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Betr Co-Founder Joey Levy Looks To Change World One Bet At A Time

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 7 mins

Betr Co-Founder Joey Levy Looks To Change World One Bet At A Time

Joey Levy doesn’t want to change the entire world. 

Just the way people use sports betting sites, where they bet, and how they watch the games upon which they bet. 

Levy is the co-founder and CEO of Betr, a sports betting app that officially launched real-money wagering in Massachusetts on May 10, when Massachusetts sports betting became legal. 

The self-described “disruptor” app, co-founded by social media influencer and part-time boxer Jake Paul, went live in Ohio earlier this year. Its next stop will be Virginia. 

Betr offers a distinctive experience from its interface, to the way it presents odds and potential payouts, to its focus on in-game, or so-called, "mircrobetting."

RELATED: Massachusetts Sports Betting: April Handle, Revenue Figures Remain Strong

What is Microbetting?

What is microbetting? Think being able to wager on whether the next pitch thrown to Mike Trout will be a strike, ball, or a home run. Or whether LeBron James will score the next time he touches the ball? Or will Aaron Rodgers’ next play be a pass or a run? Will it result in a first down or not?

“It’s the fastest growing segment sports betting marketplace from a product standpoint,” Levy told Bookies.com in an exclusive interview recently. 

“You’re not just enabling consumers to bet on who's going to win or lose a game, you're enabling people to bet on the discreet moments within the game.”

Levy believes these quick, intense betting experiences offers the best glimpse into what the future of sports betting will be. It turns the wait of days and weeks of futures betting, or the minutes and hours of traditional betting, into mere seconds. 

Levy calls it “true instant gratification to the sports betting consumer experience in a responsible manner.” 

That phrase, “instant gratification," has raised concern. 

And that worries those who say the rapid-fire nature of microbetting flies in the face of responsible gambling behavior.

“That heavy frequency is associated with gambling problems,” Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling said via The Associated Press. “You can get a hit of dopamine every few seconds; it’s more akin to playing a slot machine than betting on sports. People can get in this trance-like state where they just try to stay in action and bet repeatedly just to feel that same kind of high.”

Betr Co-Founder Joey Levy Looks To Change World One Bet At A Time 1

Image courtesy of betr.app

Levy concurs and readily admits betting should be viewed as “entertainment” to enhance the sports fan’s experience, and that in the long run, consumers should expect to lose money and that the house always wins.  His company does not accept credit card wagers, even if they happen to be allowed by regulators.

“We don’t want people to lose money they don’t have,” he said. Betr has voluntarily put a monthly limit of $2,500 on deposits for customers under 25. 

“This is a form of entertainment value. The analogy that I use a lot is that betting on sports should be like going to a movie. You're spending $15 or $20 on a movie ticket, and you're not getting anything intrinsically valuable in return for that 15 or $20 spend other than two hours of entertainment, which is exactly what all of these sports betting products experiences should be,” he said. 

Betr Less Than A Year Old, Already In Two States

Levy and Paul announced their plans for Miami-based Betr last August after they secured $50 million in funding. Less than 10 months later, the app is operating in two states with a third close behind.

There have been some potholes. Paul and seven other celebrities were charged in April by the SEC for “illegally touting” two cryptocurrency securities without disclosing that he was compensated for doing so. Paul agreed to pay $400,000 to settle the case without admitting any wrongdoing. 

Through March in Ohio, Betr ranked 15th of 17 operators with a combined handle of $2,718,121. For comparison, FanDuel's handle was $985,948,000 and DraftKings tallied $786,349,000 in handle.

When Levy’s company launched in Massachusetts, he mentioned the other six online betting sites that had already launched in the Bay State in the company’s press release. That is a rarity. Operators almost never publicly mention the name of their competitors. In BetMGM’s 2022 annual report, the company noted it was third in market share behind “Competitor No. 1” and Competitor No. 2.” They are known to the rest of the free world as DraftKings and FanDuel. 

Levy holds no such pretension. He respects the other operators in the sports betting space. Even if they’ve all gotten it wrong. To point. To Levy, they are all basically the same site, with simply different color schemes and odds. 

The full betting experience offered by Betr is not currently found anywhere else on any licensed betting app in the United States

Speaking at the SBC Summit North America last week on a panel with Levy, Sportradar President and CEO Andrem Bimson estimated that microbetting could generate $20 billion in handle by 2027. 

Betr Builds Betting Business From Social Audience 

Betr’s interface is clean with few offerings on its home page. Wagers are all posted in a way where payouts are shown vs. a one-unit bet. There are no moneyline odds shown with plus or minus symbols. The goal, Levy said, is to have a site that someone can use the first time without having any previous betting knowledge. 

“When I started betting, I had no idea what -170 meant. My guess is that a lot of other people don’t know, either” Levy said.

Betr’s plan is to grow its betting business from its existing base of social followers. Levy said his company has converted 20% of its social audience in Ohio to its betting app. 

“You're never going to see us spend the type of money on traditional advertising that you see elsewhere,” he said. “It feels like those businesses are spending money on advertising as if they're car insurance companies, except (the insurance) advertising is funny.” 

Looking For The iPhone Moment

There are major challenges for microbetting in the current time-space continuum. In 2023, the only ways one can experience any major sporting event in real-time with zero delays are either in person or via terrestrial radio. 

Broadcast, cable, satellite, online, and social video streams and feeds all come with a delay. Levy said those delays average between 7 and 10 seconds. NFL Network broadcasts, however, are often a full play behind the action. 

Levy is realistic about the world in which his company operates. He views his company as a “pioneer” when it comes to altering this slice of the Multiverse. 

Whatever the gap is between the real-time action and your personal method of consumption is just one more challenge to eventually be breached by technology, Levy said. 

The technology for zero-lag broadcasts/streams will evolve quicker than the powers that be will enable it to be implemented. Broadcast rights deliver billions of dollars to major league teams. Fans are used to a second screen. And as the population ages overall, larger screens are going to be as much a matter of necessity as convivence. 

“There's a lot of legacy industries that are really kind of gatekeeping businesses that are slowly decaying and preventing the end consumer from consuming sports the way they should be,” Levy said. “We're not just disrupting legacy gambling, but legacy media, too. If you were to start ESPN today from scratch, I think you'd start it the way we've started Betr Media, (with) an exclusive focus on original and short-form content efforts on social and expand from there.”

Betting has proven to be catalyst for increased engagement. 

“Just 1% of incremental engagement per league is worth literally billions of dollars of revenue given the value of their media,” Levy said. 

That is the primary reason why leagues like the NFL, which once would not allow the mention of “Las Vegas” during telecasts, now fully embrace legal betting. The NFL has a team in Las Vegas. And Super Bowl 58 will be played in Sin City next February.

So, the days of being able to watch and wager on games in one place, on one screen, in real-time, with no delays, might not be so far off.

“That'll be the iPhone moment of this industry,” Levy said. “When consumers see it, and people at the leagues see it, and media companies see it, and investors see it, and just marketplace see it, it will become clear that this will be the inevitable way that sports fans engage with sports going forward. We're positioning ourselves to be at the forefront.” 

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.