For those of you who don’t know, around a year ago, a number of companies started appearing who claimed to have cracked the riddle of how you can create a business around social network betting. It is no secret that the gambling industry is woefully behind the times when it comes to social media, a fact which has continued to baffle onlookers, due to the obvious communal aspect that comes with betting. I mean, when was the last time you saw a bookmaker TV advert showing a gambler placing bets on his computer, alone?
It is this gap that companies like WantMyBet and Betfect have sought to fill, attempting to re-create the feel that has been achieved by so many tipster pages/accounts that litter Facebook and Twitter. Now to be clear, WantMyBet and Betfect are not bookmakers, but they do rely on bookmakers to exist. So, does this make them glorified affiliates? A tempting comparison, but perhaps not a fair one due to the sheer effort being put in by these two companies to carve out a genuine space in the market.
The basic idea here is simple enough. Create a site where users can share betting tips with each other and place themselves on a leaderboard, which they can then climb up depending on the success of their tips.
How then do you place bets on these sites? Well, that is when the comparisons to the affiliate model become rather apparent. Take WantMyBet for example; they are partnered with Ladbrokes, William Hill and BoyleSports. These three bookmakers have shared their API (Application Programming Interface) with WantMyBet, allowing the latter’s users to register, place bets and withdraw winnings without ever having to visit the bookmakers site.
At Heads&Heads, we can appreciate the rather elegant simplicity of this model. However, we do question how long bookmakers will tolerate the growth of a market they themselves should be dominating. We cannot possible know the deal that has been made between WantMyBet and its partners. If we were to purely speculate, we’d imagine that WantMyBet receive some form of commission or compensation for every bet their user places with the bookmakers using the site.
Doing deals with the devil is never a smart idea and whilst, in all probability, the partnership is harmonious, you can bet that these bookmakers didn’t just hand over their API and commission without something substantial in return. In this world driven by data, we don’t think it’d be a stretch to assume this was the currency being used.
This could be a problem for those using WantMyBet. Just like a leopard never changes its spots, bookmakers will always “hate” winners. Which is a problem if WantMyBet’s partners have access to what users are doing on, not just their site, but other bookmaker sites as well. Spotting professional gamblers/winners who place bets with multiple bookmakers and have a habit of bringing in significant winnings just became a lot easier. Now, of course, there is the possibility that WantMyBet have contractually negotiated immunity from restrictions for their members……but we doubt it.
However, Heasd&Heads is going to stop being a doomsayer now and say that, if there are gamblers out there who just place the odd bet for fun and enjoy the social aspect, then WantMyBet and Betfect are perfect.
So, what does this all mean for us matched bettors? Well, in the next couple of years…. not a lot. The gambling industry is a slow-moving beast and sites like these are highly unlikely to rise to prominence. Their existence relies on the bookmaker’s willingness to provide their API, and as soon as the equation does not favour the bookmaker they will pull the plug. However, what it will do is accelerate the development of mobile betting platforms, and this could affect matched betting.
It may affect us, not only in the types of offers that begin to become more prominent (mobile ones for example, a trend we already see starting with Ladbrokes and Unibet), but also in how platforms like Heads&Heads operates. As you may rightly assume, these are all problems for Heads&Heads to worry about, not you, the user. With mobile platforms making gambling more accessible, we are actually likely to see an increase in available reload offers.
We’ll finish this article with a cheeky jab at those who think tip sharing increases your chances against the bookmaker. The below image should be vindication for us matched bettors, because if there was a leaderboard of Heads&Heads you’d be seeing nothing but green!