It could take until the end of the year for legal OH sports betting to go live, but BetJACK can simulate the experience for anyone right now.
JACK Entertainment, in partnership with Kambi and Shape Games, launched a free-to-play app for mobile devices in April. The company considers the app like training camp for novice sports bettors, while also adding customers interested in real-money Ohio sports betting to its database.
The work on the free-to-play app did not begin or end with that launch, though, JACK’s VP of Sports and Digital Gaming Adam Suliman told LSR.
BetJACK wants to be Ohio’s sports betting brand
Sports betting in Ohio has come close to the finish line a few times, so it is not surprising JACK has been working on its own brand for a while. The operator signed its sports betting agreement with Kambi back in 2019.
News on local teams and explainers on sports betting were added to the betJACK site last year. The app is the second phase of the launch, with a bigger marketing campaign to come later this year.
Suliman noted passionate and “tribalistic” fans in Ohio, and posits that extends to home-grown businesses as well.
Ohio would have more than 40 betting apps if all licenses are utilized. That means BetJACK will be fighting to retain its customers against some of the biggest operators in the business including BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel.
OH sports bettors treating tokens like real money
The free-to-play sportsbook dishes out free tokens every day, but they are not being wasted on wild parlays and long shots so far.
“For the most part, people are betting the way that we think they would bet,” Suliman said. “The hold percentages are basically what we would see in other jurisdictions with real money.
“So it’s kind of an interesting phenomenon. Folks are taking it seriously, which is good, right? It’s practice.”
Not capturing specific customer data
Nothing in life is free, of course. When it comes to the internet, free typically translates to exchanging personal data for a service.
Customers have to sign up to create an account but they do not have to give away many details, Suliman said. That means the full picture of which demographics are using the app is unclear.
Still, the app is reaching new customers even without a significant marketing push, Suliman said:
“We operate casinos in the state and have a robust database of customers that have been playing with us for years at our brick and mortar properties so it’s nice to see kind of a new customer base from even markets that we don’t have brick-and-mortar casinos like Columbus, Toledo, etc.”
Taking time to listen
For Suliman, the app less about those data points and more about making sure customers have what they want.
Along with educating customers about the state’s new form of gambling (which he noted casinos “kind of have an obligation” to do,) Suliman is most interested in customer feedback to tweak the product before the universal go-live date.
“In a very, very rapidly expanding market like we have with sports betting, you can from a product standpoint find yourself in a position where you’re putting cool features on the sideline because you’re just ramping up so quickly,” Suliman said.