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Quick and easy payouts are the most important factors for North American online sports bettors when choosing which sportsbook to wager with, a study released last week by payments platform Paysafe found.

The report shows the “crucial role of the payments experience in player retention as well as sports bettors’ rising interest in digital wallets and eCash,” according to a release announcing the study.

The research shows “quick and easy payouts” were prioritized by 36% of sports bettors. That was ahead of “brand trust” (34%), odds (28%) or promotions (28%). This was also more important than “availability of preferred payment methods” (27%) and a sportsbooks’ offered markets (11%) and team sponsorships (11%).

“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,” said Zak Cutler, President of Global Gaming at Paysafe, in a statement.

“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.”

The survey asked more than 2,000 sports bettors across Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania as well as Ontario and the United Kingdom. The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in November 2022 using an email invitation and an online survey.

Payments remain crucial

Frictionless payouts were especially important for sportsbook selection in a few key markets, regardless of jurisdiction’s age, the survey found.

For bettors in Michigan, whose market launched in January 2021, 43% said frictionless payouts were a key factor. In the UK, with legal online sports betting going back more than 20 years, payouts were also especially important, with 39% of saying so in the survey.

Paysafe President of Global Gaming Zak Cutler: “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.”

By contrast, in Ontario, whose expanded market launched in April 2022, players consider brand trust the most important factor, by 39%, while payouts were the second most important factor (35%).

Payment experience is also vital for player retention, the survey found. Three out of four bettors said payment experience was “an important factor” in why they stuck with a certain sportsbook. In New York, 85% said this was a factor in staying with a sportsbook, the highest of any jurisdiction surveyed.

More findings

The survey found digital wallets as an alternative payment method had eclipsed the popularity of credit cards, with 28% preference among the survey’s respondents. In Iowa, where credit cards are not permitted for sportsbooks, digital wallets were the preferred alternative payment method among 45% of respondents.

Digital wallets’ popularity is strongest with more frequent bettors. A digital wallet was the top payment method for players wagering 5-7 times a week, alongside debit cards (both at 41%). For bettors wagering seven or more times weekly, 34% prefer a wallet, exceeding mobile wallets (33%) and credit cards (24%), the survey found.

Overall, respondents found operators appear to be addressing player security concerns, even despite a high-profile range of hacking attempts at major US operators including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and others late last year.

Nearly three out of five bettors said they were more confident transacting bets online in 2022 than in 2021. Three out of 10 bettors were undecided and 11% said they were less confident.

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