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Sports betting | KRG Hospitality

Sports betting

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What Does the Future Hold for iGaming?

What Does the Future Hold for iGaming?

by David Klemt

A laptop next to a roulette wheel, surrounded by poker chips, dice, and playing cards

Like this, but in your pocket, basically.

With so many states legalizing sports betting, the next frontier appears to be Internet gaming or “iGaming.” So, why is it taking so long to move forward?

It seems like a no-brainer, right? Consumers are carrying the internet around with them in their pockets and on wearables. If it’s good business to meet consumers where they are, giving them the ability to place bets online makes sense.

Further, commercial gaming is worth about $60 billion in the US alone. And depending on the source and how we define the term, around 60 percent of adults in America gamble at least once per year. That number climbs to perhaps as high as 85 percent for adult Americans who gamble at least once in their lifetime.

So, those are all impressive numbers. Tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of potential bettors… Intriguingly, tens of millions of Americans plan to bet on the current NFL season.

Per a 2023 Global Gaming Expo panel, iGaming generates nearly $6 billion in revenue annually. Panelists posit this form of gaming will generate $30 billion if and when casinos embrace it.

Incredibly, iGaming, in the handful of states where it’s legal, is generating similar revenue to traditional gaming. This is notable because it hasn’t taken decades to achieve.

Then, there’s sports betting. If sports betting is now legal in dozens of states throughout the country, why isn’t iGaming legal in most of the country as well? Interestingly, the answer to that question ties into sports betting.

iGaming and the current evolution of sports betting are two topics I’m just starting to really dive into. So, I’ll do my best to share what I’m learning accurately and with actionable information.

Slow Progress?

On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. With PASPA gone, sports betting is legal in more than 30 states and Washington, DC.

Additionally, legislation to legalize sports betting has been introduced in more states. So, we can expect this form of betting to gain traction in more of the country.

Ironically, it’s the explosion in sports betting over the past five years contributing to the slow progress of iGaming.

Simply put, according to Howard Glaser of Light & Wonder, is that dozens of states just agreed to legalize sports betting. During the G2E panel he moderated, Glaser explained that it’s not a wise idea to now approach the same governing bodies and say, “Hey, we forgot to add iGaming when we asked you to legalize sports betting. Can you throw that in now?”

Another item to consider is the fear of casinos in cannibalizing their existing business. Other factors are responsible gaming (who’s keeping tabs on a bettor’s behavior if they’re behind a screen?) and the illegal or “invisible” iGaming market.

So, for now at least, iGaming is legal in just eight states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. However, Nevada isn’t even in the regulatory stage yet, and Rhode Island won’t launch iGaming until some time in 2024.

According to Anika Howard, the president and CEO of WONDR Nation and a guest on Glaser’s G2E panel, Connecticut is further developing iGaming regulations.

Now What?

For now, we wait and watch. Connecticut and New Jersey appear to be leading the way for iGaming in the US. However, the G2E panel notes that the US is far behind the UK when it comes to iGaming.

In fact, Howard says that when it comes to this category, the US is learning from the UK and how they approach it.

Further, the panel appears to agree that many people in the industry have their eyes on Nevada. There’s a belief that industry professionals in Nevada are taking their time so that when they launch iGaming it will be of great benefit to the state of Nevada’s overall gaming industry rather than a threat.

In other words, when Nevada goes live with iGaming, the state will likely be the country’s leader. That is, of course, speculation. After all, New Jersey legalized online casinos back in 2013.

However, the legislation that made online casinos legal in the state expires in November. I would expect there’s already a plan in place, and New Jersey may remain as the iGaming leader for some time.

For now, operators who want in on the iGaming action can plan ahead. One way to do this is to secure their iGaming domain (or domains) so that when it goes legal, they’re prepared.

It’s logical to expect more iGaming dominos to begin to fall in 2024, and for even more to topple in 2025. Are you ready?

Image: Aidan Howe on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Gaming. Entertainment. Consultant. Food Service. Bowling Alley. Golf. Simulator. Arcades. Eatertainment.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Intersection of Streaming & Sports Betting

The Intersection of Streaming and Sports Betting

by David Klemt

Closeup shot of the NFL logo painted onto turf or grass

The popularity and ubiquity of sports betting is exploding throughout the US, and its seemingly inescapable presence is due in large part to streaming.

