How to Start a Sports Betting Site: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering how to start a sports betting site? In this guide, we’ll bring you an in-depth look at all you need to know about starting your own online sports betting platform.

One of the first steps you should take on how to start a sports betting site is partnering with a professional service provider. You need to work with someone who has a clear understanding of the following:

  • The sports betting market including current and future projections, popular types of sports betting, technology in sports betting, locations and jurisdictions of interest, and of course, the applicable regulations
  • Which jurisdictions offer sports betting licenses for online operators, the benefits and disadvantages, time frames, costs, and potential obstacles
  • The process of how to start a sports betting site in the jurisdictions you are interested in. This should include company formation, online casino licensing, compliance, payment processing, bank accounts, and more;
  • Full knowledge of ongoing obligations and costs, once the sports betting company is established;
  • They should also be well connected with service providers you need to set up your business. They must be able to take care of the entire process for you.

Additionally, look for a provider that offers both turnkey and custom made setup packages. Make sure they offer transparency over their pricing at all times. There are some providers out there that offer seemingly low prices, but that add on other services later. Others may try to sell you services you don’t need. Look for those that are honest from the start and that pride customer service over profit.

bullet Know your audience

Another key part of the process is knowing who your target audience and customers are. After all, you can have the best sports betting site in the world but without customers, you cannot be successful. Before you go any further in how to start a sports betting site, you need to narrow down who you will target, where they are, and how you will offer your product to them.

bullet Who?

There are over 7 billion people on the planet. As an online betting entrepreneur, you need to narrow down your target audience. This will help you to tailor your products, marketing, and offering to maximize the number of clients that use your services.

It’s impossible to make a one-size-fits-all sports betting site. Instead, you should aim to create a product that suits a segment of the population.

You need to decide whether you will target experienced online sports bettors or seek to go after beginners. Demographics such as age, income, education, and personal interests should all be decided to help you efficiently target your products at them. You have to get to know your target audience and cater to their specific wants and needs.

bullet Where?

Where your customers are based will have a big influence on which jurisdiction is best for you to incorporate and be licensed. Different jurisdictions allow you to offer services to people in different locations and under differing conditions.

First, you should look at which countries love sports betting. For example, sports betting is very popular in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Italy. Countries, where online sports betting is growing, include Scandinavian countries such as Sweden where it is the most popular form of online gambling. Russia, Hong Kong, France, and the small EU state of Malta are also ones to look at when considering your target audience.

bullet How?

Lastly, you need to think about how you are going to target them. Of course, you will run online sports betting service but you must give thought to whether you will offer an app, an in-browser app, or regular browser-based gambling.

Will you optimize for mobile or focus more on computer gambling? You also need to think about how you will get their attention, for example, advertising and marketing. 

Some jurisdictions have different guidelines on this so while you don’t need to write your marketing and advertising strategy now, you need to consider it.

bullet Know your product

Once you have a good idea of who your target audience is, it’s time to turn your attention to the product itself. While you know that you want to offer sports betting online, now you need to drill down into the sector and find your niche.

bullet Study your competitors and find your niche

The best way to find your place in the online sports betting market is to see what your competitors are doing. But not just that, you need to see what they aren’t doing as well. One of the smartest things you can do is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the products that are already on the market, how good they are, how well they work, and what angles could be missing. You aim to create a platform that both meets current demand but that also has a competitive edge. We recommend you ask yourself the following:

  • Which sports will you offer betting on? This can depend on where your clients are based. For example, different locations have different preferences for rugby (league/union), American football/soccer, horse racing/dog racing, and other sports like tennis, cricket, athletics, and car racing.
  • Will you offer fantasy sports betting? This is an emerging industry that has garnered a lot of attention during the last year.
  • Will you offer betting on eSports tournaments? eSports has grown in popularity during the last year and is now widely considered a sport alongside conventional sports.
  • Should you offer wagers on non-sporting events including economic, political, and social matters?
  • Will you offer betting on a niche and non-mainstream sports
  • Can you provide other gambling services alongside sports betting, or do you intend to in the future?

