An astute Pennsylvania sports follower may know it’s a good bet that the Phillies will beat the Pirates on a given day — as they did four times in the past week — but they may not know a lot about how to get a legal bet down on one of the many apps available for it.
That’s why Bankroll, a sports bar opening this fall in Philadelphia while openly promoting sports betting, is teaming with Betting Hero, a company experienced in educating consumers about how betting sites work.
Bankroll and Betting Hero last week announced the partnership through which the latter’s staff will spend upcoming weeks and months training Bankroll’s own employees to be “concierges,” able to assist the restaurant/bar’s patrons with any of their questions about creating accounts, depositing funds, making wagers, withdrawing money, and more.
It’s the kind of education Betting Hero has been involved in since 2018, first in New Jersey and increasingly in other states as the growth of legalized betting brought many newcomers to the experience.
“It’s just like the product specialists who help you in the Apple Store,” Betting Hero President Jai Maw explained to Penn Bets. “We all go into the Apple Store and maybe consider ourselves experts on our iPhone, but there is a team of experts to support us. … Every Apple Store is packed with people who need help, whether with billing or downloading products or updates. All of those same challenges exist in the sports betting world.”
You may bet, but it’s not a sportsbook
Bankroll announced in June it would open a high-end sports bar this fall in the old Boyd Theater in the heart of Center City, with seating for up to 400 people, a vast array of TV screens showing sports, and quality cuisine by sports bar standards, presented by restaurateur Stephen Starr.
One thing the venue can’t do is take bets from anyone. Retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania can only exist at casinos and off-track betting parlors.
Bankroll can, however, promote interest in betting as part of the atmosphere it creates and encourage patrons who have phones handy to make use of one or more of the 14 mobile sportsbooks operating in the state.
The restaurant’s management team lacks experience in promoting sports betting and explaining it to novices, which is where Betting Hero comes in, having done that in numerous states already through relationships with other venues or with sportsbook operators.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Betting Hero and its team of seasoned sports betting experts to create the next generation of gaming catered to sports fans,” Bankroll CEO Padma Rao said in a press release. “Our unique concierge service will provide customers customized content, coaching, and community unlike any other venue or platform.”
Maw said a training process will be taking place where his staff will teach Bankroll’s staff about how to engage sports betting customers, assist the patrons with app problems or questions, and help them understand betting options if they’re new to the experience.
Half who try may get flummoxed
Maw said entities like Bankroll, as well as in some cases the sportsbook operators themselves, hire Betting Hero because studies have shown that perhaps only half the people who set out to undertake online sports betting can make it all the way through the process of account creation, bet placement, and funds withdrawal without some kind of assistance.
“These products are not intuitive to the novice or average customers needing to get through the journey all on their own,” Maw said. “There’s been very little education among the general population about it, because sports betting was not legal for so long. Unless you had an offshore account, you had very little exposure to this.”
He said the operators are making efforts to streamline products and make them easier to use, but help from someone like his team is useful in the meantime. A lot of customers, he pointed out, may not be aware of aspects like how to find futures bets or place single-game parlays without some type of guidance, especially considering every operator’s app looks different from counterparts.
One thing his staff won’t be training Bankroll concierges to do, however, is offer advice on what actual bets to make in terms of teams picked or amount of money wagered or any such touting services. That’s the type of instruction that goes beyond the bounds of what it should be doing for customers, he pointed out.
“We are not tipsters,” Maw stressed. “We’re to educate the customers on the hows and the whats of which bets can be placed, while looking to make a more informed sports bettor. … They need to be the ones to make the decision on how to spend money. It’s about them enjoying that opportunity, based on the information we provide.”