As Vladimir Putin was preparing to send tanks across the Russian border into Ukraine last year, gambling industry lobbyist Bill Pascrell III found himself in Ukraine. The hotel he stayed at and the restaurants he dined at are rubble. But the people he met with, well, they’re thriving.
Pascrell was in Ukraine for a board of directors meeting with nascent B2B gaming company, Betegy, just before the February 2022 Russian invasion. The company, which offers targeted banner advertising to casino gambling and sports betting companies, was founded by Alex Kornilov. Pascrell met Kornilov at a conference in Budapest a few years prior, and so began a business relationship that morphed into Pascrell sitting on the board — which required him to visit Ukraine.
“If you are on a board in Ukraine, you have to go attend a meeting once a year,” Pascrell told US Bets. “I went to Kyiv. I stayed in a hotel in Kyiv that is no longer there. The restaurants I ate at, no longer there. The bombs started dropping, and I said to Alex, ‘We need to get our team out of there.’ People were working in subway stations because that was the safest place and there was WiFi.”
Once the decision was made, much of the Betegy staff moved to Poland, the most common destination for those trying to escape the war. But Kornilov and his family now live in the U.S., with the help of Pascrell and his father, Bill Pascrell, Jr., who is a U.S. congressman representing New Jersey’s Eighth District.
Companies can ‘work even more efficiently’
As the world has watched Putin’s Russia try — and fail — to beat Ukraine and its democracy into submission, Betegy has kept expatriates employed and brought an advanced way of advertising to the gambling space. Rather than pay for mass-market advertising, the company offers its clients the chance to take data they often already have, analyze it, and create targeted advertising within an app, on a gaming platform, or at a kiosk.
Sportsbet.io, Tipico, and the World Series of Poker are among its clients.
“Thanks to Betegy, we get automatically created up-to-date content with our odds on a daily basis,” Mario Gerard, account manager for marketing at Tipico, said. “This content is centrally controlled by us and is provided to our social media channels and to all our betting terminals in more than 1,300 Tipico shops. This caters for a unique user experience for our customers whilst, at the same time, the underlying process allows us to work even more efficiently.”
Interview with @alexey_kornilov, founder of @Betegy, and @BillPascrell3rd (@PPAGInc) about the current state and the future of #advertising in the #sportsbettingindustry available at https://t.co/pOn9pEF7Ev pic.twitter.com/ZGKVtxU40q
— House of Cards® (@HOCRadio) April 9, 2023
Tipico, which operates online in the U.S. in Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, and Ohio, offers digital sports betting and iCasino. It also has several retail locations and offers wagering via kiosk.
Betegy offers its customers a cheaper, more refined and direct way to reach consumers.
Billboards, television advertising, and even social media marketing are tricky to track, meaning a company can spend millions and never really know how many customers it is attracting via a certain campaign. As U.S. jurisdictions move toward more and more stringent advertising and marketing guidelines, Betegy offers gambling companies a unique way to thread the needle.
Rather than try to sell gambling to literally everyone with a billboard on the side of a freeway, Betegy’s strategy is to sell it to people who want it — and further, to sell those people exactly what they are interested in. Betegy has developed technology that can drill down on customer information provided by the operator and learn where a particular bettor lives, what bets they have placed, and what teams they follow. It then develops banner advertisements that reflect those preferences and tendencies.
Love the Red Sox? Betegy knows that
When a player logs into a digital sportsbook, that platform gets information about the player’s betting preferences, and platforms also keep a virtual log of betting history. For example, a Boston Red Sox fan living in Massachusetts who bets Boston games may get a new banner in his or her wagering app showing the operator’s Red Sox odds, offering suggestions for new Boston bets, and the like.
“The value of personalization is that we are reaching your customer, but in a more elegant way.” Pascrell said. “We’re just getting your information and personalizing it in a more elegant way so your player experience when you go back into the app is [unique to you].”
For a new operator, Betegy may be more affordable than other advertising and marketing options, including its chief competitor, Banner Flow, which offers automated banners advertising across multiple industries, including gambling. Betegy partners with operators on a cost-per-impression model and doesn’t charge an up-front technology or integration fee, meaning operators only pay when someone actually clicks through on the advertisement. Internal company research suggests that Betegy has a higher view rate, a lower cost per click, and a higher click-through rate than its competitors.
Betegy this year debuted its Creative Studio, which gives operators access to “create up to 1,000 ads that dynamically show game odds in real-time through a direct API feed,” according to a Betegy press release. Practically speaking, this means that an operator doesn’t have to create new ads for each sport or team; rather, it can pull from the Creative Studio database of ads and just upload odds, promos, or other offers.
During a demonstration at a recent trade show, a US Bets reporter was able to see a basic targeted advertisement that could be used on television or a Google 360 campaign created in about a minute. Operators can also add animation or music or other gimmicks to draw in a consumer.
“Betegy has mastered the art of absorbing raw data in APIs and converting that data to turnkey, user-friendly graphics that can be used by anyone across the entire sports ecosystem,” said Jason Tilton, vice president of corporate development for sports data company ShotTracker. “They are a must-have partner if you are looking to transform your data into a deliverable commercial product. We could not be happier with the doors they have opened for us.”
Matt Rybaltowski contributed to this article.