Viewpoints: How are gaming suppliers preparing for the Super Bowl LVII?


Gaming America speaks to David Ball (Kambi), Leighton Webb (PayNearMe), Joe Pappano (Sightline Payments) and Lindsay Slader (GeoComply).

David Ball – Senior US Sports Trader, Kambi

Ball joined Kambi as the Senior US Sports Trader in 2018, a position he has held for four years. He transferred his love of soccer to his love of American football, becoming Head of Pre-match NFL and US Trading Team Leader. Working in Philadelphia, he has his finger on the pulse of US sports betting, with the city being home to some of the biggest sports teams stateside. In his role, Ball uses his knowledge of sports in a similar way that stock traders use their financial knowledge to navigate Wall Street. He tries to find assets that are underpriced relative to their real value and recommends their acquisition to Kambi.

Leighton Webb – VP of iGaming and Sports Betting, PayNearMe

Webb is a seasoned veteran of the industry, with 20 years of experience in launching products and services across all major platforms. His impressive resume includes employers such as Ubisoft, AOL, 20th Century Fox and bwin.partypoker. In 2017, Webb acted as Managing Director at Jackpocket, helping to offer users a secure way to buy state lottery tickets online. Prior to joining PayNearMe in 2021. He specializes in business development, general management, product development and executive leadership in complex markets.

Joe Pappano – Co-Chief Executive Officer, Sightline Payments

Pappano is the Co-CEO of Sightline Payments, leading the company’s business and regulatory efforts as it transforms the gaming industry. Having spent over 30 years in payments and payment technology, he is one of the original pioneers in the modernization of payments for the sports betting, lottery, horse racing, and online as well as brick-and-mortar casino industries, bridging the divide between gaming, payments, and regulators. Before joining Sightline, he was a senior vice president of Worldpay Gaming and has extensive experience in various sectorsof the payments industry from card-issuing to third-party processing to mobile and alternative payments.

Lindsay Slader – Managing Director, GeoComply

Slader has been a key member of GeoComply’s management team since its inception in 2011. Her knowledge and expertise have made her a much-requested speaker at iGaming, sports betting and regulatory conferences, as well as serving as an expert witness for state and federal government hearings. Before this, she had acquired experience in the gaming industry with Gaming Laboratories International, where she worked in Business Development for over a year.


How do you plan to approach this upcoming Super Bowl?

David Ball: The Super Bowl is a one-of-a-kind betting event that is the culmination of everything Kambi has focused on from a product perspective over the course of the NFL season, and we will once again aim to deliver one of the market’s strongest pre-game and in-game offerings. From a trading perspective, in the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl we will do a deep dive into different player props and creative ideas you wouldn’t normally see during the regular season, when it is harder to create that kind of offering for 16 games every week. We also have timed development prior to and throughout the playoffs so that we have our strongest overall offering for those key games at the end of the season.

Leighton Webb: Our top priorities ahead of the Super Bowl – and any other high-volume betting events – are speed and reliability. We always want to be known as the payments partner who ensures that critical uptime during surge events. Our product development team is constantly looking for ways to promote scalability, and allow massive amounts of data to quickly and seamlessly pass through our platform to meet the demands of our operators during major events like the Super Bowl and March Madness. We want to give our customers reassurance that their payment processes won’t fail during the biggest days of the year, and I know we’re confidently able to do that.

"From a trading perspective, in the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl we will do a deep dive into different player props and creative ideas you wouldn’t normally see during the regular season."

Joe Pappano: Since it’s in Arizona this year, Super Bowl LVII will be the first to play in a state offering sports betting at the time of the game. Although it’s sort of a historic occasion, we plan to approach this upcoming Super Bowl like we would any other day. Patrons who fund with us are afforded with fast access to their winnings. Typically, it’s a VIP audience who attends the Super Bowl. Through experience, we know fast access to their winnings is what’s most important to them.

