Sports betting is huge. In the UK it’s estimated the gambling market is worth £1.7 billion and sports betting is the largest contributor at an estimated £650 million.
It’s a competitive market, but one that is currently led by William Hill in the UK, with a 15% share, closely followed by online-only site Bet365, according to GamblingData. Looking online, the leading sports betting site is Betfair, with almost a quarter (23%) of that market
This weekend looks to be a big one for the sports betting calendar, with the Champion’s League final between Dortmund and Bayern taking place on Saturday 25 May at Wembley.
Fans of football and betting will have a huge variety of odds available so they can join in the excitement, from the number of goals scored to the first time the ball lands in the net, or if the cup will be lifted after extra time.
Football is a fast-paced sport and that makes fast-paced betting just as important. While many will place their bets online or at a physical bookmakers, I’ve no doubt that we’ll see mobile betting on the rise during these types of matches, with many football fans watching from pubs and clubs, or even from the stands at Wembley.
Deposits for online and mobile betting must be quick and easy for operators to make the most of these big event opportunities, so enabling payments via digital wallets and one step processing such as Skrill 1-Tap is vital.
Gamblers need fast ways to upload funds and place bets as the action of the game progresses. Traditionally, small bank transfers of only a few pounds would take three days to process, making betting around a live event more troublesome.
However, with an instant balance payment through a digital wallet, the whole deposit and payment process is much more convenient and more economical, benefiting both the fan and sports betting site.
Feeling lucky? Here are what we think are the top three odds from across the market for this weekend’s match.
3 Betting Markets with our pick of the odds
Market 1 – Match
- Bayern Munich – 5/6 with Ladbrokes
- Draw – 31/10 with Bwin
- Borussia Dortmund – 19/5 with Betvictor
Market 2 – First Goalscorer
- Robert Lewandowski – 6/1 with Ladbrokes
- Thomas Muller – 7/1 with SkyBET
- Bastian Schweinsteiger – 12/1 with Bet365
Market 3 – Correct Score
- 3-1 to Bayern Munich – 14/1 with Coral
- 2-2 Draw – 14/1 with SportingBet
- 2-0 Borussia Dortmund – 30/1 with BetVictor
Odds were correct at time of publication – 20/05/2013 – please check the operators’ respective websites for up to date odds.
The world of gambling is in full swing, especially when it comes to mobile betting. More and more gamers are switching from desktop to mobile and betting agents in particular are recording massive increases in this form of betting.
UK bookies William Hill says one third of its total online wagers are made via mobile and predicts an increase of 40% in mobile betting by the end of the year. Betfair also recorded a rise in mobile betting of 114%.
Mobile gaming is forecasted to reach $4.8 billion globally, but to take full advantage of this opportunity it’s important gambling firms deliver innovative ways to pay that are fast, simple and secure.
Digital wallets and paying via mobile phones are becoming increasingly popular with gamblers, with digital wallet adoption doubling to over 30 million end users in just two years.
Digital wallets offer that fast way for gamblers to upload, deposit funds and place bets and are instrumental in the growth of micropayments. If a gamer wants to make a bank transfer of only £2 in order to place a new bet or continue their online game, the payment would traditionally take three days to process and ruin the experience.
With an instant balance payment through a digital wallet, the whole deposit and payment process is much more convenient and more economical, benefiting both the consumer and gaming site.
Research commissioned by Skrill in 2012 revealed the most highly regarded benefits of mobile payments are that they are quick and easy, emphasising this has become a very clear-cut consumer expectation.
With the rise of mobile betting comes new, innovative ways to pay and Skrill’s offering of a one step payments is a highly effective way of engaging users and increasing deposits on mobile gaming sites.
Betting sites like the UK’s bet365 have made depositing cash and making bets really simple by teaming with Skrill’s 1-Tap option, which was built specifically as an app for bets.
Streamlining the deposit process into one step makes it significantly easier for gamblers to add funds and continue with their experience on the site, rather than having to re-enter login details or credit card information every time.
The easier a gaming site makes it for their customers to deposit means greatly improved conversions and revenue.
Mobile betting future
As more gamers adopt an increasingly digital lifestyle, electronic payment systems will become the norm, particularly via mobile. Handling cash and using traditional bank transfer methods is expensive and slow, and online payments processing must reflect this digital trend.
With options such as Skrill 1-Tap, there’s no need to worry about losing your wallet when it comes to digital, as more ways of non-credit payment methods come to the fore.
The foreign exchange market (Forex) sees a daily turnover of $4 trillion dollars and this is only expected to grow. Although retail Forex constitutes a very small percentage of this volume, it is rapidly building its share with more platforms offering customers, who once never had the opportunity to trade in the market, the chance to do so.
