We’ve written before about the importance of real-time marketing and engagement for all industries, but there’s an extra level to all of this when it comes to sportsbooks and casinos; in-play betting.

Both are vital additions to your engagement strategy in order to stay competitive in a growing market.

What’s the difference between in-play betting and real-time engagement?

“Real-time” refers to campaigns that are triggered while a device is in use and/or when a specific event has been triggered.

In-play betting is really a form of real-time, where live odds are offered and bets are wagered on games that are already underway. As well as creating new and lucrative markets for vendors, in-play betting gives fans the opportunity to test their hunches and “gut-feelings”.

What are the different types of in-play betting?

In their book, The Logic of Sports Betting, Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow, highlight two distinct in-play betting models. These are “Timeout’ and “Running down the field”.


“Timeout” offers are sent to customers during scheduled and often lengthy (upwards of a minute) stoppages. This affords more than enough time for the vendor to calculate the odds on a particular market, send them to an interested player (via any number of channels on or off-platform) and take the bet before play resumes. The major US Sports are perfectly structured for this kind of in-play betting activity, with regular breaks of pre-determined lengths.

Running Down the Field

“Running down the field” bets are made while play is going on. Naturally, this makes the betting process described above far more complicated and limits the kinds of markets that can be offered. 

The discrepancy between real-time, or “on-the-field”, action and the tv coverage that the viewer sees is absolutely a stumbling block here. With only one major break in a game of soccer, at half-time, European vendors have become experts at identifying obvious lulls in the action (defence has the ball deep in their own half with no press from the opposition) where a dramatic action (i.e. a goal) is unlikely to occur within the next 30-60 seconds.

What does a sportsbook need to offer in-play betting?

Instant data-streaming

In-play campaigns require a dependable and fast flow of data from numerous sources. Xtremepush uses high-speed data-streaming platforms like Apache Kafka to ensure that clients can deliver the most accurate odds to their players. 

Real-time event triggers

Real-time triggers enable you to send messages as soon as a particular in-play event occurs. For example, during an NFL match, you might send messages at half-time or at before the 4th quarter, after a touchdown has been scored or even when a team is on the goal-line.

Dynamic content

Dynamic content ensures each message is personalised and relevant to the recipient. This includes real-time odds, match statistics and even details from the player’s CRM profile.

Intelligent segmentation

We work with sportsbooks to develop detailed customer segments, based on key attributes like a player’s typical bet-type, spend and frequency. We also help track their preferred engagement channel. This level of advanced targeting leads to higher engagement rates and better ROI.

Campaign automation

A robust player journey builder (sometimes called a campaign orchestration tool) is essential in order to execute in-play campaigns at speed and scale.

Real-time use cases

When we partner with a new sportsbook we develop use cases together that deliver three core types of customer-focused goals; acquisition, engagement and retention.

Here are some examples of the successful campaigns we’ve helped our clients roll out on both their mobile app and web browser platforms. They might seem complex, but they are in fact relatively easy and quick to implement.


Encouraging account registrations and first deposits

Having driven traffic to your property (app or website) it’s incredibly frustrating to watch them leave without creating an account and making a first deposit.

A real-time in-app or on-site message (also known as a pop-up) can be triggered by any number of behaviours including exit-intent or a failed action (card or ID not accepted).

This is the perfect opportunity to guide the player through the process correctly, skillfully nudging them towards goal completion. 

We recommend orchestrating this kind of campaign with a tool like Maxautomation. This will allow you to automate your messaging at every stage, accounting for each potential action a visitor might take. 

Real time engagement and in-play betting messages


Cross-promote additional relevant bets

Real-time messages to players who are currently active on one of your betting platforms will enable you to drive additional revenue.

Over time, as you build up more comprehensive player profiles you can start to get really intelligent with the odds and games you cross-sell to individual players. 


Preventing churn

We’ve highlighted a use case to re-engage lapsed players here, but there are also real-time campaigns you can run to keep a player at risk of churning in your app or on your website for longer.

This use case again demonstrates the value of intelligent segmentation and automation.

In the image below, we see an in-app message delivered to a casino-gamer who is likely to have emptied their balance in the next couple of turns.

Now, rather than offer a re-up incentive to every player, many of whom will add to their balance without the bonus, we target only new players. The segment here will something like “new_player” based on recently they created the account.

The trigger for the message is likely to be “balance_low” or similar. The actual values here are of course up to individual vendors.

Real-time engagement and in-play betting messages

In-play betting use cases

As you’ll see in all of these examples, it’s important that your messaging leverages the player’s emotions to encourage action. This is where the skill of your marketing team can combine with the technology to drive incredible results.

In-play betting odds on the next scorer

Again the success of these campaigns lies in intelligently targeting users instead of blast-messaging. Let’s take the example of a soccer match gain. As well as bettors who took a punt on the first scorer prior to kick-off, you might also want to include those who looked at the odds but didn’t actually wager money in it.

In-play betting push notification promoting next scorer odds

Halftime and Quarter breaks are perfect in-play betting opportunities

As we mentioned earlier, scheduled breaks in play present vendors offer excellent in-play betting potential.

By segmenting users based on actual bets placed or particular odds viewed, you can make sure that the odds you share are relevant to the recipient. This important as naturally the players most likely to place an in-play bet are those who have already shown prior interest in the game. 

Increase wallet-share from winning players

Target customers who are on the crest of a wave following a winning bet. This is a nice opportunity to cross-sell your casino games too!

In-play betting message to up sell casino games

The next step

If you’re looking to deliver real-time and in-play betting odds and offers to your players then get in touch with us today and schedule a demo of our platform.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the complete digital engagement platform, purpose-built for multichannel marketing. It empowers brands to deliver personalised, relevant and real-time messages across email, web browser, mobile app, sms and social messengers.

The platform is completely modular and combines enterprise-grade analytics with a full suite of campaign and automation tools. This provides brands with accessible and actionable data, enabling them to unify the silos, create dynamic customer experiences and execute core business goals at speed and scale.

Xtrempush was recommend for sportsbetting brands in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms. Read that report here.