Lindsay Slader: The Super Bowl is the single most popular sporting event of the year. It goes without saying that it is one of the busiest weekends for our sportsbook customers and the GeoComply team. Like the athletes on the field, our team prepares a game plan that considers all possibilities, and our systems are conditioned for success. Unlike every NFL team, we know we will be a player on Super Bowl Sunday. Throughout the year, we dedicate considerable resources to ensure our solutions can support the expected demands of our customers and anticipate any unforeseen challenges. GeoComply’s age and identity services (ID Comply) will be optimized to verify thousands of new customers who are excited to wager on the Big Game. Not surprisingly, Super Bowl betting is also a time when fraudsters seek an advantage. Our anti-fraud tools will be on high alert to stop would-be scammers who seek to harm bettors or our customers.

How do events such as the Super Bowl affect your overall strategy, is it consistent every Super Bowl?

David Ball: Last year’s Super Bowl went extremely well, and we delivered a strong offering that included more than 300 player prop markets and a leading Bet Builder product. We will aim to replicate that success for Super Bowl LVII while going even further with the introduction of interesting new bet offers. In terms of our overall strategy, one thing we will do is go back and look at the performance of certain Super Bowl offers in recent years, to see which ones generated the most interest. This might affect our strategy for the next season, as far as developing markets for those more popular bet offers and adding them to our regular-season offerings going forward.

Leighton Webb: PayNearMe’s goal of providing frictionless deposits and payouts remains consistent, but we know that for the Super Bowl, the reliability piece is key. We want to be the most trusted payment partner for platform providers and operators. Consistency is the strategy. Because of that, individual events don’t affect our overall strategy, but we do make sure we put all measures in place to handle the level of processing volume that comes with a significant betting event. The Super Bowl is the biggest priority for many of our clients, making it our biggest priority as well.

Lindsay Slader: We never take a cut-and-paste approach. What worked last year isn’t always the best approach the next. So we are continually improving our services and engaging with our customers to understand their needs and do even better. With the recent launch of Ohio this year, more than 44% of the country will have access to legal online sports betting on Super Bowl Sunday. Since more Americans will have the opportunity to bet with licensed and regulated operators, as a compliance-driven company, we are privileged to be in a position to enable legal and responsible betting. We approach the Super Bowl by supporting our customers and upholding our regulatory obligations.

"PayNearMe’s goal of providing frictionless deposits and payouts remains consistent, but we know that for the Super Bowl, the reliability piece is key. We want to be the most trusted payment partner for platform providers and operators."

Joe Pappano: With large events like the Super Bowl, we use it as an opportunity to test different incentives with a large audience. The nationwide data we gather over multiple gaming operators allows us to drive greater customer satisfaction, increase loyalty and deliver results to our gaming partners.

How do you differentiate your offerings fromother providers ahead of the Super Bowl?

David Ball: One of the major long-term trends in sports betting has been for players to demand increasingly more control over their experience through bet builder products. At least year’s Super Bowl we found that 50% of bettors placed a bet builder bet, while31% of Super Bowl pre-game bets were bet builders. Kambi’s Bet Builder is in many areas, including paybacks and level of combinability, and the next phase of the roadmap is to expand it to include both cash-out and live. In terms of differentiating, our operator specials are always an area to be creative and create special offers that separate us from other sportsbooks. We aim to give our partners some interesting offers and give them a different offering than competitors, as well as some differentiation among the Kambi network of operators. This allows Kambi’s partners to customize their offers toward their specific customer base.

Leighton Webb: While we aren’t a sportsbook, we still support them and need to provide solid infrastructure for them to handle major events. The Super Bowl is the type of high-profile event that attracts a lot of new bettors. We have a fantastic payment experience, and that’s what will help with getting new bettors to make their first deposit on game day. We have all of the payment options that bettors are familiar with using, like PayPal and Venmo, which makes it especially easy for them. We also ensure they get paid quickly when they go to cash out, which builds trust. A big differentiator is our Cardless Cash at ATM withdrawal feature, which gives bettors same-day payouts at a local participating ATM. If someone is new to sports betting, we want the Super Bowl to be a great first experience that will make them a returning customer for our operators.