Once, Forex was a world only for professional executives, who knew the trading markets inside out, predicting future fluctuations and dips weeks in advance. And because of slow bank transfers they needed to know what the market was doing ahead of time, as trades took three to five days. Forex is now open to any individual without the need for huge sums of money to be available instantly.
It is one of the most liquid markets in the world and is also one of the most volatile. Scheduled announcements, like the UK budget or the US nonfarm payroll data, or unforeseen global events such as conflicts and natural disasters are all events traders need to be constantly aware of. Knowing the information as it happens and being able to react to this information allows traders to position their trades effectively. Waiting to hear this kind of information on the evening news means you have missed your chance; so online news updates present a new way to keep up to date with unfolding trends.
Take the economic trouble in Cyprus and the struggling Euro; a savvy Forex trader will know volatile markets offer the best opportunity to make profits. Anticipating the extent to which the Cyprus news will have on the strength or weakening on the Euro, for example, allows a trader to start planning their next investment decision. This was reflected in our own Forex customers depositing significantly into our partner platforms the week the crisis was first reported.
The internet and mobile payments are paving the way to instant access to brokers, digital wallets and the right information on global economic news.
There are some traditional Forex brokers who still rely on bank wire transfers, but today’s traders who are reacting to up to the minute news are often unsatisfied with a 12-hour delay to a card-funded deposit.
Purchasing a quantity of one currency with another, at the best time during the week, and using brokers leveraging odds to enhance profit and loss margins, is possible for individuals with faster payment methods. Credit cards and firms like Skrill offer traders ways to get funds instantly, depositing and taking out money from their online trading accounts.
That’s why digital payments methods such as digital wallets and instant transfer methods are re-painting the landscape of traders’ habits and preferences. And there is more to these options other than additional security and speed – wallets, for example, offering cash back on customer deposits, unique offers for deposit bonuses and greater control over monetary flow.
The future for retail traders is mobile. More and more people can pay with their phones and access news that will affect trading at the same time. With Skrill 1-Tap you can respond directly to news in order to exchange, even if you are away from your desk.
So far, Forex platforms are mobile-ready – in both respect to platform functionality and deposit-taking ability – and there are few barriers to entry. Clearly though, the issue still lies in customers having the opportunity to learn how to trade in an effective manner and, in this area, where an issue lies there is also an opportunity.
Cards and traditional bank transfers are tried and tested, though a lack of innovative incentives and difficulties with mobile and tablet compatibility are causing their share to fall and for digital and alternative payments to take their place. The next step, in the future, is to offer traders cash back and benefits like loyalty awards, the more money they spend.
A growing number of consumers are using their mobile phones to carry out money transfers and online shopping, as sales of near-field communication (NFC) handsets continued to soar during the last 12 months.
According to new figures from Berg Insight, shipments of smartphones featuring the innovative technology reached 30 million globally in 2011, with analysts claiming NFC made a breakthrough because more vendors introduced devices to support the option.
The company – which delivers services to hundreds of clients in 61 counties on six continents – predicted NFC phone shipments will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 87.8 per cent to reach 700 million units by 2016.
Using these gadgets, consumers can take advantage of hundreds of online shopping opportunities, while also carrying out payments through the simple touch of a button – making such devices increasingly popular among on-the-go individuals.
Andre Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, said: “Even though it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for [NFC] payment networks, other use cases such as reading tags and easy pairing of devices may well be compelling enough for handset vendors to integrate NFC in mid-and-high-end devices today.”
A study carried out by Juniper Research last month predicted US$74 billion (£46.6 billion) will be spent using contactless transactions during the next three years, which spells tough times ahead for security companies looking to protect such items.
The analyst identified NFC as one of the principle drivers of the mobile commerce market, which also includes banking, payments for both digital and physical goods, ticketing, coupons and money transfers.
David Snow, senior analyst at Juniper Research, told Total Telecom: “Four of these segments – money transfer, physical goods, NFC and coupons – will more than treble in transaction value over the next three years.
“Whilst digital goods, banking and tickets will still, on average, double over the same period.” he added
As a result, the analytical company urged mobile commerce firms to address increasing concerns regarding the security of their products, even if they are unwarranted, to ensure consumers remain trusting towards their services.
Mr Snow went on to say the issue of safety has been addressed by the majority of providers in the marketplace, but more must be done to prevent the erosion of trust – similar to that endured with the early Google Wallet deployment – thus throwing away billions of pounds worth of business opportunities.
