Betable raise $18.5m to help kick online gambling industry’s ass

betable-equity-fundingBetable, the UK Gambling Commission-licensed firm that allows social game developers a quick and cost-effective way to offer real-money wagering in regulated markets, has raised $18.5m to further its goal of ‘disrupting’ the online gambling industry. This latest round of equity funding, Betable’s second, was led by Venture51 and included further contributions from early Betable backers Greylock and Founders Fund. Betable plans to use the dosh to hire more staff and extend its reach into new markets. Betable has now raised $23m from deep-pocketed believers.

Founders Fund partner Brian Singerman stated that the “primary reason” for writing Betable another check featuring a lot of zeroes is a belief in the vision of Betable’s founder, Chris Griffin. “Nothing matters more than the entrepreneurs in early stage investments, and we have tremendous faith in Chris and his ability to transform the gaming market.” Venture51 managing partner Ryan Swagar favorably compared Betable with PayPal and Skype in its ability to bring “massive change” to the real-money gambling market.

Griffin has been a vocal critic of the gambling industry’s reliance on endless permutations of games and products that have been around for a century or more. Griffin sees this complacency as an opportunity to take “money from the core incumbents,” an opinion echoed by some of Betable’s clients at last month’s GamesBeat 2013 conference.

Erik Bethke, CEO of Betable’s latest signing Bee Cave Games, said part of Betable’s appeal was the opportunity to cut out “a one-two year adventure” that would be required should Bee Cave pursue the acquisition of its own real-money online gambling license. That process would “take us away again from our mission of creating the best casino experiences.” Similarly, selling Bee Cave’s titles to an established real-money player might provide a quick monetary fix but “wouldn’t build up muscles in the area of user acquisition and retention.”

Betable’s previous efforts have been focused on mobile apps for the iPhone and Android platforms, but Griffin says Betable is hungrily eyeing the masses of gamers on Facebook. Griffin said Facebook would be a “very big opportunity” for Betable, but Griffin’s equally convinced that Facebook would also benefit enormously from a little of Betable’s disruptive presence.