Betr Bets On Differentiated Microbetting-Focused Product

January 18, 2023
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Armed with a differentiated product and a popular, although controversial, influencer, Betr is poised to be one of the more interesting new market entrants in U.S. sports betting in 2023.

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Armed with a differentiated product and a popular, although controversial, influencer, Betr is poised to be one of the more interesting new market entrants in U.S. sports betting in 2023.

The company launched in its first state, Ohio, on January 1, and CEO Joey Levy said Betr will pursue a “pretty gradual and methodical” state-by-state rollout, with pending licensing applications in Massachusetts, Virginia, Indiana and Maryland.

The company also has a free-to-play game available in 48 states and plans to launch a real-money fantasy sports product in 30 states by the end of the first quarter.

“We've observed how some of the other sports-betting operators have rolled out their products and businesses, and as you can imagine, as a start-up, we need to be very prudent and methodical with how we spend our cash,” Levy told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission during a public licensing hearing last week.

“We do think that we're one of the first, if not the first, to offer a fundamentally differentiated product experience in this category, and as a result of that, we want to take our time to really understand product-market fit, and make sure that we have a value proposition that is really resonating with consumers.”

The company was co-founded by Levy and Jake Paul, a popular and somewhat controversial YouTube influencer and actor who has transitioned into a boxing career that has made him one of the highest-paid athletes in the sport.

Betr’s differentiating factor is a specific focus on microbetting rather than traditional pre-match markets and simplifying the user experience to attract newer players.

Levy claims that the product automates all market mechanics to minimize the latency issues that are typically faced in any type of live betting, as well as eliminating the delay between a player placing a wager and the system accepting the bet.

In addition, the product utilizes a different user interface, with multiple choice questions for bettors to answer and decimal odds rather than traditional American odds.

“I felt like the consumer experiences in this category left a lot to be desired,” Levy said.

“If we're really going to use sports betting as a way to enhance the consumption of sport as opposed to sort of a financially motivated, almost like spreadsheet transactional layer, which is what many of the legacy platforms looked and felt like at the time, and still feel like to be frank, so [we’re] really focused on simplifying the experience.”

One of the biggest issues with live or in-play betting to date in the U.S. has been the delay between live game action and television broadcasts that inhibit more granular markets.

“Instant micros, like pitch-by-pitch and play-by-play may be, candidly, a little bit challenging in this interim period as a second-screen experience with the current paradigm of broadcast latency,” Levy said.

“But betting on an upcoming drive or an upcoming at-bat is still far less sensitive to broadcast latency as a second-screen experience and we view that as a really effective tool for to enable sports fans to enhance their consumption of sports.”

Betr also features visualization tools to allow players to use the app as a primary screen experience for football, and Levy said the company plans to release similar tools for baseball and basketball as well to allow players to know what is happening in a game without watching the broadcast.

Responsible Gaming Restrictions

Betr features several responsible gaming measures that go beyond what most American operators have implemented to date, including a ban on the use of credit cards to make deposits, and automatically installed default wager and deposit limits for any player under the age of 25.

“If we're going to be the category defining business by the end of the decade, which we have every intention of ultimately becoming, anything that potentially enables problem gambling will ultimately prove to be unsustainable and detrimental to the long-term viability of this category in general,” Levy said.

“And while it may bolster revenue today, it will increase customer turnover and introduce regulatory scrutiny tomorrow,” he added.

Still, one of the biggest questions surrounding the company is its 26-year-old co-founder Paul, who despite his popularity has been at the center of several controversies throughout his young career, including public nuisance lawsuits, COVID-19 denialism, and sexual assault allegations, among others.

Paul rose to popularity as part of a generation of so-called “Vine stars” on the now-defunct short-form video platform and faced questions about his past from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last week.

“The reality of my life as a young and highly visible digital creator was quite different than the normal teenage experience,” Paul told the five-member commission.

“The best way to sum it up is that everything is exponentially magnified, you live quite literally under a microscope, and you certainly get more opportunities, but you're also taken advantage of more often, mistakes magnified, publicized, and republicized.

“Like everyone, I've made my share of mistakes and have messed up and have grown up in the public spotlight and done stupid things which I've learned from, but as you will see, these matters generally don't warrant this level of media coverage and attention,” he continued.

“You will see that also, in general, nothing or very little has in fact come from these sometimes shocking headlines and crazy situations which are great for views and clicks and for me to be made an example of.”

Paul was specifically asked about a sexual assault allegation levied against him by a woman in 2021.

“I was the target of an unfounded and false allegation that was posted by someone online,” he told the commission.

“Though the posts received predictable online attention, and was, I believe, purposely put out the week of my fight to put a fork in that, there was no truth to the allegation at all, whatsoever, in no way shape or form, complete blasphemy and nothing further transpired.”

No charges were ever filed regarding the allegation, and Paul pointed out during the licensing meeting that despite all of the controversy that surrounds him, he has never been convicted of a crime, although he did plead guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges after being accused of criminal trespassing connected with filming looting at an Arizona mall that took place during the George Floyd protests of 2020 that happened throughout the U.S.

The Massachusetts commission ultimately found that Betr met the expectations for licensing and could approve the company's application for an online sports-betting license as early as this week.

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