"At Sightline Payments, we are partners with nearly every legal sportsbook provider. Our Play+ solution allows operators to extend their brand when they offer a co-branded Play+ account to their patrons."

Lindsay Slader: There is no question that online fraudsters will seek to exploit individuals and sportsbooks on Super Bowl Sunday. Our value to clients isn’t just that we geolocate their players, it's how we leverage this data to protect everyone from fraud and abuse. We differentiate ourselves because we truly provide our sportsbook customers with wrap-around protection and compliance assurance. Over the years, we have collected and analyzed billions of data points. This data has helped our fraud teams and automated detection systems spot payments fraud, identity theft, bonus abuse and even proxy betting. It’s our job to identify and stop these attempts in real-time. This type of anti-fraud experience is unparalleled in the industry.

Joe Pappano: At Sightline Payments, we are partners with nearly every legal sportsbook provider. Our Play+ solution allows operators to extend their brand when they offer a co-branded Play+ account to their patrons. We do this by enhancing a patron’s gaming experience, by offering them incentives on the steps they take before and after gaming. This can include incentives on funding, quick access to their winnings, incentives on spending those winnings, and even the ability to spend it everywhere their Play+ card is accepted.

And then lastly, could you see the World Cup ever becoming as important as the Super Bowl or March Madness for US operators?

David Ball: The Super Bowl and March Madness will always have an advantage among US sports bettors due to the popularity of football and basketball, and these events also benefit from happening every year. It’s safe to say that the World Cup won’t surpass the popularity of those sports in the US market, however, the 2018 World Cup only took place a month after the overturning of PASPA, so this year’s tournament is the first one we’ve seen in a regulated US market and the interest has been strong. During the World Cup, the tournament was the third-most popular event on Kambi’s US network by handle after football and basketball there being fewer World Cup matches than those other sports. The interest in it should only grow in 2026, when the tournament takes place on North American soil and a young USMNT will be much more experienced on the national stage.

Leighton Webb: While soccer doesn’t have the same level of popularity as NFL football in the US, the World Cup is the biggest global sporting event, and it’s difficult to ignore something that huge even if you aren’t a diehard soccer fan. You scroll your social media feed and there are clips of the World Cup, memes, news clippings. You feel involved and invested, even if you didn’t watch a full game. That level of exposure, coupled with US sports betting becoming more mainstream, is definitely going to spike the popularity of betting on the World Cup in the future. An estimated 8% of US adults bet on the World Cup in 2022 according to a survey by the American Gaming Association (compared with 12% who bet on the Super Bowl), so we could see that number surpass the Super Bowl as more US states legalize online betting, maybe even by the 2026 World Cup when the United States co-hosts.

"The interest in it (The World Cup) should only grow in 2026, when the tournament takes place on North American soil and a young USMNT will be much more experienced on the national stage."

Joe Pappano: When looking at the volume across all our partners during the World Cup, we doubt World Cup betting will ever get to the level of the Super Bowl or March Madness in the United States. However, we do feel that betting volume for the World Cup will grow significantly when it isco-hosted by the United States in 2026.

Lindsay Slader: GeoComply monitored traffic very closely during the last World Cup. We were surprised that the World Cup final had more traffic than any major US sports finals (MLB, NBA, NHL) in 2022, except for the Super Bowl. So it’s already important. We also saw volume spikes in our IDComply services before big matchups throughout the tournament, so we know that soccer is attracting a new American fan. All of the interest we saw in 2022 will be multiplied by several factors when the World Cup lands on North American soil in 2026. Like we do for the Super Bowl, March Madness or the start of the NFL season, our team will give the next World Cup special attention.

Latest News