Sports betting app design – tips & UI/UX challenges

| News

UX/UI design is one of the unsung heroes of modern app development. If done correctly, most people won’t even notice it because they’ll be too busy using the app. On the flip side, bad UX/UI design sticks out like a sore thumb to the point that it’ll be the only thing users talk about, both while actively using the app and long after leaving for the competition. In time, this can trigger a cascade effect – a chain of disparate but interconnected events: 

  • Expensive, money-making features suffer from low adoption rates due to bad design
  • Bad design causes user engagement and retention to plummet; users start abandoning the app
  • High user churn rates make it hard to justify investing money in improving old features and developing new ones, which leads to stagnation and “app rot”
  • Due to minimal or lack of investment, the app is unable to keep up with the latest design best practices, making it unattractive to potential users

Since betting platforms are all about retention and acquisition, their UX/UI can mean the difference between success and failure.

In this article, we will dive into sports betting app design – the dos’, the dont’s, and the challenges sports betting apps face when it comes to striking the right balance between offering what they think users want and following design best practices. 

Why UX Design Matters in Sports Betting Apps

Thing is, the importance of UX/UI design for sports betting apps goes beyond the monetary. Saying “good UX/UI design leads to high profits” is a bit reductive because often, it’s micro-effects that work in tandem towards that goal. 

More specifically:

Brand Loyalty 

Effective UX design eventually contributes to brand loyalty. Not necessarily the “they will champion your brand day and night” kind of loyalty, but the kind that makes users likelier to recommend your business to their peers and engage with your app. 

By consistently delivering a reliable, intuitive and flawless experience, you can strike a good-faith relationship with your users. A professional, user-centric UX design ensures customers that you’re serious and not out to scam them – that you actually care about their experience and appreciate the fact that they’re spending money on your business.

User Engagement and Retention

Much like other businesses, betting platforms need a steady influx of customers to grow. In tandem with that, bookies must constantly look for tactics and strategies to not only retain and engage existing users but also incentivize them to bring new customers. In fact, retention is the better long-term approach, as most research shows that acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. We’ve covered customer retention strategies for bookmakers at length in another article, which we highly recommend reading if you’re seeking specific information about this topic. 

When it comes to UX/UI design and user retention and engagement, the relationship between these two is pretty straightforward. User-friendly navigation, easy access to betting options, and a smooth registration process (which also includes onboarding) keep users coming back to your app and away from the competition. 

Operational Efficiency

During an app’s lifetime, developers are forced to make hundreds or even thousands of tweaks to its design and architecture. For apps that have been on the market for less than five years, a not-insignificant number of those tweaks are meant to solve technical debt

“Technical debt (also known as tech debt or code debt) describes what results when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project that later needs to be refactored. In other words, it’s the result of prioritizing speedy delivery over perfect code.”

The same principle applies to UX/UI. In their effort to release an MVP (minimum viable product) on the market as soon as possible, developers are willing to cut some corners by emphasizing raw app functionality over user experience. This design approach is perfectly understandable and workable when the app is in its infancy. However, in the long term, this can backfire as new features and functionalities are implemented. 

This is precisely why sports betting apps should prioritize “fixing” the UX as soon as the app reaches its sophomore phase – the sooner they do this, the lower the cognitive load. Plus, a well-designed UX makes the whole decision-making and implementation process smoother. Not having to backtrack and solve old issues when implementing new features saves precious time and resources. 


Market differentiation is vital in a space as crowded as sports betting. This is why good UX/UI design can be a great competitive advantage, as users will be able to get exactly what they want from your app faster.

However, sports bet app designers face a veritable catch-22: stray from the beaten path too much and you risk alienating legacy gamblers who are used to apps working and behaving a certain way. Color between the lines, and you give potential users no reason to choose your business over others. 

