Sports Betting App Development: Must-Have Features to Implement
Sports betting operators worldwide are exploring the potential of mobile applications, considering the rapid growth of both the gambling industry and the use of mobile devices. According to market research conducted by Technavio, the sports betting industry is expected to grow by USD 134.06 billion in 2020-2025, with significant growth of 39% in the APAC region with China and Australia as the key players in the markets. This makes for tough competition, so naturally betting operators will be focused on differentiating themselves from their competitors.
A significant influencer on success are the sports betting app features that directly impact the overall user experience of the gaming app. This starts with the most basic functionality such as the ability to create your personal account in order to place bets and ti withdraw your winnings, to far more advanced features such as integration with VR and wearable devices or the creation of a social betting app.
In this post, we shall look over what all these apps have got to offer, from your regular sports fan or to a seasoned bettor.
Top Features to Нave in a Sports Betting App
Modern advances in technology make it possible to “equip” your sports betting application with a wide range of features to cater to a bettor’s needs and enhance their user experience. There what we might term a main, or core set of features that are a must-have for any kind of application, some will be specific for the gambling industry, and then there are best in class, highly innovative technologies that are just making their way into the industry. Depending on what tech solutions the and integrations the business stakeholders developers choose to implement in the application, they can create a sports betting app that will attract players, engage them in betting, and deliver an excellent user experiences. Innovations present an exciting opportunity for them to create something unprecedented and revolutionary.
One should also keep in mind that certain app features are dictated by the specifics of the gambling industry. Betting operators have to adhere to strict regulations in regulated jurisdictions and take into account local legislation if they want to bring their app to the global market. Building sports betting apps is not an easy task but do it well and the rewards are significant. Thus, you want to deliver an app that is not only excellent for the user, but remains compliant.
Let’s take a look at some of the must-have sports betting app features to consider introducing into your application:
- Login and registration can be available with email and password, or with a social media account. Different options apply to regular users and admins. For instance, creating user accounts may be age restricted and depend on location, if the user is trying to access your app from a country that you are not licensed to operate in or prohibits gambling altogether.
- User Onboarding / Betting Guide for the user is a great way to introduce a new player to the app, show them around and explain how to place bets, what functionalities are available, etc. A starter guide can be implemented as interactive pop-up instructions that the user encounters when first opening the app, setting up the account specifications, or placing the first bet. Furthermore, a betting guide page would be helpful for players that are new to betting and gambling to get them familiar with how it works.
- Personalized dashboard for the user is what your user sees every time they open up the app. Players want to have the features that they use most often right at hand. Also, the dashboard is where you place personalized recommendations to cater to the user’s likes or encourage them to explore something new that will be to their taste. This was the case with Graphyte when they introduced a smart lobby with personalized product recommendations. All this is made possible with AI/ML integration that allows to collect data on user behaviour in the app and analyse patterns which can be later used to generate personalized recommendations. At today’s level of technology, AI content personalization can be done seamlessly and help create a genuine experience for the user.
- Admin Panel or a separate dashboards should be set up for the admins, as they need to use functionalities that differ from that of a user dashboard. Admins need access to user management – access to user accounts, option to add or ban users from the game, view transaction history; sending notifications, content management for adding new events, user and game statistics.
- Creating a wager should be simple and intuitive enough to let the user do it without hesitation. Allow the user to set their own picks and bet amounts.
- Search with a filter option for wagers allows your users to easily filter out wagers by date, status, sports, players and their average betting rates, etc. What’s more, app developers can leverage AI technologies to create a powerful search engine with strong personalisation that is self-learning, basically putting it one step ahead of any other search option you can possibly offer to your user. AI-powered smart search helps your users find exactly what they need with pristine precision. A great example of this is Graphyte’s intelligent search engine. With AI technologies they built a search engine for betting and gaming sites that allows a bettor to look up events or game results in a fraction of a second. Search results are personalised to that particular user so that they get exactly what they need. And it being AI, the smart search engine only keeps getting better and self-calibrating itself to each individual user and their needs.
- Payment integration is an important feature to implement in sports betting app development since you want your users to be able to easily place their bets and withdraw winnings. This can be done in a few different ways, the first obvious one being enabling users to link their cards. However, some users may run into issues if they are from a location that places restrictions on online gambling. In 2020, the UK Gambling Commission decided to ban credit card transactions for gambling, and that same year one of Australia’s major banks came to the same decision, even though Australia boasts one of the biggest gambling markets worldwide.
It’s good to offer more varied payment options for the user in case they are restricted to use one or the other. Consider such payment gateway integrations as Stripe, Netller, Skrill, Cardinity, and others. Bitcoin payment integration is also on the rise and as relevant as ever in the iGaming industry. Allow the user to add multiple payment options and let them link their accounts to their in-app wallet for easy one-click bets.
The main thing is that the payment should be easy, but secure. As in the case with Ladbrokes Coral, they created an optimized and systematized payment solution which allowed them to subsequently cut costs and save revenue, as well as introduce additional features for the users.
- Real-time live scores help keep the users interested and encourage them to gamble more frequently. This is particularly relevant for sports betting, especially certain kinds of sports. For instance, this feature is often implemented in football betting apps.
- Notifications are a must to keep the user informed about the game outcomes, final ranks and match summaries. These can be in-app or push notifications. A good rule of thumb is to not go overboard with push notifications. Otherwise, instead of being a useful feature it may turn into a nuisance. If a piece of news is important for the bettor to know and is time sensitive, that’s when you know to use push notifications.
