By the People, For the People: Station Casinos’ Customized Sports App

Just in time for NFL season, Station Casinos’ upgraded sports betting app lets bettors basically create their own experience. Sportsbook VP Jason McCormick said the new app is faster and easier, with a bigger menu and more betting options.

By the People, For the People: Station Casinos’ Customized Sports App

With plenty of sports betting apps to choose from, users can be picky.

If one app is balky or boring, if it’s too hard to navigate or likely to crash, customers can easily flip to another. If this is the equivalent of a buyer’s market, Station Casinos is a motivated seller.

In late July, the Nevada-based locals gaming giant completed a major upgrade of its app, redesigned with fans in mind. The streamlined STN Sports app, powered by Miomni, has been equipped with enhanced in-play options, virtual play-by-play stats, an animated scoreboard, even a feature that pinpoints the ball on the field.

“Station recognizes itself as an industry leader on the retail side—our sportsbooks in the Vegas Valley here are absolutely exceptional from a customer service standpoint,” said Jason McCormick, vice president of race and sports operations. “But the migration to mobile is really on, and we did what we had to do to make sure we had a great app out there.”

Fast, Easy, Comprehensive

Step one was to look at the app critically, from that exacting consumer perspective.

“We spent a lot of time looking at challenges that guests were having, and one of the main things was just being faster and easier,” McCormick said. “We needed to remove some friction points, like having to press four or five buttons before you could place a bet—we wanted to get that down to two or three. Absolutely, it was about making it easier for guests to find their games and place their bets.”

The app offers pre-match and in-play offerings, a more favorable moneyline split, and play-by-play statistics at a granular level.

“For a tennis match, it tells you how this guy plays on a hard court, how he plays on clay, how he plays on grass, what he did in his last match—the statistics are absolutely amazing, and we’re doing that for all sports,” he said. “The app is giving you way more details on a virtual screen, lets you know where the ball is on the court and how it’s going back and forth—it’s really elevated the user experience on an in-play basis.”

Book ’Em

McCormick has also “exploded” the betting menu, with lots of niche sports that picked up traction during the sports drought of 2020. “So we have European soccer and we’re booking tennis from around the world. Golf is another one, with more tournaments, smaller tournaments, the women’s tournaments. We’re finding all these markets people are interested in.”

Korean and Japanese baseball are also in the mix. During the shutdown, “I was like, ‘I can’t believe we’re booking this stuff,’” said McCormick, “and after everything came back there was still a market for it. We’re still booking these leagues.”

The end goal, McCormick said, was to let users “build the app the way you like it, down to what your average bet may be, what you want your default bet to be, what language you want to use. All that stuff is customizable by the guest.”

The former Red Rock Resort sportsbook director took the lead role in May, on the retirement of legendary bookmaker Art Manteris. “It’s like having to replace (Duke coach) Mike Krzyzewski,” he said at the time. “The guy’s a Hall of Famer and living legend in our industry. To follow him is an honor.”

It’s also a logical progression for a Chicago native from a sports-loving family. “Going back to the time I was eight or nine, I was constantly watching the Bears, the Cubs, the Hawks, the White Sox,” said McCormick. “I was always at Wrigley Field.”

He’s said his profession is “not a job, not a career, but a passion. There’s always something to bet and something to sweat. Especially these days.”

On the Air

Another pandemic innovation was a weekly podcast, “Book Ends,” hosted by McCormick and Chuck Esposito, former sportsbook director at Sunset Station in Henderson, now at Red Rock. “It was just a quick thing we were posting to the app to help educate people as to certain bet types, like ‘What’s a teaser? What’s a straight bet? What’s a parlay card? If the Kentucky Derby was coming up that weekend, it was more of a quick little segment trying to help people make their bets ahead of the weekend.

“As we started doing it more, Jon Schumacher, our social media guy, said, ‘You guys can turn this into a whole half hour.’ We give other tips on fantasy sports or horse racing, just little tidbits to help people address what’s going on in sports this week. It breaks down things for the casual fan versus the sharp.” The podcast can be found on Yahoo.com, Youtube and the Station Casinos website.

They’ll have lots to talk about as NFL season gets underway, and at this point, McCormick expects to see the San Francisco 49ers at the Super Bowl.

“They obviously have some quarterback question marks, but they’re getting everybody back healthy, and they have a dominant defense … They’re going to have to find their way through the Packers or Bucs, but don’t sleep on the 49ers.”

Asked if mobile sports betting will ever overtake the live experience, again, McCormick said he’ll leave that decision to the fans.

“I don’t think there’s a better experience than sitting in the sportsbook with 200 or 300 of your new best friends and screaming at the TV and having fun with it,” he says. “But it needs to be the best of both worlds. We find that a lot of people in our retail sportsbooks are using the mobile apps. So they don’t come to the counter anymore, but they’re sitting in their seats using the app while getting the best of the retail experience as well.

“It’s hard to tell a guest how they want to play. It’s the reverse. The guest should be telling us how they want to play, and we’re adapting to that.”

In the past, Station has hinted that it may venture beyond Nevada sports betting should the opportunity arise.

“We’re evaluating it,” said McCormick. “We haven’t jumped into the pool yet, but we’re competitive, we feel we’re one of the best at it, and we’re continuing to grow the technology. I feel it’s incumbent upon us and myself to always be asking what’s next, never settling and continuing to grow in the sportsbook space.”

Articles by Author: Marjorie Preston

Marjorie Preston is managing editor of Global Gaming Business. She is a writer, editor, author and expat Pennsylvanian who now considers herself a New Jerseyan. Based on Brigantine Island north of Atlantic City, Preston has been writing about the gaming industry since 2007, when she joined the staff of Global Gaming Business as managing editor of Casino Connection.