We all know how popular dating apps have been in recent history. Apps like Tinder saw a meteoric rise in popularity, de-bunking the previous negative stereotypes surrounding around online data. It now appears that gambling is taking its first tentative steps into the world of swiping left for no and right for yes. The pioneers of this potential new industry segment are the founders of Bookee, Adam Wilson and Adam Kalmanson. Both strongly believe they are bringing the gambling process into the 21st century.
Looking through the product, it certainly stream-lines the process. The basic app interface offers players a randomised "deck" of suggested small-stake, personally selected bets on a range of sports and events, giving the consumer the opportunity to swipe either left to discard or right to accept the bet. For casual gamblers this is a godsend - the process of finding a bet and placing the bet has had multiple processes removed – reducing the interaction to a simple ‘left swipe’ or ‘right swipe’.
It is a clever idea and certainly seeks to expand the accessibility and ease of gambling. However, Heads&Heads believes Bookee will quickly run into some stiff resistance. Firstly, they are not partnering with bookmakers, instead the odds are powered by FSB, who are essentially a supplier of sports betting odds. Secondly, this is going to draw the attention of those already concerned about the ‘gamification’ of gambling. This is not the sort of attention a company like this wants.
Let’s breakdown the above points a little more. Starting with the way they supply their odds. First, a bit of background on FSB. This is a platform that allows any company to run an online betting and gambling business end to end. They are the ones suppling the odds to Bookee. FSB power other bookmakers such as Genting Bet, Dafabet and 21 Bet. Bookee being partnered with FSB is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does bring them into the firing line of all the big bookmakers, who will have better odds and far more markets for consumers to bet on. In short, Bookee are in a race against time to carve out their own market share before the bigger bookmakers decide to build on Bookee’s idea and integrate such a service into their own apps.
Secondly, we have the ever-looming presence of regulation. The betting industry is currently under a lot of pressure to address the issue of addiction. Not too long ago, Heads&Heads wrote a blog discussing how Government planned to place further restrictions on how bookmakers operate. The idea that gambling could become ‘gamified’ is going to draw a lot of attention the industry could do without. Bookee is a platform whose primary goal appears to be to make betting both easy and, more importantly, addictive. For anyone who has used Tinder before, you’ll know that the process of swiping through a sea of strangers is both easy and surprisingly addictive.
Now that Bookee is looking to evolve this process to involve money, it’s a “safe bet” that legislation will be quick to follow. With the payment system looking to be linked up to a user’s app store, you can be sure it won’t be long before a stream of complaints flood in – from outraged parents who are staring at hundreds of pounds’ worth of bets placed by their kid using their Android Play account.
Heads&Heads will watch the rise (or fall) of Bookee with interest!