Betting Providers – What Are They and Why do Bookies Use Them?
There are many great online bookmakers now and they all run from the technology of betting providers. Here we look at the best sports betting providers in the industry, what exactly they do and why all the best bookmakers use them.
Why Online Betting Sites use Betting Providers
Since betting first began, it has changed a great deal. Betting on sports used to require going to the horse track or heading to the high street to the local bookies, who would then take your bet on a physical betting slip.
However, many bookies have now moved service online – although that’s not to say they don’t still have bricks and mortar buildings. Old and established bookies such as William Hill and Ladbrokes can still be found in physical form.
However, there are lots of new bookmakers that pop up online and are only there in cyberspace. These bookies don’t need to own buildings or have a physical presence, but they need to make sure that their online business is stand out, as so many new sites keep on popping up.
To do so, not only do they offer new customers top free bets and promotions, but they also have to offer customers a good customer experience – and they do this through getting a good betting provider.
The best betting providers will allow bookmakers to offer their customers all sorts of features, such as cash out and partial cash out, live and in-play betting, and options such as bet builder, edit bet and even live-streaming the event. The bigger the betting provider and the bigger the betting site, the more options you are likely to have.
What is a Betting Provider?
Well, the betting provider is what provides the real ‘nuts and bolts’ of the site. These providers supply the sportsbook with the software to use. They supply odds, the features and even the payment system used on the site. Some of them even go so far as to run the site’s customer service and maybe even hold the betting license from the UKGC.
However, the sportsbook will take this software and make it their own. They will design it in their colours, with their logos and add the features they want. So, what are the top betting providers out there? How does their software work? What are the pros and cons compared to a more traditional bookie? Let’s look….
OpenBet is one of the biggest names and provides some of the most well-known names in the industry such as Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill and Betfair.
he company was originally founded way back in 1996 in London, so has been on the scene for a number of years. Originally it was named Orbis Technology and it is one of the most well-established out there.
The beauty of OpenBet, and the reason it is popular with the big names, is that you can do anything with it as a sportsbook solution. They can offer complete fully managed platforms and they could also provide small, third-party integrations. They offer whatever solution the company needs.
Its first betting application coincided with the 1998 World Cup. By the year 2000, it had made quite the name for itself and was signing big high street names like Ladbrokes and Coral. It also managed to sign Betfair, which was, at that time, a unique betting exchange service. Considering that these huge brands still use the service, it is testament to the quality it offers.
It was in the year 2010 that the company was rebranded as OpenBet, after it was bought out. However, swiftly after the first acquisition, it was taken over by NYX Gaming, who was subsequently bought out by Scientific Games in 2017. They combined to create SG Digital and this is the very heart of OpenBet as it is now.
When it comes to the number of bets placed through a platform, OpenBet is way above the rest. In fact, according to data, it processes approximately 2 billion bets every year.
As such, it is no surprise that the company has been named sport betting supplier of the year more than any other company out there. This is probably the top name out there and looks set to be so for quite some time.
Probably, the next biggest name out there is Kambi, who supplies its sportsbook tech to online betting sites such as 888sport, Unibet, Mr Green, 32Red and Grosvenor Sport. It was established in 2014 and is based in Malta.
The Kambi Group was a part of the Unibet Group and it still provides the Unibet sportsbook platform. The company is one that looks to provide its services to the more established betting companies, such as 888, and tends to not work as much with newcomers.
Kambi is known for being a fantastic betting provider. Not only does it have a high-end technical platform, but the user interface is state of the art. Because of the kind of customers Kambi attracts, this is one of the more corporate betting companies out there. Indeed, it has some of the best players in the industry.
With 600 staff, it may not be as huge as Playtech, but the quality of the employees is second to none. It has some of the most qualified and sought-after developers in the industry.
The Kambi product pretty much offers everything, including live streaming as well as one of the most in-depth in betting packages. It also has a huge market offering. Because of this, Kambi has won several awards and has been named sports betting supplier of the year on numerous occasions. This is already a huge name and it is set to get even bigger in the future.
SBTech was founded in 2007 and is located in Bulgaria. Since starting up, it has grown hugely and although it doesn’t have necessarily the sports betting ‘giants’, it does have a number of top betting brands amongst its customers. These include 10bet, MansionBet, Mr Play Sport, Red Zone and SportNation.bet. All very well-known names in the business.