Berg Insight cites smartphone uptake as the main driver behind the success of NFC, while a number of other connectivity advancements in handsets, including GPS, Bluetooth and wireless capabilities have also spurred growth.
The attach rate of new phones incorporating the feature is expected to grow at an aggressive pace in the coming months after doing so by less than five per cent last year. However, this is much quicker than the percentage of new phones that include GPS and WLAN.
The constantly evolving world of online business and growing number of platforms that allow consumers to shop in cyberspace means it is increasingly difficult for such firms to stand out from the crowd with a new and inventive product.
As the high streets continue to suffer the effects of the country’s financial constraints, it seems the majority of people are turning to the internet for more choice and cheaper prices – but competition from larger companies could be holding some retailers back.
According to Jennifer Stenhouse, partner at consultancy service Mymediamanagement.com – which gives advice on marketing, public relations and social media from businesses – overcoming a shyness about engaging with customers is one of the most important things firms can do to enjoy more sales.
The expert acknowledged how personalising operations with the use of online video streaming can also provide a number of benefits for ecommerce companies.
“People prefer to buy from people, not a faceless organisation … Also, remember to ask your customers what they like – what they want.”
A growing number of companies are beginning to use this kind of feedback to improve their services, with some going the extra mile to design new items that meet the requirements of the target audience.
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index suggested online-only retailers may have done exactly that, as they enjoyed year-on-year growth of 13 per cent during February and managed to exceed multichannel companies – which are those defined as having a virtual and “bricks and mortar” presence” – which saw only an eight per cent rise in sales.
Representing the second consecutive month internet shopping platforms have outperformed those found on the high street and online, February was certainly a mixed bag for ecommerce businesses, as some flourished due to Valentine’s Day gift purchase and others suffered as a result of ongoing economic constraints.
The results suggest more ecommerce firms have adopted a similar outlook to that put forward by Ms Stenhouse, as consumer confidence in lesser-known companies continues to rise.
Although the current economic climate has tightened the purse strings of a high number of businesses, the expert urged them to offer free items – even if this comes in the simple format of tips and advice – to help them gain a trusting user base and encourage customer loyalty, as it is a “great way to build [a] reputation as a trusted supplier”.
“It is also important to keep the content fresh and to make sure you have a system in place to track your marketing performance, so that you can see what’s working and what’s not,” the expert added.
Last month, overall ecommerce figures experienced a year-on-year growth of just ten per cent – which is the lowest level recorded since January 2010 – as a total of £5.4 billion was spent on online purchases by UK consumers during the 29-day period, representing the equivalent to £106 per person.
According to IMRG, the gradual phasing out of heavy discounts and sales that were prominent during December and January were among the reasons for the slowdown.
Online shopping businesses experienced an upturn in activity during February, as consumers trawled through a high number of websites to find the ideal Valentine’s Day gift for their partner.
New figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index released today (March 20th) revealed individuals in the UK spent a total of £5.4 billion – which is the equivalent of £106 per person – while shopping online last month.
Representing a ten per cent rise from the same period in 2011, the statistics were not enough to pull the ecommerce industry up from a difficult period, as the recorded ten per cent growth rate was half that presented last year.
While this highlights the slowest rate reported since January 2010, the figure comes off the back of a successful year during 2011 – while some companies struggled after the end of heavy discounts that were available to customers browsing online shops throughout December and January.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG – which has more than 20 years experience in the constantly-evolving internet shopping market – said: “Although growth in e-retail sales was lower than expected in February, it has to be considered in the context of the 20 per cent rise seen in February 2011, so double-digit growth is still a positive result.”
Sales in the ecommerce sector during February were significantly boosted by Valentine’s Day presents, as gift shipments rose by a substantial 26 per cent month-on-month and 22 per cent year-on-year.
Items including lingerie, as well as health and beauty products, also experienced jumps during February, indicating that British shoppers are happy to purchase treats for their loved ones to mark a special occasion despite the tough economic climes.
Clothing sales continued to perform at lower levels for the fourth month in a row, with nine per cent year-on-year growth in February, while internet alcohol retail rose from January by a significant 21 per cent.
An upturn in activity last month came as a result of high performance for online-only retailers recording growth of 13 per cent – which exceeding the financial results of high street retailers at just eight per cent, representing the second consecutive month such a trend has occurred.
Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, noted it is “interesting” to see a surge in the success of internet only businesses performing better than multichannel options and suggested disappointing sales on the high street may be a reason for shortfalls among these firms.
“Online-only retailers rapid innovation and adoption of growth areas in e-retail, driven by mobile and click n collect, seem to have put them ahead once again, now is the time for the multi-channel retailers to respond,” he explained.
