There are plenty of problems that entrepreneurs face when they try to run sports betting businesses. From various approvals to following rules and regulations which are stricter than those for general businesses — sports betting businesses have to ensure they are compliant with all local laws at all the locations that they are operating at.
This makes scaling to regions other than which your business is compliant very difficult. But there is one more side where sports betting businesses fall short: the sports betting mobile apps.
If you don't know, you cannot publish your sports betting apps on the Google Play Store in most countries. Google Play Store is the app store that is the backbone of the Android ecosystem. There is the news of Google allowing fantasy sports and rummy apps, but the lines are very thin.
Even Apple, which supports sports betting apps, has plenty of rules & charges before you publish your game/app on the App Store.
In this article, I will talk about what other alternatives are there and how you can use mobile apps to scale your sports betting business.
The Problem With Sports Betting Mobile Apps
When I say sports betting business, I am not only talking about online businesses but also offline ones. Even if you are running a successful offline sports business, you can use mobile apps and websites to reach a broader audience and boost your business.
Websites are pretty easy to make. Buy a hosting that supports betting and casino websites and hire a designer to make the website for you. Once done, integrate it with various payment gateways and make it compliant to local laws and you are all done.
But the problem arises on the mobile apps part. I encounter 95% of sports betting and casino businesses that don't have their official Android and iOS apps.
The reason is not that they cannot make it, but they cannot publish it on the top application stores, especially on Google's Play Store.
This is making sports betting businesses lose a lot of revenue. To cover this, most businesses are using alternate methods.
Delivering Mobile Apps to Users
One of the ways to deliver the experience to mobile users is to create a mobile-first website and then ask them to bookmark the website for future use. This is a good trick but doesn't help on a longer scale. Your player needs to be hooked up to your game and name and only then he/she/they will return to your website.
There is a neat trick in which you can convert a website into a progressive web app (PWA) and make your users install it for you.
Building a PWA is quite easy and takes only a couple of hours. While PWAs are not as effective as native mobile apps, they still work well. You can configure offline games, show custom notifications and keep your audience revisiting your app using a home-screen app icon.
Now, the next way that many websites use is to make users install APKs from their own websites. In this, the user will have to download the APK from your website, activate "Install from unknown sources" in settings and install the APK. You can look for a unity developer or developer of your needs, if you don't want to do all these on your own.
This is a great trick and is possibly the best one right now for the businesses focusing on Android devices.
There is no way to download and install external apps on iOS devices (unless they Jailbreak). But there is good news. You can publish your sports betting apps on the App Store.
Scaling With Mobile Apps
Everyone has a smartphone and by offering them a way to install a mobile app you are offering your players a way to stay with you.
No matter how good your sports betting website is, if the user cannot play it on their mobile device, they cannot stick with you. There are dozens of sports betting sites available in India and all have followed the path from website to mobile and all of them have found success.
Dream11, Betways and My11Circle have become household names not only because of their ads and everything. Even ads will work only if the viewer can access your product on their smartphone.
You won't open your laptop to find something that you just saw on TV, would you?
With mobile apps, you can keep your players engaged by offering them new offers and notifying them of new games you launch. There are some caveats, though. There are games being played every day and a few players will return to your sports betting app for sure. But most of the players won't open your app if a big game is not going on.
In order to attract them, you can integrate gaming guides, tutorials and free games in the app that they can read and play.