This is a company that considers itself to be a high budget and professional name. As such, sportsbook providers pay a premium but get a very good product. Indeed, they get more unique features than most others out there.
The biggest selling point for SBTech is its very impressive depth and range of betting markets. What’s more, it is known for innovative features such as bet builders, bet editors, cash out and pulse betting. What’s more, many consider the in play and live betting to be the best in the business.
Another stand out of the platform is that they have lots of different set up options, which means that all brands look very different, despite sharing the same technology. It is also good for providing offers and promotions including acca insurance – and SBTech customers are generally good at retaining and attracting players.
Because of all this, it is no wonder that the company has won a number of accolades. These awards include best in-play software, best sportsbook, best sports betting provider, mobile product of the year, sportsbook supplier of the year and also sports betting supplier of the year.
The wins speak for themselves and it’s no wonder it has such an impressive customer base.
Founded back in 2003 and based in London, BetConstruct has quite a history in the industry and services betting sites such as STS. This is another name that can boast about having received a number of awards, despite not having quite the same elite customer base as some of the other betting providers.
One of the biggest standouts of this name is its unique design. BetConstruct sites generally look different from the others. As such, it prides itself on being a more unique offering.
BetConstruct is modern and forward-looking. It doesn’t try to copy other successful providers, its aim is to lead the way, not follow. As such, it boasts in excess of 100,000 events every month, from more than 120 different sports markets. What’s more, it operates in more than twenty different languages. On top of this, it offers numerous payment options as well, and as such, the company attracts plenty of new, up and coming betting sites.
One of the appeals of this betting providers is the fact that not only is the cost less than some of the others, but it is also more transparent when it comes to pricing. It, therefore, offers its customers an easy and fully managed betting platform. Moreover, it offers plenty of options, solutions and flexibility. ]
Customers at BetConstruct betting sites can benefit from features such as cash out, auto cash out, live and in-play betting, custom mobile apps, 24-hour customer support and more.
The only downside is also its selling point… its unique platform. This can be off-putting to bettors who prefer more traditional looking betting sites. The company is based in the UK and although it doesn’t have a huge presence in the UK market right now, it’s looking to expand.
Another betting provider that is very much in line with SBTech, the FSB Technology company, is based in London and was originally established back in 2007.
Originally, it was backed by the founder of Betfair, which saw it get off to a great start in a very tough industry. It has 25 major brands on board, such as GentingBet, and processes thousands of bets every single second.
This brand tends to be more popular with new and up and coming betting brands as it is one of the cheaper around and is a no-frills betting provider. However, it may not be ‘as pretty’ as some others, but it still offers a great and fully functioning platform.
You will see that the sportsbook operators on this platform may not look as fancy, but their interface is fast and functional. It is also very flexible, which is one of its selling points. Another reason newer brands like this one is because they can design it to look how they want while still keeping all the features available like cash out, live and in-play betting and a wide range of markets and sports.
What’s more, FSB can boast that they were the first to offer a fully responsive website that could be used on all different devices. In fact, many people say that its no-frills approach is perfect for mobile.
Another selling point for FSB is the variety of promotions and loyalty programmes that are available on the platform.
This is a well-known betting site that runs its own sports betting platform. It is based in Lithuania and was founded back in 2009 and powers TonyBet as well as a few others outside the UK. It was founded by a former Lithuanian poker player, Tong G, and the initial aim was to create an independent platform that was more focused on experience rather than trying to get customers to spend their money.
Because of this attitude, TonyBet saw huge growth in Lithuania rapidly. They then used this success to build the brand and make it even better for customers. They then sold the TonyBet site to Betsson in 2016, which allowed TonyBet to move into even more markets.
Now, TonyBet is much more than a popular Lithuanian sportsbook. It has made its mark across Europe. This is because the platform is intuitive and very well built. It may not have been in the UK for long, but it has been an instant success because of this customer experience-centric platform. It is different, unique and sets itself apart from others on the market currently.
The reason the platform is so well received is that it has been created by players over a length of time and not just thrown together quickly in a matter of months by people with lots of money and not so much experience. This makes it the genuine deal.
