Stuart Baker’s Interview with iGaming Times

Stuart Baker’s Interview with iGaming Times

iGaming Times magazine spoke to Stuart Baker, BetConstruct’s Group Director of Sportsbook Product, about this year’s World Cup and the company's comprehensive Spring platform.


When the thrill of the World Cup returns to our screens every four years, it is often a perfect time to take stock of the changes that have made the biggest impact in the world of betting, and an opportunity for bookmakers to see first-hand how certain trends and channels have transformed the landscape.


This year, renowned sports betting solutions supplier BetConstruct will be helping their partners make the most of every second of the tournament, with a host of solutions aimed at capitalizing on the biggest runaway trends in betting and gaming, from cashout to fantasy sports.


“The World Cup is truly a global phenomenon. The United Nations recognises 195 sovereign states, yet there were 210 entrants into the six qualifying competitions. It discards all traditional hegemonic power relations. Only 3 out of the top 5 countries by GDP have made it to the finals. 5 of the largest 10 countries failed to qualify. Out of the top 6 most populated countries, only Brazil will be represented in Russia. Everyone gets their chance at glory. This is exactly the approach that BetConstruct takes with their partners. We are not blinded by size or reputation. We are impressed by drive and ambition.” said Stuart Baker, group director of sportsbook product. “Since the last World Cup in Brazil, we’ve doubled our number of partners. This growth in no small way is a result of our proven track record of working with companies that trust us - as a partner we both feel any pain as well as enjoy the success of our partners. And it is ‘enjoyment’ which is the key to the World Cup. We want our partners to enjoy the tournament in the safe knowledge that they are being taken care of.”


Alongside the company’s comprehensive support services, assisting partners with everything from growth avenues to anti-fraud systems, BetConstruct has been heavily focused on delivering the best possible mobile experience that will cater to the tastes of novices as well as more seasoned bettors throughout the competition. Recognising that newcomers often sign up to take a flutter during a major tournament like the World Cup, the supplier’s Mobile Light solution offers pared-back, on-the-go betting precisely tailored to these first-timers.


“Whilst our comprehensive mobile web, native iOS and Android solutions are available to our partners, it was due to experiences learnt from previous tournaments, alongside valuable partner input, that led to our Mobile Light solution,” said Baker. “When the focus is predominately on a small set of events, alongside an influx of new and potentially inexperienced bettors, it is vital that our partners have a solution that is focused and intuitive.”


While overall winner markets are likely to draw interest from pre-match bettors, it should come as no surprise that in-play is set to dominate on the sportsbooks throughout the World Cup, with punters expecting a full range of live markets from kick off to injury time.


“Basically, mobile is driving in-play,” Baker explained. “Alongside our existing mobile solutions, Mobile Light is designed with the World Cup in mind. With a heavy focus on in-play, our team of mathematicians are constantly striving to provide a broader range of in-play betting opportunities.”


Describing the scale of BetConstruct’s sportsbook, he added: “There are more than two hundred distinct types of in-play markets available for 90 minutes, extra time and penalties if needed. The usual fare of goals, corners, bookings and throw-in markets are available, whether it be a total, a head-to-head or a handicap, and across a match, a half, a team or a team per half. In addition we have the first, next and last to happen markets for those looking for a quick ‘snack’ during the main event.”


Another trend that is likely to thrill punters this year is cash-out – a classic feature that has had unstoppable momentum in recent years. With the trend spiraling in popularity, Baker believes it could have a seismic impact on betting during the World Cup, with record-breaking levels of cash-out activity happening throughout the tournament.


“You can’t get away from how much cashout has impacted betting,” he said. “Although it has been around for over 15 years, it is only since the last World Cup that it has become a standard feature of most sportsbooks. This will be the first time for many bettors that they enter the betting bonanza of a major football tournament armed with cashout. Before it was about how my bet was doing, now it is about how much is my bet worth?”


BetConstruct’s cashout product gives partners the flexibility to shift their margins at different points throughout a set of matches or during a match, enabling them to target offers at players during key moments of ‘downtime’. This can be used particularly effectively in the hour between matches, allowing for a promotional ‘Cashout Happy Hour’ featuring enhanced cashout amounts, says Baker.


For those who are in it for the long haul (or who like to go up against their friends as well as their bookie), BetConstruct will also be running a special ‘World Cup’ edition of its popular fantasy sports product, available on both desktop and mobile channels.


“Fantasy products are very popular during these big tournaments and we believe that our structure will prove to be a winner,” said Baker. “As well as the overall leaderboard there will be competitions for the various group and knockout stages meaning it is never too late to enter and no reason to give up if your team is a slow starter. With multiple transfer windows and updated scores and leaderboards, you need to keep coming back to stay in the game. Plenty of opportunities to double down or hedge your bets.”


This year has been touted as an exciting year for the world of sport, but it is also a significant year for the company, which will, for the first time, see more than 300 of its partners enjoying the kick-off to the World Cup on its award-winning Spring platform.


“More and more operators are finding out that Spring is more than just a platform,” said Baker. “With our support, we know that our partners will experience an enjoyable World Cup, no matter what the footballing gods bring us.”