- Live Streaming of games and competitions is for the user’s convenience as they can place bets while following the game. If you are integrating live streaming in your app, consider utilizing cloud technologies, lest you want to spend a fortune on maintaining servers. Make sure to include match schedules and alerts for when the stream starts so that the player can get good use of this feature.
- Multi-language support becomes necessary once you have a growing audience in language-specific locations. This adds on to the personalized experience of the user and encourages the growth of that specific market share even more.
- Security is essential for betting platforms as the user discloses to the app personal and banking information in order to place bets or withdraw winnings. Security in iGaming is important to protect the user from harmful data leaks. To be resilient to cyberattacks and fraudulent activities, it’s crucial to build sports betting apps that are secure by design.
- Predictive analytics and deep player and team performance data along with player and team stat prediction integrated with sports betting allows the player to plan out their bets, see win probability and expected revenue depending on the collected and analyzed daіta. It’s a good way to generate more interest in using the app and placing bets. The bettor will be likely to enjoy the games and placing bets more as they become familiar with team and player insights, start recognizing trends, and make more informed decisions.
- Cross-platform compatibility is something to consider when you want to expand your market reach and also allow your users easy access on just about any platform. If some users have their preferred way to access a betting app, there is an intersection that represents bettors that don’t have a preference and switch between platforms and devices. These will be the most dedicated players that don’t limit themselves to only one outlet and are willing to place bets anywhere and anytime.
- Tracking statistics and results when offline would be useful for players who have low connectivity. This way, even if a player loses internet connection, they won’t miss out on checking game results and stats.
Some More Features to Consider
The next features are not necessarily ‘must-haves’, but you may as well top up your app with a few of these. Others may require a bit more effort to implement and take more time to hit the target. Still, it’s good to know your options.
- Social features are all kinds of functionality that is closely linked to social media platforms with their focus on providing a place for people to get in touch, share information and opinions. Users may follow one another, send private messages, comment on and share in-app news and posts to their social media accounts.
Public chats or forums are an interesting way to start conversations and invite users to be more active in the app, making it a fully-fledged community. Apps that provide this functionality are called social betting apps, which are social media and betting all in one. Social betting gives a platform for engaged bettors to interact with peers, share tips and advice, and start conversations. These are large sports betting communities that exist within an app.
- Checking bet slip in app is targeted at bettors who prefer to place their wagers at a betting shop. This innovative feature allows customers to scan their shop bet slip and monitor bets in the app. This way they can enjoy placing bets in the way they are used to, yet still get to experience the convenience of using a betting app and following bets on the go.
- Immersive game experience with AR/VR is making rounds in the gaming and betting sector as it allows players to watch their favourite sports in virtual reality with 360-degree videos of games or training. This feature does not come as first on the list of our ‘must-haves’ because it does require the user to have a VR headset in order to get a fully immersed experience. However, with technology becoming more mainstream and available to just about anyone, there’s no saying when it will become an integral part of all apps for betting.
- Exclusive Odds is something that a bookmaker can offer as a way to persuade the bettors to opt for using their betting app to get that extra boost rather than going to the more familiar betting shops. This feature is more of use to them because they want to make a shift in the way they offer their services. However, relevant for now, it may quickly become redundant as betting shops are rapidly closing down and we are observing this transition to online gambling even without the need for that extra push. Moreover, new bettors that just discover the world of sports betting may start out as mobile betting app users from the get go.
- Bonuses and discounts are something you may consider as an extra feature to spice up the players interest although, as practice shows, this is now becoming obsolete for a couple of reasons – everyone offers bonuses and discounts so it’s not exactly the feature to put you above competition, and there are only so many free spins the player can use before it gets boring. Ultimately, your target audience is not as thirsty for freebies as they would be even five years ago. But if it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg, you may just throw this one in there as well for good measure.
- IoT integration caters to those bettors who are active users of wearable devices, such as Apple Watch, and therefore are quick to jump on the opportunity to place bets no matter where, no matter when. Major bookmakers have already introduced such integrations into their apps. As the technology becomes more widespread and accessible, as long as you provide people the opportunity, placing bets with a simple tap on your smartwatch can be a regular part of a bettor’s experience, similarly to how they just as quickly got used to betting on their smartphones. It’s just another step forward in technological progress.
- Sports news is a good addition to your sports betting app. Your users may want to have access to all the relevant news about their favorite sports in the app. Although, some may consider it more of a “nice to have” feature and stick to strictly betting functionality. Sports news is a fun way to keep your player informed, and also it can be used alongside social features, e.g., commenting on news pieces.
Sports betting application development has its challenges and specific requirements that come with the industry. Nonetheless, bookies worldwide are swiftly moving forward with their shift to online applications to be used by bettors on smartphones or other devices, making sports betting as accessible as ever, all things considered. Development of betting and gambling apps requires impeccable technical skills, a real feel for the market, and a lot of dedication. Starting from providing all the must-have features to creating a seamless user experience with UI/UX design.
As was the case with Ladbrokes Coral, they developed a bold new user interface with optimized bet placement and new functionalities leveraging cloud native technologies – all of this allowed them to achieve record high customer satisfaction.
And keep in mind that developing apps for bookies is a multifaceted endeavour. The multitude of features you can offer to the bettor seems to be never-ending as it’s always topping up with new technological advancements. That’s where you need a development team of top experts with relevant experience in sports betting software development and a portfolio of industry-leader clients. When done wisely, you not only deliver excellent betting experiences to your users, but potentially create an engaged and dedicated community around your app.