This is one topic we learned about during our first visit to the Global Gaming Expo, also known as G2E.

It’s true that gaming and hospitality are two distinct, different industries. However, they’re inextricably connected. And with gaming platforms and mobile devices making it even easier to place bets on sports, that connection is only getting stronger.

Now, I’m going to take a moment to make my relationship with gaming clear. First, I’m not an expert on the industry. Second, I rarely partake in gaming even though I live in Las Vegas. I’ll throw the odd twenty into a small handful of specific slot machines, but that’s the extent of my gaming experience. I think it has been a decade since I last played craps.

So, I’m going to do my best to share what I learned during G2E. The show is an educational experience for me, and I feel that hospitality business operators can benefit from its sessions.

As far as the hospitality-gaming relationship, however, I certainly believe they’re complementary industries. This is absolutely true in Las Vegas, and it’s true in other markets as well. If casinos weren’t aware that hospitality is crucial to keeping guests returning and risking their cash on games, they wouldn’t bother focusing on dining, drinking, nightlife, and other hospitality amenities.

I’m also confident saying Las Vegas in particular wouldn’t have generated nearly $15 billion in 2022. And casinos throughout America wouldn’t have generated over $60 billion last year.

In summary, the connection between hospitality and gaming is what drew me to G2E this year.

Watershed Moments

One of the sessions I attended was “Streaming X Sports Betting: The Future of Engaging Gen Z.” Adam I. Kaplan, the chief operating officer of SportsGrid, was the speaker.

SportsGrid, I’ve since learned, is multimedia sports betting network. According to Kaplan, the ad-supported network is available on more than 40 platforms and accessed by millions upon millions of mobile devices

Users can access SportsGrid 24/7 via smart TV or their dedicated app. Additionally, people can stream SportsGrid via other platforms, such as:

  • Roku;
  • Prime Video;
  • YouTube TV;
  • Sling;
  • Freevee; and
  • Plex.

Per Kaplan, we can trace the creation of SportsGrid to two genesis points: the creation of Napster, and the introduction of the iPhone.

The launch of Napster in June of 1999 was, of course, a watershed moment. And its influence on society is undeniable. According to Kaplan, the platform’s influence included the belief that content should be free.

When the iPhone hit the scene in January of 2007, it, too, was a massive milestone. Part of its success, as Kaplan pointed out, was how easy it made for users to engage with content.

Taken together, Napster and the iPhone have “taught” people that content should be free and easy to access. And their launches have led to the rise of iGaming and sports betting.

Sports Betting Repeal Day

Like hospitality, sports betting has their own Repeal Day. Whereas bars and restaurants celebrate on December 5, gaming would celebrate May 14.

That’s the day in 2018 that the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. Essentially, PASPA banned sports betting in the US, with narrow exceptions for four or five states.

When PASPA was overturned on the basis that the act violated the Tenth Amendment (states’ rights), several states made moves to legalize sports betting. Currently, sports betting is legal in some form in more than 30 states and Washington, DC.

During the five-year period following the end of PASPA, sports betting has gained massive traction throughout the US. Several publications report that the NFL in particular sees the most betting action.

According to the American Gaming Association, 73 million Americans plan to bet on the 2023-2024 NFL season specifically. That’s up from 46 million in 2022, a huge leap.

Of all adults who said they’d bet on sports this year, 14 percent (more than 35 million people) plan to place their bets online.

Per SportsGrid’s Kaplan, people aged 40 and under—so, Millennials and legal-age Gen Z—make up the majority of sports bettors. Looking at sports betting as an engagement driver, businesses should see the opportunity to attract sports bettors as customers and keep them loyal.

Skin in the Game

As Kaplan points out, one reason that sports betting drives engagement is the sense a bettor has of having “skin in the game.”

Well, they aren’t the only people who want skin in the sports betting game.

Since PASPA ended, hospitality venues across the country have attempted to get in on the sports betting phenomenon. This makes perfect sense, particularly for sports bars.

What operator in that space wouldn’t love the ability to stream content from a platform like SportsGrid, FanDuel TV, or DraftKings Network, with their guests permitted to place bets while inside the venue, legally?