Answering these questions and assessing the state of the local and international market will help you create a product that is wanted but also offers something that is not provided well elsewhere.

bullet Decide what kind of betting you will offer

During this step, you need to decide what kind of bets you will offer. There are many different kinds of bets such as moneyline, point spread, handicap betting, totals, prop bets, futures, progressive parlays, full cover bets, teasers and pleasers, and if and reverse bets. Depending on what sports events you will offer to bet on,  the type of bets you will offer will vary.

bullet Business plan for how to start a sports betting site

Your business plan is a document that outlines each plan you have for your business. It will be presented to licensing authorities, regulators, investors, banks, and third-party service providers. The plan will also be used to guide you through the process you need to follow to go live.

bullet A good plan should include the following:

How to start your sports betting site: business planning
  1. Executive summary: this will concisely describe what product you will offer, how, why, where, and who too. It will touch on the market research you did and will present your sports betting site as a solution. The executive summary will also sum up each subsequent point of the business plan.
  2. Business Overview: includes company name, legal structure, the jurisdiction of incorporation and licensing, type of company, type of products offered, target audience, location, and means of doing business.
  3. Operations plan: this will explain how the business will function including the setup of offices and who is responsible for specific tasks and sections of the business.
  4. Market analysis: here you will include an overview of the whole market including up-to-date data, information on the target market, and how you will cater to them. It will also include information on your competitors and future projections and trends.
  5. Products and services: in this section, you outline your exact product including the brand, what type of betting and bets you will offer, which platforms you will cater to, and any plans for future expansion.
  6. Sales and marketing: this will be a brief outline of your prices, sales information, and why your target audience will opt for your product. It also includes a summary of the marketing and advertising strategy.
  7. Management team: this section details all of the senior management team, the roles they have, what they bring to the company, and their responsibilities.
  8. Financial plan: a summary of your financial information including budget, financial resources, investments, loans, how much it will cost to set up, and what your ongoing costs are. It will also include an overview of estimated revenue and profits during a 1, 3, and 5 year period.
  9. Third-party information: here you will detail who you will partner with, why, and how much it will cost.

This list is not exhaustive and the format of a business plan can vary depending on the individuals’ preferences.

bullet Financial plan

A part of your business plan but also an important stand-alone document is your financial plan. When setting up your online betting business, you need to be sure that you are and will continue to be profitable. There are several main sections of the financial plan.

bullet Startup costs for how to start a sports betting site

How to start your sports betting site: accounting

This is the section where you detail all of the costs you need to cover so you can go live. These include corporate service provider fees, incorporation costs, document collation costs, application costs, sports betting license application and first-year costs, and costs related to setting up processing or payment accounts. 

Additionally, you need to include office expenses such as rent for your physical office as well as utility deposits and bills, the cost of office furniture, software, and hardware including licenses and subscriptions, mobile and landline phones, water coolers, and taxes. Then come the hiring costs. Paying headhunter and recruitment fees, starting bonuses, salaries, training, and even relocation packages.

You also have to save a big chunk of your budget for developing your website and app, including hosting and design, then paying for any software required to facilitate betting. Factor in graphic design, branding, logos, programming, UX, and any programs needed to carry out this work. Servers, hosting, and IT support should also be allocated a generous portion of the budget.

bullet Ongoing costs

Once you are up and running, you’ll find that many of your initial costs also have ongoing costs associated with them. These are some of the ongoing costs you should factor in.

  • Company renewal fees
  • Corporate service provider fees
  • Auditing and accounting fees
  • License renewal costs
  • Payment processing and settlement fees
  • Staff salaries including pay rises
  • Staff bonuses
  • Hiring costs as you expand
  • Office rent including taxes
  • Utility bills
  • Office supplies
  • Additional equipment, licenses, software, etc
  • IT support
  • Hosting
  • Web design and development
  • Insurance for the site, business, and staff

Remember, that as you get bigger and expand, your outgoings will increase as well. Therefore, it’s important to be realistic with your cost estimation to ensure you don’t operate at a loss.

bullet Projected revenue

In your financial plan, you need to create an intelligent projection of how much you will bring in during the first year and each year afterwards. This should be realistic and conservative as over projecting could leave you short of cash. It’s best to err on the side of caution and be pleasantly surprised than to end up spending more than you bring in. Your projected revenue should cover all of your outgoings while leaving some room for profit. You should also make sure you have adequate funding to cover all these costs while affording to operate at a loss for at least 12 months.

bullet Marketing plan

Your marketing plan is a detailed document containing all the information on who you will target, how you will target them, and also how you will retain them. This is an essential part of your how to start a sports betting site process.

bullet Social media

Using social media is a smart way to build brand loyalty, get your name out there, and attract new players. The key is not just to promote yourself, but to provide a range of multimedia content that can inform, guide, and entertain your customers. You want to encourage brand exposure with interactions such as clicks, shares, and likes.

bullet Advertising

There are lots of ways to advertise your online sports betting site, like popups and banners on other sites, press releases, email campaigns, adverts in magazines (both online and offline) and more. The key is knowing what sites and mediums your target audience is consuming, and then ensuring you maintain a presence there through advertising.

bullet Sponsorships

A great way to drive brand recognition while piggybacking off trust in other brands is through sponsorship. It can be costly but you can look at sponsoring events, conferences and forums, sponsoring teams or individuals. This will greatly increase the reach your brand has in the markets you want to target.

