Probably not long after man first developed the ability to speak, it’s likely the first peer-to-peer wager took place, perhaps during a hunting competition to gather that night’s dinner. Since then, peer-to-peer gambling is something that has been an integral part of every society, regardless of how some may frown upon it, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. That is supported by the expansion of sports gambling around the world, and a startup looking to bring peer-to-peer gambling to the digital age is finding a lot of support. According to Bloomberg, Wagr is currently running a seed-funding round that has already attracted attention from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and others.
Peer-to-peer Sports Gambling on the Rise
Wagr was founded just over a year ago and is creating a social media/sports gambling solution for sports fans. It allows users to create their own bets and post them for gamblers to accept (or reject), instead of relying solely on the lines and odds established sportsbooks offer. The idea has reportedly drawn significant interest, with Ohanian, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, former Saks chairman and CEO Brad Martin and others getting in on the funding round. Wagr is able to count on some significant industry expertise, as the former CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Gary Loveman, is acting as an adviser.
Wagr isn’t the first sports gambling platform to offer peer-to-peer options, as companies like Sparket and others are in the game, as well. Wagr, however, is initially offering “point-spread bets only,” according to founder and CEO Mario Malave, which means that a user only has to choose a game, choose the team and choose how much to wager. This makes it so that anyone can place a bet, even those with no sports gambling experience. Eventually, the platform expects to offer moneyline bets, props, and more.
US Rollout Underway
Wagr is already in the process of securing licenses to operate in the US and reportedly has applications submitted in Tennessee and Virginia. Approval is crucial for success since states are undoubtedly not going to be amenable to seeing the app in their jurisdictions unless it’s licensed. Still, the idea is solid and, in investing in the company, Ohanian asserts that it has merit because it “[productizes] what already goes down in everyone’s group chat, which is wagers between friends about sporting outcomes.”
Online sports gambling in the US is on the rise and the market is already worth billions of dollars. Wagr is anxiously ready to launch so it can capture a percentage of the revenue, but is also working to make sure it doesn’t make too many enemies along the way. It expects to charge a platform fee to users, which will likely keep some people away, and is planning on capping single wagers at $500. It will also give users the ability to restrict their use, which should help appeal to the responsible gambling support groups.