Players using online betting platforms want winnings now, and digital innovation is enabling it.
Another way of looking at it is that online sports betting makes consumers happiest when the payment experience is real-time or close to it, as in physical casinos. That’s where BetMGM is putting its money as the online sports betting division of MGM goes for faster payments now.
In a conversation with PYMNTS, Andy McGonnell, director of payments at BetMGM, said the business is going wide with its Mastercard Send integration in time for Super Bowl LVII happening Feb. 12. After being piloted in several states, the partnership gives Mastercard cardholders the ability to receive winnings in near-real-time and put those winnings back in play if they like.
McGonnell said their implementation of Mastercard Send has “seen a great take up by players,” adding that “it’s really about giving players access to those funds as quickly as possible. That is a critical aspect to establishing trust, especially in a market that is young in its tenure, [like] the U.S.”
Given the seasonality of sports and its main events, getting iGaming platforms offering near-real-time payouts is vital to bringing more enthusiasts from the sidelines and into the action.
“We run a very data-driven business,” he said. “You can imagine in sports betting that involves odds and everything in between. When it comes to payments, we do a lot of data analysis to understand player behavior in terms of which payment methods they’re willing to use.”
The customer’s voice is telling BetMGM that players “want to get those funds back into their account. What we’ve seen is when funds are tied up in a multi-day payment cycle, we actually prevent players from being able to access those funds for other spending opportunities or even additional wagering.”
Data shows that the quicker players access winnings, “the quicker we can have them enjoying other sporting activities, and other wagering opportunities within our platform as well.”
That’s also about loyalty in a competitive sector, and BetMGM is wagering it can win there, too.
Building Trust With Loyalty, and Vice Versa
As part of the larger MGM Rewards portfolio, BetMGM Rewards Points are accrued for gameplay and can be redeemed “for free bets, wagering, and a range of different benefits,” he said, as well as for free rooms and MGM Resort activities.
As BetMGM undergoes “explosive growth,” these tie-ins and partnerships are critical to helping the platform stand out.
Noting that the unit has grown to more than 2,000 employees in the past two years and is processing “billions of dollars in transactions,” McGonnell said delivering a great iGaming and sports wagering experience to customers is vital “wherever they may be, on a mobile device or a desktop, as well as bridging the gap to our sports books that are in retail properties.”
This will be decisive as players choose loyalties to the expanding digital sportsbook platforms.
“We definitely see a correlation between the payment methods that are fast on our system and the adoption by players,” he said. BetMGM is promoting its online messaging services and retail gaming options as the company and its rivals expand state-by-state, complying with varying regulations.
Some states disallow the use of credit cards, for example. Fines for gray market payment activities are steep, and BetMGM has “a vast team of regulatory compliance and legal colleagues” working on these nuances across the country, keeping things above board.
The latest state to license BetMGM was Ohio, according to a Jan. 1 announcement, just months after it became the official sports betting partner of the Cincinnati Reds and weeks after a similar deal with the Nashville Predators.
See also: The Money Mobility Tracker®
Responsible Gaming and the Fraud Fight
Along with payment innovations, all BetMGM rollouts are accompanied by the GameSense responsible gaming content system, which was developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and first licensed to MGM Resorts in 2017.
There’s also an increased focus on fraud as the platform scales. McGonnell said friendly fraud is becoming a larger problem as “gamblers remorse” sometimes triggers claims that bets were not placed with the player’s knowledge.
These issues are somewhat new as digital gaming catches on, and with professional fraudsters seek ways to game the system.
“Unfortunately, fraudsters are kind of creative individuals,” he said. “We’re always trying to improve risk profiles and fraud tools. We are always investing in that, and 2023 will see focus around making sure we offer the most secure platform possible and preventing fraud.”
Even with barriers in each state and fraud to contend with, McGonnell told PYMNTS that “2023 is going to be a fantastic year for BetMGM. I think everyone in the industry is driving toward increased profitability.”