The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index also highlighted a rise in consumer confidence in ecommerce businesses, with many people who may have initially looked to trusted and familiar brands when shopping on the internet for the first time now becoming reassured in purchasing from other firms – which could spell a positive future for internet retail.
According to the council’s latest quarterly statistical report, Britons sent two-thirds more money through Faster Payments in the final three months of 2011 compared to the previous year.
A total of £76 billion was sent during this time, which is up significantly from the £46 billion sent during the final quarter of 2010.
The report also found that the number of transactions had increased year-on-year by 23 per cent, meaning that the scheme is gaining in popularity.
As of January 1st 2012 Faster Payments became the default system for phone, standing order and online payment processing in the UK, in line with current European Union legislation.
Some 99.9 per cent of UK sort codes can now send and receive these payments, with 81 per cent of all standing orders using the service by December 2011.
The rise in speed for online payments and standing orders has also meant a steady decline in the number of cheques cleared, as the payment method falls out of favour with the British public.
During 2011 12 per cent fewer cheques were cleared than the previous year; however 2.7 million cheques were still cleared every day in the last three months of 2011.
The Faster Payments scheme was first outlined during December and made it a legal requirement for electronic payments to reach the recipient’s account by the next business day at the latest.
It was designed to enable consumers to pay bills such as taxes, credit card payments and rent on a same-day basis for the first time, making online money transfers more efficient to use.
Payments across the European Union have one working day to reach the recipient’s account, but standing orders. One-off internet and phone banking payments in the UK need to exceed this requirement by being processed end-to-end within two hours through the speedier payments scheme.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, commented on the Faster Payments initiative back in December and claimed that it was essential in cutting down on unnecessary payment processing waiting times.
Mr Kamellard went on to say that the scheme was “great news for consumers and businesses”, as they could take advantage of faster money transfers, meaning they have access to their money quicker and can pay for products and services with greater ease.
“More bills are going to be paid more quickly through Faster Payments and the change will mean more certainty if you have been sent money too,” he explained.
While the system has been up and running since the beginning of 2012 consumers and businesses can access further information from the PayYourWay website, which contains a factsheet full of frequently asked question and “advice and guides on every aspect of payments”.
This is helpful, as the chief executive later added that “not all payments we make will fall under this regulation and it is important to understand which will and which won’t”.
This month the hot topic in the world of online payments is mobile money transfers.
Businesses are embracing it and official organisations are developing it and trying to market it to the masses.
But despite its increased media coverage, Elaine Moore from Financial Times Money believes that it is nothing new.
Speaking on the Financial Times Money show podcast, she explained that “although this is the first time that Europe has had a mobile banking text messaging service that allows you to send money from one account to another, it has actually been available in Africa for ages”.
The service was introduced as an alternative for online banking, as more people were found to have smartphones than computers, therefore it made more sense to jump one step ahead.
Ms Moore described the move towards mobile phone banking as “the brave new world of banking”, which allows people to download apps that allow users to access account details, send and receive money and purchase items online.
She discussed the recent initiative launched by the Payments Council (PC) to encourage more people to use mobile banking services.
The organisation is in the process of building a central database, allowing customers to link their account details up to their mobile phone number.
All banks and building societies will be available on the system before the end of the year and the service has been billed as a safe, secure and simple way of making and receiving almost-instantaneous payments.
To use the service, passcode and similar security features will be required to authorise all payments and to enable banks to remotely disable accounts should a phone become lost or stolen.
Banks will also be free to customise their own offerings to their customers, making the initiative competitive for businesses and consumers.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, discussed the new project and claimed that it will help organisations and banks to meet the “great demand for mobile payments”.
Mr Kamellard said: “Whether you want to pay a friend or your window cleaner, we are laying the foundation to enable mobile payments to become a mainstream option.”
The initiative will be an ongoing development and will change to meet the needs of key stakeholders and users, he explained.
“Our collaborative role is all about creating the conditions that mean innovations are available to the widest possible range of customers. We will keep a close eye on developments in the mobile payments market so that we can be sure that our project remains set to achieve its objectives,” the chief executive went on to add.
Speaking to the Press Association last week after the announcement of the industry-wide scheme, Richard Martin, head of innovation at the PC, described the mobile payments market as “rapidly developing” and containing “limitless” possibilities.
With regard to the new infrastructure, he made clear that the role of PC is to “set out minimum security requirements”, allowing organisations and customers to trust in the process of making and receiving payments through mobile devices.
Last year saw the monumental rise of ecommerce, as a business sideline to a fully independent platform capable of generating huge profits.
