iGaming NEXT NYC’23: The Future of Social Sports Betting and Data

Continuing our preview of iGaming NEXT NYC’23, which opens tomorrow, March 7, in the Big Apple, until the 9th, we offer readers another exclusive interview with one of the event’s top speakers: Cooper Lycan, Founder of leading sports content provider SoBet.

iGaming NEXT NYC’23 is a dynamic business hub, connecting 650-plus global iGaming leaders, investment financiers and Metaverse Influencers.

Aside from invaluable networking opportunities, the event, now in its fifth year, offers a packed conference session, with lots of opportunities to learn and hear valuable insights from iGaming’s top, top minds.

So it’s a privilege to catch up with Cooper and get the buzz before he lays it down in New York, New York.

Why is it so important to attend events like iGaming NEXT NYC23? What value does it bring?

“Sports betting is getting a lot of mainstream attention and the industry is experiencing extreme growth, which has spurred a lot of innovation. Conferences like iGaming NEXT are a great way to get a well-curated overview of what’s pushing the needle, to engage in these forward-looking conversations and exchange ideas, or meet the innovators.

“Since the sports betting industry is such a tight-knit community, relative newcomers, like us, can benefit from the ability to connect and network with other, more established players and emerging innovators. As a startup, the ability to contribute as a panelist and sponsor is invaluable. It puts a spotlight on us and allows us to connect with prospective business partners and investors who are the best in the game. Our ability to play well with each other will benefit everyone currently active in the iGaming and gambling landscape.”

What is your panel session going to be about and what will attendees learn from the discussion?

“We’ll be talking about “The Boom of Sports Betting Information, Social Betting and #GamblingTwitter”, with a focus on the convergence of the creator economy and sports betting amid a constantly evolving social media landscape. We’ll address how constantly changing algorithms, media formats and volatile platform management challenges influencers’ ability to ensure a steady income stream – and how this will result in creators and influencers bypassing mainstream platforms altogether to find ways of monetizing their audience directly.

“We believe that there is great potential to rethink the approach to audience engagement and customer retention amid this climate. Traditional media will become more relevant again but needs to adapt to the content preferences and demands of a new generation. 

“What we hope for audiences to take away from this discussion is how to navigate risks through influencer marketing, leveraging social communities to increase customer retention and how so-called ‘old’ and ‘new’ media can not only co-exist, but collaborate successfully to meet the growing demand in gaming and gambling content. 

“Our panel has some of the best experts from established and emerging sports betting content platforms. So, mark your calendars. This is one session not to be missed.”

What do you think will be one of the biggest trends in the way content is consumed in the iGaming industry within the next three-to-five years?

“Obviously, we are biased. But for us it comes down to transparency, inclusivity and content formats we haven’t even begun to think about. If you think of the next-gen sports bettor, it is Gen Z and Generation Alpha, meaning a growing group of people who like to pair their short-form, easy-to-digest social content with value-driven messaging. 

“In many ways this is almost an impossible gap to bridge. But we believe that this is all about baking responsible gaming practices into your content and marketing practices organically. And not just paying lip service to appease legislators. If you think about it, the core component of gaming responsibly is to have fun. So, the ability for sports books and other operators to seamlessly weave the social experience, social content and gambling together in an authentic way will be the only path to a sustainable and responsible gaming ecosystem.  

“Understanding and navigating the para-social relationships between influencers and their followers is going to be key for brands operating in, or entering, the iGaming industry; letting influencers take the lead when advising on and developing content that is truly relevant to emerging audiences.

“Gone are the days of talking ‘at’ your customer. The two-way communication between creators and their audiences will inform what content gets produced, distributed and consumed. We have seen it in other industries. In iGaming, creator platforms are uniquely positioned to tackle major issues affecting the aging gambling industry through more transparent advertising practices, weeding out bad advice, giving access to easy-to-understand information and promoting responsible gaming practices via built-in controls and early intervention.”

Are there any other sessions on the iGaming NEXT NYC’23 agenda that you’re looking forward to attending yourself?  

“This year’s lineup offers so many contributions from industry leaders and rising newcomers, so it’s hard to choose. Kudos to the organizers! But since we are hyper-focused on the NextGen betting experience, we’d love to hear from other like-minded presenters who understand where the puck is going in terms of entertainment, social content, transparency and responsible gaming. We’ll definitely be attending the sessions on “Streaming x Sports Betting” and “Social Media: The ONLY Way to Communicate with the Next Generation of Sports Fans/Gamblers” on March 8th, as well as “The Intersection between Gambling and TikTok” and “Tracking, Transparency and Accountability” on March 9th.”

Editor’s Note:

After speaking with Cooper, it’s clear that the industry’s current strategies for player engagement are up for reconsideration. 

Cooper believes that there is a lot of value to be gained from the sports betting sector aligning itself more with the creator economy; although recent events have proven that even though it can be largely rewarding for both parties, it doesn’t come without its risks. 

Any operators or content providers who are looking for new, innovative ways to leverage the social age–and engage a new generation of bettors–should attend Cooper’s session at iGaming NEXT NYC’23 this week to find out more, and understand how to best leverage this exciting new content format.

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