. This is one reason we’ve made our services so flexible and easily tailored.
If done properly, any region has the ability to create a sports betting industry that is fair and opportune for all.
Sports and wagering go hand in hand in Europe. The US can get to this point, especially considering sports innovation – data, stats and technology – is so big. However, as we are seeing now, there are still different levels of online and land-based betting being allowed. It’s going to be an ongoing process, even the European market is still evolving, but in the end, if done properly, any region has the ability to create a sports betting industry that is fair and opportune for all.
What is Sportradar preparing for ICE North America? How will this event boost your goals?
We’re really looking forward to showing operators, whether they are looking to establish a sportsbook or trying to make their operations more effective, that we have the tools they need. We offer everything from live odds to additional entertainment content, like streaming and virtual gaming, that can take a sportsbook to the next level. Our signature all-in-one Managed Trading Services (MTS) provides all of this under the one roof, together with trading and risk management, which can be easily integrated at whatever level required. In emerging markets like the US, it really is the best solution. Our entire 360-degree betting portfolio is underpinned by the fastest and most quality data in the industry too, thanks to our official partnerships and market share of clients.
Our entire 360-degree betting portfolio is underpinned by the fastest and most quality data in the industry too, thanks to our official partnerships and market share of clients.
As Latin America is a big fan of sports, why do you think is so hard for this business to grow legally in that region?
A lot of countries are still nervous about regulating sports betting because there is a widely held view that it is part of the “sin” industry, together with adult content and alcohol, tobacco and so on. And it is when it comes to an irregulated market. It is much easier to forbid something than to regulate it. However, the long-term impact of prohibiting something, as we saw in the US, does not work. It’s better to govern it with rules that are clear for everybody. As the US states continue to regulate betting, more people are beginning to realise this, recognising that, in regions especially where people are so passionate about sports like LatAm, the opportunities of legalised betting can far outweigh the threats.
What is your advice to maintain the integrity of sports during sports betting operations? What are the main challenges in that sector?
It’s really important that legislators, sports leagues, operators and data providers continue to work together to put together a framework that is suitable for all. This is the biggest challenge as it will vary from region to region. The more legalised wagering markets there are, though, the better, as the controls and licenses that this involves helps bring any potential black market out from the shadows.