IAG October 2015 - page 9

October2015
inside
asiangaming
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MakingBook
FootballBet.comChairmanandCEODavid Leppo
has been a bookmaker for decades, first in Santo Domingo and
Mexico, now in Asia. In addition to online wagering on football and
a full suite of international andUS sports, FootballBet.com has nine
locations in casinos inCambodia and Laos.
“A presence in the casino is a natural channel for sports books
to customers,” Mr Leppo says. “It’s a self-marketing product. The
operatorbenefits from the relationshipwithapercentageof betprofit
[earned in the casino] and from those clientsbettingonline. They can
see thenumbers generated through their portal.”
FootballBet.com has a land and internet gaming license from
North Cagayan Gaming and Amusement Corporation in the
Philippines. “Unfortunately, licensees in the Philippines are not
recognized anywhere else except in the Philippines,”Mr Leppo says.
“Currently, there are no Asia regional licenses.” That forces online
betting into a “gray area” legally.
Estimates of the Asian sports gaming market are all over the
map. Some put it around $70 billion. Global online players such as
Bet365 and Pinnacle are big in the region along with Asia-focused
MaxBet. Online sports wagering is closely tied to online casinos.
“We’re finding online casino gambling a natural segue to sports
betting,”Mr Leppo says.Macau’s slowdownhas boosted revenue in
both categories. Chinese “want to gamble, but do it online now that
it is harder formainlanders toget intoMacau,” he says.
The biggest Asia sports betting action is on European football.
So-called sports lotteries, such as Singapore, that require players to
pick the winners of a pre-selected slate of games tend to encourage
players tograduate to real sportsbetting,where theycanchoose their
own action, according toMr Leppo.
For FootballBet.com, he says 75% of the betting comes from
in-running wagering during games, betting on a vast menu of
Estimatesof theAsian sportsgamingmarket
areall over themap. Someput itaround$70
billion.Global onlineplayers suchasBet365
andPinnaclearebig in theregionalongwith
Asia-focusedMaxBet.
propositions from goals to red cards to corners. “It’s not two,
three, four dimensional, it’s 20 dimensional,” Mr Leppo says, in
comparison topre-kickoffwagering. In-runningwagers are basedon
constantly updated real time algorithms. Big operatorsmay compile
their own algorithms, while smaller companies use specialists such
asBet Radar andDonBest.
FootballBet.com accepts bets up to US$100,000 on major tier
events, $10,000 on lower tier events. “If we’re overloaded on one
side, we’ll trade off the excess if moving the line or odds does not
entice business to come in on the other side, no different than a
commodities broker,”Mr Leppo says.
The Venetian lounge features a 100 x 10 foot (30.5 x 3.05 meter)
video screen capable of showing one event or divisible into up to
42 separate ones, plus a separate screen dedicated to racing. The
lounge has 118 personal betting stationswith computer screens and
takes wagers on all major race and sporting events. Most operators
offerwageringonhandhelddeviceprovidedby the loungeor on your
own phone from your seat at the bar or anywhere within Nevada,
restricted to that state by geolocation software.
An expansion of sport betting in Macau would have similar
restrictions to ensure that operators don’t take bets from China or
other jurisdictions where sports wagering remains illegal. Macau
Slot (and theHong Kong Jockey Club) currently operate phone and
online betting restricted to players physically within the territory.
Proponents of sports betting contend geolocation blocking works;
skepticssay there’salwaysawayaround tobeat thesoftware; realists
observe that illegal sports betting is happening now online, without
Macau casinos in themix.
Sports book lounges in casinos will extendMacau’s destination
appeal, Mr Klebanow suggests. “First, it broadens the demographic
mix of gaming customers by attracting people who may not be
attracted to a casino by traditional games of chance.” The sports
bettors skew younger andmale, and can also broaden the casino’s
ethnicmix.
“Today Macau does not do a very good job in attracting gamers
from India, primarily because Indians do not feel particularly
comfortable atMacau’s baccarat tables,”Mr Klebanow says. “Indians
are rabid sports bettors, particularly on cricket. Sports betting would
allowMacaucasinooperators to target thegamers in that countrywith
asuiteof sportswageringproductsunavailable in theirhomecountry.”
Gaming analysts said the FIFAWorld Cup last year helped start
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