While Joey Levy was speaking at a gaming industry conference last week, Betr customers in Ohio could wager on a litany of unique college basketball markets in Wednesday’s Saint Joseph’s-George Washington Atlantic 10 tournament game.
Levy, the CEO and co-founder of Betr, addressed a jittery crowd at the iGaming NYC 23 conference that was replete with attendees ready for happy hour. Betr customers following the A-10 second-round matchup from their living rooms in Ohio were likely more content to stay put.
As St. Joe’s pulled away in the final minutes of a tight game, Betr customers had the opportunity to place a number of microbets on the game that were not offered at other Ohio mobile sportsbooks.
For instance, if a bettor at a particular moment wanted to wager on George Washington to make its next field goal, they would have received a payout of 2.06x (a win of $20.60 on a bet of $10). Alternatively, if the bettor had an inkling that the Colonials would not hit their next field goal attempt, the odds of a miss were slightly lower at 1.64x.
Betr customers could also wager on the next type of made field goal by each team — a layup, a dunk, or a 3-pointer. Another market gave Betr customers the chance to predict the next type of field goal regardless of team — a 3-pointer by George Washington or St. Joe’s or a basket inside the arc by either team.
“The combination to be able to bet on things that you haven’t bet on elsewhere, combined with having a user experience that is simple and intuitive for the mass-market consumer, we’re generally content with how things have been going so far,” Levy told OH Bets in an exclusive interview.
Ahead of the NCAA Tournament, Betr is rolling out a host of core markets for college basketball. The wagers on matchups, moneylines, spread bets, and totals will complement the company’s microbetting offerings.
Me explaining to my boy how THIS is the year I get a perfect bracket🤣 pic.twitter.com/tNfZZIXMlO
— betr (@betr) March 13, 2023
No Buckeyes, no Penguins in the Big Dance
During March Madness, most sportsbooks receive a considerable boost when local teams go on a deep run.
Ohio State made the NCAA Tournament in four of coach Chris Holtmann’s first five seasons, with the lone exception being 2020, when the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Buckeyes received a No. 2 seed in 2021, only to fall to Oral Roberts in a stunning upset. Over the past 20 years, Ohio State has made three trips to the Elite Eight and two appearances in the Final Four.
But Ohio State’s dim tournament chances ended Saturday in a loss to top-seeded Purdue in the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes finished the season at 15-18, their worst record under Holtmann.
Youngstown State, another Ohio team, entered the Horizon League tournament as the top seed but suffered an upset defeat to eventual champion Northern Kentucky in the semifinals.
Only two teams from Ohio qualified for the Big Dance: No. 3 seed Xavier and No. 13 seed Kent State, both of which landed in the bracket’s Midwest Region.
The Midwest region👀
Upset potential is there🤑 pic.twitter.com/MZz9fP04Gq
— betr (@betr) March 12, 2023
Despite the relative lack of Ohio teams in the field, Betr is not concerned by a potential dip in handle. One reason is because interest in March Madness is near an all-time high. For this year’s tournament, 68 million American adults plan to wager on March Madness, approximately 18 million more adults than the estimate for how many bet on the Super Bowl, according to the American Gaming Association.
Purdue, one team in close proximity to Ohio, has emerged as a leading contender to cut down the nets at the Final Four. Led by Wooden Award favorite Zach Edey, Purdue earned the top seed in the East.
For now, Betr customers will not be able to wager on microbets featuring individual college athletes. For example, Betr will not offer markets on if Edey’s next basket will be a dunk or a layup. You will be able to wager on whether Kent State’s next field goal will be a 3-pointer, but not on whether the field goal will be made by star guard Sincere Carry.
“We’re generally staying away from that for now. We may roll it out in the future, but a lot of that depends on the regulatory environment and just being cognizant of player-based markets for college sports,” Levy said.
Methodical approach to market share
Of 16 mobile operators in Ohio in January, only Betr and Caesars Sportsbook reported that their gross revenue exceeded the amount they awarded to customers in promotions. Betr, which only began taking real-money bets in the state on Jan. 13, reported revenue of $106,439 in January and promotional spend of $95,279 during the month, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Co-founded by reality star turned boxer Jake Paul, Betr reported handle of $1.1 million in Ohio for January. At last week’s conference, Levy touted a metric that shows Betr has converted about 20% of social media followers into real-money players in the Buckeye State. Brand recognition through Paul allows the company to constrain customer-acquisition costs by spending less on promos.
Betr also received high marks from several speakers at a panel on the next generation of sports bettors last Thursday. Unlike other operators, Betr does not allow customers to deposit funds through credit card accounts. The panelists also lauded Betr for its approach to responsible gambling in placing limits on a cohort of customers aged 21 to 25.
You should never gamble with money you are not comfortable losing, which is why we at @betr were happy to be the first operator in the U.S. to ban credit cards as a method of depositing! (3/4)
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) December 20, 2022
Betr exceeded its internal forecasts for its Ohio performance in January, then did the same last month, Levy told OH Bets. Still, among 16 Type A online proprietors in January, Betr finished 14th in handle. Only Digital Gaming Corp. and Gamewise posted a lower amount in total dollars wagered.
“A couple years from now, we’re going to go out, raise a lot of capital, and we’re going to start playing the market share game,” Levy said at the conference. “But right now, we’re only focused on proving out the model.”
Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images