Following the news that the firm had significantly moved to expand its offering with the addition of Venmo and PayPal, we spoke to Leighton Webb, VP & GM, iGaming & Sports Betting at PayNearMe, as he analysed just how impactful the steps will be.
PaymentExpert: Firstly, are you able to tell us more about how PayNearMe has grown within the US betting and gaming space in recent times?
Leighton Webb: PayNearMe launched its MoneyLine platform for iGaming and sports betting operators and platform providers in October 2021. Since then, we’ve grown within the US betting and gaming space in a number of key areas:
- Most recently, we announced the addition of PayPal and Venmo to our growing list of modern payment options in the US. These new digital wallet payment types expand our digital payments offering and allow operators to offer players more choice and convenience.
- In January 2022, we announced our approval to operate in New York. We enabled three (FanDuel, Caesars SportsBook) of the four operators approved to go live in New York on the same day online gambling was legalised in the state. Since then, we’ve launched cash deposits for both BetMGM and PointsBet with a sixth operator expected to go live shortly.
- In November 2021, we announced a partnership with Pin4 to enable operators to give players instant access to their winnings through our cash-out at ATM option. PayNearMe’s integration of Pin4’s technology into its MoneyLine platform gives iGaming and sports betting players a quick and easy option to withdraw their funds in cash at more than 18,000 ATMs across the nation.
- In October 2021, we announced our expanded partnership with IGT. IGT PlaySports customers will have the ability to leverage PayNearMe’s full MoneyLine platform to facilitate cards, ACH, cash and mobile-first deposit methods including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay, plus payout options including push-to-debit and cash-out at ATM.
- While it’s important for PayNearMe to deliver a full payment stack that includes all the ways players want to deposit and withdraw funds, we are focused on optimising our platform to manage the full end-to-end payment experience. We continually look for ways to help operators improve the player experience using data and analytics, and to create efficiencies by integrating more functionality to remove the seams and automate more manual processes. We look forward to sharing details in forthcoming announcements this year.
PE: The addition of PayPal and Venmo feels like a big step for the firm, how important do you feel these are?
LW: The addition of PayPal and Venmo is a huge win for our operators and their players. PayPal, in particular, is a popular tender type for players and this is particularly true with a younger/ digital-centric consumer. Those consumers are already familiar with and use PayPal as a trusted payment source and making PayPal available in iGaming is a natural extension. Brand trust is also important with consumers, particularly in iGaming, and having a payment source such as PayPal lends itself well to optimising player conversion.
Lastly, there is also a segment of the iGaming player base that prefers a separate funding source outside of its day-to-day banking accounts and PayPal gives these players the ability to do this.
PE: Can you tell us more about the built-in integration and what it means for businesses accepting these payment types?
LW: The built-in integration for PayPal and Venmo makes the experience seamless for the player to make a deposit using PayPal. It’s important that players are able to make deposits within the overall experience of the operator’s sportsbook (vs. having to click out to a 3rd party site), and providing a native integration makes this experience easy and seamless for the user.
PE: PayNearMe is constantly evolving its offerings. Can you share any insights into what will be the next step of growth?
LW: PayNearMe will continue to focus on adding new payment types to the MoneyLine platform to ensure our operators can offer their players the major ways they want to deposit and withdraw their funds. We will continue to evolve platform functionality around analytics and insights to help operators optimise their payment flows.
Finally, we will continue to diligently work with new states for approvals so that our operators can go live as soon as they are ready.
PE: PayPal and Venmo are key for US consumers, but are there any other trends you have noticed within the gambling payments space?
LW: Players want to use trusted methods when making a deposit. Keep in mind that many of these players may be new to online sports betting and online gambling, in general, and providing a trusted source (such as PayPal) directly improves player conversion.
Also, operators need to stay on par if not exceed the cashier experience on competitive sites. PayPal is a core part of that cashier experience and operators that aren’t able to offer the leading tender types will fall behind.
Finally, we’re hearing from some operators that they want more control over their cashier to be able to 1) innovate more quickly and 2) optimise the deposit flow. This control is important in order to reduce their customer acquisition costs and deliver an easy and seamless experience for their players. I expect this will be a major area of focus in the coming year.
PE: What are your predictions for how the relationship between payments and the US gambling sector will evolve in the coming year?
LW: In the coming year, I think we will continue to see more tender types, watching what methods players want and are using.
Faster payouts is a big challenge in the industry, and PayNearMe has built technology that will increase the speed of disbursements. Much of the approval process is manual today, and it creates significant dissatisfaction for players. The MoneyLine platform includes functionality and decisioning that uses player behavior and payment data to automate more of the process to help operators increase the speed at which their players receive their funds.
Finally, I think we’ll see simplification of the payment stack. Operator payment management has become unwieldy for operators and many of them are looking to simplify integrations with the goal of focusing attention on optimising the cashier flow and player conversion. Modern and sophisticated payment technologies used in other industries, and ones consumers are accustomed to interacting with, are coming to gaming and sports betting and it’s exciting to see this continued focus on providing a great player experience for players.