Reddit inc. co-founder Alexis Ohanian is on the front line for a four-million-dollar round of funding for Wagr, an up-and-coming sports-betting platform that has plans for social media and sports betting integration.
Wagr is unique in the marketplace because of its focus on personal interaction between peers as opposed to forcing individuals to bet against an institution like a casino.
“It’s about productizing what already goes down in everyone’s group chat, which is wagers between friends about sporting outcomes,” said Ohanian. “Right now the way these get resolved is through a Cash App payment or a Venmo payment on Monday, and surely we can do better.”
Ohanian’s support of Wagr is another step in the rapid growth of online sports betting, following the explosion of sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel; however, it is uniquely different.
Mario Malave, Wagr’s CEO, says that the app will launch with the option to only bet on outcomes and point spreads to simplify the process and entice casual sports fans to throw down their first bet.
“From a user’s perspective, all you have to do is pick a team, decide who you want to bet against, and select how much you want to wager,” said Malave.
Wagr’s proposition is intriguing, given that there is no space in the current sports-gambling market for fans that are not totally devoted; now, friends can easily make wagers with one another on Wagr’s app and think nothing of it.
Wagr will take a percentage of profit similar to that of what traditional casinos demand in addition to charging a platform fee to access the ins and outs of the app, such as money transfers, various bets, and connecting with friends.
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Given Ohanian’s connection to Reddit and 52-million daily users in the United States, Wagr’s potential to grow would be incredibly high. Partnering with Reddit would integrate sports betting and one of the largest social media platforms, known for having a strong support system.
In March of 2021, Goldman Sachs estimated that sports betting could command a market of up to $30-billion, and Wagr seems to have widened this even more by bridging into the daily life of casual sports fans.
Wagr will launch its app first in Tennessee and Virginia, where it has submitted applications to operate and plans to extend from there.
The app will also place a $500 limit on bets to be offered to friends and colleagues and will then grant access to other in-state users if the bet is not accepted. This may seem like a subtle plan to keep the market flowing, but it also is a smart way of connecting strangers and getting them to gamble together, increasing the network of Wagr’s patrons
“Ultimately, it’s to create a healthier approach to gambling,” Ohanian said. “It’s frankly the perfect time for a business like Wagr to come in and want to build something that really disrupts the way that sports betting has traditionally been done.”
This is the second time in the past week that an investor has used the word “disrupt,” following in the footsteps of Mark Cuban and his interest in NFT development in the NBA; Wagr would do exactly what Ohanian claimed and disrupt the usual market, introducing the betting world to a horde of outsiders and making sports-gambling a common, friendly activity, as opposed to a novel a concept.
A release date is yet to be announced for Wagr’s app, but they hope to launch soon.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.