Why Joey Levy Sees Startup Betr as the Future of US Sports Betting
LAS VEGAS – Joey Levy wants to his new company, Betr, to be a gamechanger in the world of sports betting.
The gaming industry knows that Levy and his fellow co-founder Jake Paul want to bring microbetting, or in-game wagering, to the masses. But the duo have more plans for the company.
Betr, which has raised $50 million in investments, also has a media component to it, and Levy expressed an interest in his company one day potentially holding broadcasting rights to sporting events during a wide-ranging conversation with Casino.org earlier this month at Resorts World Las Vegas.
The conversation, which took place at Resorts World Las Vegas, came just a couple of days after Levy announced at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) that Betr would not allow users to wager with credit cards and would implement limits for bettors under 25.
Levy sees a larger, untapped pool of potential sports bettors in the US, saying operators like FanDuel and DraftKings have only about 3 million active users out of a total market of 150 million sports fans in the US. Many of those not engaged, he believes, would find the mobile interfaces for current sports betting operators difficult to navigate and understand.
What follows is the first in a series of articles from that conversation, with Levy’s responses edited for length.
With Betr being a new company, are the decisions to limit deposits on people ages 21 to 25 and not to accept credit cards for deposits a way to show regulators the company takes responsible gaming seriously?
Joey Levy: “I think it’s more than that. We want to be the category-defining consumer company in this space.
I think in 10 years from now, what you see today will be considered a niche product that’s for the power user. So, with Betr, I’m not saying there’s going to be 150 million sports bettors in the country, but I think there could be 10, 25 million, 30 million. Similarly what Robin Hood did to day trading – Robin Hood created a lot of incremental TAM (total addressable market) by bringing in the mass market consumer to day trading – that’s what Betr wants to do with this industry.
“In order for us to do that successfully, we want to re-evaluate every aspect of this industry from product experience, front-end UI UX, registration, onboarding, how you go about distribution, literally everything. And for this industry to be sustainable to a mass market consumer, the operators need to proactively reiterate that this experience is for entertainment value.
“In an effort to re-evaluate what it means to be a responsible gambling operator and to reiterate to the consumer that you shouldn’t gamble with money you don’t have, I think it’s important for us to make these types of actions versus just say things like, ‘Responsible gaming is important.’
“Responsible Gaming Awareness Month was last month, and people were making press releases. But, if you read the press releases, they’re not really doing very much. They’re just saying that it’s important. Every once in a while, I’ll go on Twitter, and I’ll see an ad saying, keep yourself in check. It’s like, there’s a lot of words, there’s not a lot of action. And I genuinely believe Betr is going to be the category-defining consumer business in the space. So, we’re going to take a leadership position on a lot of these issues.”
With microbetting, how important is it to get the message out regarding how much people should bet on a play or a drive? Because if you’re betting $50 or $100 on a moneyline or a point spread, you wouldn’t want to bet that amount on a drive or an at-bat.
JL: “It depends on the user, right? The way I see it, go ahead and bet your $50 on the moneyline. You’re engaged with the outcome of the game, but if you want to put $5 on a drive here or $10 on a play there to make that engagement with the content more interesting… It’s a great complementary experience that I think ultimately will become the core experience.”
How important is bettor education for Betr, especially since the consumer you’re looking to target is not just those who are currently active?
JL: “It’s incredibly important, and that’s why we’re proactively taking these steps. We fortunately got the message out and a lot of coverage around the credit card ban and the deposit limits, and we have additional ideas that we’re contemplating to further instill some of these values…
What are some of those ideas?
JL: “We’re still contemplating them. So, I’ll let you know once we come up with those ideas.
Again, this is all about enhancing the way the mass market fan consumes sports. This isn’t about squeezing every last dollar from a user and putting them in a bad spot. I think most of the operators in this industry right now are making decisions that optimize near-term revenue while potentially sacrificing the long-term viability and sustainability of their businesses in the overall industry.
“It’s just all about enhancing the consumption of sports. I said this in my tweet, it’s like paying $20 to go to the movies. Take $20, and you bet $2 on a play, $5 on a drive, make it more engaging, and that’s it. Anything that gets away from that mentality, we’re going to look to combat.”
So, come Jan. 1, when you expect to launch in Ohio, how would someone make a deposit?
JL: “We’re finalizing that now, but it’ll likely be directly from your bank account, debit cards, and we’re evaluating other options as well.
“We want to create as seamless a user experience as possible. We’re in the final stages with our payments partner to determine exactly what we’re going to accept and what we’re not going to accept. We want to make it as seamless as possible. Even over time, Venmo, Apple Pay – as long as the Apple Pay is pulling the debit card instead of the credit card. It’s all about a seamless user experience, but you don’t need to use a credit card to gamble.”
Coming Monday, more from our conversation with Levy.
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