Disclaimer: Before building your own sports betting website, check the laws of your country and/or state.
If you weren’t already aware, on May 14th, 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which previously only protected Nevada as the only legal sports gambling state. Some states were already pushing to change legislation prior to the official ruling both onsite and online. However, not all states have taken action just yet. In fact, only a handful have and not each of those have done so in terms of online gambling yet, only in regards to specific onsite locations.
As we approach the one-year mark on the ruling, I suspect this will continue to change. Slowly, more and more states will allow both onsite and online wagering to take place. There are some real benefits to legalizing sports betting, which are outside the scope of this article, but there is no shortage of information about all those particulars.
It’s not often that an entirely new industry, such as gambling, comes to the web. The internet has obviously has been around for 30+ years at this point, almost encompassing every aspect of life—from shopping to information to games—you name it! However, gambling and sports betting was always a controversial topic, deemed illegal and unlawful here in the US, outside of Las Vegas, since the much earlier days of the web when things fell into gray areas and there were just a few sites out in the Wild West, which were eventually forced to close their doors.
Things are changing and there is potential for online gambling to come back to the forefront, which means the interest in capitalizing on the benefits of owning a sports betting website will grow. We’ll hit on three of the essentials to building a successful sports betting website in this blog post. This is by no means a comprehensive list but some things you’ll want to get started on right away, if building your own piques your interest. Let’s get started.
Know Your Payment Processing Options
Believe it or not, aside from a business plan for your new found venture, the first thing you’ll want to look into from the get-go is merchant and payment processing companies. While this may seem like an odd first step, consider this: at the time of writing this article, companies like PayPal and Stripe restrict the use of their services from online gambling and sports betting. I’m sure there are myriads of reasons for this, but essentially things are so new, they’ve not gotten fully up to speed on news laws and legislation which will now vary state to state.
In addition to the newness and ever-changing landscape of this world, chargebacks are a major concern, of course, to any merchant and credit card processing company. Too many of these can hurt a business’ bottom line and make it difficult for the relationship to continue, which, of course, no one wants.
Most likely in this space, you’ll have to find a high-risk merchant to work and partner with to make it possible for your sports betting website to accept payment. Some may have longer checklists than others in place to ensure everyone is acting in good faith and that there are necessary factors in place to help mitigate uncertainties, rules of the games, and, most importantly, reduce the potential for chargebacks by users of the site.
In speaking to merchant and payment processing companies up front, it’s important to get as much information as possible for both yourself and the the company you ultimately decide to hire to develop your website. This helps in the overall planning and design of your new site all the way to launch day. Things will certainly still come up, but I can tell you, there will be a lot fewer headaches and delays when everyone knows exactly what is required.
Make the Experience Seamless
While this may seem obvious to some, there are some nuances to sports betting, online gambling, and the like that should be noted. Users of the site are spending money in a very different way than on other websites, so it’s especially important to communicate trust, be transparent, and most of all, make it a seamless and painless user experience from the get-go.
For example, most sites of this nature will require some verification and account setup. The initial signup process is critical. Make it easy for someone to set up and create an account, verify their age, location, etc. These elements should not be afterthoughts.
This is especially true since it needs to happen prior to an initial deposit to place a wager. If you require a super strong password, make sure that it is part of the signup form when entered. Not doing that upon the initial setup can frustrate a user, and nothing is stopping them from going to some other website now. It may seem like a small detail, but it is a critical one.
Thinking through each step of the account setup process, from signup to first wager, will go a long way to enhancing the overall user experience. Things can always be improved upon over a site’s existence, but the goal is to keep it simple, easy and clear, especially since the target audience can really be anyone from 21 to 121+ years of age.
What’s the data? Well, when it comes to sports betting, the data is essentially the information around your offered games, matches, tournaments, which team is the favorite and who’s the underdog (there’s also under/over on scoring), etc. You’ll often see what’s commonly referred to as the spread or the under/over on various sports sites. This information varies site to site and on conditions like the time of day, direction the wind is blowing, last minute injuries, breaking news and all sorts of other factors.
It’s important to note, while you may see information around point spreads, under/over, and the like on major sports websites, it’s not likely you’ll be able to “just borrow” theirs or pull their data onto your site. The options are much more restricting. Major sports sites and individual leagues will not likely provide that information freely, or at all, in a usable way for your site. The available options, as it currently stands, are far more limiting in nature.
You could manage your own data, depending on the size of your website and team, or use a third-party service that will most likely have an API to pull in updated information. There are a lot of options and some may make sense more than others. As always, it depends on your business and your site’s particular needs.
Some of your options will come with a higher cost than others, depending on how often you need your site to update and whether or not real-time updates are necessary or different features and information are needed, as well. Not unlike the other essential steps, this requires a thorough investigation since there a significant cost to pulling in this information into your site, as it’s really what powers the site’s information in informing potential wagers one way or the other for users.
As with any website, the more planning and research that’s done up front, the better the chances are for both a successful launch and long-term success of the site. While this is not an exhaustive checklist, hopefully it helps get the ball rolling. To stay up to date with the latest on this topic, I recommend checking out this resource over on the ESPN website for the latest news and updates on the ever-changing legalized gambling landscape.
Now that you know what you need to get started, do you need a developer to help you build a sports betting website? Contact us and let’s partner together.
Feature photo credit: Baishampayan Ghose [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons