On episode 131 of the Knup Sports Show, Rob Shannon of RPM Advertising joins to talk a bit about their business. They work with casinos and sportsbooks to provide advertising services.

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Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, what’s going on everybody? How are you doing today? I’m Ryan Knuppel, the host of the Knup Sports Show. We are on episode number 131 of this show. Crazy how time flies and we just continue on churning out shows one after another. If you don’t know anything about the show, we love to have people in the sports business area, in the sports betting, the iGaming business area. And we have another guest on our show today. We have Rob Shannon of RPM Advertising with us. Rob, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining me.

Rob Shannon:

Oh, thank you for having me on Ryan. Good to be here.

Ryan Knuppel:

Absolutely. Hope you’re doing well today. How is everything up in the greater Chicago area? Treating you?

Rob Shannon:

A little wet, but we’re okay. It’s going good. The Cubs are kind of on a losing streak right now, so yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, Hey, you said you weren’t going to say any curse words on the show. That’s a curse word in my book. I’m a Cardinal fan. You can’t say the word Cubs on the Knup Sports Show.

Rob Shannon:

Noted. Noted.

Ryan Knuppel:

Noted. Yeah, no, I grew up in that area. So a big Cardinals fan and I know I went to school up in Chicago, so it was this battle, Cub fans, Cardinal fans, and woo. It’s quite the rivalry there.

Rob Shannon:

Yes, it is. Very much so. Yeah, I learned that. I came from Southern California. Still a Dodger fan so that weekend series was okay with me.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. Awesome. Well amazing. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself. I love to hear your backstory and kind of how you got to where you are today and just hear a little bit more about yourself. So tell me a little bit about yourself, your career path and where you’re at today.

Rob Shannon:

Okay. I’m a a writer at RPM advertising here in Chicago. I’ve been with them about 16 years. We specialize in casino work. That’s one of our strong suits and it’s always something we like to go out to new clients. It’s like, hey, we know your business. You don’t have to hold our hand at all. Prior to that, roundabout way, I was working in the marketing department for Horseshoe Gaming in their corporate office for a few years. And that was prior to the sale of Harrah’s, which is now Caesars. And then I jumped from the client side over to the agency side and been here ever since.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. That’s crazy. It’s crazy how time flies. Right? So explain a little bit more about RPM Advertising and the company itself. And I guess more specifically, what you’re doing in the iGaming space because that’s what we love to talk about here, more of the betting and the iGaming space. So how did the company get involved in that and in yourself as well?

Rob Shannon:

Okay. Well like I said, we’ve been working with casino clients for about 20 years now, mostly in local markets. So I think in my time we’ve had maybe one Nevada based casino with a very small sports book. So we never really had to talk about sports betting or anything like that. That all changed, as we all know, three years ago when PASPA went away and we knew we had to get up to speed for our clients, for our future clients, we have to know the space. So we dived into it and there’s been a lot of knowledge sharing within our agency and yeah, we know it. So you can talk to maybe some random people even in the casinos, if you say money line and minus 230 and all that stuff, they’re like, what? But we got it. I mean, we know this stuff and so no one is going to have to hold our hands and that’s always been a big, strong selling point for us.

Ryan Knuppel:

