On today’s show, Will Armitage of BestOdds.com joins us to talk about their sports betting website focused on shopping for the best pricing when it comes to odds.

Ryan Knuppel:

Hey. What’s going on, everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show episode 147. Thank you so much for supporting this show and everything we do to give a little attention to what we like to call the best industry in the world, the sports betting/iGaming industry. We love everything about it, and we hope you really enjoy this show.

Ryan Knuppel:

Today, we have another really special guest. We’re always bringing on some of the big players in this industry, and we provided again today. We have a great guest in store for you. But first things first. If you have any questions, any comments as we go through this interview, this talk, please put it in whatever chat you’re in. We will see it. We will pop it up. We’ll ask the hard questions if they come up. So, make sure you add those in whatever you’re watching on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Twitter. Wherever you’re watching this, make sure you add that.

Ryan Knuppel:

So, without further ado, I’m going to bring on my guest, Will Armitage of BestOdds.com. Will, thank you so much for joining me.

Will Armitage:

Pleasure, sir. Lovely to be here. Best-

Ryan Knuppel:

Really appreciate it. Yeah, I’m super excited to get into this. But first of all, man, how have you been? Just personally, how you been?

Will Armitage:

Well, fighting a bit of COVID and concussion. Double dose.

Ryan Knuppel:

The two C’s.

Will Armitage:

I know. The two C’s, evil C’s. Yeah. COVID… I’m actually based in Germany at the moment, and it swept through here, sadly, as it seems to be sweeping everywhere. And then concussion, walking my son to play soccer and he stumbled. I did the fatherly thing. I tried to save him and properly smashed my head on the frozen pavement. And yeah, in concussion protocol, shall we say, currently.

Ryan Knuppel:

The two C’s you never want to be dealing with. Well, I’m glad to see that you’re here. I’m glad that you are feeling good from COVID and wish you all the best in those terms. I know I went through it now over a year ago, I think. Me and my family went through the COVID thing and luckily all felt good afterwards and feeling good now. So, hopefully we can get past this and move on.

Ryan Knuppel:

But anyway, let’s get on to bigger and better things. Let’s talk a little bit about yourself. Before we jump into BestOdds.com, Will, tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe your background that led you up to where you are today.

Will Armitage:

Well, I think it’s, yeah, it’s no real surprise I’ve ended up in this industry. I think one of my earliest memories is probably around the age of five or six, so in the very early ’80s, and I’d be sitting on the kitchen floor before my dad went off to work. He was a stockbroker and a big gambler. He loved the horse racing. He had race horses. And I grew up looking at the newspaper and trying to find the share prices of the shares he’d bought for me, and then who my favorite jockey was, and he’d look at it and say, “Okay, so what happened yesterday?” And my favorite jockey at the time, he was always fighting a great American jockey called Steve Cauthen. But my favorite jockey was a guy called Willie Carson. And so Dad would say, “Right, try and find the results.” I’d go through the results and say, “Did Willie win yesterday?” He’d go, “Ah, he won at seven to two,” which in my line is plus 350. And he said, “I was there and I got four to one.” And I’d be like, “You what?” And so, that sort of guarded this knowledge of, okay, seeking out the best odds from a young age and trying to find value.

Will Armitage:

And sort of fast forward 40 years, I spent 12 years in the online spread betting industry. I used to do lots of summer work experience in sports betting businesses. So, after 10 years of being a very active Angel investor, when the opportunity came up to acquire or sort of take possession of BestOdds.com, it was too exciting an opportunity to turn down, as the phenomenon that’s going to be the U.S. market evolves. And yeah, we want to be there.

Ryan Knuppel:

I love that story, and I love that you knew it was in your blood, right? I mean, some of us that have been in this industry forever, it’s like you look back on your history and on what you’ve done, and you’re like, like you said, “Yeah, it totally makes sense why I’m where I am today, why I’m there, because I did this, this, and this, and it all just adds up.” So, it’s kind of funny to look at how your career starts to form based on what your interests are and what you do. So, that’s a really cool story.

Ryan Knuppel:

So, tell me a little bit about BestOdds.com. So, you mentioned the acquisition of it and all that. Tell us the story about how it started.

Will Armitage:

How it started? Well, I have my co-founder with whom we worked in another project previously. He literally had one of those seminal dreams. He woke up and he went, “We can try and have Best Odds.” And you’re thinking if you were to try… Because we discussed the potential of the U.S. market and trying to become sort of the Booking.com, as it were, for sports betting and iGaming. You would have to start from scratch with a blank sort of piece of paper, and you’d want to try and go for a prestigious or premium brand, I think BestOdds would have to be up there. And if not the very top, at what? Top three, maybe.

