Taking Data Feeds and Odds Trading to the Next Level
In a highly competitive industry, companies are battling for market share with essentially the same product; data feeds and odds are among the few key ways that iGaming operators can differentiate themselves from competitors.
Most gambling industry stakeholders and insiders agree with this premise.
But how to put clear blue water between one’s iGaming operation and the competition? It’s the proverbial 64,000-dollar question. And one where there still exists vast and critical room for improvement.
Who better, then, to ask than Evgen Belousov, CEO of iGaming pathfinders and solution maestros, GR8 Tech. When it comes to leveraging the true power of optimised data feeds and odds trading strategies, Evgen is an expert on working these streams to create a market-leading customer experience. Read below as he shares some valuable insights.
Data feeds and odds trading are the lifeblood of online sportsbooks. How have the trends around this changed over the past few years?
“Feed providers tend to be stricter about exclusive rights on some tournaments or obtaining official data. Given that those rights are distributed between different feed providers, you need multiple integrations with each of them to have a high-quality feed for yourself. It can also include generating the feed on your own trading team that would trade tournaments you are specifically interested in. This can be the case if you have your odds engine and the ability to sustain your trading team.
“Another interesting trend is the rise of niche feed providers, who benefit from their expertise in some sports in particular. For example, in cricket or esports, let’s say. Their focus on one sport allows them to improve their odds engine and trading procedures, aligning them to the best offer on the market. This creates an additional need for the integration of multiple providers and the ability to combine their content with daily operations.”
What do you see as the next big tech trends in data feeds and odds trading? How can operators best align themselves to take benefit from these trends going forward?
“The need to handle multiple feed providers, and your own trading team, makes it harder to maintain cost-efficient operations with growing operational and IT staff. So, we see the next trend in automation of operations, and that’s already happening.
“You can surprise nobody with automation of trading with incident feeds when the scoreboard input to the odds is made by a feed rather than a trader dedicated to a match.
“The same applies to the automation of risk-management, which helps with the automated segmentation of players and highlighting risky situations in any event for a trader, or maybe even correcting the odds automatically. It is all the logical implication of increasing volumes of betting data.
“The next thing is calculating odds for more markets than provided in the feed, to create more selections for your players to bet on.
“It is logical to expect automation to take over complicated tasks in trading. Hitherto, we don’t know an example of AI models trading a football event in-play without supervision. But it only seems like a matter of time before such a breakthrough. I believe it will definitely lead to more cost-efficient operations with more precise pricing.”
With so many jurisdictions opening up worldwide, all with unique market conditions, maintaining high standards can be an ongoing challenge. Does the industry, as a whole, still need to be educated on best practices for odds trading? What aspects are in most need of improvement?
“The industry overall will face a lot of challenges, as each region has its own specifics. The regulations tend to be more demanding in terms of equality of betting conditions for all players. Not only does this fact make it harder to conduct experiments, but it also creates an opportunity for fraudsters. Three-years-ago, we faced problems with bots from such a region. They were scrapping our odds, as well as some other bookmakers, and we were getting dozens of bets simultaneously whenever they got an opportunity to place a sure bet.
“It took us months to overcome this issue, and it required coordinated work on the following:
- Risk management. To make proper segmentation for such players and tune region-level betting limitations
- To prevent inadequate odds from happening
- Player account management. To detect account fraud
“We had to solve tasks we had never done before, and it required out-of-the-box thinking and solutions, with a high degree of automation to secure our profits.
“I expect the same kind of challenge to face for soft bookmakers in each regulated region. And, probably, each challenge will require a new individual approach.”
As esports continues to rise in popularity and be added to sportsbook portfolios across the globe, how does the data feed and trading approach differ between esports and traditional sports?
“Esports and traditional sports exhibit notable differences in data feed and trading methodologies. With esports, platforms can directly acquire data from game servers in real-time, reducing delays in bet acceptance and enabling a vibrant betting environment. This immediacy promotes dynamic markets, more so than in sports such as basketball or tennis and is crucial for automated outcomes and precise odds determination.
“However, esports isn’t without its challenges. Frequent game updates pose trading complexities. For instance, while traditional sports rules remain relatively static, esports games like CS:GO or LoL see constant modifications to gameplay elements. It implies constantly updating odds engines designed for those games and adjusting trading respectively.
“Moreover, establishing odds engines for esports proves intricate due to their unique game structures. For example, the scoreboard structure of CS:GO might look similar to tennis or volleyball, but some details are still different. In the case of LoL and Dota2, the situation is more complicated because the rules of those games are not similar to any traditional sport, which makes creating an odds engine for them very complicated.”
It’s no secret that the esports wagering industry is heavily reliant on live action data.
Crucially, Evgen believes that as the sector continues to rise in popularity, so too must the quality of product.
The esports landscape is fast changing and constantly updating. In order to keep up with the pace–and keep players engaged–, leveraging the best data feeds and odds trading solutions will be more important than ever.
It’s exciting to see progressive, forward-thinking companies like GR8 Tech pushing the boundaries and creating ambitious data management benchmarks for the rest of the industry to follow.