And it’s crazy. I always find it kind of mind baffling, but I’ve been in the gaming industry for 20 years. So a lot of that stuff comes second nature to me. Right? Money line and parlays and talking about how spreads work and how odds work and lines work and all of that. It’s very second nature to me. But I do remember a point back in my life that I was trying to learn all of that. And there is a learning curve to understanding the sports betting landscape and the talk and how it works and okay, well wait. Oh, there’s juice on that bet. What’s juice? Oh, I am actually paying if I lose and things like that. So there is a learning curve to the industry.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah. You’re paying for the service for sure. Yeah. It’s weird. I don’t know when it was, but when I finally figured out what plus 110 was, the light dawned and yeah. Okay. Let’s move forward with this. So yeah, it’s weird. And then even as we’re going into newer markets, whether it’s Colorado or Michigan, we’ve got a client down in Arizona, they’re going to be launching by football season. If you’re talking to a better who’s been working with his bookie for several years, there’s a whole new world with betting on your phone, on your app or coming in the sports book, in game betting is a game changer. We know that. Everybody probably listening here knows that. But if you haven’t experienced that before, that’s new. Odds boost and profit boost and all that stuff that your bookie cannot offer those things. But sports books in 2021 can definitely offer those things. And that’s a new thing and as we talk to more and more players with our clients, there’s a lot of education to go with that.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah. And you’re a content guy, we’re content people, I’m a content guy through and through. And when you think live betting and you think how that works from a content perspective, it’s very challenging. I mean, the content around the live betting space is so challenging simply because it moves so fast. It moves so fast you don’t have time to breathe and keep up from a content perspective. So that’s something that’s always a challenge, always something to keep in mind when you’re dealing with live betting content that I’m sure you guys are as well.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s a whole different thing and yeah. Again, if you’ve been betting for all your life, this is definitely a new thing. So there’s even some education for that.

Ryan Knuppel:

Sure. So let’s move a little bit beyond the content side. I’m curious, so RPM Advertising, I’m curious, what types of advertising or how are these sports books starting to, I guess, mix other types of advertising into the fold, right? What types of things could they be doing that they’re not? Or are they starting to really get their name out? Because let’s just face it. These sports books are all competing with each other. All these companies are competing to get eyeballs on their product. And I’m assuming that’s one of the things you guys help address. Tell us a little bit about some things that you guys offer that may be able to help them in a way.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah. For sure. We worked with a number of casinos in the past that based on jurisdictions only had slot machines and then the state changes the regulations, hey, let’s bring in table games. That’s a whole new market and that’s a whole different kind of player. So we’ve got to educate, we’ve got to build awareness that table games are coming, our table games are here. And now we’ve got to educate a little bit. It’s the same with the sports book. Okay. So we’ve got all this wonderful stuff for you, Mr. and Mrs. Player. Now we’ve got this new thing. So how do we attract those new players? How do we increase play? That’s always a big thing with the casinos. How do we increase play? So there’s a lot of crossover from tables which tends to skew male to sports betting.

Rob Shannon:

But how do we grab that slot player? So we try to localize it. That’s the big thing. So it’s smart when I see the sports book doing local promotions. We’ve got Points Bet here at Hawthorne race course, just outside of Midway airport there. And they’ve got Devin Hester on as their spokesperson. And they do a lot [inaudible 00:07:40] promos and [inaudible 00:07:41] promos. And those are really no brainer stuff. This is a passionate fan base, but there’s passionate fan bases everywhere. So it’s like, hey, we’ve got this special Lion’s promotion today. We’ve got this special Dodgers promotion today. You can tie it in there. You can make it your sports book, your casino, no matter whose brand is on there, because we’ve seen a lot of that with FanDuel, they’re all over the place. They’re on any number of just random casinos that you never heard of.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah.

Rob Shannon:

But you still want to talk about to the players, the potential players, this is your sports book. We have things just for you. So we’ve run into that over the years with we like to think, every casino likes to think, well our players are really loyal. And we know that’s not necessarily true. They’ve got a player’s club card from this casino and that casino and they’re going to chase points on that day and then they’re going to chase the free buffet on that day. And it’s the same with the sports book. I’ve got five apps on my phone and the only reason I don’t have six is because Illinois changed the regulations again [inaudible 00:08:48]. So to get the sixth app I got to drive down to Aurora.

Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, I’m not going to feel bad for you. Guess how many I have here in Florida?

Rob Shannon:

Oh.

Ryan Knuppel:

Oh, I got zero here in Florida. So yeah, but when I do come back to Illinois, I do the same thing. I have all the apps and there’s something to be said about those local promotions, just drawing people in. I mean, it’s to really capture the attention and get you feeling a bit loyal to that sports book. But man, on that same note, some of the offers we’re seeing from some of these sports books in a local market and things of that nature are really truly no- brainers to take advantage of. I mean, they’re giving away massive amounts of money or not even that. Even if they’re not saying we’re giving you money, some of the lines they’re giving are giving you money basically.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah. I’ve seen it from at least a couple of the books when they said, hey, let’s take this NBA game tonight. The more you bet the over, the lower the total goes. And so the total goes down to one in an NBA game. Thank you for the $20.

