“To deliver a disruptive and differentiated vision for the sports betting and casino sector.”
That’s the mission statement of BetBright.
Founded in 2012, BetBright is a digital entertainment company, providing an innovative and unique online platform for gambling as well as an online casino. Based in Dublin, and operating throughout the UK, it is not the only gambling group of its kind, so how can it stand apart from its competitors? How can BetBright disrupt an already crowded market?
That task falls into the hands of Marcus Brennan, the founder and CEO, and Ronan Murphy, Technology Director. Thankfully for the company, both men bring unrivalled experience in the technology and gaming space.
For Brennan, having launched the world’s first mobile subscription lottery service in Ireland, the key to pushing the boundaries with BetBright is his core belief in technology and innovation.
“I bring the same ethos and approach to BetBright that I have brought to my previous businesses,” says Brennan, “which is a belief in technology ownership as an enabler of innovation, differentiation and speed to market in order to disrupt.”
This is a sentiment echoed by Murphy, who himself comes from a career with significant experience in transforming the gaming industry, a career that saw him develop automation for Paddy Power, work with Finsoft (Sportsbook provider) and Boss Media (Poker and Casino) as well as working with Disney.
“I believe in making the most of technology, processes and people to deliver superior results,” he says. “I have spent over 25 years building and operating complex software. This has given me the experience to be able to focus on what is important: what will thrill our customers.”
Growth and disruption
Since its launch in 2012, BetBright has grown significantly, with forecasts predicting that the company will see revenues increase by at least 170% for 2017 over 2016.
In this time, the company has also seen a major expansion of staff, with around 120 people now operating under the BetBright umbrella, 70% of which focus directly on technology, product and marketing.
So, what is the overall vision of BetBright, and how will it not fall into the trap of being just another online betting platform?
“The long-term vision is to disrupt using big data, our own bespoke recommender and personalisation technologies, superior UX and artificial intelligence across our operations,” says Brennan. “It’s about bringing the best practice e-commerce technologies and capabilities from outside this sector empowered by our own technology. Technology control is a core value for us.”
While it is most certainly a long-term ambition, the speed with which BetBright has grown shows that continued growth is very much in the immediacy.
“In 18-24 months’ time, BetBright will have transformed completely. We have control of our technology; we are fast, nimble and have a clear vision and understanding of that future product and service. We really are ideally positioned to shoot ahead and disrupt.” Says Brennan.
He sees it as an opportunity to tap into significantly untapped potential.
“People do not realise the potential there is to rethink this sector. We do. We have identified many areas of the gaming experience that can be radically improved,” he says.
“The gaming sector can sometime be inward looking. We look for inspiration from many sectors.”
It is a pretty bold statement to come into a crowded market and say that you want to disrupt the status quo, particularly when that status quo involves the likes of Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Bet365 – all well-established and hugely successful online gambling companies.
Murphy is keen to stress this use of big data, and how that will be a key driver of innovation. He points to the way in which BetBright will utilise the data captured from its users to inform the company’s operations and, in effect, create a more personalised and dynamic user experience in real time.
“Think YouTube, Amazon, Netflix – all of these companies know their customers behaviours,” he says, “and they present videos, movies and services based on who is online. Their content adapts in real time to how people interact with it. It’s a dynamic and personalised experience.”
This calls back to Murphy’s experience, not only in the gaming and entertainment sectors, but working with technology across multiple outside sectors and bringing the best practices from those sectors into the online gambling space.
Most if not all online gambling and entertainment companies utilise a white label platform, one that is built by a third part developer and utilised by the host company. BetBright has developed its own SportsBook.
Developed 100% in house, The Sportsbook platform provides BetBright with a level of control that most other online gambling companies cannot surpass.
As Murphy notes, it allows BetBright to be more agile and more customer focused than most of their competition.
“This level of control means that we are extremely responsive,” he says.” In the time it would take some of our competitors to set up meetings to discuss something that has been flagged, or an interesting opportunity on the horizon, we’ve already delivered new innovations to production. With this control, we can deliver new software at least twice a week.”
For a company whose operations are 100% run through an electronic online platform, it goes without saying that technology truly is the lifeblood of BetBright. But in the ever-changing world of technology, with today’s practices almost rendered obsolete by tomorrow, how does it stay ahead of the game and ensure that the products and services it offers continue to not only be what customers want, but continue to disrupt?
“The pace of change is relentless,” says Murphy. “But we know exactly where we are going and more importantly, how to get there.
“We constantly research and keep up to date with innovations in other sectors and we are constantly optimising our product offering. We study how our customers interact with our platforms. If we notice any friction points, we immediately remove them.”
In line with listening to what customers want and just good business sense, BetBright launched its own casino which significantly expanded the business.
Brennan notes that when looking at the existing players in the market, close to 50% of all revenue is generated through an online casino platform. BetBright, in order to both keep up and continue to push the boundaries as to what can be expected of an online gaming and entertainment company, launched its online casino platform in 2014.
“Casino,” Brennan adds. “Is an essential part of the customer lifetime value. Customers expect to find a casino element and if you don’t have it, then you’re going to lose customers. Yes, we integrated it over time, but it was never an option. It was in our plans from day one.”
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As noted previously, BetBright is not the only player in this market and both Brennan and Murphy admit that in order to succeed and stand apart from these competitors, BetBright cannot ignore what they are offering.
To do this, BetBright has a Product Management team specifically focused on understanding what the customers want, what they like and dislike, and to look at how customers interact with and engage with competitors.
“Our Product Management team and our Data Insights team use big data to understand what customers want, but they also track our competitors’ offerings too,” says Murphy.
There will always be instances of a competitor launching a new service before anyone else can get there. Murphy concedes that in this market, in order to disrupt what’s currently out there, you cannot turn your back on what others are doing.
“Cash Out is a great example of a feature that was launched by a competitor,” he says. “It very quickly became a must have feature, and we had to copy.
“It will certainly happen again in the future and quite frankly, to ignore what competitors are doing would be foolhardy.”
Brennan has alluded to a clear vision, a roadmap in which BetBright knows exactly where it wants to be and how it needs to continuously evolve and innovate in order to get there. This Product Management element, and utilisation of customer data, allows BetBright to pour over the data rich environment that is the gaming industry.
Powered by content providers
To tap into this data and extract the true value that it can yield, BetBright continuously partners with suppliers and providers that enable the company to process vast amounts of data, efficiently and quickly.
“BetBright is highly automated and as such we are integrated to a range of provider feeds which send us everything from race card information with runners, riders and prices to football fixtures and prices,” says Brennan. “It would be impossible for us, and any competitor, to compile all of this information and input it into the systems alone, especially when you factor in the rapid change that comes with live in play betting.”
To that end, one could argue that BetBright is heavily dependent on its content provider partners, particularly in its casino element. As the company does not develop the casino games that are integrated into its online platform, it relies on game providers such as Evolution, NetEnt, IGT, Scientific Games, and MicroGaming.
Now in its fifth year of operation, BetBright is very much a growing company and as Brennan mentioned previously, the company has a clear roadmap for the journey ahead.
This roadmap is dictated by the company’s unrivalled commitment to listening to what the customer wants, what it needs and researching and optimising to meet that changing need. It’s all about growth and innovation – that core mentality of pushing the boundaries and continuing to disrupt the status quo remains at the very heart of every decision that BetBright chooses to make.
After all, Brennan feels this is a market not only full of potential, it’s a market that’s actually lagging behind some of the broader e-commerce world. This, he truly feels, BetBright can change.
“We intend to be the first to take it to a new level,” he says, “and that will be wonderful for our customers.”