By Tim Poole
With the absence of major sport due to the coronavirus pandemic, not only are gaming firms looking to other verticals, they're looking to new products.
No sports markets to bet on? Don’t worry, you can try Simulated Reality with Sportradar, while the latest product on offer is LSports’ Tennis Betting Simulator.
That’s the thinking behind the strategy, anyway, and Gambling Insider caught up with LSports co-founder and COO Dotan Lazar to find out more.
Could you tell us more about your Tennis Betting Simulator? What was the thinking behind the product?
As you know, the sports betting industry is pretty much non-existent at the moment, with not many events to offer. Everyone is pushing casino and virtuals today. We’ve been working on a product for the past two or three months and released it last week, where we basically rewind past tennis events – and soon it will be basketball events, too. We changed the names of the teams, so you don’t know the real events that took place or real players. But, once the event is over, we reveal the real names in our official page, and also in the widget and feed itself, so the players can tell what they placed a bet on.
For example, a real event that took place in 2019 between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, we call the event Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova. And once the event is over, we tell the bettors which real event took place; so if you want to dispute anything, we have all the data, facts and figures publicly out there. This means we can’t manipulate the data in any way.
Does this product run with virtual graphics?
There are no animations, it is not a replay like virtual sports but we do use real data in the streaming and play-by-play. There are visualisations, developed by us, LVision. It generates visualisations for sports based on AI and machine learning. These visualisations tell you where the ball is at any given moment, with heat maps. If you look at the betting industry, you’ll see that in tennis you don’t have high-level visualisations. You only see who is serving and that’s it.
Is the product focused on pre-match or in-play betting?
It’s only in-play betting. Pre-match, we open the event five or 10 minutes before it starts and, from the point it starts, you have the odds and you have the score. We offer four different kinds of tournaments – best-of-five, best-of-seven, best-of-nine and best-of-13, which is a full set. So we keep it short and keep it 10-15 minutes between events; with the full set 20-25 minutes.
So if the original match was a best-of-five setter, your event would only be a small section of it?
Exactly, a small section of it up to one set. If it was a best-of-three match, we would offer five games within the match – whichever five games they may be. We offer the odds from the moment we start, with the same values and correlation as the real event.
Is there even a remote chance a bettor, with a hypothetically photographic memory, recognises which match is being played out!?
There is no such option. Literally, none! We offer over one million events, ITF, ATP, WTA, so there’s no such chance. Throughout the visualisation, nothing is recognisable except for the fact the score is 2-0 or 3-0 to an opponent. But in that situation, you have hundreds of thousands of such events in tennis, so the chances are literally zero.
How does this product compare to virtuals and esports, and how do you feel it stands out? What does it do to attract a sports bettor when there are several alternative options?
Virtual is pretty much grey. There is a lot of argument around virtuals; you have the license from the regulator and everything else. But, with us, it’s straightforward. You have all the facts already and we can’t manipulate you in any way. We tell you what you wagered on and we reveal it completely. No one has really got a focus on tennis like this. You have e-FIFA and e-cricket even. You have e-tennis coming up soon but, still, no one has taken the glove and really lifted tennis to the next level. With our visualisations and in-depth data, it’s like a real event.
We’re going to do this with NBA and NCAA soon, too. According to what we see, the numbers look great. The money has shifted, since you don’t have real football events you have an increase in 300% or 400% in virtuals and casinos. That means the money’s out there; you just need to attract people back to real sports. Seeing as you don’t have that, I want to fill it up with content we already have: reliable content.
Are any operators already using this product?
Yes, absolutely. We already have customers online with it, one of them is BtoBet – their numbers look great.
So if this product is well-received, is this a simulator for the long term or just to fill the sporting void during the coronavirus pandemic?
The main goal is to make this product ‘happy hour’ on Monday and Friday, where you have less events. On Mondays, you have half a day with no events at all. This way, you’ll offer football, NBA etc. It’s the same for other products. I don’t know how e-FIFA will develop after the pandemic. Just like our product, it could be 100 a day still after the pandemic. We are looking to fill gaps.
Is there the potential to expand to football or other sports?
That’s the plan, we’ll offer visualisations on everything including American football, US sports, football, volleyball as well. We’ll offer everything with visualisations, historical data and make the best of it. We really aim to be at the front of innovation in the sports industry, as a company.