Will Armitage:

And so he said, “We can potentially acquire it.” He said, “Are you interested?” And I went, “Oh, this is just too exciting,” having been a gambler myself in the U.K., as you can probably tell by the accent. There’s one, in essence, proper odds comparison destination that I’ve used religiously for, I think, 18, 19 years since it’s been in operation. And now there’s a presence in the U.S. and growing and doing well, which is exciting for them. But I always wanted to become the destination. It’s an alternative. And to be a place where people can come and trust it. Odds comparison offers an education because I think education is going to be key in this market.

Will Armitage:

I’ve grown up in a case of sort of old Britain, as I mentioned earlier. We discussed my father and understanding odds from the age of four or five. It is part of people’s vernacular in the UK. We understand betting. A third of the country will have a bet on this race called The Grand National, which is a horse race where you jump and it’s four miles. It’s the longest race of the year. It literally stops nations like the Melbourne Cup. And so you grow up with that. I wanted to sort of pass on my understanding of gambling to a wider audience.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s really cool. That’s awesome. So, when you guys acquired this, I mean, was it as it is today, or did you guys do the work? Now did you start putting in all the stuff from there?

Will Armitage:

It was absolutely dormant. It had been a dormant site for 26 years, and it just sat there. And I think somebody probably had offers over the years, and we thought now is the time.

Ryan Knuppel:

There you go.

Will Armitage:

Gut the lines and have a go.

Ryan Knuppel:

Well, you’re right. I mean, yeah, you’re correct. You have the domain name and the brand. I mean, it just speaks exactly to what it is. And so let’s dive into a little bit about what it is. You mentioned tools, you mentioned education, things of that nature. But speak a little bit more in depth to some of the tools that you may be able to find out on BestOdds.com.

Will Armitage:

Yeah. I think it’s a case of, again, harking back to sort of knowledge and understanding and education. I’ve always found it very hard to understand things like the money line. I don’t know about you. I’ve worked on the dealing desk for many years, six years on a dealing desk, 12 years in a betting business. But when you tell me that something is minus 148 on the money line, I’m perplexed. I can’t tell you what that is. If I had 50 bucks, then what’s my return? Because a lot of this has to be about getting sort of the best odds and best value. So, we have some little betting calculators where you can go in there and find, just type in, “Okay, I don’t understand what my line 148 is.” But if I type in, I can have 100 bucks on it and just it explains it sort of in the every man [inaudible 00:07:51], as it were, and understand what does it mean?

Will Armitage:

So, yeah, then we have sort of a plethora of educational tools around it. Obviously, odds comparison is key. That’s why we are building this brand as we are, to educate the better that you need to be, in the long term, you’ve got to see it… As I said, my father, we sort of briefly discussed before the show started, he passed away this year, but he was the one who taught me about sort of gambling and abiding by the rules and the principles of how to do it successfully in the long run. Because people will look at this and think, “Oh, I had sort of a great win on the weekend [inaudible 00:08:24].” But actually you’ve got to think it’s the long term war, as it were. Again, it’s not they’re not your friend. It’s sort of, “Hang on. We’re adversaries here.” So it’s a case of trying to be that educated voice that you should be shopping right around for best odds. I mean, there’s lots of competitors out there who are doing similar things, but yeah, we want to create our mark and we’re in this for the long term.

Ryan Knuppel:

Well, I certainly give my condolences to your father. I can certainly tell he’s had an impact on your life in a positive way. And what you’re doing today directly is impacted from your father, from the many stories you’ve already told here. So, that’s pretty cool. And he’ll always live on in you, so that’s really amazing.

Ryan Knuppel:

Speaking of the competitors, that was something that was going through my mind as well. It’s like, as we’re kind of becoming, especially here in the U.S., we’re starting to see this like heyday in this industry, right? We’re seeing lots of people pop up, lots of companies pop up, lots of sites being launched. So I’m assuming there’s tons of competition. How do you guys navigate that? Or is it really, truly put your blinders on and let’s just build our brand to the best of our ability and do what we can in our lane? Speak a little bit to that competitive nature in this industry and how that works for you guys.

