Esports has been on the rise in North America, permeating the mainstream several times over in increasing frequency with each passing year, and with it, esports betting has become a new frontier on the horizon of the expanding space.
As technology continues to develop at an exponentially increasing pace, esports betting, like any fiscal transaction in a virtual medium, relies on streamlined, convenient services for its would-be users. In empowering gamers to bet on their own games, Betti Games is looking to redefine autonomy, authenticity and user-friendliness in esports betting with Betti, an Instant Messenger-based platform for games of skill.
Why people bet on esports
Esports betting was already legal in Las Vegas, but recently, states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania have also individually legalized the practice. Popular sports betting apps like FanDuels have adjusted to the changes in litigation by offering esports betting in applicable states, but esports betting has expanded beyond wagers on premiere competitions.
Esports betting has provided new opportunities within the esports community in ways traditional sports cannot due to the esports community’s intrinsic interconnection with the digital space. Esports fan bases are cultivated organically almost entirely online due to the digital nature of video games, and the technical knowhow possessed by the average esports fan is by default required to be at a higher level than the average sports fan.
Another reason esports betting has become popular is the variety available in terms of one’s preference. Countless esports competitions happen around the clock worldwide through hundreds of gaming titles, but the opportunity to wager does not stop there.
Due to the interconnectivity of video games, there is always a game going on with enough people to play, which is something that wasn’t always true before the digital age. If there weren’t enough players at the local court, the basketball game simply couldn’t happen. Because gamers can be connected worldwide, the very experience of playing one’s own games has become an opportunity to make a wager.
Skill-based betting is legal and unregulated in 38 of the 50 United States, and companies like Unikrn have provided players in those states with the opportunity to bet on one’s own games from the comfort of their homes through the Unikrn app.
Betti Games plans to build upon the convenience aspect of peer-to-peer esports betting by allowing gamer communities to securely wager on their Instant Messenger-based platform, without the requirement of downloading a new app. Its cross channel approach allows gamers to bet with and against one another on their preferred Instant Messenger such as Discord or Skype.
Not only can users bet with their trusted friends within their Betti gamer network, but the platform will also allow strangers to connect with one another for betting on their favorite games. Betti will also serve as an eSports content hub with links to streaming and eSports journalism sites, in order to keep users engaged even when they are not actively betting.
Insights from CEO David Strashnoy
Betti’s focus on secure, convenient peer-to-peer wagers not only eases transactional difficulty and logistics, but its integration into major instant messaging platforms allows it to reach a potentially much larger audience than a competitor service provided through a designated app. Betti Games CEO David Strashnoy spoke to Inven Global about Betti’s inception, the problems it aims to solve, and what users can expect from Betti in the near future.
“The core thesis of Betti is that gamers enjoy legally betting on skill-based video games, and are already doing it within their communities for a variety of reasons ranging from monetizing their skills (for competitive gamers) to just making the game more exciting and meaningful (for casual gamers),” Strashnoy explained. "Legal skill-based betting simply enhances the experience for many gamers."
"The problem we saw is that there just isn’t a streamlined and secure way of doing this,” Strashnoy continued. “Gamer communities are settling their legal skill-based bets through various ad hoc methods like cash payments, Venmo or similar apps, or complicated spreadsheets.
Betti is not an app and does not require any downloads. It piggybacks/integrates onto existing instant messenger infrastructure. Users engage with Betti as a contact on their IM contact list, just like they do with any of their friends. So you can think of it as messaging your personal bookie to facilitate a wager on a skill-based game you are about to play.”
Strashnoy also confirmed a closed, invite-only Beta within the next two months, and is adopting a starting point of focus on Overwatch, Fortnite, and APEX Legends, along with various titles within the Fighting Game Community. An open Beta is tentatively planned within the next six months, and Betti Games may pursue the opportunity of a white label version for established gaming operators as a supplement to their existing platforms.