The use of certain bookmaker efficiencies is the key to conquering betting’s ‘social wagering conundrum’ according to Elliot Robinson, co-founder of London-based social betting start-up Wager.
Having launched its newest product on 9 August, the mobile-based betting app has continued its development by introducing new features. This has in turn reportedly led to an organic usership growth from an initial 50 users at launch to roughly 500 now.
Despite what appears to be an initial promising start, the peer-to-peer betting model that Wager uses has been known to fail in the past, such as in the case of Flutter.com back in 2002.
Robinson discussed why he believes past peer-to-peer products have struggled to find success on the market: “If you go back to Flutter who tried it in 1999/2000, the timing of that was completely wrong. People weren’t on social networks, they weren’t using their phones nearly as much as they do today and there just wasn’t that quickness in response to enable something like this.
“Betting against your friends via mobile app just didn’t exist and the world then was a very different place than it is today. We are mobile app first, we absolutely rely on push notifications, people checking their phones 100 times a day, which they already do, and having that response that you know your friend will see the bet and respond to it very quickly when you send it to them.
“The second thing is that the players who have tried to do it in the last few years have not been, as we see it, a betting product built for football betters. They’ve been like an offline, note tracking app that can say ‘if I do this you owe me this’ – it’s very detached from a standard betting journey, it’s not a product built for betters.”
Wager, who aim to be the ‘digital hub for all friend-to-friend competition and betting’ are backed by London venture capital fund Forward Partners, with the start-up having raised around £500,000 in enterprise investment to date.
Robinson also discussed the plans for Wager, commenting on how they aim to make use of certain bookmaker efficiencies: “What we absolutely want to do is provide the core functionalities and benefits that a betting product offers. That is efficiency of payment, depositing and withdrawing with ease, having real money committed to these bets from the outset, having odds provided in which all bets are odds adjusted so if I back Brighton to beat City then we shouldn’t be putting £10 in each because that’s fundamentally unfair and the automatic settlement of those bets so I get the money into my account just like in a bookmaker.
“Those efficiencies of a bookmaker we absolutely want to keep, and you’ll even see in some elements of the user experience we’ve kept things very similar to a bookmaker because we don’t need to differentiate there as it’s what people have an ease and understanding in how to use. But where we do want to differentiate is that you’re betting against a friend here, it’s a lot more social. You’re not turning into an anti-social behaviour that uses these efficient apps. We just give you these efficiencies with a fun and social element attached, and that I think enables us to drive the retention and the usage that’s required to make this work and to drive repeat bets.”
Robinson is joined at the helm of Wager by fellow Oxford University graduate Leo Barnes.