Technological change happens quickly in many industries and one place where this is especially true is within New Zealand’s sports betting industry.
When it comes to tracking the growth and development of betting technologies, there is perhaps no better place to look than New Zealand, where remnants of old betting norms are competing against new, exciting technologies in an effort to grab a share of an industry worth over $2 billion dollars.
Today, New Zealand’s only on-shore bookmaker, the TAB, is actively trying to compete with offshore betting companies that offer New Zealanders a range of additional betting opportunities from mobile betting applications to live-streaming capabilities, cryptocurrency payments and even virtual reality betting.
Sports Betting and Betting Technology in New Zealand
It might be surprising to hear but sports betting and betting technologies have a long history in New Zealand.
For one thing, the world’s first all-mechanical tote betting machine used for horse racing was installed at Ellerslie Racecourse in New Zealand in 1913.
New Zealand is also one of the few countries where phone betting persisted for so long. In fact, up until 2016, when the TAB NZ ceased offering phone betting services, approximately 10,000 customers still used this outdated technology.
The reason phone betting stopped was because of the growing popularity of online sports betting.
Online Sports Betting
Before international bookmakers started to go online in the late 1990s, New Zealander’s only had TAB in-person and phone betting services to place their bets. However, now New Zealander’s can legally bet with any international betting site that accepts New Zealand players.
The result has been a massive shift in the way Kiwis bet.
It is estimated that about half of New Zealanders now bet online with offshore betting sites that are not the TAB, even though the TAB also has an online betting website.
Part of the reason for this is that these offshore bookies offer more competitive odds and bonuses than the TAB does.
For example, Betway, the Malta-based bookmaker offers perhaps the best football odds of any international betting site as well as numerous boosts and promotional offers. New Kiwi customers at Betway can also take advantage of the Betway sign-up bonus which is a $60 free bet.
The other reason bookmakers like Betway are so popular in New Zealand is that they also offer a range of additional technological features that the TAB NZ does not.
Mobile Betting Apps
While the TAB NZ does have a mobile app, it took until 2019 for an app that was internationally competitive to be released.
When compared with other international sportsbooks like LeoVegas, who have had apps active since their inception, it’s not surprising why so many New Zealanders prefer to bet elsewhere.
LeoVegas’ app is widely regarded as the best sports betting app out there and it has won numerous innovation, quality and brand awards.
LeoVegas app users can enjoy live betting, live streaming, casino, cash-out functions as well as access to all the sports betting markets that are available on their desktop site.
Live Betting and Live Streaming
Another place where New Zealand’s TAB lacks compared to its competitors is with its live-streaming capabilities.
New Zealanders can enjoy watching some horse racing events through TAB trackside, but compared to the live streaming options at betting giants Bet365, the TAB falls behind again.
Bet365 users can stream more than 10,000 live sports events every year including matches in top leagues for sports like rugby, football, horse racing, tennis and also cricket.
Betting with Cryptocurrencies
Betting with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is one of the newer technological advancements offered by only a handful of betting companies.
Suffice to say, but the TAB is not one of them.
22Bet is widely regarded as one of the top betting sites for Cryptocurrency payments and is one of New Zealand’s only such providers.
Whether crypto-payments will catch on with all the major New Zealand bookmakers is hard to say but if the popularity of other technological advancements is anything to go by, cryptocurrencies might be here to stay.
Virtual Reality and Betting
There are a number of smaller betting and gambling operators that are offering fantasy betting and casino gambling compatibility with virtual reality headsets.
VR is often promoted as the ‘next big thing’, but we are yet to see it will actually catch on in the sports betting industry, however, we certainly look forward to finding out.
Technological changes within New Zealand’s sports betting industry are developing faster than some bookmakers, like the TAB, can keep up with. This phenomenon is not limited to New Zealand, but their small market size and long history of sports betting make this a particularly interesting market to watch.