PointsBet is the first U.S. gambling operator to sign up for Genius Sports’s Streaming product, which provides live video, and live odds pricing, for various sporting events. The tie-up includes tennis, soccer, esports, volleyball and table tennis.
Pairing odds with live video in the same platform is the ultimate goal for sports betting operators, because the combination tends to create increased engagement. That’s especially true with live bets, which are in-game wagers such as the next tennis serve or next volleyball point.
In mature overseas markets like the U.K., in-play betting is 70% to 80% of all sports wagers. In the U.S., where gambling is gradually spreading state-by-state, it’s only about 50%, said Ron Shell, vice president of customer & insights for PointsBet’s U.S. business.
“Wagering will trend more and more toward in-play as the U.S. market matures—a natural shift given the consistent overlap of U.S. sporting events, as well as the structure of U.S. sports allowing for micro markets,” Shell said. “While this partnership is just the tip of the iceberg for PointsBet in terms of streaming, it is an important first step toward strengthening our foundation for success as the popularity of in-play wagering increases.”
Gambling video streams are typically smaller, with lower resolution, so as not to infringe on the TV networks that pay big money for live rights. None of the major U.S. leagues are involved in this deal—most of them are locked into long-term domestic media deals that were negotiated before the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting. In the future, leagues like the NBA and MLB may carve out separate gambling media rights, but that hasn’t happened yet.
There’s value in these smaller sports, however, especially when livestreams are attached. When the U.S. sports calendar was halted due to COVID-19, many sports books saw a sizeable chunk of money being wagered on European table tennis, not because of the sport’s popularity, but because it was available to watch alongside the odds.
“Genius Sports’s world-class streaming and content solutions offer yet another way for trusted partners like PointsBet to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive U.S. sports betting space,” said Chris Dougan, chief communications officer of Genius Sports. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the value our partners see in our proprietary technology, innovative platform and broad portfolio of sports content underpinned by official data.”
London-based Genius Sports provides a host of services for sports books across the globe—its products include official data, streaming services, marketing assistance, odds-making and integrity monitoring. The company has been working with PointsBet since its inception in 2015, back when Pointsbet operated solely in Australia.
PointsBet entered America through New Jersey in 2019 and is gradually expanding into more states. In August the company inked a long-term partnership with NBC Sports that could be worth as much as $500 million. NBC owns a 4.9% stake in the company, with the option to buy up to 25% when the deal expires in 2025.