It’s time to place your bets! Sports wagering is definitely on.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a federal law that previously made it illegal to bet on sports events in any state other than Nevada opens up a new world of opportunities for sports companies and related startups.
The unprecedented convenience of online wagering, including mobile, certainly comes as extremely welcome news to sports betting app developers, while simultaneously enabling new avenues for eSports, sports social media and a wide range of analytics platforms to pursue.
Not surprisingly, the new sports betting ecosystem includes a plethora of sports-related startups, all competing for a piece of the potentially lucrative industry as it hits the mainstream.
But which startups are making the most significant initial impact and showing the brightest signs of success? Observing the latest reports, some trends become apparent.
The sports betting ecosystem has been harnessing the advantages of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, especially when it comes to establishing reliable and trustworthy environments for bettors and bookmakers. Matt Corva, counsel for ConsenSys, told Bloomberg, “A betting business built on blockchain technology might assuage some of the historical concerns held by people about sports betting in the U.S., such as the threat of collusion, money laundering, and tax evasion, all of which would be more easily identifiable and enforceable with a trustworthy shared ledger and the robust identity frameworks blockchain can provide.”
At the same time, legalized sports betting is further driving sports fans’ demand for viewing live sports content. Thus, it stands to reason that a number of emerging startups are trying to seize the opportunity and fulfill bettors’ demand for information.
Here are some interesting sports startups which are gaining momentum and taking advantage of the broad opportunities in this rapidly growing industry.
Proof of Toss aims to modernize the betting landscape by building a decentralized system powered by blockchain. With the hope to “set a new standard for the industry” with its blockchain-based protocol for sports gambling, users of the platform can create wagers, bet on events, and judge the outcome of games to compete for TOSS tokens. You can even earn rewards by participating in the platform as a judge.
Unikrn is another promising startup in the sports betting landscape with its $15 million funding round from accredited investors in advance of its public initial coin offering (ICO). Known as the only fully-licensed and regulated eSports gambling platform, Unikrn started in 2014 and is now expanding with its own ERC20 token called UnikoinGold. Users with tokens will gain access to a range of premium content, such as raffles, exclusive features, and the potential to win prizes. The firm aims to raise $100 million through the public ICO to allow for the development of an upgraded skill-based betting platform.
WinView Inc. plans to use its $12 million Series B funding round to further develop and market its skill-based mobile app across all major professional sports. With the intriguing slogan “Get paid watching sports on TV,” WinView’s platform allows fans to become play-along-live participants, thereby bringing together live TV sports coverage with mobile apps, skilled games, and interactive advertising to create an innovative experience. Users who correctly predict plays in the game can win cash prizes in addition to interacting with other fans and the teams themselves.
Wave is an interesting sports media startup just coming off a $3.3 million funding round, which included digital media visionary Larry Braitman. The company was founded in 2017 with the goal of delivering content to sports fans on the primary platforms that they use. With an impressive reach that includes a network of 24 million followers, 725 million monthly content views, and 50 million engagements per month, Wave shows great potential for expansion in the coming period. It owns and operates in excess of 100 social channels covering a wide range of sports, teams, and stars.
TAPPP, a startup sports streaming platform, enlivens the traditional digital environment by providing customers with exclusive access to premium live sports content. Currently, TAPPP distributes pre-paid card access to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) MLB.TV streaming service as well as the National Football League’s (NFL) NFL Games Pass. The cards are already available at over 5,000 retailers including Walmart and Gamestop. Although the platform does not provide any betting related features, timely access to the exclusive MLB and NFL content can make an essential difference for avid sports bettors. OurCrowd’s ADvantage Fund has just acknowledged the potential of the startup by investing $5 million to support the company’s long-term plans to extend their reach even further and to develop new sports media products.
Sports betting is poised to enter the mainstream in a big way, leading to a multitude of new players developing innovative platforms with exciting concepts to engage fans and expand the size of the relatively new yet rapidly-growing market.
Who are you betting on? What are your thoughts about startups entering the new sports betting arena? Please share your opinions in the comments below.
Russell Karp leads strategic and business development at DataArt’s Media and Entertainment Practice. In his 20+ years of technology and business consulting, Russell has spent the majority of his career focusing on implementing feature-rich, complex media platforms. He specializes in strategy, solution architecture, managing large scale projects and client relationships, with a focus on media and entertainment. Russell is an avid sports fan and a regular media commentator on sports betting, sports technology and sports industry news.