Will Armitage:

I think it’s very succinct. I like the sort of blinkers outline. Yeah, you have to have a holistic view of the market and be aware of what’s going around you. But I think we have a sort of clear vision that this is, like I cited earlier, to try and be the Booking.com for sports betting and iGaming. And again, for us, this isn’t all purely the U.S. The U.S. is going to be a fantastic and highly exciting market. But given the URL, given the size of English speaking world that is interested in sports betting and iGaming, yeah, we have ambitions, not just sort of purely U.S., but overseas as well.

Will Armitage:

But no, you’re entirely right. It is fascinating. Every other week, we hear sort of some new impressive competitor with very talented people behind it. There’s a lot of… There’s some gifted people in this industry, without a shadow of a doubt, and people will be successful, and some will not be successful and fall by the wayside. But we hope… It’s a clear vision, and I think we can just execute against that. I think one of the toughest challenges is trying to the tech talent in order to help build what we envision and what we want to do. That’s…

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s always a challenge, and I’m glad you… Man, you’re just leading me right into my next question every time, Will. I really appreciate it. I mean, you’re just leading me right to the next thing, because that’s where I was going to go next. Being that there is so much competitors and competition in this space… And I totally agree with you. The market’s so big and so wide that there’s room for everyone, right? And I’m all about healthy competition and supporting the others in the industry and just doing what we do the best, right? And doing what you do the best, and making your brand the best. So, speaking of that and the tech talent needed to keep it up, where are you guys headed? What kind of things are you looking to do from a tech side to really keep improving your platform?

Will Armitage:

Trying to recruit the talent with which to build what we’re trying to plan and sort of… We are sort of working on V2 on the website at the moment currently, and the need into longer-term ambition for there to be an app as well. And particularly, if we become this global brand to which we aspire, we will need that tech talent. So yeah, there’s multiple ideas. As I said, we keep a view of the competitive landscape. You see some interesting ideas. You see where you can potentially sort of borrow an idea and take a direction you feel could be more valuable. But it will be hard to recruit. I mean, you look at sort of the location. I mean, this is one of the things that COVID’s accelerated, hasn’t it? I sort of also invest in small other startups, and the remote worker of the tech team, it’s here to stay. So yeah, I mean, you look further afield, I mean, all sorts of sort of foreign countries that one would find hard, potentially, to look at, to discover on a map. But there are very talented people out there, and yeah, the world now, what it is, you can bring them together.

Ryan Knuppel:

Now, being from the U.S., I know you guys have a worldwide type brand here, and you have a bigger vision than just the U.S. But I’m going to speak to the U.S. since that’s where I’m at. I have a question. Have you guys had to navigate the licensing process here in the United States? And if you have, what kind of experience has that been?

Will Armitage:

It’s been really easy.

Ryan Knuppel:

I see the roll of the eyes.

Will Armitage:

No, that really… It’s remarkable. One talks about the U.S. as being sort of this one amazing market, but it’s not one. It’s 50 odd. It’s amazing, the variety. You even have some… Yeah. So, wherever one can be licensed, we are going through the process. And I mean there are some states where it’s sort of changed how we will be going through it, because I’ve got sort of other interests in other businesses in this similar space. And you can say, “Well, hang on. For that state, I’m not having to do that for this other business. And yet…” Yeah. So it’s a minefield, but it is what it is. You just have to adhere to it, abide by the rules and regulations, and just do it properly. It is one of those things. As I said, we’re investing a lot into this business to make it hopefully a big success, and therefore it’s just something that has to be done. But yeah, it’s a bit baffling, as you can tell, as opposed to Britain where it’s all pretty easy to have one sort of gambling commission to which you have to abide. Whereas stateside, I find it fascinating. It really is.

Ryan Knuppel:

Now, you guys are a true B2C website/product, correct? Or do you have any B2B type operations going on with Best Odds? Or is it true B2C?

Will Armitage:

Certainly I think if you look at what we hope to build with this, I mean, we’re a natural destination for certain types of partnerships. I mean, whether it’s newsletters, or I always think sort of people in the parlay space. If you are trying to sort of say, “This is a great parlay,” the whole point is if you’re going to try and do that, you want to get the best odds for it because of the compounding nature of a parlay. So it’s, yeah, I think sort of… We want to be known as a B2C brand, but there’s definitely B2B opportunities. And so we’re open to all manner of opportunities. As I said, we’ve got deals with all the major players, and we are licensed in any state where we can be. And if we’re not, we’re working upon that.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s amazing. That’s amazing. So, what’s in the near future? I mean, I know we haven’t really gotten to specifics, but anything that you can talk about yet that’s in the near future, that’s coming from Best Odds?

