The sports betting scene continues to grow, and like all paytech sectors, the demand for fast transactions is a top priority for consumers. In fact, according to payments platform, Paysafe’s newest report, ‘All the ways players pay’, quick and easy payouts are what both North American and UK based online sports bettors look for the most when selecting a sportsbook.
Surveying more than 2,000 online sports bettors in six US states (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania), the Canadian province of Ontario, and the UK, in November 2022, the Paysafe research found that quick and easy payouts were prioritised by 36 per cent of betting players when choosing a sportsbook.
They considered payouts more important than brand trust (34 per cent), odds, and promotions (28 per cent for both). Availability of preferred payment methods was a factor for 27 per cent of bettors and prioritised over a sportsbook’s sports markets and team sponsorships (11 per cent for both).
Frictionless payouts are even more of a factor in sportsbook selection for players in Michigan (43 per cent), whose market launched in January 2021. This was also the case in the UK (39 per cent), with its iGaming industry dating back 20+ years. By contrast, in Ontario, whose expanded market launched in April, players consider brand trust paramount (prioritised by 39 per cent). However, payouts were the second most important factor (35 per cent).
The key to customer retention
The payment experience is just as vital for player retention, with 75 per cent of sports bettors citing this as an important factor for why they remain with a brand. Payments appear particularly crucial for customer stickiness in New York, with 85 per cent of players in the year-old iGaming market giving this consideration.
Players’ payment preferences continue to diversify. Nonetheless, the traditional payment method of debit cards dominates wagering (preferred by 49 per cent of bettors). The UK and Iowa gambling regulators’ bans on credit cards for iGaming have likely contributed to this trend. As a result, debit card preferences have risen to 59 per cent in both markets. Despite these two markets’ restrictions, credit cards were a payment preference of 25 per cent of all players and are the go-to payment method for New Yorkers (44 per cent).
Alternative payment methods
Overall, the alternative payment method (APM) of digital wallets is now more popular than credit cards, with 28 per cent of all players preferring a wallet. This trends as high as 45 per cent in Iowa, where credit cards are not permitted.
Digital wallets’ popularity is strongest with more frequent or VIP bettors, with a wallet the top payment method for players wagering 5-7 times a week alongside debit cards (both 41 per cent). For bettors wagering over seven times weekly, 34 per cent prefer a wallet, exceeding mobile wallets (33 per cent) and credit cards (24 per cent).
Adoption of other APMs like eCash is also growing, with 16 per cent of players preferring this payment method. It trended higher in the US (18 per cent), where cash usage is still relatively robust, and in New York in particular (28 per cent). Future demand also appears strong, with 53 per cent of players saying they would bet online more frequently if they were able to use eCash products.
Operators appear to be largely addressing players’ concerns about payment security, with 59 per cent more confident transacting than they were in 2021. Nonetheless, with 30 per cent of players undecided and 11 per cent less confident, there appears to be no room for complacency for the iGaming industry.
Zak Cutler, president of global gaming at Paysafe, commented:
“Our latest research report emphasises how critical it is for operators to develop a customer-friendly payments strategy as part of their model in order to both convert and retain new and existing players.
“In a highly competitive market, operators stand to gain a competitive edge if their cashiers feature a comprehensive suite of payment methods, including digital wallets, which support the conversion of VIP players, and eCash, which resonates with cash-focused consumers who are perhaps prioritising sticking to a budget in their betting.”