The simplest solution to this dilemma is to provide specific and simple-to-use interfaces and “spice things up” by allowing users to personalize key areas to their liking. Things like widgets for real-time stats can do wonders for users who want to squeeze as much value out of their betting apps as possible. This naturally leads to increased retention and engagement with the app. 

Most Common Sportsbook Betting Web Design Challenges Faced by Sports Betting Apps

Now that we’ve covered the three key areas that good UX/UI design has a direct impact on, let’s switch gears and talk about the most common UX/UI challenges sports betting apps face.

The sports betting industry can seem too crowded to allow for true “innovation” in terms of design and functionality. People expect sports betting services to look and act a certain way. As a result, standing out is not so much about providing fancy differentiators as it is about nailing the baseline experience (a.i., Making it as easy as possible for users to place their wagers) and then gradually tweaking and innovating in subtle ways. 

Still, even that approach comes with its own set of issues:


We are at a point where we can confidently state that the sports betting industry is global. With the industry’s growing reach also comes the importance of localization – adapting the app to different languages, currencies, and most importantly, cultural realities. This is crucial because every market has its own set of consumer preferences and legal requirements that dictate how sports betting is presented, promoted, and approached. 

Some jurisdictions might have, for example, different design standards for key gambling-specific visual and audio cues. Other jurisdictions might place certain restrictions on language and messaging, or have guidelines on how to present gambling iconography in such a way that it’s not appealing to certain demographics (children, recovering addicts, etc). 

Then there’s the seemingly mundane design considerations. The odds display layout could differ across regions by, for example, showing decimals in Europe and fractions in the UK. 

One way to take things a step further is to personalize the app based on individual user behavior and preferences by providing customized betting tips, adaptable interfaces, and notifications related to their favorite sports to bet on. This involves the implementation of machine learning algorithms and data analysis betting tools, which is a whole different beast that we’ve covered in a separate article. However, we do have a solution for this – OddsMatrix.

At OddsMatrix, we value seamless user experience and harvesting the power of data. We provide sports betting data, as well as tools and solutions meant to help bookmakers interpret that data and create powerful betting products. 

Sensory/Data Overload

Sports betting apps run on data, whether we’re talking about odds, player stats, game and events stats, historical data, live scores, live developments (injuries, substitutions), and so on. This poses a huge issue for sports betting companies, as they have to strike a balance between providing all the information users need to make informed betting decisions and not so much information that they feel overwhelmed. In other words, what sports betting apps do their best to avoid is triggering choice paralysis in their users – a phenomenon that is especially bad in a fast-paced environment such as sports betting. 

To accommodate for their users’ insatiable thirst for data and best design practices, sports betting app designers simply allow customers to customize their dashboards to display only the data they need. A sports bettor interested in soccer, for example, can tweak the interface to display soccer specific data – corners, free kicks, injuries, goals, penaltyes, substitiutions, and so on. 

There are other data visualization techniques sports betting apps can implement, like graphs and tables. Other businesses take things to the next level by providing widgets and premium content. However, developing customized widgets, data visualizations, and premium-content functionalities in-house is time and resource-intensive, which is why most sports betting platforms use third-party tools and solutions, like the ones provided by OddsMatrix. We can provide highly customizable widgets and data visualization tools that are easy to integrate within existing platforms and tool stacks.


Designing for accessibility is not only necessary to guarantee that your sports betting app can be used by individuals with different disabilities, it is also a regulatory requirement in most jurisdictions. Sports betting apps must adhere to design accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accesibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Designing for accessibility basically means considering people with visual impairments, hearing problems, and motor restrictions. Common features designed for accessibility include voice controls, screen readers, and positioning/spacing buttons in such a way that they accommodate individuals with limited dexterity.

Lack of Mobile-Friendly Design

Mobile-first design is crucial for such applications, and for obvious reasons – the last few years has seen a huge shift from desktop to mobile devices. Companies need to design smaller screens and touch interfaces because the large majority of bettors prefer to do their betting on the go. 