Will Armitage:

I think we’re looking to the new version of the website. That was our sort of iteration you showed briefly momentarily earlier in this chat. And we should be doing, yeah, aiming… I know one hates to sort of put a firm deadline of where we’ll see an evolution of it, but I would expect, hopefully, February of next you’ll see V2 and, yeah, sort of more functionality. Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

Any plans for an app? Any plans for an app?

Will Armitage:

An nap?

Ryan Knuppel:

An app like an iPhone app.

Will Armitage:

Oh, app. Sorry. I thought you said nap.

Ryan Knuppel:

A nap. Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, I’m ready for a nap.

Will Armitage:

Sorry. Because a nap, I’m not sure if you’d have the same in America, but in England, on horse racing, the nap is your tip of the day.

Ryan Knuppel:

Oh, gotcha, gotcha. A-P-P. A-P-P. App.

Will Armitage:

Absolutely. But realistically, I would hazard towards the end of next year.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, because that’s the tech problem again, right? That’s the tech thing. You got to have the right team to do this.

Will Armitage:

One should have it. Again, in particular, what’ll be interesting for the other markets where you can be more transactional by the app. So probably need to have two apps, one for outside U.S., one for the inside U.S. But no, it’s on the agenda. It’s on the roadmap. It’s just a matter of, yeah, cost and tech.

Ryan Knuppel:

Cool, cool. So I think it’s pretty clear where we send people to go look: BestOdds.com. That’s really it. Go check out the website. Doesn’t look like there’s anything… Is there anything to sign up for out there? Or is it a matter of just going out and checking Best Odds?

Will Armitage:

[crosstalk 00:16:26] use that as well. So we do biweekly newsletters that will become more frequent. Yeah. We’re here for the long run. This isn’t another affiliate side to flip. No. This is to create an actual brand and to be a destination, because as I said, I’ve used the UK competitor for 19 years religiously, and I’m hoping that we can become that sort of trusted friend, as it were, just to guide people through the labyrinth that is U.S. [inaudible 00:16:55]. That’s the vision at least.

Ryan Knuppel:

I love it. I love it. Well, Will, I won’t keep you much longer. I really appreciate your time here. I think what you have going on here, obviously, is on a great domain and has a lot of potential to be something massive. I mean, really, the sky’s the limit on what you can do out here with this type of a thing going on. So, congrats to all the success so far. Any last words or comments? Or anything we missed that you wanted to talk about on this show here before we leave?

Will Armitage:

I’m trying to think. To be honest, I don’t think so. I think we covered a lot of it.

Ryan Knuppel:

Good.

Will Armitage:

Yeah, we are where we want to be. And yeah, it’s not going to be easy, as we’ve cited. It’s going to be very competitive. But yeah, there’s room for many people in this space. And yeah, we admire a lot of what others are doing, but we’re going to forge our path, and hopefully you’ll hear much more about us in the future.

Ryan Knuppel:

And if anybody has that amazing tech person that wants to get ahold of you, how would they get ahold of you? How would they get a hold of you, Will?

Will Armitage:

Will@BestOdds.com. Easy.

Ryan Knuppel:

Perfect. Yeah, yeah. Find him out at BestOdds.com. Exactly.

Will Armitage:

Bring it on.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah. Very cool.

Will Armitage:

Real pleasure.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s awesome, Will. I really appreciate you joining me. This was a good interview. I encourage everybody listening to head out to BestOdds.com. If we don’t have anything else, that’s all I have for you today. I’m excited to have you on again in, let’s say, 12 months. We’ll see version two of the website. We’ll talk through where you’re at from here to here. So I invite you back when you’re ready, and we’ll kind of go through your progression here. Anything I can do to help you, please let me know.

Will Armitage:

Very kind. And one last thing. BestOddsBets on social channels.

Ryan Knuppel:

Oh, BestOddsBets on social. So you got it out on the Twitter and Instagram and all that. Cool. We’ll make sure to put all that in the show notes of this show, so people can go out and click on it and get to wherever they need to get to. So I’ll make sure to add all those in there.

Will Armitage:

Awesome. Real pleasure.

Ryan Knuppel:

All right. All right. Well, it was a pleasure. Thank you.

Ryan Knuppel:

That was Will Armitage of BestOdds.com. I really appreciate Will joining me. Really appreciate you tuning in, as always. Thank you. Episode 147. We’re creeping up on 150. I’m excited for 150 and beyond. So, thank you again, everybody. Please stay safe. I know the COVID thing is coming back and keeps coming in variation. So please stay safe. Do what you can. And we will talk to you soon. Take care. Bye bye.

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