The Super Bowl is synonymous with a surge in online sports betting.
Last year, Americans wagered around $7.6 billion overall on the event, according to the American Gaming Association, with tens of millions of Americans going online to do so. This year could shatter records.
Over the past few years, nearly two dozen states have enabled sports betting over online channels, so more consumers than ever can pay their money and take their pick.
Alex Gonthier, CEO of Trustly, told Karen Webster that as the world gets ready for the Super Bowl, U.S. wagerers will be able to get their winnings a lot faster, in an industry first: Enabling real-time payments via the RTP network to bettors’ bank accounts.
Trustly said Tuesday (Feb. 7) that it has partnered with online gaming operator PointsBet, to offer the latter’s players real-time payouts in the United States.
The real-time payouts, per the announcement, are being powered by Cross River Bank and are deposited directly into users’ bank accounts.
Cross River, for its part, has been an early participant in the RTP network built by The Clearing House.
In terms of the transaction flows, PointsBet, by using Trustly Instant Payouts, can fund payments directly with Cross River, sending RTP payments on behalf of PointsBet to their players’ bank accounts.
As Gonthier told Webster, “in the gaming industry — and in lots of other industries — when gamers have won something, they want their money as quickly as possible.”
And they want that money in their bank accounts, which he termed the “center” of individuals’ financial universes.
The pact is a first for the online gaming industry — one where pay-in and deposits are both done in real time, benefitting both the bettors and the platforms. He said that functionality keeps money flowing smoothly throughout the gambling ecosystem.
As Gonthier explained it, providers had previously not been able to enable real-time functionality for the gaming operators due to the limitations of ACH, leading to a “slowing down of the business velocity” for the gaming firms as wagers came “back” into the system as users plowed some of their money (and winnings) back onto the platform. With cards and ACH in the mix, even push to card would not happen instantly — it could take days, depending on the way the platforms were set.
The readiness is there for online sports betting to embrace the real-time push to bank accounts, he said. Bettors are already in favor of using their bank accounts.
“Historically in the gaming space in this country, it’s understood that you go to Vegas and then you pay with a paper check,” Gonthier observed.
“VIPs all pay with a paper check” to avoid the limits imposed by cards. Trustly, for its part, has a 30% share of “checkout” on gaming winnings, which further proves that banking is a favored “cash out” option.
With the Trustly/PointsBet setup, “it’s better for the gaming operators becomes the money leaves their environment,” Gonthier said, “but it can also come back instantly … it’s accelerating the business velocity.” Currently, most accounts are tied to traditional banks — including smaller regional banks, community banks and credit unions. There are a number of crypto accounts as well.
PointsBet has historically been a Trustly customer, he said, since the Supreme Court paved the way for more states to legalize sports betting back in 2018. Cross River, he added, has been a strong partner, too, as the company has emerged as among the top participants in the RTP network in terms of volume share.
Real-time money movement, as Webster noted, carries with it the specter of faster fraud. And there are more regulations for operators to comply with as they authenticate players.
Gonthier said that there’s a strong level of defense afforded by the fact that the players want winnings deposited into the bank accounts.
“The banks have strong multifactor authentication mechanism,” he said, “and that limits fraud.” Trustly, in addition, matches info provided by the gaming operators — names and other attributes, which have already gone through know your customer (KYC) authentication — to the accounts. When there’s a mismatch, he said, Trustly does not authorize the transaction.
“We can establish with a high degree of certainty that the person ‘behind the line’ is who they claim to be,” he said.
Looking ahead, he said, Trustly sees opportunity beyond betting.
“We started in gaming because there was an obvious business velocity issue and friction point that we solved,” he told Webster. That same value proposition will carry over into the insurance sector to pay out claims and to the government, to speed disbursements, and for eCommerce merchants to issue refunds.
Real-time push to bank accounts, he said, “are a way of ‘closing a task’ … and moving on with your life.” In online betting, as players pay deposits from their bank accounts and collect their withdrawals there, too, “volume is only going to increase,” Gonthier said.