Varun Sudhakar, BetDEX CEO

"The gambling industry is characterized by companies misaligned with their customers and Web3 provides the rails to fix this"

Varun Sudhakar, CEO & Co-founder of BetDEX.
Reading time 3:30 min

Earlier this week, sports betting exchange BetDEX announced it is now licensed and regulated by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC), thus becoming “the first fully-licensed regulated sports betting exchange on blockchain,” according to web3 company BetDEX Labs.

BetDEX Labs is founded by former FanDuel executives Varun Sudhakar, CEO; Stuart Tonner, CTO; and Nigel Eccles, Chairman. The BetDEX exchange was first announced last year, billed as “the world's first decentralized sports betting exchange," under the mission to bring crypto to sports betting and revolutionize the industry for consumers.

Yogonet spoke in an exclusive interview with CEO Varun Sudhakar on this latest landmark achievement for BetDEX and the doors being licensed opens to the exchange. Additionally, Sudhakar discusses the opportunities Web3 technology provides to the gaming industry at large, what's next for BetDEX, and more.

BetDEX Labs is now licensed and regulated by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC). How was this milestone achieved, and what does it mean for the company?

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) is one of the premier global regulatory bodies for sports betting. BetDEX underwent comprehensive diligence as part of the licensing application and approval process.

In particular, BetDEX provided detailed information to the GSC on the following areas: Corporate entity structure; Business model & operating plan; Player protection processes and procedures; Platform exchange operations; Regulatory compliance.

With the receipt of this license, BetDEX will be able to operate a sports betting exchange in a licensed and regulated manner in various jurisdictions around the world. 

BetDEX's executive team

What advantages will being a first mover provide to the exchange? Additionally, the license grants BetDEX approval for other forms of online gambling and gaming. Is this something BetDEX Labs has an interest in exploring in the future?

Being the first fully licensed and regulated sports betting exchange on blockchain allows us to a) instill trust in our customers that they are gambling on a platform that has underwent a stringent diligence process as it relates to player protection and b) paves a path forward for the rest of the industry as to how one might operate a highly regulated business in web3.

Sports betting is BetDEX’s focus for the next 12-18 months. However, we will remain responsive to our customers' needs and are prepared to operate other approved gaming activities if the opportunity arises. 

Which opportunities does the Web3 space offer to the gambling industry, and where do you see this new landscape headed in the near future?

The gambling industry has historically been characterized by companies who are inherently misaligned with their customers as they a) take the other side of the bet against their customers and/or b) tax their ‘smart’ players. This leads to a culture of distrust where as a bettor you have no loyalty to the platform you use.

Web3 provides the gambling industry the rails to fix this. Operators can offer low fees as they can build on open-sourced technology and don’t need a proprietary back-end. Companies don’t have to hold your money (or even touch it) as all bets can be held on public smart contracts and disbursed in an automated fashion, instilling additional trust in users. All of this will help build a healthy ecosystem where operators do not need to limit or tax their profitable players.  

The new license follows the BetDEX Exchange’s recently launched Open Beta, which has seen it accept wagers from over 12,000 early access members. What are your main takeaways from this beta, and what was customer reception like throughout it?

Having 12,000 unique crypto wallets connected to the BetDEX Exchange in just a few weeks exceeded our expectations and helped validate that there is a customer need in web3 for a sports betting platform.

Activity has remained high throughout the beta and users are certainly not afraid to voice their opinion and provide feedback. Overall, users have indicated that they are pleased with the platform, the UI and the existing functionality; they are eager to see additional product features built and markets offered. This aligns well as it will be a focus of ours for 2023. 

The BetDEX Exchange is the first sports betting application developed on top of the Monaco Protocol, built on public blockchain Solana. What are the protocol’s defining features and what sets it apart?

The Monaco Protocol will be decentralized, open-sourced and permissionless. It consists of a fully on-chain matching algorithm and orderbook which can serve as an open-source infrastructure for global prediction markets. We are excited to see what other builders use the protocol for.

Community members from Samoyedcoin are already building crypto prediction markets on top of Monaco. Other potential use cases include trading tools, betting exchanges, insurance applications, analytical platforms and more.  

The exchange currently supports peer-to-peer sports wagering on soccer. What additional sports are next on the roadmap, and are there launched dates set for them?

There are no set launch dates yet. Football will be the first sport we launch with though we expect that to be followed by other high-liquidity sports such as tennis, basketball and cricket. Stay tuned for specific information on launch dates.

Rodrigo Capeans
by Rodrigo Capeans
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