Betr, the seventh and latest online sports betting app in Massachusetts, is launching this week.
If it strikes fear in your already jangled nerves that one more sports betting company is about to join the advertising bombardment, that’s not in Betr’s playbook right now.
Having Jake Paul at the helm as co-founder and president gives the start-up a promotional edge the other operators don’t have. Paul is a 26-year-old social media personality, entrepreneur, and professional boxer with a knack for making headlines.
“One of our huge competitive advantages as a company is my understanding of the media landscape and the social landscape,” said Paul from Betr’s Miami headquarters, where he was joined over Zoom by co-founder and CEO Joey Levy.
“When you see the amount of money that DraftKings, FanDuel, and all these companies are spending, it’s on marketing and advertising, just throwing billions of dollars at the wall to see what sticks in inauthentic brand campaigns — like Joey said, advertising like insurance companies but less funny.
“And that’s just not the way to go about things in today’s landscape.”
Betr will piggyback on Paul’s audience — 22.9 million Instagram followers, 20.3 million on YouTube, 17.2 million on TikTok, and 4.5 million on Twitter plus a growing Spotify podcast presence — with a storytelling content strategy intended to bring followers behind the scenes of a new company that’s meshing sports fandom with sports wagering.
“It’s about creating a connection with your audience and your fan base and telling the stories in-house,” said Paul, whose vision of the company can be glimpsed in a NSFW introductory YouTube video. “And with our media side of Betr, we’re generating millions and billions of impressions for zero dollars.
“That’s all funneled back to Betr and the app. Building that brand affinity and loyalty to our customer is quite literally priceless.”
Paul said he does not intend to be the face of Betr, which is live in only one other state, Ohio.
“Since Day 1, we’ve always been like this is not just going to be Jake Paul posting everything and doing all these things,” he said. “The goal is to create something bigger than myself, to use me as, like, the launching platform.”
Still, he’s not going to fade into the woodwork.
“I don’t want to be famous, bro; I can’t even go to the grocery store,” said Paul. “If I could click on the ‘unfamous’ button, I would do it.”
Besides vowing to disrupt the sports media and betting advertising landscape, Betr is also attempting to distinguish itself as a product.
Its focus is on micro-betting, or in-game betting. For instance, when Red Sox DH Justin Turner comes to the plate, bets can be placed on whether the next pitch will be a strike or a ball, whether he will hit it for a triple or a single, and so on. Only three sports — baseball, basketball, and football — will be offered initially.
Betr wagers are literally spelled out, as in “Will the Guardians strike out a batter this inning?” or “Will the Rockies win?” with the odds presented in a numerical “1.89x” or “2.44x” formula intended to make the betting experience easier to understand, said Levy. For example, a $10 bet with 1.89 odds would pay $18.90.
“We’re trying to simplify the user experience; it’s almost like building the Robinhood [stock trading platform] to the gambling industry’s E-trade, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab,” said Levy. “We’re unbundling micro-betting and other forms of instant-gratification betting as a product category, making that the core experience and ultimately layering on other commoditized product experiences as we establish product clarity over time.”
When Betr went through the licensing process with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Paul faced scrutiny for a trail of legal issues and controversies in his wake, including sexual assault allegations, an SEC settlement involving crypto promotions, criminal trespassing, and public nuisance charges.
Paul ultimately defended himself to the satisfaction of a majority of MGC commissioners. The MGC also was concerned about how many of Paul’s under-21 followers will be influenced by or exposed to sports betting content.
Levy said Betr stands out in another fashion because it’s the only US online operator that limits the amount of money a consumer between the ages of 21 and 25 can deposit on a monthly basis. The limit is $2,500.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com.