Startups Starting to Jump Into US Legalized Sports Betting Market

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The United States is open for business.  This was the message delivered just over two weeks ago when the Supreme Court ruled all states can now offer legalized sports wagering.

Not all states will, and those that do will need to set up the necessary framework and regulatory components.

Readyfire Inc. is one startup firm Bloomberg profiled on Tuesday itching to enter the new market.

Tom King's company is developing games that will appeal to people who are unlikely ever to set foot in a casino or cultivate a relationship with the neighborhood bookie, Bloomberg's Joshua Brustein writes.  Halftime is one such game that takes place in between play and has thus far attacted some 6000 users since February, weeks prior to the Supreme Court ruling. 

"Now that it's legal, there will be a broadening of the market, where people are open to doing sports bets," King said.

From Bloomberg News:

A lot of stars have to align before a startup can start taking bets through a smartphone app. Even if many states do liberalize their laws, each will likely have different standards and licensing requirements. It will be very expensive to navigate this world. Officials could support sports gambling while balking at signing off on smartphone apps striving to make compulsive gambling as simple as Candy Crush.

WinView Inc. is another startup looking to capitalize on the new market.  It was started by the former owner of the Washington Post, TV company Discovery Inc., and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns several sports teams.

The concept incorporates a quizlike theme where people can make a series of predictions as to what will occur during a particular matchup similar to the LIVE IN-PLAY WAGERING model that has exploded in popularity in recent years.

Tom Rogers, the former CEO of TiVo, is WinView's executive chairman and believes such contests are already legal since they are considered games of skill rather than gambling.

"We will certainly be active in the gambling market, I don't want to say it changes our roadmap," he told Bloomberg.

Paul Martino, a general partner at the venture capital firm Bullpen Capital and a co-founder of Readyfire, believes the ambiguity in the market right now helps startups willing to take risks. He should know, Martino was an early investor in the Daily Fantasy Sports company FanDuel, which last week was purchased by online gambling powerhouse Paddy Power.

Martino says that Readyfire’s plan is to walk right up to the line of what lawmakers will tolerate, snapping up customers while more cautious companies wait for the legal situation to clear up. "Only startups are going to do this," he told Bloomberg.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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