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Even the best oddsmakers can’t fully predict the future, but when it comes to the sportsbook experience, the future is now. 

Evolution of the Sportsbook Experience

Not so long ago, the sports betting experience was a highly manual, time-consuming undertaking. Bettors often faced long lines that significantly impacted when and how they could make bets. To keep it fair, venues had strict cut-off limits and only limited capacity for accepting real-time bets. 

Many sports betting transactions were relegated to backroom dealings in some jurisdictions before a relaxation of state laws related to sports betting in 2018. Today, sports betting has hit the mainstream in a big way and is expected to keep growing as the industry expands. 

Thanks to newer technology, it’s never been easier to become involved with the exciting new sports betting culture. Even novice bettors can jump in with confidence thanks to branded mobile sports betting apps like BetMGM, Caesars Sports, and Circa Sports to name a few.

These virtual apps can only do so much to deliver a branded experience. Today, for the ultimate sports betting experience, the most innovative brick and mortar sportsbook locations have evolved to become the experiential intersection of technology meets live entertainment and branded events. 

These “branded experiences” are being driven primarily by a resort casino’s sport league affiliations in conjunction with media partnerships. Customers are now stepping into brand new, exciting, and creative next-generation sportsbook experiences and activations.

“Broadcast studios are being built in partnership with Casinos now shows the ever growing relationship between sports betting and the media. Look for many more synergies and mutually beneficial opportunities between sports leagues, media companies and sports betting companies in the months and years to come! ”

Josh Swissman, former CMO at Stations Casino and founding partner for Las Vegas-based The Strategy Organization.

Sportsbook Venue Improvements

Sportsbook venues have evolved alongside these digital innovations. New sportsbook facilities include high-energy, luxurious multimedia experiences that cater to a twenty-first-century clientele accustomed to on-demand lifestyles. 

An entire culture has grown up around a new sportsbook era. The mostly transactional relationships between bettors and bookmakers of yesterday have transformed into client-based relationships that emphasize service and brand building. Creating a memorable and tailored customer experience both in-hand (mobile) and on-the-ground (sportsbook) have become the industry standard and path to fan loyalty.

Sportsbook Ticketing Improvements

In a way, the sportsbook evolution is similar to the way the movie theater industry has changed. Moviegoers no longer have to wait in long lines or have their groups split up in the theater. Instead, they can pull up an app, buy tickets and select seats. When they arrive, these patrons can order food and beverages for delivery right to their seats. Today’s sportsbooks environments are quite similar on several fronts. 

The most advanced sportsbooks offer features like:

  • A 3D virtual map where customers can pre-select their desired sportsbook seat or lounge table
  • Online ticketing capabilities based on real-time availability
  • Advanced platforms that help venues sell inventory in advance and guarantee availability for guests

It’s no wonder that modern sports bettors respond to sportsbook innovations with so much enthusiasm. These enhanced entertainment experiences combine the excitement of sports bars with the fast-paced digital culture contemporary customers demand. 

Digital-First Customer Service Enhancements

Today’s sportsbook customers may not label themselves as “digital-first,” but many modern customer experience drivers are indeed rooted in the worlds of digitization and automation. To thrive, sportsbooks will need to meld timeless attributes like personalized service with the benefits of ultrafast, on-demand tech — beyond the kiosk. 

Digital-first expectations are driving new sportsbook revenue opportunities. Customers respond much more enthusiastically to brands that offer features like:

  • Mobile Booking
  • One-tap Payment Options
  • Advance Reservations

A modern, digital-first, pre-booking-capable sportsbook platform can be a game-changer.

A Win-Win for Guest Experience and Resort Facilitators 

Smart digitization offers benefits on both sides of the transaction. Customers enjoy access to the digital features they prefer, and resorts – that dedicate a lot of square footage to sportsbook operations – benefit from a streamlined system that pulls together various aspects of their sportsbook offerings. 

Revenue Management

Because modern sportsbooks platforms allow for seamless pre-sale booking, resorts can transform the way they handle revenue. UrVenue’s real-time venue management solutions, for example, enables resorts to:

  • Sell inventory in advance – this can include inventory like stadium style sportsbook seating, lounge tables with food and beverage minimums, and fan hubs
  • Collect pre-sale revenue including table minimum deposits
  • Limit no-shows
  • Set pricing by sportsbook location and yield pricing on-demand
  • Creatively offer day-of or event-specific food and beverage packages and cocktail specials
  • Track guest spend through POS integration
  • Sell special event packages and other one-off offerings through ticketing solutions that integrate with a resort’s digital commerce channels
  • Better handle inventory management and related costs and yields

Loyalty Building

Clients who make significant investments into services of any type expect appreciation and recognition. After all, consumers almost always have the option to take their business elsewhere. Statistics around brand loyalty are compelling:

  • Consumers who belong to top-performing loyalty programs are 77% more likely to choose your brand over a competitor brand (Bond)
  • Brands with strong loyalty marketing programs grow revenues twice as fast than competitors and generate up to 400% higher returns to shareholders (HBR)
  • Acquiring a brand new customer costs five to 25 times more than keeping an existing customer (HBR)
  • Loyalty program customers spend almost 70% more than non-loyalty program members (CMO by Adobe)

Sportsbooks that offer loyalty programs or who enhance existing loyalty programs will stand out. The UrVenue platform gives resorts more in-depth insight into guest behavior, allowing them to identify brand loyalists and reward them. 

Ready to Smarten Up your Sportsbook?

UrVenue’s partnerships with leading casino brands are delivering impressive results. For example, UrVenue has helped a top Las Vegas gaming and hospitality corporation enjoy rapid year-over-year pre-sale revenue growth — to the tune of 510% between 2017 and 2019. 

Las Vegas is arguably the epicenter of where guest experiences are created and innovated. Just as Bo Bernhard, Executive Director of the International Gaming Institute said during a recent Ted Talk, “Las Vegas is the global intellectual capital of the gaming industry”.

It follows that looking at sportsbook successes from Vegas’ top resorts can help hospitality brands around the world to create their own sports bettor paradises and maximize their unique guest experiences. 

Reach out to learn more about how UrVenue can help you enhance your sportsbook experience with smart digitization and a renewed focus on the features and benefits today’s digital-first customers expect. Request your free demo today!