bullet Content marketing

The subtle integration of links to your site, into natural-sounding articles, is an effective way to drive traffic to your site. If you partner with a good content creation site, you can publish articles on a wide range of topics on popular websites, that include a link to your site. This helps to evolve your brand and image as well.

bullet Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing where you reward affiliates for each customer or visitor they bring to your site. This is a form of marketing that is successful in online gambling and it should be a fundamental part of your strategy.

bullet Multimedia marketing

Don’t just stick to adverts and content- get creative! Today, media such as online videos, clips, and podcasts are becoming more popular ways of imparting information. You could create various multimedia platforms focussing on content relevant to your product and target audience.

bullet VIP and Loyalty schemes

Once you’ve got your clients, you need a plan to keep them happy and coming back for more. A great way of doing this is by offering bonuses, VIP programs, and loyalty schemes. These reward players for their custom and for returning to you. You can include access to special bets and odds, bonuses, cashback, and other prizes in return for their loyalty.

bullet Incorporate a company

With all the planning out of the way, it’s time to incorporate your company. You cannot continue in the how to start a sports betting site process without a company. Hopefully, you will have picked the perfect jurisdiction with the help of your corporate services provider. Find out more about offshore company jurisdictions.

Now they will ask you for a selection of documents that will accompany the incorporation form. You’ll have to provide identification, proof of address, company purpose, and various KYC and DD documents. The process of opening your company can take a few days or weeks depending on where you are, so you can move onto the next step! 

bullet Get licensed

Every online sports betting site requires a betting license to function. You must be licensed by a gambling authority and must adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by them. More clients are opting for offshore company formation as it provides a quicker, most cost-efficient process with more benefits including fiscal, privacy, and flexibility. 

Each licensing process is different, but typically you will have to provide an application form, source of funds, identity documents, proof of address, business plan, information on the product and target demographic, company documents, and CVs of those involved in the company. Learn more about acquiring a gaming license.

bullet Payment processing and settlement accounts

Once you have your license, it’s time to open an account and put in place the systems that will allow customers to pay and get paid.

Opening an account for an online betting company can be difficult, however, several offshore banks provide banking services to licensed online gambling operators. Fast Offshore has been working with a number of them since 1998. We can assess your needs and assist you with applying for a bank account that will serve your business.

bullet Processors

How to start a sports betting site: Payment Processor

You then need to partner with payment processors that will facilitate the transfer of funds between you and your customers. At this stage, you will have decided what currencies you will offer, as well as the different methods you prefer. It’s wise to include several different methods to ensure you can serve as many people as possible. For example, eWallets, cryptocurrency, direct transfer, credit and debit card, and several other providers that offer integrated payment technology. Fast Offshore has relationships with most providers and can help you get optimum rates and terms.

bullet Hire your team

You’ll have already hired your core team earlier on in the how to start a sports betting site process, but now it’s time to flesh out the different departments. For example, you want to hire the following:

  • Senior management in IT, HR, Operations, Risk and Compliance, Marketing, Products, Finance. They should have between 8-15 years of relevant experience.
  • Management in IT, HR, Operations, Risk and Compliance, Marketing, Products, Finance, and Customer Service. They should have between 5-10 years of relevant experience.
  • Supervisors in IT, HR, Operations, Risk and Compliance, Marketing, Products, and Customer Service. They should have between 3-8 years of experience.
  • General staff in all sectors should have between 2-5 years of experience.
  • Junior staff can have between 0 and 3 years of experience. But for a start-up, we recommend at least 18 months so you can reduce the amount spent on training.

bullet Set up customer service

One of the most important parts of the how to start a sports betting site process is setting up your customer service department.

You should be providing customer service via social media, webchat, telephone, and email. It is also necessary to provide your postal address to be fully transparent. These services should be manned around the clock and with representatives who can speak the languages of your target audience. If you cannot offer 24-7 coverage, employ the use of chatbots to pick up the slack. It is also important to reply to inquiries quickly, even with an acknowledgement. Letting your customers know you’re there and listening will help diffuse situations while you seek to solve the issue.

Not only is customer service important for loyalty and retention, but it is required as per licensing requirements in many jurisdictions. As a responsible operator, you must resolve issues, deal with complaints, and ensure all clients are treated fairly and equally

bullet Go live

To start this journey in the right way,  partner with Fast Offshore and let us help you make your dream a reality! We have been working for over two decades at the heart of the online gambling industry. From all your corporate services needs to helping you obtain an online betting licensesetting up a gaming companytax-structures, and compliance– we have you covered! Contact us today for more information.

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