Surveying more than 2,000 online sports bettors in six U.S. states (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania), the Canadian province of Ontario, and the U.K., in November 2022, the research found that quick and easy payouts were prioritized by 36% of players when choosing a sportsbook. They considered payouts more important than brand trust (34%), odds, and promotions (28% for both). Availability of preferred payment methods was a factor for 27% of bettors and prioritized over a sportsbook’s sports markets and team sponsorships (11% for both).
Frictionless payouts are even more of a factor in sportsbook selection for players in Michigan (43%), whose market launched in January 2021, and the U.K. (39%), with its iGaming industry dating back 20+ years. By contrast, in Ontario, whose expanded market launched in April, players consider brand trust paramount (prioritized by 39%), though payouts were the second most important factor (35%).
The payment experience is just as vital for player retention, with 75% of sports bettors citing this as an important factor for why they remain with a brand. Payments appear particularly crucial for customer stickiness in New York, with 85% of players in the year-old iGaming market giving this consideration.
Players’ payment preferences continue to diversify, though the traditional payment method of debit cards dominates wagering (preferred by 49% of bettors). The U.K. and Iowa gambling regulators’ bans on credit cards for iGaming have likely contributed to this trend, with debit card preferences rising to 59% in both markets. Despite these two markets’ restrictions, credit cards were a payment preference of 25% of all players and are the go-to payment method for New Yorkers (44%).
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Overall, the alternative payment method (APM) of digital wallets is now more popular than credit cards, with 28% of all players preferring a wallet. This trends as high as 45% in Iowa, where credit cards are not permitted. Digital wallets’ popularity is strongest with more frequent or VIP bettors, with a wallet the top payment method for players wagering 5-7 times a week alongside debit cards (both 41%). For bettors wagering 7+ times weekly, 34% prefer a wallet, exceeding mobile wallets (33%) and credit cards (24%).
Adoption of other APMs like eCash is also growing, with 16% of players preferring this payment method, trending higher in the U.S. (18%), where cash usage is still relatively robust, and in New York in particular (28%). Future demand also appears strong, with 53% of players saying they would bet online more frequently if they were able to use eCash products.
Operators appear to be largely addressing players’ concerns about payment security, with 59% more confident transacting than they were in 2021. Nonetheless, with 30% of players undecided and 11% less confident, there appears to be no room for complacency for the iGaming industry.
Zak Cutler, President of Global Gaming at Paysafe, commented: “Our latest research report emphasizes how critical it is for operators to develop a customer-friendly payments strategy as part of their model in order to both convert and retain new and existing players. In a highly competitive market, operators stand to gain a competitive edge if their cashiers feature a comprehensive suite of payment methods, including digital wallets, which support the conversion of VIP players, and eCash, which resonates with cash-focused consumers who are perhaps prioritizing sticking to a budget in their betting.”
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