It is generally accepted that access to data, being able to share information quickly in a cost effective manner, makes for better businesses and society as a whole. Take Uber for example, the sharing of the data, in this case the locations of registered drivers, has led to a revolution in the taxi industry that has benefited the consumer with lower prices and various other benefits. Data sharing helps us make smarter choices as individuals; it leads to better, faster decision-making and efficiency. The best businesses have recognised this, using data to make themselves more dynamic, profitable and attractive to consumers.
The gambling industry has also recognised the importance of data sharing. Recently William Hill – the UK’S largest bookmaker – went live on social betting network Betfect. This web-based betting community is one of the major players in what has been termed social betting. If you are not familiar with the term, social betting is a platform for users to share betting data, allowing them to connect with friends, experts and access statistics in ways like never before. The idea is that users of Betfect social media share the latest betting information, find the best odds, statistics and generally get smarter about their betting habits. The data part really comes in to play with Betfect’s statistics system, which creates league tables of the best tipsters, highlights trends and allows its users to access important data all in one place. You can place your bets through the site, using the login details of your current online bookmaker.
William Hill’s entry into Betfect adds some legitimacy to the network. Although it may seem something of an anathema for a bookmaker to promote itself on a site designed to beat its odds, and one that will also promote its rivals, it is nonetheless a recognition of how they must change with the times. Bookies, like every other business, have to be ‘smart’ to flourish in the 21st century. In order to do this, they must embrace data sharing, even when it makes their punters smarter. Of course, the traditional way of betting is still booming, and still you can place your bets at William Hill online the conventional way.
One of Betfect’s biggest plus points is its community element. It makes betting more social, in the sense that users can share their successes and failures, creating competitions among themselves. In that sense it takes away the element of ‘punter versus bookie’, and replaces it with a more social experience. Another highlight is the fact that it allows its users to find the best odds at William Hill, or any other bookmaker that has gone live on the network, letting you build a betting slip with the best odds. This eliminates the need to trawl through different bookmakers’ sites to find the most profit-yielding bets.
The feeling is that William Hill’s partnership with Betfect could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of social betting. As we move to a period in business where data is key, the move to social betting may eliminate the idea of the ‘camel coats’ and move us to a world where the customer shapes and defines their own personal betting experience. For bookmakers to remain relevant, they must embrace that change, not resist it.