Online sports betting in New Jersey is the talk of the town, both in terms of revenue and number of apps. But if convenience is what bettors are looking for, the state’s 10 retail sportsbooks aren’t sitting on the sidelines.
A common sight at New Jersey sportsbooks, outside of the big video walls and odds boards, are self-betting kiosks. So far, Golden Nugget, DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts, and FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack all have betting machines inside or nearby their sportsbooks.
For its part, Golden Nugget features nine self-betting kiosks supplied by its sportsbook partner SBTech.
So, how big of a deal are betting kiosks and what role do they play in terms of revenue and customer convenience?
SBTech’s Ian Bradley shared his thoughts on kiosks in an interview with Play NJ. Bradley will be speaking about the “Future of Retail Betting” at the Betting on Sports America conference on April 25.
Kiosks are ‘even more popular’ than expected
Play NJ: Talk about the sports betting kiosks currently available in NJ. What do they add to the overall betting experience?
Bradley: SBTech is live with partners in New Jersey and Mississippi, with more to launch in the coming months, and the results have been extremely positive. Margin performance has been excellent so far, and the feedback we’ve received both from our partners and their players across retail and online has been very complimentary.
US consumers have taken very easily to the sports betting kiosks. They have been even more popular than we were expecting.
The kiosks are very busy every time me or the team visit our partners’ properties.
They are deliberately designed to be easy to use with very visual guides to various markets and parlays across a host of sports. And they offer players far more flexibility and options than queuing for a cashier, which can often be a daunting experience for more novice bettors.
The option of betting terminals has also opened content in derivative markets that bettors previously couldn’t access. Crucially, terminals have allowed different customer segments and a wider recreational audience to use an easier and more accessible form of betting compared to the traditional sportsbook counter and cashier which can often discourage new players.
Kiosks attracting big business with small stakes
Bradley: Within our overall offering, year-to-date, over 80% of all bets on-property in the US have been placed on kiosks.
Parlays are the most common bet type, contributing over 85% of all bets placed on a kiosk. The average stake is approximately $15 for a parlay bet, while larger bets are still going though cashiers. However, margin performance is much stronger on kiosks with a far larger recreational customer base.
An average 70% of live bets are placed on our kiosks. Live betting is more limited on-property, but we are seeing good growth for our operators as the customers adapt to this new way of betting for them; a change from the pre-match only and limited offering they previously had.
Self-betting, usability and NJ sports betting
Play NJ: What are some of the unique things you can do with these kiosks?
Bradley: We have worked hard to simplify the user interface as much as possible, offering a very slick and clean UI.
One example is how we have adapted the “American card view” to work across our kiosk software. This is the traditional view that US bettors have become accustomed to in what they had seen anywhere pre-PASPA.
It is very simple and easy to use and allows players to see the main betting markets. The whole kiosk layout promotes parlay betting, with the simple selection process, and it resembles a traditional parlay card where you can select from various options.
We carry out regular software releases and updates every six weeks. These can include new back office and/or front-end features, such as parlay boost options that offer customers the potential of more returns and enable operators to market and promote products.
Updates have also included features such as online cashout and pre-match and live betting statistics that can pop up or launch on a second screen enabling players to make more educated bets.
We have been delighted with the uptake of kiosks in the US. It’s been far quicker than expected, especially when you look at the time it took in the UK where customers took longer to adapt and take to Self Service Sports Betting Terminals. The US customers have jumped right in!
Golden Nugget sportsbook and SBTech kiosks
Play NJ: How much did you coordinate with the Golden Nugget sportsbook team in building the platform for these machines?
Bradley: We work closely with our partners and regulators on all the requirements and features they need for various markets.
The team worked very closely to get the product launched, and we all learned a lot getting the software and hardware approved through the lab. We also ensure that we have commercial and technical teams that regularly visit properties to ensure our kiosks are performing as they should be as well as observing how customers interact with them.
We take every detail on board and adapt the UI to match and suit user behavior – even the smallest detail makes a difference.
For example, we noticed players were typing 10.00 using a decimal point when entering stakes. They obviously thought they had to use a decimal point, so we improved the UI, so they no longer needed to do that, and made the experience simpler and smoother.
We believe it is vital to work in partnership with our customers to ensure we meet the high customer service standards we set ourselves.
Special bets and self-service betting terminals
Play NJ: What were some of the special betting options available during March Madness?
Bradley: Our focus was to cover all pre-match and live markets, and offer specials where regulation allows it, such as player props.
One trend we have noticed is seeing more movement toward derivative markets such as winning margin betting for live betting. This gives the customer bigger odds than the traditional spread.
Play NJ: What are the betting denominations that the machines can handle during a tournament like that?
Bradley: We can support hundreds of bet types, and there really is no limitation as to what we can offer. We offer a seamless, omnichannel experience across all devices.