Reid Rooney, Founder and CEO of sports betting advice website Betsperts.com, talks about crowd-sourcing, building sporting communities and engaging with the rapidly growing US sports wagering sector.
Can you detail how Betsperts has built its US sports community, engaging audiences through data and crowd-sourcing dynamics?
Betsperts has built a platform for users to finally allow the sports betting community to trust each other. We offer full transparency, accountability, and reliability for every pick submitted and tracked by every single user. Due to Betsperts being open and crowd-sourced that allows our users to find a very granular level of expertise. A perfect example is that I played baseball in the MAC. I might not be the best college football bettor, but I do pay more attention to the MAC than most gamblers. People might want to trust me for MAC football or even more specifically for Central Michigan Football bets. They can see my records as specific to the team and the bet type in whatever time frame they want. This allows users to find any specific expert they may be looking for.
Why have you placed such a high emphasis on crowd-sourcing as a community competency, what do you feel that this discipline brings in value over traditional data resourcing capabilities?
We have found that we have some incredible gamblers on our site that previously didn’t have a way to prove that they were good. Other platforms you can manipulate your record and picks. Without crowd-sourcing the data and expertise we wouldn’t being giving these users a voice, but rather we’d just be feeding them who we determine experts are like every other site.
If you look at many other emerging markets or technology companies they are crowd-sourcing as well. It is what our target market of users is used to and expects. We want to provide a community where everyone has a chance to be heard and or to find their niche.
If you were going to a White Sox game no other platform can you find the best White Sox bettors in the first five innings over/unders over the last three months while being able to see their pick and potentially some analysis on that pick for free. This type of example is why we stress crowd-sourcing and think it is the way of the future for sports gambling expertise.
What do traditional sports stakeholders misunderstand about crowd-sourcing and developing sports communities?
The biggest misunderstanding is why would people want crowd-sourcing data? A lot of traditional media companies think that sports gamblers want to just be force fed data from personalities or industry “experts”. There are some that want that, but gamblers just want to win. If I find a Mountain West gambler who has an impressive track record on Betsperts I don’t care if he or she was on TV or even in the gambling space. Our users just care that they are better at Mountain West games than our users and can follow their picks and win together. Gamblers want to win. That is what we are helping them to do by eventually having a platform with the most experts in the world no matter how granular the user’s level of expertise may be.
What have you made of US betting products to date, and how do you see Betsperts engaging with US betting market incumbents?
It is an exciting and frustrating market. It is exciting because so many states are legalizing, but it is frustrating because they are all legalizing with different laws and regulations. The good news for Betsperts is that we don’t have any actual gambling (just our mock sportsbook to track your bets) so we don’t need to worry about the regulations. Would it be nice to have every state be as friendly to sports gambling as New Jersey is? Yes, but that is unrealistic. We need to work with all of the operators, suppliers, and incumbents as you mention to make sure our user base gets all the accurate data, lines, odds, information, and any edges we can discover for them.
The people and the companies in the industry could not be more welcoming and friendly as everyone is trying to navigate the “Wild Wild West” of US sports gambling. It will be fascinating to see where the market is in five years and to see where Betsperts fits in then as well.
The upcoming NFL season will test all US sports stakeholders. What makes the NFL season so unique for US sports stakeholders?
It is a great time of the year because it is when everyone gambles the most. It is ‘gambling Christmas’, or some who work in the industry may think it is like tax day for accountants. This football season is a race to acquire users and retain them moving forward. Each year the market will get more and more crowded. It is imperative to have a loyal user base moving forward. Each company in the space needs to continue to innovate and bring value as the US sports gambling market evolves. This football season is the launching pad for it all.
Looking forward, what are Betsperts short and long term ambitions?
We are currently raising a $3m seed round. We have some early interest and have had some great conversations within the industry and the VC world as well. The fall of 2019 will be all about user acquisition, technology improvements/additions, and finalizing our fundraising. It is a bit of a hectic time, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Moving forward our goal will be to grow our user base and continue to expand upon being the largest US crowdsourced social media platform specific to sports gambling.