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  • Writer's pictureKevin Jones

Ahead of the Game: Decoding Checkd Group's Approach to Technology and Innovation

In an insightful conversation with Gaming Eminence, Adam Patton, the Managing Director of Checkd Group, delves into the challenges and triumphs of integrating cutting-edge technologies within the gambling sector. Patton highlights Checkd Dev's adaptability in the face of evolving tech landscapes, the significant impact of data analytics and AI on enhancing user engagement in betting experiences, and the careful navigation required by the complex regulatory environment. He also shares predictions for future trends in sports betting and reflects on valuable lessons learned throughout his career in the gambling industry.



GE) Considering the relentless pace of technological evolution in the gambling sector, could you share a particularly challenging experience Checkd Dev encountered while integrating a new technology? How did this challenge alter your approach to innovation and technology adoption moving forward?


AP) As a relatively small development team, we tend to benefit from being flexible enough to be early adopters of a lot of new tech and usually face challenges on what we would like to do when working with more established partners hindered by legacy tech platforms. Our BRUNO platform integrates data and content from a wide array of partners and suppliers; this has seen us tailor our approach when needed.


We’ve certainly seen the technology advancements from the wide array of tools and services made available from providers such as AWS, which has helped us keep up with the incredible pace of tech and product development.


We have also benefited from the evolution of cross-platform development tools, such as our recent move to using Flutter for all our native app projects. This has helped us to reduce delivery time and effort to adapt products and new features while keeping our release process efficient.


GE) With the transformative impact of data analytics and AI on user engagement, could you delve into a project where Checkd Dev utilised these technologies to significantly enhance the betting experience? What unexpected insights or hurdles did you encounter, and how did they shape the project's outcome and future strategies?


AP) Smart Picks, or Smart Acca as it’s known in the UK market, is a great example of this. The core objective of the product is to give the user the relevant historical performance data for the team or player on the specific markets they are looking to place a bet on, exactly at the time when the user is looking to add their selections to the bet slip. Validating their decision-making with data at the time when they want to make that call.


We’ve evolved a user experience that achieves this and have integrated with partners across various parts of the UK betting and affiliate industry, from being prominently featured on some of the leading operator Sportsbook products, to also being utilised across our B2C brand affiliate sites and other media partners content sites.


We saw an uplift in the key core KPIs around bet conversion, multiples per bet, and bets per visit but also faced challenges around users not fully understanding what the product was doing in the first few seconds and leaving. A common challenge with new concepts.


This has seen us refine the product into much leaner and simpler forms with automated bet selections for those users who don’t want to search and filter, and preset Quick Search buttons to launch quickly into the Results page, the high performing part of the product. These learnings have helped us come to the US market with a similar product which has some of these learnings applied, but with a clear expectation we will continue to develop it further for this new audience.


GE) The regulatory landscape for gambling software is notoriously complex and varies widely across jurisdictions. Can you discuss a time when navigating these regulations particularly influenced the development of a new product or feature? How do you balance compliance with innovation, and what strategies have proven effective in this regard?


AP) We have seen this with different approaches to the regulation on a state level, which has meant adapting our products to support different content being served between different locations, even down to some of the language being used and obviously various features which are or aren’t available. This has caused more complexity on the user journeys around some features when trying to provide a good experience to all users.


We had to consider this with our Capper tournaments in Flashpicks provide a free-to-play game mode that has been tailored to support those users in unlicensed states.

We have also had to sophisticate our link tracking and redirection tech to tailor for different rules between social, web and App traffic.


We’ve always been used to having App Store challenges in the UK, as Apple & Google don’t look at things quite the same as the actual UKGC. We have been encouraged by the US approach, where the licensing for affiliates/vendors means we have a clearer picture of what is required to distribute our products in the App Stores. We have constantly had to adapt to those platforms' ever-changing guidelines and evolving processes around gambling-related products over the last 15 years.


GE) Looking to the horizon, what nascent trends or technologies do you predict will redefine the sports betting industry in the coming years? Based on these predictions, how is Checkd Dev positioning itself to lead or adapt to these changes?


AP) AI is obviously a hot topic right now, and it will no doubt redefine a lot of industries and user behaviours, though how that will come to light in sports betting remains to be seen. I think right now, you see a lot of people use ‘AI’ on a product, and it feels more like a marketing tactic, and it will be like that for a while as everyone tries to keep pace with what’s possible. I imagine the more immediate impact of true AI will be around back office tools managing aspects such as risk & compliance.


We have been working on various R&D projects within AI and machine learning, and while we’ve created some interesting products, we are yet to have something we think is compelling enough to bring into the public domain.


We certainly see UX continuing to evolve within technology and, in particular, betting, and users will always be attracted to the most simple and engaging products, which is a particularly key opportunity in newer markets such as the US.


We also think free-to-play games will have a big role to play in educating users about betting markets such as prop betting, introducing bettors in states relatively new to the online gaming experience can be approached via more gamified experiences that can help spark that connection with the sporting action.


We’ve worked in the free-to-play and second screen engagement space in the UK since 2010 and have a lot of skills & expertise we feel can make an impact in the US.


GE) Reflecting on your rich journey within the gambling industry, could you share a piece of advice or a lesson learned that you wish you had known earlier in your career? How has this insight influenced Checkd Dev's strategic direction or your leadership style?


AP) Keep it simple. Less usually ends up being more. Test and improve, and never expect to get new products and initiatives perfect on the first release.


We have missed opportunities in the past by overcomplicating our approach and not clearly focusing on getting an MVP to market quicker.


This has made us focus on keeping our product development process agile and making sure we are always ready to adapt a product based on user feedback and emerging trends.

Always be open to change your mind, particularly when it comes to people who live and breathe the products as users. Getting people like that in your team is fundamental to the success of building new products, and thankfully we’re surrounded by them in Checkd Group!


About our contributor

With a rich history spanning over 15 years in the Betting & Gaming sector, Adam Patton joined Checkd in 2019. As Managing Director, Adam leads the Checkd Development business with a keen focus on both Commercial and Product development. Adam's entrepreneurial spirit is evident in the successful founding of Fantasy iTeam, an independent Fantasy Football platform, and T5C, a Mobile Development Agency, both of which were acquired by larger entities (Perform and Invosys). As a tech enthusiast, Adam has been actively developing apps for the App Store since its inception in 2009. Currently, he plays a pivotal role as Chief Product Officer (CPO), driving the Product Strategy across Checkd Group and reaffirming his dedication to fostering innovation and excellence within the industry. Visit https://www.checkd.group/

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