Social gaming developers Win are prepping a new social sports betting product for release in Q1 2014. Yaniv Leven, CEO of Bwin.party digital entertainment’s social gaming subsidiary, recently told InsideMobileApps that he sees great opportunity in this area because “no one in the social space has conquered sports betting yet.” Leven suggested there was a similarly untapped opportunity in a social equivalent of horserace wagering, “but nobody has attempted to touch it.”
Leven says one of the unique challenges facing the social sports betting sector is “there aren’t enough sports events throughout the day to keep the users coming back all the time,” a significant shortcoming not faced by developers of social casino and poker apps. This inability to keep players engaged is problematic because “every moment they’re not in your game and they’re online, they’re in another game.”
Getting around this problem was part of the reason Win inked a partnership in September 2012 with Serbian-based developer Nordeus, the folks behind social sports betting app Top Eleven. Leven says Top Eleven provides simulated matches that fill the void between real-world sporting events, allowing users an uninterrupted stream of wagering possibilities. The simulations are, for the moment, limited to football, a legacy of what Leven describes as Top Eleven’s history of catering to “soccer fanatics.”
Leven may not believe social sports betting has been conquered, but that hasn’t stopped numerous other companies from trying. Traditional peer-to-peer social sports betting opportunities are available from BuddyBet, Fanhood, Favourit, SideBets and YouBetMe, while Gamblino offers a communal approach by pitting teams of bettors against other teams and Sports Bet incorporates role-playing game mechanics (‘your mission is to place a hockey wager’) to more fully immerse players in their online betting experience.
Whatever the fate of Win’s as yet unnamed social sports betting product, Leven claims the rest of Win’s gambling verticals are all “showing steady improvement” in key performance indicators. Leven says retention in Win’s slots and bingo verticals is “where we want it to be” but there’s still no word on the one vertical Win has yet to touch, i.e. poker. Perhaps all their social expertise went into Bwin.party’s recently revamped PartyPoker software?