Despite the economic recession ecommerce has fought back, with Jeremiah Johnston, president of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), claiming it is “growing at a very healthy rate”.
Mr Johnston explained that while online shopping and internet merchant account activity have been present for a number of years it is only more recently that these avenues have become accessible to mainstream consumer audiences.
“It’s really only in these last couple of years that the impact has extended beyond just those who have access to a computer because of work or have enough money to have them at home,” he said.
This has prompted the general population to move much of their activity on to the web, including banking, shopping and communication.
The ICA president explained that for retailers it is “still cheaper for you to do business online than it is to have a brick and mortar store”. This sentiment has been proven by recent figures from the British Retail Consortium, showing that the UK’s high streets are becoming increasingly filled with vacant shop premises, as the rise of online shopping and out of town retail centres threaten to continue to add to the decline of the British high street.
2011 was an extremely positive year for ecommerce, however 2012 could prove to be even more fruitful to direct merchant account owners willing to take advantage of the new domain extensions becoming available for purchase.
Thanks to new initiatives from the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers web domain endings using brand names could be available for the first time later this year.
Mr Johnston discussed how it will be “interesting to see what certain companies do to leverage that [domain endings] and leverage it with cross platform applications from the tablet and mobile devices all tied around one kind of global brand and online strategy”.
While new online directions and marketing tools could be important assets for businesses this year, other things companies need to recognise to generate long-term growth include being experimental, value-creative, useful and without boundaries.
These are the conclusions drawn by international brand consultancy Wolff Olins and according to its strategist Robert Jones, many of these attributes may be more easily achieved by small businesses.
Mr Jones commented that it was simpler for these smaller organisations to work without boundaries and to experiment, “because there’s less at stake – it’s relatively easier to be quick and try things and learn from them”.
This differs dramatically from larger organisations who may find it more difficult to begin working cross channel for example, or perhaps attract a new audience.
Profit should drive business, however he warned that those organisations working without a clear purpose are less likely to succeed and grow.
“If you’re not sure what your purpose is beyond profit, for the next four weeks work it out,” the brand strategist went on to add.
Twitter has taken a more considered approach to its monetisation than rivals Facebook and LinkedIn, and this has been no less true with the launch of its new brand pages feature.
Finally though, Twitter has unveiled its much anticipated enhanced profile pages, providing online retailers and other brands with another place to engage with customers and enhance their online strategy.
Even Google+, the fledgling newcomer to the social media party, was quicker off the mark than the microblogging site. The search engine’s social networking Brand Pages were launched in November last year.
It emerged that Twitter would be enhancing its profile page features at the start of this month, marking another step by owners towards commercialisation following the successful rollout of its Promoted Tweets in 2010.
The new brand pages are free to use and enable companies to improve functionality, bringing them in line with Facebook’s offering, which enables brands to feature additional content such as shopping opportunities and minigames.
Marketing director at digital marketing agency Alchemy Worx, Riaz Kanani, believes brands will leap at the opportunity to enhance their presence on the site.
“I fully expect all the brands to adopt it very, very quickly – just like they tried to work out ways to do the same thing with the old profiles really,” he explained.
However, Mr Kanani highlighted that many in the marketing industry had been expecting this for a while, but as with other features, Twitter has remained slow to roll out its enhancement projects.
“Twitter has been promising this for a while, along with their analytics – their analytics were supposed to launch a year ago and are still not here – and if you’re going on to Facebook and you’re trying to communicate via there, you’ve got good analytics [and] good understanding,” he added.
Initially, brands are expected to use this new platform for advertising, according to the Webtistic.co.uk managing director Dave Bird. In general, he believes that Twitter’s embrace of “new Facebook-like features” will only help to enhance the micro-blogging site’s competitiveness in the social media space.
Other recent enhancements, such as the launch of new crowd-sourced language translation services, also show Twitter is keen to improve its general accessibility, both to users and marketing leaders.
As with everything in this fast moving industry though, it will not be clear for some time just how well companies have responded to the brand pages. Or how effective they prove to be.
One problem with their late arrival compared to rivals is that companies have already made the decision to invest their precious marketing resources elsewhere.
Mr Kanani believes this could be a problem for convincing brands they should shift their priorities away from existing projects on the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
“I’m not convinced it will attract companies away from other platforms,” he explained. “There are very few companies out there that can afford to have a profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and whatever.”
Of course, brands who recognise they have a strong audience on Twitter would be silly not to act. They may well have been holding out for just this kind of opportunity rather than opting to establish a base on another social media site.
“Whilst it’ll be better for those who’ve got their audience on Twitter, I cant see them attracting new brands because of it,” added Mr Kanani.