Why it’s time to give pre-match betting a major adrenaline shot

Author:  Tom Washington
Betgenius Managing Director Matt Stephenson discusses a game-changing innovation with Gambling Insider Magazine

This article was originally published in the 8 September 2017 edition of Gambling Insider’s GI Friday newsletter.

The betting industry knows a good thing when it sees one. Without a huge amount of change to the core offering, in-play has been sports betting’s cash cow for many years and there are no signs of that changing. It is news to no one that this has gone hand in hand with mobile wagering’s rise and its intrinsic relationship with the second-screen viewing trend.

And while the era of pre-match betting being solely done via laptops and desktops is long behind us, it has, despite high margin accumulator business, been considered in-play’s less exciting sibling for a number of years. Bookies have focused on depth of events and markets, price boosts and making it quick and easy to place accumulators. Live betting has been transformed by focusing on speed, efficiency and shortening the journey to bet.

This has arguably, and naturally, created two sets of customers and created two different experiences. The in-play customer has access to a similarly huge range of markets yet often makes split-second decisions, and bets quickly and instinctively. Pre-match punters are rightly given reams of events, markets and data to trawl through before placing a carefully considered wager.

Some functionality has bridged the gap between the two. Cash-out and partial cash-out effectively turn a pre-match bet into an in-game one, while the ability to edit accumulators offered by some bookies has also provided valuable in-game flexibility and engagement.


One product destined to drive this trend even further is same-game accumulators, which offer punters the chance to create bespoke multiples across a number of different variables within the same match. Examples include whether individual players will score or be carded, number of corners and cards and even the method by which certain players will score.

This product has found massive appeal among the recreational customer base, with the vast majority of these bets placed based on gut instinct, rather than by shrewd punters looking for an edge. Operators therefore need to bring the same level of UX and engagement to pre-match betting that has been perfected (by some) in in-play and cash-out functionality. Giving customers a huge range of betting options should not destroy the clean, smooth experience operators have worked so hard to get right. Some efforts we have seen brought to market simply don’t achieve this level of design and UX.

Speed is also of the essence here. Sky Bet’s #RequestABet product set the standard for same-game accumulators and does a brilliant job of engaging customers on social media. It blurs the lines between pre-match and in-play betting, allowing punters to create their own narrative around any given fixture and to watch that story unfold as the match goes on.

The next step

Yet so far the concept has not gone far enough in harnessing the latest technology and expertise in sportsbook trading to deliver the optimum experience. At Betgenius, we have partnered with data science-driven Sportcast to create BetBuilder (excuse the plug), which is set to go live with a number of major operators in the next month.

Unlike similar existing products on the market that rely on social media requests and manual input from traders, BetBuilder hands power to the punter by letting them instantaneously create their own unique market type and dynamically adding it to their betslip. All contingencies have been fully modelled, allowing each selection to be priced as the bet is built.

Suddenly you have a product that feels dynamic and engaging enough to appeal to the gut-trusting in-play customer, combined with a slick and intuitive design.

Bringing the pre-match and in-play experiences closer together drives turnover and retention by allowing customers to recycle winnings during the course of a match. This empowerment is a key element, along with being able to create bespoke bets, creating a betting experience that feels more personal.

The trend of giving customers what they want, when they want, is here to stay. But by focusing on speed and UX, operators can stay one step ahead of the game.