ICE London: An introduction to Managed Trading, the Betradar way

This article is featured on iNTERGAMINGi.

Darren Small

Sports betting is increasingly being realised across the globe as an entertaining way to engage and get more excitement out of sport, amongst both punters and bookmakers alike. However, it’s also very risky, again, not just for the punter making the gamble with their money, but for bookmakers too.

Like any business, in order to survive, bookmakers need to make a profit. With betting, as in finance where there is an exchange of money, this can be a lot more difficult, especially with the modern trends affecting both technology and punters these days.

As betting has become more advanced, punters have become savvier. And where there’s commercial interest there’s always an attempt to beat the system to make more money. As such, these days bookmakers have had to invest in methods to protect their business, while finding ways to grow and differentiate. Essentially this is about knowing the market and having the ability to understand and interpret betting patterns across different sports to reduce losses as much as possible.

All together, this creates a lot of pressure for sportsbooks to be able to succeed. It takes more than just putting a bunch of odds together with a smart looking betting offering. This is where managed trading to oversee the placing of bets is crucial. Like a lot of the corporate world, sports betting is driven by a huge amount of data. As the world-leading data and betting supplier, Sportradar, for example, utilise over 8,000 journalists to collect data from 27 sports worldwide, plus the data from official partnerships with major sports leagues. Our betting arm, Betradar, also has access to the market share of anonymous betting data thanks to over 600 bookmaker clients in more than 100 countries. This big data is what fuels the company’s entire offering, using it to build products that can drive our customers’ profits, whilst monitoring and analysing it to help safeguard their operations.

This data is also essential to ensure the most successful trading and risk management. As such, Betradar launched its Managed Trading Services (MTS) in 2014, utilising their unique access to this amount of data by offering a service that could take care of the entire process, from providing fixtures to compiling odds, monitoring the liabilities and settling the bets. MTS is therefore effectively a complete solution for both pre-match and live betting operations provided in a fast, reliable and cost-effective manner from the one single source.

With so much data too these days, in any one sports match, there can be up to 250 in-play markets, with even more outcomes. This isn’t just restricted to sports like tennis and football. Betradar’s Premium Cricket Services (PCS), for example, also offer in excess of 200 in-play markets. Managed trading for us is therefore a hugely complex yet essential operation, involving careful scrutiny of large volumes of trades and an ever growing suite of derivative markets.

This is where the MTS customer community is key, both for our clients and in terms of having access to the market share of betting data. Bookmakers on their own don’t have access to such a comprehensive market overview. Being able to check anonymous bets against so many other bookmakers can not only create more effective pricing but also help to reduce arbitrage betting opportunities.

Equally, trading and risk management can be a very expensive and cumbersome operation to employ, run and manage on an ongoing basis for bookmakers. Finding and keeping the best traders and ensuring technology is always up-to-date is only the tip of the iceberg to be able to succeed in this process. Outsourcing this can also be discouraging. But, as a company that understands bookmaker needs, Betradar maintains a focus on reliability and quality to take the burden out of all aspects of running a sportsbook effectively, including managed trading. As such, MTS uses a bespoke combination of cutting-edge technology and the top trading experts to be able to more effectively manage and oversee the pricing, placing and settlement of so many bets.

Innovation-wise, Betradar’s trading tools are all developed in-house, together with specially designed liability-driven trading algorithms. This technology helps to manage the billions of data points and continuously assesses liability with automated actions and alerts for risky bets or bets placed by certain customer types. It’s fast, accurate and guarantees maximum security and efficiency, helping to streamline processes for all sports betting operations end-to-end.

It’s just as important, however, to have a set of expert sports traders to intervene where required and apply a level of knowledge, subjectivity and detail to ensure an added level of security and reliability. Gone are the days of the old-school traders who simply had to watch a linear set of analogue bets. In the new era of online betting with many more granular markets, sports trading requires greater levels of awareness and responsibility. As such, Betradar strives to hire traders who are academically backed with tertiary degrees in maths, economics and science, have ample experience in betting markets as well as an intricate understanding of sport. Their passion helps too.

Using this level of knowledge, that exceeds the average, such traders are the key to managing our complex algoritms, systems and protocols to proper assess and calculate risk and act accordingly. With the unpredictable nature of sport, they can adjust where necessary too, for example, when weather conditions, player injuries or team changes can and do have affects on the market. Again, this is a level of detail that technology alone struggles to pick up and respond to dynamically, but is crucial in sports betting.

Using algorithms to assess liability is still based on a trader’s knowledge and experience too, together with mathematical modelling. With the industry’s largest database at hand, the types of traders that Sportradar employ are key for proper player profiling, probability, pricing and risk managing. Their input and expertise is actively used to train and develop supervised machine learning models and algorithms. Relying on MTS’ dedicated team and technology, which together are able to decipher and categorise the standard bettors from the risky ones, as well as the sports events that seem to be more at risk, enables bookmakers to focus more on their day-to-day operations without the added hassle of having to manage a full labour-intensive trading operation. Additionally, with Sportradar’s Integrity Services, the company’s traders can elevate suspect activity if required, protecting bookmakers and the sport from match-fixing threats too.

Losses for bookmakers can be huge if results go against them. Having access to an expert risk management service that can guarantee reliability and profit through its own specially developed technology and team with an intricate understanding of betting markets is what can make a real difference for bookmakers. Together this expert technology and team are more dedicated to monitoring the industry’s most comprehensive sports and market activity for bookmakers 24/7. Serving multi-distribution channels, bookmakers, no matter what their size, what market they are operating in, or what stage of the business lifecycle they are at, can utilise MTS at whatever level they need, whether that be Full, Integrated or Selected Trading. For smaller start-up bookmakers, MTS can be used to build an entire sportsbook from the ground up, especially with access to our new omni-channel OPTIMAMGS platform. For larger bookmakers, they can use MTS to supplement their trading while still having full control of their own operations. Whichever way MTS is used, it has been fashioned to be the most advanced, reliable and customisable way to price effectively, ensure margins and limit a bookmaker’s liability as much as possible. Together with our other 360-degree betting services and offerings, this is the only tried and tested way to maximise gains and increase competitiveness, which in today’s crowded market is essential.

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