They are now allowing others to use their platform and are slowly beginning to branch out more. This is a site that looks as though it’s going for the marathon rather than the sprint.
How Does a Sports Betting Platform Work?
A sports betting platform works very much like setting up a new business from a franchise. It saves a lot of time and money starting everything from scratch. This would be incredibly expensive and would require a lot of investment – you would need web developers, odds traders, designers, payment processors, licenses, game suppliers etc. The costs would be phenomenal, and the time frame would be extensive. So, it makes sense to work from an already established platform. This makes it quicker, easier and cheaper for new betting sites to go to market.
As such, it stops all the old established names from dominating the marketplace as there are always smaller, up and coming bookies giving them some competition. So, what does the provider give the bookmaker that makes it such value?
If you know anything about behind the scenes of a bookmaker, then you will know that getting the odds is one of the most expensive things about running the site. Odds traders on major sportsbooks are very highly trained and experienced. They have to get the exact margin between offering a value price while getting a profit for the betting site.
Getting the right odds, therefore, is trickier than it seems. So, getting this done for you is a huge advantage for the bookmaker and cuts down on the chances of costly errors. Most betting sites get their odds done for them.
However, because bookies have the options to set their own margins, there are variations in the odds available, so not all odds are the same even if it has the same betting provider. As they can do this on a market by market basis, bookies can target their most competitive odds at a certain sporting audience. So, if there is a brand that focuses on US sports betting, then it can target its best odds in that direction and have bigger margins on other markets.
This is great for smaller bookmakers as it means that in their specific areas, they have a chance of beating the big bookies like Bet365 and William Hill.
Interface, Design and Usability
This is the first thing a punter will notice, aside from the odds, so getting it right is a must. The great thing about a betting provider is that it allows the betting company to add its own theme, logos, colours, designs etc. However, the actual platform is ready to use as it is.
So, whatever the screen size or device, it will work at optimal capacity. It should be good to go without any tech problems or issues you’d get from starting the site from scratch.
However, the sites vary with the amount that they own compared to how much the betting provider owns. The more the company owns itself and relies less on the provider, the more management it will require. If a bookie was to start the site from scratch, this would cost a lot, with developers and designers, the chance of costly errors and bugs – and the cost would be ongoing for maintenance. So, it makes sense for online bookmakers to use a tried and tested interface and design. As such, most new bookmakers will rarely be completely independent.
Banking and Payment Methods
Setting up banking and payments on a site can be another expensive area. This can also be very time consuming as it needs to be done individually with every payment provider you are planning to use… and one area of judgement is the number of payment providers available. Most sites will want to offer debit cards, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller minimum. So, if they use a provider, it makes a lot of sense as it is done for them already.
On top of this, payment providers tend to negotiate what share they will get of the profit, so a betting provider is likely to get a better deal for the site than an independent company could hope to negotiate. It’s all to do with economies of scale.
As such, any new site that chooses to run their own banking will often only offer card payments at the start, which doesn’t work well for everyone. Those using a betting provider often have the added benefits of e-wallets, Boku and Paysafecard etc. On top of this, betting providers often also have anti-fraud software and protection. In order to have a UKGC license, this is vital.
This is used by some, but not all. Some prefer to run their own customer support. Top bookmakers tend to prefer to do it themselves as there is more control and autonomy. They can manage their brand – and also their reputation to an extent, themselves.
However, this is easier for bigger companies with more money and a bigger infrastructure. It can be tough for a new startup. As such, the ones that do it themselves, especially newer sites, tend to have shorter opening hours, which can get them a mark down.
The downside of having the betting platform run it is that the service is more generic and bland, and doesn’t sell the company as it could. They answer nuts and bolts questions, but not in as much depth as a company could do itself. However, they generally offer longer opening hours and quicker responses.
This is great for a start-up as they could eventually move to have their own available when they get more resources available to them.
Promotions and Offers
It seems surprising as one would think that it was the actual betting companies themselves that come up with promo codes. However, this can have a lot to do with the betting provider. Usually, the bigger site sets its own, as this is what can set them apart from other bookmakers. For newer sites, there can be guidance and offers directly from the betting provider available.