Mobile-centric sports betting UI design prioritizes the following aspects:

  • “Thumb-friendliness” means crucial features and buttons must be easily accessed in simple, straightforward finger motions.
  • Attention to variations across mobile devices, accounting for performance, network connectivity, and battery consumption.
  • Contradictorily, uniformity across devices – users must be able to find features and buttons in roughly the same spot regardless of whether they’re using a tablet or phone. 

Speed, responsiveness, intuitiveness 

Creating a sophisticated sports betting UX is one thing, but making it responsive and fast is another. This is a key challenge for sports betting apps because what we’re dealing with here is two contradictory goals – providing a simple, easy-to-navigate user interface, variety and complexity, and features and functionality. 

This becomes especially tricky when you consider the fact that during live sports events where odds and bet stakes can change in a matter of seconds, speed and responsiveness are crucial. You don’t want angry customers coming with pitchforks and torches at you for missing a good bet due to lag or a crucial button hidden behind five separate submenus. 

General Tips to Improve Betting User Experience

Interview Users and Test 

For a platform’s UX/UI design to reach its full potential, it needs to be user-centric. Thus, the large majority of design decisions must be based on the analysis of user feedback – the people who actually use the app on a day to day basis and most likely know the ins and outs of the interface better than the designers themselves. This helps counteract a phenomenon called “designer bias”

However, even user experience interviews can lead to another type of bias called “confirmation bias”, where the designer, in a good-faith belief that they’d constructed a system of gathering purely objective feedback, filters and contextualizes the information in such a way that it confirms their beliefs. This type of bias can be easily avoided by not actively seeking out contrary views but by diversifying the feedback itself by collecting data from a diverse pool of respondents. 

Focus on Registration

By “registration”, we don’t mean literally the user and password screen – rather the entire process, from creating an account, onboarding to placing the first bet. Â

As we’ve stated earlier, sensory and feature overload is a major problem that even the biggest betting companies have yet to find a way to properly address. Those first few seconds are critical, and can mean the difference between the user sticking around or switching to the competition. 

Attractive Visuals & Features

This might sound contradictory, given that many sports betting apps overload users with information. However, there is a balance between visual bloat and an aesthetically pleasing interface that offers users the information they need at all times. 

OddsMatrix has several solutions that help bookmakers in this sense. For instance, we provide customizable widgets, data visualization tools, and premium content. These are in-house-built solutions through which players can track live game data, stats, and match events for some of the most popular sports in real-time. These solutions not only make betting platforms more attractive for all bettors (experienced and casual), but they also help them make informed decisions by gaining access to precise, accurate data. Players can view positional data for important in-game events, stats (goals, free kicks, cards, fouls), league standings, and head-to-head comparison, all packaged in a visually appealing, easily digestible format. 

Ensure a Seamless Checkout Experience

An app can have all the hallmarks of a great sports betting platform: seamless user experience; variety in sports and event offerings; real-time, accurate odds based on a wide range of data pools; visually appealing and easy to digest data vizualizations. All of those things are for nothing if the checkout experience (or checkout funnel) lacks. 

By “checkout funnel,” we understand the series of actions a business (in this case, a sports betting app) wants the end-user to take. For sports betting, the most basic checkout funnel looks something like this:

  1. User navigates to your betting website.
  2. User places bet.
  3. User navigates to the checkout page.
  4. User inputs payment information.
  5. User completes payment.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

Although deeply interconnected, each step of this process is compartmentalized so that every element (buttons, text, visuals, animations) can be properly addressed and optimized to make the individual parts and the process as a whole as frictionless as possible for the end user. 

Nail Your Betting Platform’s UI/UX Design and User Experience With OddsMatrix

OddsMatrix helps platform developers and bookmakers create intuitive, engaging, easy to navigate betting products. Sign up now to OddsMatrix to get real-time sports data, engaging data vizualizations and premium content.