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Will 5G transform online sports betting in 2020?

Paysafe’s latest research report into the iGaming industry examines the potential impact that 5G data networks could have on mobile sports betting

Click here to download the report

With 5G data networks on the horizon, many digital industries are having to consider how to make the most of the new technology. The sports betting industry is no different; increased bandwidth and reduced latency means that operators will be able to offer more powerful, compelling products to sports bettors, and in more locations. In this report we asked players how they would want 5G to be harnessed to improve their betting experience.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

Momentum continues to build behind mobile

The growth of mobile sports betting continues to be the predominant trend impacting the rise of the sports betting industry. We surveyed players and consumers in the US, Germany and the UK, and mobile apps remain the preferred sports betting channel for 37% of players across all markets, ahead of any other method including computer (31%) and in-person (26%).

Regionally, mobile apps are the most popular channel for sports betting in both the UK and the US. Betting on mobile devices is the preferred method for 43% of UK sports bettors and 34% of players in the US. 32% of sports bettors in Germany prefer mobile, fewer than prefer betting on a computer or laptop (44%).

The in-app user experience (cited by 53% of players), and being able to place bets anywhere (cited by 55% of players), are both important reasons these players prefer mobile sports betting.

5G is set to have a significant impact on in-play sports betting

Of all current and potential sports bettors, one-in-five across countries (18%) envisage placing more in-play sports bets following the introduction of 5G.

And sports bettors that already place more than one bet per week on average are even more enthusiastic about the prospect of 5G for in-play. 42% of players across countries already placing more than one bet per week say that they will increase the volume of in-play sports bets they make, and for half (21%) of these players this will include betting on new events.

There is also a strong correlation between players that say the impact of 5G will be to increase the overall volume of mobile sports betting they do, and the desire to make more in-play bets.

Across countries, more than half (54%) of current and future players that foresee starting to bet or betting more frequently on mobile platforms following the introduction of 5G believe that they are likely to place more in-play bets. More than a quarter (27%) want to bet on new sports or markets.

5G may also be the answer to players concerns with in-play betting

Only 14% of current and potential future in-play sports bettors across all markets have no concerns when making these bets. Many of the concerns players have involve slow internet speeds or a lack of access to information.

22% of players across all markets are concerned that they cannot place their bets in time, and 19% are worried about the connectivity of their mobile device.

18% of players think that they do not have enough information available to them to make an informed bet. All these issues might be solved by the increased bandwidth and zero latency that 5G might enable.

Players expect to be able to bet more on mobile at major sports events via 5G networks, and this will make their experience more enjoyable

Connectivity issues are having a severe impact on players’ current desire to place bets while attending sports events. 31% of all sports bettors do not place bets while attending events due to concerns about 4G-epowered connectivity; this figure rises to 51% for sports bettors that place more than one bet per week on average.

52% of these regular sports bettors say that being able to place bets while attending sports events would make the experience more enjoyable for them, and 45% say that they are more likely to attend a sports event if they could place a wager when at the game.

41% of sports bettors think it will become commonplace for fans to be able to mobile sports bet seamlessly while attending major sporting events such the FIFA World Cup or the Super Bowl. For a quarter of players (26%) it is important that stadiums adapt to being 5G-capable to facilitate in-play sports betting.

Alternative payments are popular with players, especially in the US and Germany

Card payments are by far the most popular deposit method for online sports betting accounts in the UK; 69% of players say card payments are their first choice for depositing, and this rises to 73% of players that bet more than once per week.

The percentage of players that say card payments is their first choice in Germany (30%) and the US (31%) is much lower. Direct bank transfer (preferred by 14% of players in the US; 13% of players in Germany), digital wallets (preferred by 8% of players in the US; 11% in Germany) and eCash (6% in the US; 13% in Germany) are all popular alternative payment methods.

Guaranteed acceptance (identified by 16% of players in the US), and maintaining privacy (identified by 28% of players in Germany) are two of the reasons alternative payments are popular. VIP benefits and loyalty programmes are also significantly more important to high frequency sports bettors.

The next 12 months will be a hugely exciting time for the sports betting industry

As 5G data networks roll-out, how operators take advantage of this new landscape and offer new and improved betting experiences will be fascinating.

Consumers appear ready to reap the benefits 5G-enabled mobile devices may offer, so taking the initiative and seizing this opportunity to overhaul the in-app experience over the next 12 months will be crucial in gaining and maintaining market share. This includes the US where, regulation permitting, 5G has the potential to be the springboard for mass adoption of sports betting.

To find out more about how 5G will impact the mobile sports betting industry download the full report now.