Ryan Knuppel:

Exactly.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

I mean, we’re all going to look back at this. I just say it because we’re going to look back at this in five, 10 years and we’re going to think, man, that was the heyday. We should have taken more advantage of that. And I don’t want to say take advantage in a bad way, but right now is a prime time to learn about all these sports books to take advantage of what they’re offering and they’re giving you money to try out their sports book. And you guys are helping them through some of that as well. But take advantage of that from a consumer side, because guess what? In five, 10 years, that will not be here. It will not be the case.

Rob Shannon:

Nope. Again, I go back to what we’ve learned over the years, when a new casino pops up in the market, they start flooding the market with free play. Come play our slots. Here’s money. So you get them into your casino. And it’s the same thing going on with the books. Here’s a hundred dollar or $500 sign up bonus. Come play with us, get used to our app, get used to how we communicate and all the notifications and all the promos. It’s the same thing. So it’s very parallel to what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years.

Ryan Knuppel:

So since you’re pretty close to Illinois, I’m going to go a little different angle here. You know me, I like to go off the cuff a little bit. So I mean, you’re in Illinois, you’re very close to that situation and what’s going on in Illinois. I’m curious how it’s going from your perspective in Illinois, because I’ve heard mixed reviews of how some of the operators are doing, maybe how some of the things are working. How is it going in general? The legalization of sports betting from a very high level in your perspective there in Illinois?

Rob Shannon:

I think it’s been going great. The big thing was they were going to require in-person registration.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yep.

Rob Shannon:

That’s a big hurdle because I think there’s nine casinos in the state. So if you’re down in Springfield in the center of the state, you probably got to drive two hours just so you can bet in games. It’s like, well, that’s crazy. The one thing that came out of the pandemic from last year is they eased the restrictions. So as soon as they did that, boom, I think it was Rivers out by O’Hare was the first one to do it.

Rob Shannon:

And then DraftKings with Casino Queen and Points Bet at Hawthorne and FanDuel. I forget who they’re partnered with, but they just made it easy. And there was a signup bonus for each one. And like I said, with Barstool, they’re partnered with Hollywood down in Aurora. They got, I think they went live just as a window was closing on mobile registration.

Ryan Knuppel:

Kind of got screwed there.

Rob Shannon:

How much money are they missing out on? So it’s only those people in Aurora that are going to be able to bet through them. If you’re down in Alton at the other end of the state, you’re not driving to Aurora to bet. You’re not driving anywhere.

Ryan Knuppel:

But I think that’s where I was kind of hitting with the question, right? I mean, yeah, I think during the pandemic and that was all great, but now that there is not mobile sign ups there in Illinois, it makes it so hard. Isn’t the state really losing out on revenue opportunity and why are they going that direction? Is it simply to keep the physical casinos happy and well and healthy because they have to visit those? What’s the objective there?

Rob Shannon:

Perhaps. I mean, Governor Pritzker, if you’re listening, please get rid of that rule. It’s money on the table. I mean, we’ve heard stories from New York for how many years there was no mobile wagering. So all of Manhattan was taking the train to New Jersey, placing their bets.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah.

Rob Shannon:

And that’s just money leaving your state. It’s just money on the table and there’s no good reason to do it. I think it’s baby steps. People want to be like, we got to be careful with this stuff.

Ryan Knuppel:

I mean, I found it very interesting because I visited the Casino Queen or no, I’m sorry, the FanDuel sports book there in east Peoria, it’s at the Paradise Casino in east Peoria.

