Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to evolve at breakneck speed, with all eyes in the gaming industry focused on its various applications. While many are zoomed in only on improving margins and maximizing profit, some companies, like Sportradar, are taking a wholistic approach – leveraging the technology across multiple platforms to create an adaptive and reactive experience that goes far beyond simple sports betting – while still improving margins.
Describing the tech company as a “sportsbook’s sportsbook,” Sportradar’s Executive Vice President, APAC, Oscar Brodkin, tells AGB that “we’re all in for AI, machine learning, and computer vision”.
The scope is mind-boggling. “We’ve got so many products, we’ve got too many, we have to slow them down,” the EVP jokes.
So what are some key highlights?
Effective computer, happy consumer
“It lifts GGR (gross gaming revenue) by between 6-10 percent,” notes Brodkin, pointing in particular to data analysis, helping innovate products and improve retention.
This can be done by personalized user interfaces (UI), real time adaptive odds, programmatic advertising, tailored bonuses, personalized pricing – even the creation of simulated reality matches (particularly trendy in the off season).
But that just focuses on the end-user, what about Sportradar’s clients: the sportsbooks? And the adage tends to be true: what’s good for the customer is good for the company.
One huge area is automation: “the operators are enjoying a better margin comparison to before because it’s being powered by automation”. One such example is “different delays now for different customers” – with casual punters getting instant bet processing and “more sophisticated” punters that “could be having an advantage” having a “normal delay”, allowing for operators to “check you (the punter) out”.
The group’s Managed Trading Services (MTS) makes use of this delay as it evaluates all data from tickets. “We were built to learn from the ticket behavior of the customers that we manage,” notes the EVP. Although only in AI specifically for “over three years”, MTS is “about nine years old”.
The group’s newest console integrates the “Life Time Delay Model”, mentioned above, a “late bet score” and a model that evaluates “how sharp you are”.
Learn and adapt, personalize and reward
“They’re learning all the time, which is machine learning,” notes Brodkin of its AIs, pointing out another game changing acquisition: VAIX – an AI company started in 2016 that operates across sports and casinos, with Sportradar “actually just venturing into Asia with them”.
“Its reception has been wildly successful”, notes the EVP, pointing out that it can turn a typical online casino offering into “a luxury style where all of the content is personalized for that punter”. Brodkin likens the interface to Netflix but better, evaluating preferences and creating a bespoke offering, crafting personal bonuses for loyal customers and identifying those that are just one-off punters.
“Within a very short amount of time we can tell how loyal the customer is or the churn rate,” allowing operators to incentivize the right customers.
But another aspect is personalizing how punters digest the game, with a newly acquired company able to generate text commentary “that looks as if a human has written it”.
“We’re doing it with voices as well. So, in the future, Sportradar will allow a famous footballer, or your favorite sporting hero, to be commentating on the match”.
Another area Sportradar shines in is fraud detection, with the Fraud Detection System (created in 2008) being “actually the first adopter of Sportradar’s BI and AI technology”, using it to “remove false alarms of suspicious matches”.
“We have escalated 8,760 Suspicious matches, 835 this year already. In 2023 alone, there’s been 52 arrests related to our reports, 18 charges and nine convictions. And in APAC alone, just in June there were 22 fixed matches.”
“The other thing to add is all our cases that we have detected, we have never had a false positive. That means we are 110 percent sure that it’s fixed,” notes Brodkin.
Ready for the AI revolution
But it doesn’t stop there, mixed reality is already knocking at the door, with Sportradar providing live stats, personalized and mixed reality AV content—even including highlight reels; simulated reality matches—with particular growth in cricket; even “the best CPA in the programmatic advertising business”.
“We’re constantly enhancing our products with AI and keeping our ear to the ground on new technologies. We’re ready for the AI revolution,” points out Brodkin, noting that when the company hears of a new tech, if it doesn’t have the knowledge in house, “you’ve got to acquire them”.
Given the massive amounts of data Sportradar receives from its clients, plus its legacy as a tech company constantly focused on innovation, the company will be a frontrunner in the game, it’s largest concern – it appears – is that it doesn’t try to do everything, everywhere, all at once.