UK start-up opens up real-money gambling to app developers

A UK-based start-up is introducing a platform that will allow developers to add real-money gambling into their apps, insisting the platform can be used by developers everywhere.


Betable, founded in 2008 by chief executive Christopher Griffin, was originally launched with the intention of making it easy for people to bet on anything.


However, Griffin saw a bigger opportunity in using its licenses to help social gaming developers take on entrenched online gambling companies.


“Gambling license requirements are such a hurdle… We realised there’s a huge opportunity to disrupt that market if we can get the guys in social gaming into betting,” Griffin has said.


According to Griffin, social gaming developers are also hindered by existing game monetisation methods, which yield very low per player revenue, making it difficult to build viable businesses.


The start-up has announced a private beta developer program, with plans to open the platform to all developers before the end of the year.


The news comes after the London-based start-up – which also has an office in San Francisco – closed a “large” seed round from more than 25 investors including Greylock Discovery Fund, FF Angel Fund and True Ventures.


Griffin said in a blog that Betable is “doing something unique in a highly regulated industry”, but insists the company’s lawyers and investors are “completely behind” its platform model.


“In compliance with [UK Gaming Computers] regulations, Betable’s servers are located in the UK,” Griffin said.


“Betable handles all of the gambling and gambling-related functions of a developer’s game. Neither developers nor their games ever touch any gambling or gambling-related activity.”


“As a result, all gambling and betting occurs in the UK, under UK legal jurisdiction.”


Griffin said since all gambling and betting activity is hosted and operated by Betable, developers who build games on the Betable platform don’t require their own licenses.


“Since developers are not involved in any gambling activity, developers located anywhere in the world… can use Betable’s platform,” he said.


According to Griffin, Betable only allows players in legal online gambling jurisdictions to play Betable games for real money, which should help put developers’ minds at ease.


“Betable blocks users who are prohibited from making real-money wagers, including underage players, at-risk players, players who cannot be identified and players using anonymous proxies,” he said.


“To do so, we use various state-of-the-art methods, including but not limited to identity verification, age verification, geolocation checks and IP checks.”


Griffin claims that by partnering with Betable, developers will see “huge increases” in their average revenue per use and average customer lifetime value.


Betable is projecting that developers who use its platform can expect to make $300 a month from the average user and receive $1,800 of customer lifetime value from them.


It’s that kind of payoff that is motivating companies such as Zynga to also explore the idea of real-money gaming.


Zynga confirmed earlier this year it is in talks with partners about the prospect of introducing gambling into its games. It’s been reported Facebook is also exploring the idea.


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