Rob Shannon:

Paradise, that’s who it is. Yes.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, the Paradise is at Casino Queen, but yes, Paradise. And I thought, oh, hey, I’ll be able to go in and sign up physically for FanDuel in bed. And I get in there and they’re like, oh no, you can only sign up physically at this one select place two hours away. And I’m like, okay. So I can’t sign up mobiley, I can’t sign up at this casino. I have to drive up… Nobody’s going to do that.

Ryan Knuppel:

You’re only going to do that if you happen to be up in that area or in that area. And yeah, I talked to some people at that sports book and they were just like, yeah, I know it really is hurting us from a sports betting side because people can’t bet. They can bet at the kiosk, you could bet at their little stand, but you can’t sign up for the mobile side unless you are physically at the one location. So it seems silly to me, we’ll get off that bandwagon. But that’s something that really bugs me. I hope Florida doesn’t do it that way when we legalize it.

Rob Shannon:

Are you going to get it soon? Is that coming up?

Ryan Knuppel:

It’s been rumored. I mean, we’ve passed a few hurdles. So I think we’re through the House, through the Senate, now it’s into some next level, right? I’m not a very legalistic guy in my head, but there’s all these different approval levels it has to go through. So we’re through a couple of hurdles now. There’s still some things that could go wrong with it, but yeah, I think we’re, I would say on the way. So I’m praying that no hurdles kind of get in the way as we get going here.

Rob Shannon:

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

So cool. So what else? So tell me, I know I don’t want to keep you all day. I want to keep this kind of short and sweet, but what else you want to talk about you? I mean, what else is going on with RPM Advertising? Where are you guys headed? What’s the future look like? Anything coming up that you guys have going on?

Rob Shannon:

With the pandemic, everybody took a hit. We had to slow down a little bit. But we’ve gotten since the end of last year, I think three new clients, we’ve got our current clients, they’re back to full capacity and up and running. We’ve got clients in Michigan who are getting ready to launch iGaming and sports betting. Like I said, out in Arizona, ready to launch sports betting. So yeah. It’s exciting time for us. And yeah, it really is just something that we know how to do and we know your business. And so all we need to do is the chance to get to know your market. And that’s what we do. We build brands.

Ryan Knuppel:

I love it. I love it. That’s awesome. And I know how challenging that can be from an agency perspective. From one agency to another, I understand the difficulties it is to just understand the business, right? I mean, that’s the number one thing you have to be able to do is understand what your clients do, how to talk to the people they’re serving and how to help them. So it sounds like you guys are doing it the right way. So tell the audience a little bit, I mean, if somebody is listening that may want to get ahold of you guys or may want to contact you guys, how are they going to contact you? We’re also going to put it across the bottom. How would they contact you guys?

Rob Shannon:

Our website is RPMADV like advertising .com. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook. We’re there. Like I said we know your game and you don’t have to hold our hands and help. It’s been a good selling point for us. And so, yeah. So you could please find us on social, say hello, check out our work. We’d be happy to talk.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome Rob. Well, I really appreciate you joining. And I really think you brought some insight to to this industry, especially in Illinois as well. And I know from following some of the stuff you do, one of the good guys in the industry. So I really appreciate some of the time you’re giving me here.

Rob Shannon:

Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure to be on.

Ryan Knuppel:

All right. That was Rob Shannon, RPM Advertising. Hey, thank you all for listening. This was episode 131 of this show, really appreciate all the time you guys are giving to this and really the focus you’re giving to this show. If you do want to join and you want to be on and you want to talk like we did with Rob there, please just get ahold of me. I’m on LinkedIn. You can shoot a message, [email protected], anything you’ll be able to find me there. So really appreciate it, until next time. Stay safe. Everybody take care. Have a great one. Bye-bye.

Relevant Rob Shannon Links

  • Learn more about RPM Advertising at https://www.rpmadv.com

  • You can connect with Rob over on LinkedIn

More Knup Sports Links

Contact Ryan Knuppel

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Ryan is a veteran to the sports betting industry. He owns and operates Knup Solutions where they provide the highest quality sports betting and igaming content to affiliates and operators. His contributions on Knup Sports show his pure knowledge and love for the sports and gaming industry.

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