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The Locker Room - Sportsbook Project Manager

Unibet Employee


2500.jpg'The Locker Room' is an article series which will give you a behind the scenes look into who we are and how we're working at Unibet.

Being an online bookmaker requires both the ability to follow the incredibly fast development we’re seeing in the industry by being innovative in terms of implementing new functions and providing the best gaming experience on the market. Our goal is to offer the best gaming experience out there, and as high as this goal may seem, we truly believe we’ve got the dedicated team with the necessary talent to reach it!

Niam is part of that team, he started working for Unibet as a customer service agent back in 2000. Through his passion for the industry he’s worked his way up to be the current Sportsbook Project Manager after working within the sportsbook team for more than a decade. We’ve recently had a chat with him where we talked about his interesting job as well as all the changes we’ve done and will be doing in 2017 on the Unibet Sportsbook. 

Tell us a bit about your journey with Unibet – for how long have your worked with the company, and what was your first job?
This coming November will mark my 17th Autumn with Unibet, starting out as a Customer Service agent for the Italian market back in 2000. Over the years I worked in multiple CS middle management roles covering the educational and operational parts of the department, until about 10 years ago when I joined Sportsbook. Here I was also initially responsible for the educational and operational parts of the product whilst acting as the main link between CS and Sportsbook, including external suppliers. The last few years I’ve been focusing most of my time on Product Development although still partly involved and responsible for other operational areas such as Regulatory and Sportsbook Integrity.

How does a normal day look like for you as a Sportsbook project manager?
I tend to firstly take a quick look at the Incident Management report to ensure any issues we might have encountered overnight are resolved or under control + respective stakeholders up to speed. The next step involves checking the Release Notes of the week/day for any updates with imminent or upcoming deliveries; this would generally lead to a series of calls and emails to align internally or with the supplier in question but also ensure expectations of respective stakeholders are managed appropriately. Prior and post any release, extensive testing is required to minimize the risks of anything else breaking once rolled out in production and carefully assess the next tracks in the communicated roadmap. Every project and track is assigned an internal priority within Sportsbook which is in turn prioritized across the whole company before we can finally (when relevant) reflect this in the priority list towards external suppliers for development.

After launching the new sportsbook client, we’ve received feedback from customers, saying that they still prefer the old sportsbook client despite the changes we’ve made on the new client since the first release. Have you something in mind to change the customers’ opinion and hopefully make them feel more comfortable with the new client? Can you see a progress in getting the customers to use the new sportsbook client?
Generally users don’t like change, it’s easier to stick with something they’re used to even if the change is a positive one – nonetheless we fully understand the expectations that come with such a big change. We were also equally aware such expectations would have been impossible to meet from day one; the transition that slowly led to accept and understand the change had to come in different stages. This is also partly the reason why the old sportsbook client was kept alive a bit longer than we originally planned, until later this Quarter when the old client will be switched off definitively across all markets. Each month we’ve been tracking the activity and perception of users and although there are still some loyal users of the old page, there is a clear trend and increase across the majority using and accepting the new sportsbook client as their main one as new features are implemented every quarter.  

Are we planning on implementing new functions/options for the cash-out system? Will the customers be able to cash out on prematch and accumulators bets in the near future?
Absolutely, this has already started with Cash Out on pre-match rolled out earlier this quarter - although not on all events - together with the possibility to Cash Out from My Open bets, without having to necessarily navigate to the event in question. Still there’s a lot more to come, as explained the transition to the new client will have an ongoing development track to continuously improve the current user experience. Back to Cash Out, the full scope including accumulators has been prioritized for an end of Q2 / beginning of Q3 2017 delivery.

cashout.PNGCashout under My Open Bets

In your opinion, what’s the most interesting current development in the sports betting industry?
Not necessarily the most interesting but without a doubt the most effective, and that’s users constant need for speed. A poor performance or lack of speed will drive users away no matter how fancy or innovative the functionality in question is.

How do you see the future of sports betting? When do you think we’ll be sitting with our HoloLens watching the game and placing bets with our voice?
Performance and speed will personally remain a constant top priority, a solid flexible set up that lasts in time will ease the process with implementing new and innovative features going forward. Placing bets with our voice is already out there, the reason it hasn’t really kicked off yet may have something to do with the expectation that doesn’t quite match its performance..yet.

