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Talent market update: US betting and gaming

Insight | Analysis

Pentasia’s Brady Eagle provides an insight into hiring trends in the US betting and gaming sector in the second quarter of 2019. 

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, demand for talent in the US sports betting and gaming market has rocketed. While demand across the sector is particularly high, it is candidates with skillsets covering technology and data that are topping most wanted lists for the year to date.

We’ve hired for roles nationally, with specific emphasis on Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Michigan. There has also been an uptick in opportunities within Canada and Costa Rica.

Even as established operators and suppliers arrive from overseas, the enormous new US market requires a fresh approach to software and product development to stay competitive. The market has a unique range of local sports, varying regulatory frameworks across multiple regions, and a broad mix of customers. This means that ‘porting in’ solutions from overseas has serious limitations. 

Fresh technical talent, and substantial resources, will be required in the coming months and years if operators and suppliers are to harness the massive US market opportunity. 

Technical expertise, and candidates with strong data handling credentials, are in the highest demand. Before PASPA’s repeal, data-related roles in the US industry tended to focus on customer relationship management and segmentation. While these are still in high demand, the importance of data across the business has been increasingly recognised, intersecting far more with revenue-generating activity today.

Data science is the driving force behind this shift. Knowledge of key data science technologies like R, Python and SQL, as well as strong knowledge of the fundamental principles, are highly prized skillsets. 

Universities are now utilizing these technologies in their undergraduate, and masters courses, while internships are often geared towards teaching these skills. This will help better prepare candidates for the data science, analyst, and other data-driven roles operators and suppliers are looking to fill.

Social, casual and real-money gaming clients are all looking to add to their technology and data teams. With user acquisition becoming far more lucrative for social and casual operators, this has led to extra demand for marketing and acquisition professionals, particularly those with proven credentials in data-focused and analytical digital marketing practice. This spans multiple channels including mobile (iOS / Android), web, social and broader campaigns.

Early movers in sports betting, meanwhile, are significantly expanding their operations to include in-play sports, trading teams and predictive analytics. Passion for, and experience of, the sports betting industry – alongside a specific hard skill set – are the key qualifications for these exciting roles.

There is also demand for high-level leadership talent, including those key ‘on-the-ground’ individuals needed to facilitate entry to the market. We are also seeing the early movers starting to expand their teams at an operational level.

The primary candidates remain US citizens or green card holders, with few employers looking beyond this candidate pool due to significant visa restrictions. However many would absolutely considering repatriating citizens that live abroad. 

To date, 95% of roles we see are hiring on a permanent basis. The limited contract roles tend to be in high level management and are contingent on consideration of permanent continuation. Remote working, or 4-day weeks, are becoming a much requested perk.

Brady Eagle is a recruitment consultant for
Pentasia based on the West Coast of the US.