As such, a site can take as much control as they want. They can either do it completely independently or select their own package deals from a list provided by the betting provider. They can generally pick promos such as enhanced odds, best odds guarantee, acca insurance and more. Bespoke offers and free bets all depend on the operator – as they take time, money and resources to run.
Some of the best betting sites offer lots of regular promotions and a number of high-quality ones for top customers. Many bookmakers use the standard welcome offer which is often because the ones provided by betting providers are less open to abuse. More established sites prefer to run their own, however, as they already have processes in place to secure the bonuses.
You simply cannot operate in the UK without a license from the UKGC and getting this is not easy. This can take a lot of time and means betting sites have to jump through hoops to get it.
Because of this, it is often easier for a company to use their software/betting providers license until they get their own. It makes it quicker for the site, but it also limits what they can do themselves, away from the betting provider. This is particularly true of what promotions they can run. Generally, a site will start off with the provider’s license until they get their own.
Live Streaming, Stats and Data
Another expensive area for any site is getting live data and stats. Using the data provided by the betting provider is cheaper as it is gained through a super license. So, as such, new sites can offer customers in-depth stats, news and statistics that they might not be able to do otherwise. So, it’s a better experience for the customer.
Live streaming for a site is a huge cost, which is why not every betting site offers it. However, a way around this for a smaller and newer site is to either pick and choose live streaming events or use an animation, which is often much, much cheaper. So, at least newer sites have some hope of competing with the bigger brands.
It also gives them an option to pick a niche and compete in a specific area. They might not be competitive in football, but they might stand a chance in handball.
One of the biggest frustrations faced by betting customers is waiting to get their winnings out. If a customer is happy with the way their bets are being settled, then they may not choose to deviate to a new betting brand.
Another benefit of using a betting provider is that they can often settle the bets in real-time. This will help customer retention and it will also encourage users to put on another bet. If it takes too long to get money back, customers will often take their money when they can and move on.
Many sportsbooks now provide casinos as well. Having a betting provider makes providing both much easier. It makes adding other areas rather than just sportsbook a lot simpler for the new betting site.
Start-up sites can offer a pre-packaged selection of games and when they become more well-established, they can start sourcing their own game developers. They can also add not just casino slots, but lotto games, bingo, scratch cards, virtuals and more. When built up properly, a betting site casino can be every bit as impressive at the sportsbook.
Profits and Reporting
Being a new bookmaker is very risky and there are people and professionals out there who want to beat the odds… anyone successful at this on a large scale could potentially bring down a vulnerable brand new bookie.
As such, it benefits a new bookmaker to use a betting platform that has software to identify betting activity quicker – which means they can change the odds more quickly and reduce stake limits where needed, which could potentially save a new betting site. This same software can help betting sites get better profit margins.
Overall, the software can help profits and minimise risks. Moreover, they can help with responsible gambling, which is very important in the UK betting market now.
Online betting has one big issue – and that’s the fact that it is online – and as such is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. So, security is vitally important. Customers have to keep all sorts of details online, not just personal, but also financial. There is also a lot of money stored on the sites. This means that security is essential. There will be people attempting to hack the site and so betting sites must offer top of the range security.
Creating such high-end security for a new site can be expensive and if it isn’t up to scratch, then the result could be dire. As such, it is often beneficial for a new betting site to use existing security measures. It also gives peace of mind to players who are putting their trust in tried and tested technology.
If security isn’t up to scratch, the product will fail. Betting sites can be vulnerable so they need a security system they can trust completely.
White Label Betting Sites
A number of top new betting sites are ‘white label’ sites. So, what is a white label betting site? Well, this is a site that is fully managed by the betting provider. The betting site takes the whole platform and just adds its own branding to differentiate it.
Many new sites start off as white label sites – and as such, they all look and feel very similar. There is nothing, in itself, wrong with this, it just makes it harder to stand out. This only happens when the site starts moving itself away a little. So, if you sign up with two white label sites from the same platform, you are basically getting the same product twice. So, it’s pointless unless you like the offers so much you want to claim them again.
The good thing to note is that they are completely safe and run efficiently. They will be fully licensed and have all the features you want. Yes, they are more likely to go under, but your funds will be completely protected.