Do you have any advice for the sportsbook enthusiasts we have on the community who’re interested in getting into the betting industry? Does it require an education or can you start from scratch and work your way up to a position like yours?
As most things, an education is always beneficial as although not necessarily required it does in many cases set a solid base that enables you to grow within the industry. Most importantly however, I personally appreciate more an individual’s way of working/interacting over how much they already know – as such although a plus, background or experience shouldn’t be an absolute must. A sports enthusiast with a natural passion and continuous willingness to learn can take you a long way.


Rank 23

As a customer and player i must say that all of the development is unnecessary if the basics aint there, such as withdrawals come fast, documents approved fast and no errors like there have been imo lot recent times example in betting. Just if the basics would work, customers would appreciate lot more than all that is new.

That being said, love the utv, lots of bets you can made of many leagues and this forum that you can request things like i requested more novo-slots and you delivered Smile

Rank 24
Nice interview btw I have the feeling that the old client answer was a little bit, you know, saying something but telling nothing. After introducing a new product they are many back to oldie people and after a little time the usage of the new product will increace because it is firstly available or using the old is harder to find. So that answer was a general one rather the description of the special case. Btw, if we are talking about the new client. I feel that the new one contains less live betting opportunities. I'm not speaking about the variety rather than the interval. Too many this offer is not available moments during a live bet, especially in key situations. I also feel that the delay between the standing and the live video stream would increase. The return of the popup opportunity would be also great.
Rank 24

@Livertool, I agree with you that mastering the fundamentals is key, and fancy features don't help if the basics are not there. That being said, I believe we're industry leaders when it comes to fast withdrawals, in several of our biggest markets - I remember reading this somewhere and will try and find the source for confirmation. The document processing time is also pretty fast, but of course there's room for improvement. I don't know the actual numbers from our competitors, so I can't say anything how we perform compared to them. We've discussed this before, and I don't want to repeat myself. You can't use a handful of complaints, or even 10 or 20, to say anything about the processing time in general. Every case is unique, and you'll only hear about the ones that take the most time. Simple verification cases take less than 24 hours in several markets.

It's also worth mentioning that documents and withdrawals don't have anything to do with the sportsbook as such. It's completely different journeys, handled by different teams, even different companies. It's not like we're saying; we've got 100 resources across the entire customer journey. If we add two here, we have to remove two somewhere else.

Rank 10

Unibet- have a look at betano site,platform and app.Can you stay at least near them? And two -have a look at 1xbet.Can you match their betting offers per match plus many matches from countries that you have never heard of.Plus their special type of bets.

Rank 24

@maruni, I'm afraid you'll have to be a little more specific. What exactly would you like us to improve?

Rank 10

90% of the romanian unibet customers are saying that unibet is so slow.Versus betano the difference is huge.On any browser you test.Also i preffer watching sport live on 1xbet because i can find there all i want and at full screen.So romanians are making big eyes when they see that you won so many awards.For what they say? You have many advertising clips between games on eurosport or digisport and one of it says that we can bet live action betting.Yes we can, but is it live? I mean, i want to put a bet on the next game and i need almost a minute from mobile to select the bet.In this time the bet is unavailable and i can bet only the next game.What browsers are good for unibet.Maybe we are stupid and don't know such things.

Rank 14

PLease don't erase the old client. The new client is absolutely "unplayable". For example, i bet on corners. In the old client there is a special market named "corners", i click on "corners" and i select the bets, but on new client i have to select every game , to find where is the "corners" and is very very hard and difficult.This is just an example.

Rank 24

@maruni, thanks for the elaboration. It might feel like 90 %, but it's very, very far from that - we ask this particular question in one of our surveys. However, the Romanian customers are more dissatisfied with the speed, than the average, and the satisfaction score is pretty low.

The responsible teams are probably already aware of this issue, but is it only the sportsbook that's slow, or is it the website in general? Same issue with the app? I'll reach out to them to hear what we're doing to improve in this area.

All major browsers, as long as you have the latest version, should work. I'd personally recommend Chrome.

Rank 3