Becoming frustrated with a product usually just results in a customer walking away, but PeerGaming’s Founder Richard Owoyemi is no ordinary consumer. When he became frustrated with the sportsbook experience, he decided to develop an alternative.
The result is the X-LEAGUE peer-to-peer betting platform, which combines elements from pool betting and daily fantasy sports, and adds in a gamification model to drive long-term player engagement.
SBC Americas caught up with Owoyemi to discover why he believes X-LEAGUE will appeal to everyone from battle-hardened punters to sports fans who have never previously placed a bet, and how the platform could help sportsbook operators to acquire new players.
SBC: You describe yourself as a “frustrated sports bettor turned game designer”. What frustrations persuaded you to begin work on your own platform?
Richard Owoyemi: Like most bettors, I hate that heartbreaking moment when you discover that just one pick has rendered five, seven, or ten winning selections useless in a parlay bet.
Initially, this experience appears challenging and fun to most bettors. However, over time it evolves into an irritation that leads recreational bettors like me to quit gambling.
This frustration led me to ponder ideas for a peer-to-peer sports betting model that would complement the experience I had with fixed-odds wagering.
SBC: Could you give our readers an overview of the X-LEAGUE peer-to-peer betting platform and its unique features?
RO: X-LEAGUE merges components from pool betting and daily fantasy sports to create the most advanced, yet acceptable, sports betting model.
It uses traditional betting odds to resolve its guaranteed prize pool contest. You can either bet as an individual against other single players or form a syndicate with your friends to bet against other teams.
Also, it has a notable functionality that allows players to cross their contest selections to a sportsbook to boost their potential winnings.
SBC: From a player’s perspective, how does X-LEAGUE differ from the established betting exchange model?
RO: The X-LEAGUE bet engine uses multiple selections, while the established betting exchange model operates with single bets. This distinctive nature of both betting models defines the type of players they can appeal to.
For instance, the exchange model applies mainly to sophisticated bettors like the sharps and arbitrage wagerers. At the same time, X-LEAGUE benefits all player categories found in the fixed-odds wagering model like sharps, semi-pros, and recreational bettors.
SBC: Gamification for betting platforms has been discussed for a long time but has proved challenging to achieve. How do the gamification elements work on X-LEAGUE, and what makes them different from those seen on other products?
RO: Successful gamification often gives its intended players social clouts for it to attain stickiness. And we believe bragging rights on a state, national, and world stage based on a player’s skill level will appeal to sports bettors.
Like other products, we use features like a leaderboard, trophies, and badges. However, what differentiates us from others is our overarching vision for gamification – how about making a famous bettor from last year’s betting season a brand ambassador?
SBC: With US sportsbooks struggling with soaring player acquisition costs in an increasingly competitive market, how can the X-LEAGUE help operators to reach new players?
RO: When I placed my first bet in 2016, my friend, who knew how to bet, taught me the basics. Operators’ existing customers onboarding new users is a behavior that can be leveraged to achieve a virtuous flywheel cycle for gaining new players.
In X-LEAGUE, the team play contest allows players to join forces with friends who probably have no knowledge of betting, and it would be their responsibility to teach them and unintentionally become an operator’s best salesperson.
SBC: And finally, what are your long-term plans for X-LEAGUE, both in terms of product development and building the brand?
RO: Admittedly, there is so much work to be done. There are exciting competitions like national and world sports betting competitions in the future of X-LEAGUE.
We are also planning sponsorships and advertising opportunities for top brands that want to target new audiences, and integration with numerous operators in different countries that would like to add X-LEAGUE to their product portfolios.
We intend to do all this by partnering with a commercial technology partner with a daily fantasy operation experience.