That opportunity could prove incredibly lucrative, generating significant traffic and sales. And that’s to say nothing of the marketing, promotions, and guest loyalty opportunities. Think of what legalized on-premise sports betting could do to attract fantasy sports league participants…

Additionally, venues that can stream sports betting content and encourage betting on-premise (again, legally) could prove incredibly popular with one of the age groups operators focus on the most: the 21- to 34-year-old segment.

So, it appears one of the next frontiers for hospitality is pushing for the legalization of sports betting on-premise. Operators in favor of guests being allowed to place bets while onsite can either wait and see or actively engage their lawmakers.

What a time, eh?

Image: Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Gaming. Entertainment. Consultant. Food Service. Bowling Alley. Golf. Simulator. Arcades. Eatertainment.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Canadians Preparing for NHL Opening Week

Canadians Preparing for NHL Opening Week

by David Klemt

Vintage tabletop hockey game toy

Now nobody can accuse me of showing any NHL teams favoritism. Go Knights Go!

As one should expect, Canadian hockey fans are preparing for the 2023-2024 NHL season opener, and those preparations include on-premise visits.

On Tuesday, October 10, three teams will face off to start the regular season.

First, the Nashville Predators take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then, the Chicago Blackhawks will face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Finally, after raising their brand-new, first-ever Stanley Cup championship banner, which they won just six seasons after their founding, the fastest an expansion team has accomplished this feat, the Vegas Golden Knights will welcome the Seattle Kraken to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

According to on-premise data from CGA by NIQ, Canadian hockey fans are planning to celebrate the start of the season at bars and restaurants. That means operators have less than two weeks to finalize plans to attract these guests to their venues.

In particular, operators in four provinces need to ensure their NHL opening week plans and promotions are good to go. Per CGA’s data, consumers in Québec are showing the greatest interest in watching this season’s opening games in bars and restaurants. Following and driving on-premise interest are British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta.

Of course, operators throughout the provinces who serve sports fans should be ready to welcome hockey fans.

For our Canadian readers, the Montréal Candiens will take on Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, October 11. On that same day, the Ottawa Senators face the Carolina Hurricanes; the Edmonton Oilers face off against the Vancouver Canucks; and the Winnipeg Jets will battle the Calgary Flames.

Click here for the full opening week schedule.

Why Does this Matter?

I may catch some flack for this but technically, any bar with televisions events can be a sports bar.

Yes, I understand that’s a very simplistic view. And yes, of course that comes with the caveat that sports should be authentic to a given concept. Also, showing sports should take into account the expectations of bar or restaurant’s guests.

In other words, most bars and restaurants can benefit from sports but they’d likely be a hindrance to some high-end cocktail bars and fine-dining concepts.

With that out of the way, operators who want to establish themselves as the go-to spot for sporting events need to nail opening week. That means having all of their ducks in a row.

Do they have the proper business TV packages in place? Will promotions and programming appeal to the target audience? Are the screens and audio system high quality for the best viewing experience? Does the menu offer sports fans what they want for great value? Is the team pulling out all the spots to make viewing fun?

Regarding the menu, CGA by NIQ has a couple of valuable insights. First, beer is the top beverage alcohol category among those planning to celebrate NHL opening week on-premise. Second, among those who plan to consume spirits, tequila is the top pick. Sounds like offering beer and tequila shot pairings could perform well.

However, operators should certainly take into account their own data. What F&B items are selling the best? Which items performed the best this same time last year?

Between 15 and 16 million Canadians follow hockey. That’s a vast pool of potential customers to convert to loyal guests. The importance of becoming their sports home base, their third spot, cannot be overstated.

This coming opening week, lay the groundwork to become the go-to place for hockey fans, fantasy sports competitors, and sports bettors.

Image: cottonbro studio via Pexels

KRG Hospitality. Gaming. Entertainment. Consultant. Food Service. Bowling Alley. Golf. Simulator. Arcades. Eatertainment.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Fantasy Sports, Sports Betting on the Rise

Interest in Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports Grows

by David Klemt

Wall full of American footballs behind large NFL logo

A recent CGA by NIQ On Premise Impact Report for August, 2023 reveals an interesting insight into consumer behavior and expectations.

