Approximately 154 million people watch live sports in the United States at least once per month. If you operate a sports bar, you likely already know exactly how big the demand is for this unique form of live entertainment.
But what you may not fully understand yet is how big the appetite for sports betting in bars can be. Americans bet an estimated $100 billion on sports each year. Bar-based betting is becoming a widespread part of that industry. Here’s how your venue can take advantage of the fad.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about virtual sports betting through your sports bar’s TV screens. Let’s get started.
Virtual sports betting
What is virtual sports betting?
Virtual sports betting is a term that can mean two different things. It’s often used to describe betting on standard sports leagues that happen on screens, such as mobile devices and televisions.
But virtual sports betting can also mean betting on virtual sports leagues. These are essentially simulated computer games with outcomes controlled by algorithms and random-number generators.
For this article, we’ll be using the first definition, and talking more about virtual betting on non-virtual sports.
Is virtual sports betting legal?
In the US, Sports betting is only legal in some states.
A recent Supreme Court ruling created the opportunity for states outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting for the first time.
Residents of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and 10 other states can now legally bet on sports. Other states (and the District of Columbia) are also in the process of legalizing sports betting.
Each state has a slightly different set of rules that an establishment needs to follow to make its sports betting operation legal. So be sure to check in with the specifics of your state’s legislation before getting started.
Difference between betting and casinos
Casinos are often large, flashy establishments that most consumers only visit on special occasions. Bars tend to be more laid back than casinos and offer the public a heightened version of the way that they would spend their time at home.
This makes betting in bars a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience for many consumers.
If someone enjoys watching sports and betting, they might go to their favorite sports bar a few times a week to do it. However, they might be unlikely to visit a casino this often — this is why many analysts believe that the market for bar-based betting is getting ready to explode.
How virtual betting helps your bar
Why bars are the perfect place for virtual betting
Bars are the perfect place for virtual sports betting because many consumers already love going to their local bar to watch sports.
If you run a sports bar, you already have a direct connection with the target audience you would want to reach if you were launching a new sports betting service.
This means you don’t have to spend a lot upfront on advertising to get a virtual sports betting feature up and running. Instead, you can focus on getting your existing clientele to try out the new service. Doing some in-venue promotion through digital signage may often be enough to make this happen.
Of course, you still can advertise your sports betting service through external channels, and doing so could help you find new customers. The point here is just that you don’t necessarily need to do that right out of the gate if you’re concerned about costs.
Ways virtual betting can benefit your bar
Adding virtual sports betting to your list of services will provide your sports bar with another revenue stream. And when you set up the feature through digital signage, you’re unlikely to even have to hire additional staff members to run the service either.
Getting started with virtual betting can also help you bring in new customers. It opens up a new line of branding for you to explore through your existing advertising channels, which could help you entice a new audience.
Adding virtual betting to your bar is also a fantastic way to bring your business into the virtual world. Companies like MGM are using their online sports betting services to stay in direct connection with their customers even when they’re not on one of the company’s premises.
Your bar can do something similar by adding sports betting to its list of services. In addition to potentially making more money with sports betting, you can also use it to forge tighter and more loyal relationships with your customers.
Leagues that UPshow helps you bet in with their services
With UPshow’s digital signage solution, you can turn your TV screens into virtual sports betting terminals that allow customers to bet on all major sports leagues, including:
- NCAA Football
- NCAA Basketball
Of course, you will get the final word over which sports leagues you allow your customers to bet on. For example, if you want to specialize in a particular type of sport, you can decide to only allow your customers to bet on that. This is one way that a sports bar can carve out a niche for itself.
How to get started with virtual betting in your bar
The idea of building a virtual betting service in your bar from scratch might sound daunting – but it’s not that complicated when you use digital signage to get it up and running.
In this section, we’ll give you a set of easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions for doing so.
Set up your screens or use your existing ones
The first thing that you need to figure out is which screens you’re going to use for sports betting.
It’s often a good idea to have dedicated screens set up that are just for placing bets. Otherwise, you would need to turn off whatever content you’re displaying on a screen for a customer to place a bet on it.
Touchscreens are often the best solution for this, as they enable customers to place bets directly on the screens instead of having to use their own device to do so.
That being said, it’s possible to make this work without investing in touchscreens. You could do so by displaying a QR code for your customers to scan, which takes them to a website or app that lets them place their bets on their own device.
Using this strategy will let you save some on upfront costs since you won’t need to purchase extra screens just for bets.
Making use of a content management software
Once you have your screens set up, you need to choose your content management software, as this is what’s actually going to power your sports betting system.
This software will allow your customers to place their bets and what will pay them out if they win.
UPshow is an excellent solution for turning your bar into a virtual sports betting hotspot. Our content management solution makes it incredibly easy to integrate sports betting into your existing services.
You can design your own sports betting platform from scratch and integrate it into your broader digital signage use-cases to unlock the full potential of your bar.
Set the parameters of your betting service
Once you have your screens and a content management system, the next step is simply to choose which types of sports betting you’re going to offer your customers.
You might want to give them access to as many different leagues and types of bets as possible. Or, you might prefer to limit your betting service to a more manageable subset of offerings.
The choice is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that you need to follow the legal mandates set by your state while doing this.
Advertise your new virtual betting service
At this point, you’re ready to begin advertising your virtual betting service to your target audience.
In-venue advertising is a great place to start with this. In fact, if you use UPshow, the screens that you set up for customers to place bets can double as dynamic displays for your sports betting ads.
You may also want to advertise your betting service externally. Many people who bet at home do so with their mobile devices, so running geographic-targeted ads on channels that customers frequent primarily on mobile devices may be your best bet.
Social media platforms, for example, are a great place to advertise your bar’s new sports betting service.
UPshow makes it easier to add virtual sports betting to your bar’s TV screens
Setting up virtual sports betting at your bar could be just what you need to unlock the additional revenue that you’ve been searching for. And with UPshow’s dynamic digital signage platform, the hard work is done for you.
Ready to experience the UPshow difference for yourself? You can do so today by signing up for a free custom demo here. We look forward to hearing from you!