Want Online Sports Betting Tips? Just Ask Alexa

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Want Online Sports Betting Tips? Just Ask Alexa

The day isn’t here yet when bettors can ask Amazon’s Alexa to make a prop bet during halftime of the match they’re watching on television, but that day may be coming soon.

Digital media company Independent Content Services (ICS) has launched a new sports betting feature on Alexa – Amazon Alexa Skill through the ClubCall brand – that offers expert betting tips on all Premier League matches, as well as news and league updates, just by users saying “Open ClubCall.” There will also be audio from key moments of matches.

“For online bookmakers, it is another touchpoint for them to engage with their customers and provide them with valuable information,” said Ian Holding, Director at ICS, in a press release. “Amazon Alexa and other voice services are becoming increasingly popular in households all over the world. The platform provides such an easy and effective way to access meaningful content without being crouched over a screen.”

He added that ClubCall was well-received during its beta-test and that ICS planned to roll it out with online bookmakers and other partners in the coming months.

“The key thing is to create a custom Skill with a real person delivering relevant content,” Holding said. “Not only is the real thing far more entertaining and engaging than a computer-voiced text, but people also place more trust in human voices.”

Not Alexa's First Foray Into Sports Betting

The next step down the artificial intelligence path could be voice-activated betting. That has the potential to radically change gambling, especially in-play betting. Bettors would not have to shift their attention away from the action to find the best odds. Instead, they could just ask Alexa for the best price and let AI do all the work.

While the news from ICS represents the latest step toward simplifying the betting process – what would be easier than not getting off your couch to check odds and place a bet? – Paddy Power got the ball rolling last year.

At the 2017 Festival of Marketing, the innovative online gambling site announced it was kicking the tires on “the potential of advanced technology such as AR, VR, voice tech and blockchain,” according to its product innovation boss, Stephen McMeel.

At the time, Alexa had started voicing the firm's new 90-second news bulletin concept, hosting a horse racing and football podcast and providing results to gamblers. Paddy Power also launched a PR campaign in which it sent 50 customers, journalists and influencers an Alexa Dot to test for 30 days.

According to McMeel, the test showed Paddy's Story news bulletin was the most listened to feature but was trumped in popularity by the racing and football podcast. Improvements based off the feedback were to include live commentary for matches, podcast coverage of more sports and live odds updates.

"Voice is a huge opportunity and will be massive in the future,” McMeel said at the time. “At the moment nobody has got close to what voice can be and will be, there’s lots of potential there and it’s absolutely a journey worth taking."

Still to be answered, of course, will be just how comfortable bettors will be taking tips from Alexa or other AI sources, and whether they’ll be willing to bet that way instead of clicking. The smart money is they will – at least that’s what ICS, Paddy Power and others are betting on.

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Michael Kates

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