To be clear, all the data on this new one-pager is useful. However, a particular revelation stands out from the rest, for me.

The CGA by NIQ US On Premise Impact Report for August 24, 2023 addresses:

  • total on-premise sales;
  • dining versus drinking occasions;
  • cost of living impact in the past month; and
  • consumer interest in fantasy sports and sports betting.

It’s that final bullet point that I find compelling. However, let’s check out the numbers for the first three points before we jump into sports.

To download your own copy, please click here.

August by the Numbers

In comparison to August 20, 2022, check value is up one percent to $50.09. Ticket count, however, is down one percent to 1,569.

As one would expect, dining occasions outweigh drinking occasions. Seventy percent of consumers have dined out in a restaurant or bar in the past two weeks.

Compared to July 2o23, that’s a two-percent increase in dining traffic.

Over the course of the same amount of time, 40 percent of consumers have gone drinking in a bar or restaurant. That’s a decrease of one percent in comparison to July 2023.

Considering that many families travel in the month of August before kids head back to school (or to drop them off at university), these numbers make sense.

Of course, cost of living may also be impacting dining and drinking occasion. Most consumers report no changes to the frequency with which they go out for drinks. Some consumers even report going out more frequently for drinks. But some are also cutting back.

For example, 28 percent of consumers have decreased how often they go out for drinks. Eleven percent are consuming lower quality drinks when they do go out, and nine percent are decreasing the “quality” of the establishments they visit.

That said, 20 percent of consumers are increasing drink quality and 21 percent are increasing establishment quality per visit. Seventeen percent are increasing how often they go out for drinks.

Fantasy Sports & Betting

This, as you may have guessed, is the statistic that I find most compelling.

Fantasy sports and sports betting has been on the rise for some time in the US. Who among us isn’t the target of sports-betting-app ads when streaming or watching sports?

Sports bar operators and operators who can position themselves as sports fans’ “third spot” will find this next number interesting.

According to CGA by NIQ’s latest report, 63 percent of consumers revealed they had plans for NFL week one. Those plans included participating in daily fantasy sports or sports betting.

So, it would be wise for operators who will air NFL games this season to ensure they’re catering to fantasy football and sports betting fans. Becoming the hub for fantasy sports groups in your area can increase traffic, sales, and loyalty. And, of course, it opens up the door to many traffic- and revenue-generating sport- and team-themed LTOs.

Again, to download this new report for yourself, please click here.

Image: Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Gaming. Entertainment. Consultant. Food Service. Bowling Alley. Golf. Simulator. Arcades. Eatertainment.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Leverage These 3 Sports for Growth

Leverage These 3 Sports for Growth

by David Klemt

Daniel Ricciardo in McLaren F1 race car

Sports receive more than three million mentions daily on social media and in online communities, and three sports are driving conversations.

Media-monitoring and SaaS platform Meltwater‘s recent report shows growth in media mentions and community engagement. The report, “2023 Industry Snapshot: Sports,” also identifies three sports that are growing globally.

Most restaurant and bar concepts, at least throughout North America, can benefit from sports. They have televisions, at least decent audio, and the proper licenses to air sports and other programs.

At the risk of oversimplifying, that means that any bar or restaurant can be a sports bar. Before anyone begins furiously hammering out an email to send me, I’m not saying any bar or restaurant can automatically become a great sports bar because they have TVs. I’m simply saying that operators who want to leverage sports and specific sporting events are at a good starting point to do so.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s check out what Meltwater has uncovered regarding sports.

Sports Conversations

According to Meltwater, sports is a hot topic every day of the year. On average, there are 3.16 millions mentions of sports each day.

And that’s just on a “normal” day. Last year, that number jumped to well over 12 million mentions during the FIFA World Cup.

Meltwater identifies 2022 as a particularly strong year in terms of growth for sports conversations. That boost is expected to carry into 2023, providing savvy operators with opportunities to leverage sports.

Per Meltwater, sports social media handles, hashtags, and keywords have grown by more than 20 percent. That’s significant growth.

Now, let’s look at the sports driving much of that growth.

