Popular UK bookmaker Paddy Power is reportedly the first online sportsbook to offer betting through the Facebook Messenger App, a news update from Asia Gaming Brief reveals. The Irish/UK betting giant known for its controversial market offers will soon go live with the new product to allow registered customers to enjoy faster bets through the social media platform.

The new feature will be supplied by text betting providers Onionsack, who are also behind the text betting systems of several UK sportsbetting chains, including Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Totepool. The feature will be using a chatbot, i.e. a computer program that analyzes messages and responds appropriately, just like a human would.

The chatbot is the first betting bot in the industry to give players the option to place bets directly through Facebook’s Messenger app, thanks to Onionsack’s SaaS messaging platform. The program will allow bettors to log in to their Paddy Power accounts, check their cash balance, and then write a message with the bet they like. The bot will automatically understand the message and execute the transaction, similar to what SMS-betting systems do.  An added benefit would be receiving custom push notifications, blog posts, videos, and podcasts directly to their Messenger inbox.

Paddy Power product director, Michael Healy, says the company is “delighted” to make a pioneering entrance into the chatbot market, as it was the obvious move to make, knowing that nearly every Paddy Power customer is on Facebook and that most of them “love mobile messaging apps.” He adds that, apart from giving them the option to receive odds and tailored notifications, users of the bot will also be able to get their daily dose of “mischief and entertainment.”

Jonathan Power, CEO of Onionsack, also commented by saying that betting through Facebook Messenger was the logical step and that they expect more sportsbetting operators to launch their own chatbots in the future.

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