iGaming Is Coming to the United States—and Communications APIs Can Fuel Its Growth
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing states to legalize gambling on individual sporting events. Previously this was legal only in Nevada, but the Court’s decision means this potentially multi-billion dollar market is now open to the rest of the country. Gambling companies based outside the U.S., which have been taking sports wagers in other parts of the world for years, are already seeing an uptick in business.
The path is now wide open for the biggest brands in Europe and elsewhere to pursue aggressive expansion strategies in the U.S., a market that has previously been completely inaccessible. Already we’re seeing signs of this expansion; multinational sports betting industry leader GVC has announced a $200m partnership with MGM Resorts International, one of the world’s largest hospitality groups and its biggest casino operator. MGM owns Las Vegas giants like the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, and the Mirage; their investment in online gambling is a clear indicator of the massive value of this emerging market.
iGaming: Sports Betting Meets Mobile
The online gambling industry, known as iGaming, is an interesting marriage of sports and technology. Gone are the days when gamblers had to show up at the race track and fill out a paper ticket; now betting on a sporting event—practically any sporting event on Earth—can be done with just a few swipes on a smartphone.
Online gambling is not new, but in recent years it, like much of the web, has gone mobile quickly. Research suggests that on average, 65 percent of iGaming is done on mobile devices, and mobile players convert to paying customers faster, make more payments, and initiate more bets than desktop users.
It’s not very hard to understand why mobile players are so much more engaged. For starters, smartphone users are on their smartphones, well, a lot. Studies have found we use them as much as four hours per day, and we all know how quickly we respond to notifications and messages.
Savvy iGaming providers know this quick responsiveness is a boon to their business, and have incorporated things like SMS reminders, Facebook Messenger messages, and other social media integrations to alert players of upcoming games and betting opportunities.
iGaming Business Growth Through CPaaS
While all this is happening, enormous amounts of money—billions of dollars, in fact—are flowing from players’ accounts to iGaming providers very quickly. Security is imperative, as is communication. Fortunately for iGaming businesses, they don’t have to be telephony, communication, and security experts on top of building and maintaining compelling gaming experiences. With APIs and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS), companies can leverage existing technology to make their growth and expansion as smooth as possible. Ease of integration, scalability, usability: a good CPaaS provider checks all these boxes, enabling companies to focus on what they do best.
By leveraging CPaaS messaging APIs, gaming platforms can reach their customers where they are; as new betting opportunities arise, reminders and alerts can be sent via SMS, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp. That type of cross-channel reach allows iGaming brands to increase their presence in the channels where their players are most active.
Customer service teams also find increased communication options through a good CPaaS provider; using these same social channels, support teams are enabled to build rich, contextually relevant interactions with players. APIs that integrate a provider’s services with social media reduce over-reliance on traditional channels (phone and email), which often leads to customer inquiries going unanswered.
iGaming apps and websites handle people’s money, so security is a vital concern. CPaaS APIs can enable two-factor authentication, widely considered an ideal solution to protect users—particularly VIP or high-spending players who typically manage larger amounts of money in their accounts—against suspicious login attempts from unrecognized devices or unknown locations. It’s easy and familiar to players, who appreciate the security but aren’t turned off by having to jump through complicated hoops.
These same APIs, such as Nexmo’s Verify, can also help secure everyday transactions like password resets; relying on an email address alone is risky and inefficient, but giving players the option to authenticate themselves by sending a verification code to their phone number increases both security and efficiency.
Tools like Nexmo’s Number Insight API work to clean CRM databases and purge invalid, unreachable phone numbers, as well as numbers that are non-mobile (and thus unable to receive SMS messages). This saves resources that would otherwise be wasted sending undeliverable messages to unreachable and invalid phone numbers.
In addition, a strong CPaaS provides access to a direct-to-carrier network, reducing message latency and increasing delivery quality.
Rapid growth of the American online gaming industry is a near certainty; companies will be competing for shares of this massive market, and those utilizing the conveniences of CPaaS technology will have a head start.