Football

When I say “football” in this context, I mean the sport some people call “soccer.” So, not American football, which Dave Grohl and Crown Royal pointed out is a Canadian invention during Super Bowl LVII.

For the past few decades (at least), much has been made of Americans maligning football (soccer). Well, all the tropes of that mockery may be wearing very thin.

Last year, mentions of football keywords were up 56 percent—in the US. The second-place country was Nigeria with an increase of 33 percent.

Globally, the sport’s online conversations went up by 32 percent. The day of the FIFA World Cup final? That number exploded to 630 percent. Could be smart for operators to begin planning their World Cup promotions soon.

Baseball

There are some interesting stats surrounding baseball and online conversations.

Last year, conversations of this sport grew by just three percent. And for a country that claims the sport as their national pastime, American baseball convos saw a notable dropoff: a decrease of 11 percent.

However, baseball grew by nine percent in Canada in 2022. Japan saw an increase of 36 percent, and Venezuela was up 22 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the sport’s two largest organizations dominate baseball conversations.

Leading the charge, Major League Baseball mentions grew by 16 percent in 2022 globally, and by 54 percent in Japan. Right on MLB’s heels, Nippon Professional Baseball 23 percent globally and 28 percent in the US.

For those who are curious, three teams stood out in the baseball conversation: the Los Angeles Dodgers (+59 percent), New York Yankees (+55 percent), and NY Mets (+46 percent). However, LA Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani saw truly incredible growth with an increase of 74 percent.

An important takeaway: Baseball fans in America appear quite interested in watching (or listening to) NPB. That gives operators another organization—and all their scheduled games—to leverage.

Formula 1

Ah, my favorite sport. I’m happy (for the most part) to see this motorsport growing around the world. In fact, Formula 1 keyword mentions grew 13 percent globally, and #F1 was among the hashtags used most in 2022.

On July 3, 2022, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, Jr. (driver #55) won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (#11) took second and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (#44) took third. And on this day the F1 conversation skyrocketed, growing by 338 percent.

The country leading the way for F1-related keyword mentions in 2022 was Japan, growing by a staggering 91 percent.

Much of the increase in interest in F1 can be traced back to Netflix and its Drive to Survive docu-series (some call it a reality-TV drama).

Looking at American interest in the sport, it helps that there are now three races on the calendar that take place in the US: the Miami Grand Prix, the US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, and the Las Vegas Grand Prix. That’s three opportunities (Miami has already happened) for American operators to take advantage of this sport’s growing popularity.

Last year, former Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel ($5), Red Bull driver Max Verstappen (current champion and #1), and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc (#16) saw the most growth in terms of individual drivers.

I can only hope that my other favorite motorsport, MotoGP, starts to become more popular throughout North America.

Takeaways

Some operators may find that sports don’t work for their concept, such as a high-end cocktail bar or fine-dining restaurant. Those are two venue types that tend to eschew televisions as they don’t work with their vibe and aesthetic.

That said, each operator must choose how to best implement sports and related promotions. This includes understanding which sports, teams, and players their guests like. Then, of course, it’s also a matter of gauging interest.

With that determined, operators must also decide how to make sports work with their concept. Some things to consider are themed F&B menus, sports-related LTOs, FoH uniforms, and how far to go with promotions. That latter consideration will depend on how rabid a fan base each operator is targeting. A truly dedicated fan base encourages some bars to “officially” support a certain team.

Another important consideration? Will leveraging a particular sport or team alienate other guests due to rivalries or a lack of interest or comfort? Sometimes the cost of implementing promotions includes pushing away a percentage of guests on particular days.

Because I live in Las Vegas, I have an array of venues available to me around the clock. It’s conceivable that I could find a home bar or restaurant to watch F1 and MotoGP. Personally, the capability of comfortably watching my two favorite sports would boost my loyalty and visits. However, there may not be a large pool of people like me in this market. Would a bartender want to turn on an F1 race just for me?

There’s a lot to consider when choosing how to best leverage sports. The upsides include converting customers to loyal, repeat guests; a realistic idea of what to consider in terms of labor and inventory for specific days, weeks, months, and seasons; and boosts in traffic, revenue, and online engagement (which in turn can translate to more traffic and revenue).

Image: Photo by PRAT clement via Pexels

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