Sports bettors in New Jersey are familiar with free bets and odds boosts that most current licensees offer to customers as a way to grow their businesses. Vigtory Sportsbook, looking to launch its NJ sportsbook app soon, hopes better perks for bettors is a winning strategy.
Along with analytical tools and aggressively priced odds, Vigtory plans to offer livestreaming experiences and rewards like sporting event tickets to loyal customers. The question is whether it will prove successful in drawing that loyalty from high-end bettors in the state.
Scott Butera, Vigtory’s co-CEO, spoke exclusively to Play NJ about the company’s NJ sports betting plans.
How Vigtory Sportsbook is different
Butera saw Vigtory as a unique enough opportunity that he decided to leave MGM Interactive to spearhead the company.
“The thing that’s interesting about us is we bring kind of bring a whole new approach to the sports betting market,” Butera said. “You know, our product is set up not necessarily to compete head-on with the existing operators in … New Jersey’s great market.”
“We think there’s an underserved market for folks who are sports bettors of maybe a little bit higher dollar amount, a little bit higher action and are more influenced by things like, you know, a great product at a good value,” said Butera. “So whereas a fantasy player might be betting $30, $40, $50 a bet, on average, our bettors will be betting, you know, high hundreds to the low thousands, and we’ll be offering them a product with a low vig.”
Butera acknowledges that the competition for market share in NJ is stiff.
September NJ sports betting revenue is proof, as Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet NJ) claimed a 63% mobile market share. Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Sportsbook, finished a distant second with 12%.
Butera doesn’t see FanDuel or DraftKings as direct competitors, however. The bettors Vigtory is targeting are a different crowd, who are looking for the best price for their higher-dollar wagers.
“So let’s say 2% versus 10% or 20%,” Butera explained about the vig in Vigtory. “You know, we think that’s really attractive, particularly if you’re betting $5,000. At that amount, 2% or 10% is a big deal, whereas in a $50 bet, maybe not so much.”
However, Vigtory is not solely banking on competitive pricing to draw in its targeted customers. There are other facets of the platform also designed to build loyalty among high-end bettors.
All the trappings: analytics, content, perks, livestreaming
Butera said that Vigtory has an access deal with Sportradar for data and livestreaming of some events.
In addition, he said the coming-soon Android and iOS apps will include analytical tools for bettors. It’s part of the proprietary system for Vigtory.
“We have our own analytics. My partner Sam Rattner, that’s actually his background,” Butera elaborated.
“He started a company called Engine Sports, which allowed people to code and create analytics for certain events. So if, for example, you wanted to know what percentage of free throws LeBron James makes in the last two minutes of a game on a Thursday, you could plug it in and get that.”
What might be most attractive to some bettors, however, are perks the company provides to loyal customers. The plan is to keep them in line with the high-end experience.
“What we want to do is also bring this whole kind of ‘white-glove’ VIP experience to those sports players,” said Butera. “So if you’re betting $4,000, as opposed to giving you the free bet, which you may not care a whole lot about, we want to have, like, courtside seats to give, so if you’re betting on the Lakers, courtside seats to a Laker game. … [And] also merchandise and maybe all the other things that people who like sports like.”
For Vigtory to succeed, it will have to secure the loyalty of high-end bettors in the Garden State. Butera is optimistic about the company’s ability to overcome challenges in the market.
Will high-end customers bring Vigtory the victory?
Butera points to his experience in the gambling industry and trends in the market as proof of Vigtory’s concept. In essence, it is partially targeting more of the illegal market.
“You know we have had regulated sports betting here [in Las Vegas] for decades, yet we have the highest population of bookies,” Butera stated. “Why is that? It’s because the folks that I’m talking about are still doing their betting through those same experiences. If they have an option to do a similar type of betting legally, I think they would.”
With bigger bets come bigger risks and bettors who do more to mitigate those risks. Butera is confident about dealing with more “sharps,” however.
“People think because people bet big, they’re sharps,” Butera said. “There are a lot of people who bet big but aren’t sharps. A lot of people who might be sharp in one sport aren’t so sharp in other sports. They tend to like to bet on a lot of things. … Our strategy is, we’re going to feel very good about our risk management, so why wouldn’t we take them?”
Butera says the company also plans to offer the widest arrays of live and prop wagers available within regulatory limits. So with all the plans in place, NJ bettors are just waiting to see how Vigtory delivers on them.
They may not have to wait much longer.
When will Vigtory actually start taking bets in NJ?
Butera says that licensure is all taken care of. Although he wouldn’t disclose which Atlantic City casino or NJ racetrack the sportsbook is working with, he confirmed that it has a facility partner.
The company hopes to go live in New Jersey sometime in November, provided everything goes according to plan.
Butera says the mobile apps will also include online casino offerings such as live dealer, poker, slots and table games. He hopes to add a social casino component, too. Additionally, Butera said Vigtory is working on licensure for 10 more jurisdictions right now. Specific states, however, were not disclosed.
The journey for Vigtory sportsbook will begin in NJ. If the model wins high-end bettors over, it could be a victory for the entire legal sports betting market.