Payments are a crucial aspect of the betting customer journey, and can often be a make-or-break factor for online punters when deciding a sportsbook of choice according to research from Paysafe.
In a recent blog post, Zak Cutler, the firm’s President Global Gaming, cited data from a survey conducted by Paysafe showcasing the value customers place on payments as part of the wider bookmaking experience.
This is a trend visible across several European markets, with it standing out the top consideration in Germany and Italy at 43% and 41% of customers respectively.
“Players in both markets consider cashing-out more important than brand trust, odds, promotions, user experience, sports markets, and, as mentioned, sponsorship deals,” Cutler explained.
In the UK and France, good odds were more important than payments, but that did not mean that the latter was discounted as a customer experience factor in either market, which are two of Europe/’s most prominent respectively.
Looking at France, cashing out was the second most important factor for French players at 35%, with odds leading at 37%. Meanwhile, UK bettors prioritised brand trust most at 35%, good odds second at 29% and payments third at 27%.
The impotence UK bettors place on payments is important to note in the context of regulatory changes occurring in the country, part of which will impact the customer journey when it comes to depositing and withdrawing funds.
Back in April 2023, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) published the UK Gambling Act review White Paper, a planned overhaul of the country’s gaming legislation.
A flagship proposal of the White Paper is the introduction of ‘finance risk checks’, referred to as ‘affordability checks’ by many stakeholders and observers.
These checks are designed to require interventions when players lose a certain amount, with a monthly threshold of £1,000 touted, but some industry figures have expressed concerns that if checks are not ‘frictionless’ enough it could interfere with the payments journey.
In Paysafe’s research, making deposits was considered an important factor by 23% of UK bettors and 26% of French punters, but again was more highly valued by German and Italian customers at 27% and 30%.
Differences were also observed when it came to bookmaker’s offering a range of payment methods. In this case, 34% of Italians and 31% of French customers valued this, compared to 21% of British and 19% of German bettors, although these figures are still hardly insignificant.
Operators must offer as broad a range of payment methods as possible, Cutler asserted, albeit in line with regulatory requirements, which can affect whether credit cards are allowed or not – this is now allowed in the UK, and this will soon be the case in Australia.
“Of course, every customer experience ultimately starts with a deposit,” he said. “Given players’ prioritisation of rapid deposits, all payment methods they integrate should be evaluated according to their speed at funding a wager. Several digital wallets like Skrill now support instant funding directly from a bettor’s bank account.”
If we again look to the UK, with the prominent exception of finance risk checks, payments have not been at the forefront of the debate around gambling regulation. In fact, even in the case of affordability this debate has focused more on responsibility and player protection rather than payments.
One of the more dominant talking points has been sponsorship, with many reform advocates calling for a ban on betting sponsorships in sports – particularly football – during the two-and-a-half year duration of the Gambling Act review.
With pressure mounting, the Premier League opted to begin phasing out front-of-shirt sponsorship deals in a club vote last year. From the 2027/28 season onwards, clubs will remove any front-of-shirt betting partners, but will maintain sleeve deals and in-stadia advertising, although the latter must be out of view of family stands.
Whilst this may have been one of the more visible debates of the Gambling Act review, Paysafe research suggests it is not a key concern to most bettors, with just 6% of German and Italian, 12% of British and 11% of French customers valuing sponsorship in comparison to the much larger numbers valuing payments, as outline above.
Cutler concluded: “Although the Premier League’s front-of-shirt ban is two years away, it’s payments rather than sponsorships that mark the real start of players’ customer experiences with sportsbooks.
“In the countdown to Euro 2024 and Paris 2024 this summer, the best time for operators to optimise their payment stack is now.”