Startup to bring real-money bets to social games

Jul 09, 2012 by Rob Lever
The online gambling websites of 888 holdings and Ladbrokes are pictured in London. Online social games could get a shot of real money with a new platform launched by a startup on Monday. The new platform to allow real-money bets on almost any online game is coming from Betable, a London-headquartered company with a British gambling license, and working in California with US game developers.

Online social games could get a shot of real money with a new platform launched by a startup on Monday.

The new platform to allow real-money bets on almost any is coming from Betable, a London-headquartered company with a British license, and working in California with US game developers.

"This is the first and only platform to allow any game developer to allow real-money gambling," said Christopher Griffin, chief executive of Betable.

Griffin told AFP the new system will allow players outside the United States and other jurisdictions where online gambling is legal to place real-money wagers.

He said this combines the experience of with the thrills of real betting. It can be offered on computers and a variety of .

"Social game developers have all the ingredients that the gambling guys are missing," Griffin said.

"They have good user experiences. They have a huge install base of a billion players, but they don't have access to monetization."

Betable has not announced any specific contracts, but said the platform could be used by the popular Facebook or social games like Zynga's Farmville.

"We can turn the harvesting of crops into a slot machine," said Griffin.

"You could add a slot machine, you could buy the corn with real money. The cool thing is you can build traditional casino games or invent totally new mechanics."

Griffin said the problem with social games is that despite their popularity, developers have few opportunities to make money. Only a small number of players pay for "premium" games, and advertising revenues are limited.

Betable has a British gaming license which allows bets to be placed from any jurisdiction in the world where online gambling is legal. This means US players are excluded because of a ban on in the United States.

"At Betable, we're unlocking real-money gaming for developers who can innovate in what up until now has been a massively impenetrable space," said Griffin.

"Our partners and investors believe that Betable represents the largest opportunity for innovation and monetization for in years."

The company has not released details of its funding, but said it has "more than 25 investors" and "one of 2012's largest seed rounds of funding."

Those investing include venture capital groups Greylock Discovery Fund and FF Angel LLC, True Ventures, along with Facebook launch team member Dave Morin and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, an early investor.

"We believe real-money gaming will make the social games industry more successful and has the potential to catapult games that offer it to the top of every app store on the planet," said Tony Conrad, partner at True Ventures.

"While awaiting the US legalization of online gambling which could take years, the overseas markets represent billions of dollars in opportunity for developers located anywhere in the world."

Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zynga mulls online gambling market

Jan 20, 2012

(AP) -- Zynga, the social game company known for "FarmVille" and "Zynga Poker," is mulling a new market - online gambling.

Zynga partners with toy maker Hasbro

Feb 10, 2012

Old school toy maker Hasbro and online social game star Zynga on Thursday announced a partnership to mesh the Internet firm's hits with real-world products.

MySpace upping ante in online social games

Mar 10, 2010

MySpace on Wednesday began courting videogame developers as it moved to capitalize on the booming popularity of playing games online at social networks.

Poker domain names unfrozen to allow refunds

Apr 20, 2011

US authorities said Wednesday they were unfreezing the domain names of two online poker companies targeted in a crackdown on Internet gambling so US players could withdraw their money.

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

16 hours ago

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0