We’ll have historical moment on Friday here in Finland. Our active Sports Betting customers will have meeting where they are probably going to establish for the first time official association for themselves. I don’t know if that kind of association exist somewhere else? According to Google I could say that at least it’s not common at all. Maybe that Finnish association will be the first one in the world? It’s really strange if that’s the case because I advised our punters to do that already 25 years ago.
I think that it’s great that those active customers will club together! I would like to join in that association as an active punter but of course I can’t do that due to my job. I have no idea what that association will try to reach and how they are going to act. I’ll just try to guess what we might have ahead and write my thoughts about that.
There are Poker players associations in many countries, also here in Finland. Some of those poker players are also active Sports Betting customers and there might be some common members in that new association and in Poker players association. They should understand that the role of those two clubs can’t be exactly the same. Poker players are slightly like any other sportsmen. Some of them are members of teams and are getting part of their money there. So, Poker player association is more similar with Tennis or Golf players associations than Sports punters association will be. There are not only professional poker players in their association and that’s why it’s also partly some kind of customer’s association. As you know there are lots of different associations and organizations which take care of the rights of customers and try to work for better conditions of customers. I think that this should be the main purpose of that new Sports punters association too.
It’s natural that customers are willing to take care of their rights and try to get even better deals. It’s quite strange that this hasn’t been the case in gambling business at all. As I have mentioned many times in my previous blogs gambling business hasn’t been and shouldn’t be as any other businesses. Our business could cause big problems and that’s why almost all states have decided to control and limit gambling operations. Maybe that’s the main reason why customers haven’t actively required better conditions/rules for gambling. Of course, there has been often discussion about the needed of higher payout percent and some other issues too but in big picture the discussion hasn’t been so active. Due (or thanks) to digitalization gambling business has became more like common business and there are nowadays more opportunities for customers. In old days, not so many years ago, there were one or just few gambling companies and customers could just decide if there were willing to play or not. Nowadays there are hundreds or even thousands gambling companies offering their products and customers have much more options available. It’s sure that the role and power of customer has changed a lot. I know that there are still big differences between countries in that area depending on the local gambling legislation.
What Sports (& horse) punters association could do and how gambling companies should take that? It’s the fact that you won’t have any business without customers! Companies should serve their customers as well as possible. They should also listen to customers and have dialog with them. I believe that the best services will appear when you have developed them with your customers. Based on that it should be logical to have dialog with that new association too. It would make many things even easier from company’s point of view. But, would that kind of Sports punters association present the opinion of all Sports Betting customers? Very probably it won’t. They will talk by the voice of the most active and important Sports Betting customers and companies should understand that. I hope that Sports punters association will also understand that the goal should be dialog not fight with gambling industry. If both sides would have same view about that we might get excellent solutions. If it will be “we against you” no one will get good results.
If I think about the situation now here in Finland I would say that we have good base for dialog between company and customers. We have here just one company which take care of all gambling business. Of course there are many foreign companies offering their digital gambling products to the Finnish customers too, but those companies are physically outside the Finnish borders – except PAF. So, it should be easy to organize discussions between punters association and gambling company. But due to that monopoly based legal system there are many areas which the company can’t decided at all which means that customers should have possibility to talk with regulator and other authorities too and I’m not sure how that would happen.
As a summary I would say that we are living interesting times in gambling business and especially in Sports Betting business. I believe that based on the example of Finland you will get that kind of Sports punters clubs to other countries too and it will be good for our business in long term!