"The sports betting industry as it currently stands is a very commoditized industry. You're going to get the same betting experience essentially with any online sportsbook you pick," WagerWire CEO Zach Doctor tells Yogonet. "We know from our industry research and our growing WagerWire social community that users want something different."
With the mission to shake up the current state of the industry, WagerWire started taking its first steps toward what promises to be an innovative proposition: a model that allows bettors to buy and sell previously placed sports bets, in an integrated bet trading marketplace that offers players new optionality and a way to play line movements and momentum swings.
In conversation with Yogonet, Doctor explains what are the main reasons why many people still don't engage in sports betting, and discusses why current products do not address the needs of players. Additionally, he reflects on the importance of providing engaging and community-oriented sports betting experiences, and what to expect from WagerWire in 2023.
What is your assessment of how the online gaming sector developed in 2022? What role did WagerWire play within this context?
Even though the industry is growing rapidly, it is not so rosy under the surface. Operators are in fierce competition and are struggling with profitability. The "if you build it, they will come" model for sportsbook apps is officially dead. Bettors are begging for innovative products, engaging communities, and new betting experiences to take them beyond the commoditized betting solutions we currently have.
While new states adopted sports betting and the number of people with legal sports betting available skyrocketed, the needs of the players are not being addressed. More companies are barreling towards the same fate as Fubo Sportsbook and MaximBet because they are struggling to identify how they're going to differentiate themselves and implement a true strategic plan to execute that vision.
WagerWire is in the unique position to bring much-needed innovation to the industry. Our integrated bet trading marketplace offers players new optionality and a way to play line movements and momentum swings, while delivering operators a new channel of product differentiation, cost-effective user acquisition, and stickier engagement/retention.
A recent study on behalf of WagerWire found that lack of education is one of the major reasons why people may not engage in online betting. What other barriers do you see in the current sports betting landscape, and how does WagerWire's proposition tackle them?
It's been nearly five years since PASPA was overturned, but there are still several factors hindering mass adoption. Education is the major hurdle as users don't want to risk money on something that intimidates them and confuses them. Another major gating factor is the lack of options and sub-par experiences for bettors. People have gotten accustomed to intuitive, high-performance technology across so many different industries today, so they are left underwhelmed and frustrated with the current sports betting solutions offered. What is getting new people in the door, or bringing bettors back for more?
We created WagerWire to fundamentally improve the betting experience by unlocking new ways to capture profit or reduce losses while providing a simple, fun, and socialized user experience. WagerWire empowers bettors to treat their bets as a portfolio of assets that can be bought or sold at any time. We are passionate that we have built a game-changing utility that will provide the fresh experience bettors are longing for.
WagerWire's innovative model, which allows bettors to buy and sell previously placed sports bets, comes amid a wave of new trends within the industry, including projects built on Web3 and crypto, for instance. Do you see a demand for new experiences within sports betting? Where do you see the segment headed?
The sports betting industry as it currently stands is a very commoditized industry. You're going to get the same betting experience essentially with any online sportsbook you pick. We know from our industry research and our growing WagerWire social community that users want something different. You're beginning to see new entrants and startups in sports betting offering different experiences, from exchange models to micro-betting.
This new guard of rising sports betting companies is beginning to drive the industry forward. Some have B2C models in direct competition with the existing sportsbooks, while others like WagerWire are taking the approach of partnering with the sportsbooks to drive the evolution of the industry from within. Operators are looking for any edge to carve out market share and obtain revenue. The winners of the industry will be the ones who partner accordingly to offer their user base a best-in-class experience.
What should we expect from the sports betting industry and WagerWire in 2023? Are there any new plans or announcements you could share with us?
Going into next year, we're doubling down on our core values of delivering the ultimate bettor experience through innovative technology, fostering high levels of social engagement, and empowering players through bettor education.
Ahead of launching our platform in 2023, we've been actively growing our social community of passionate sports fans as well as our team of content creators. On Twitter, for example, we have a network of 25+ accounts, with followers totaling 250k. We put out daily articles and videos and bring on athletes and industry leaders to talk directly to the community via our Twitter Spaces that broadcast 7 days a week.
2022 was a big year for WagerWire. We closed our seed round led by Miami Marlins co-owner Roger Ehrenberg, assembled a marquee engineering team, and forged partnerships with several thought-leading companies... but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can expect a lot more from WagerWire in 2023. While we're not at liberty to make any further announcements just yet, stay tuned. We're about to make a lot of noise.