The coronavirus currently has virtually the entire sports world on hold, which is bad news for sportsbooks, especially those that just spent millions of dollars securing operational licenses. However, the downtime, as financially detrimental as it is, could provide an impetus to make changes to operations in order to provide even more options. One sports gambling-related company has been working on a platform that will literally allow an infinite number of sports wagers and will do so with a level of transparency and confidence unmatched by other companies. ZenSports is built on a blockchain and, based on preliminary activity, has been received well by the gambling community in the 90 countries where it currently provides services. Among these, absent is the U.S., but, now, it’s time for the company to hit the big leagues.
ZenSports isn’t a sportsbook in the traditional sense; it takes sports gambling to a whole new level by offering a sports gambling exchange. As previously explained to Calvin Ayre, “[We] actually allow you, as the bettor, to create any kind of sports bet that you want with your own odds and your own terms, and basically, you come up with everything. And so that puts you, the bettor, in control.”
Incorporating the operations with a blockchain makes perfect sense. There have been a number of examples of online platforms not always managing their operations in the most ethical (or legal) manner, but blockchain completely mitigates any drawbacks. There can never be a question about the terms of a wager, the outcome of the bet, the amount of money gambled, the amount to be paid out or who was involved.
ZenSports, which is licensed in Curacao, currently allows for bets for over 30 sports leagues around the world and has developed a substantial following. It’s geofenced to prevent U.S. gamblers from participating, but the company’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Thomas, is confident that this is going to change. ZenSports needs to partner with a licensed, land-based sportsbook to be able to operate, and he told Casino.org, “That’s completely dependent on when things can get back to normal, both in the sports world and the casino/sportsbook world… But yes, we’re still hopeful that we can get into at least two states by the end of this year.”
While the coronavirus has brought the gambling scene to a screeching halt around the world, ZenSports has an advantage that could help it gain access to the U.S. sooner. The almost complete decimation of the industry has caused revenues to drastically plunge, and, from a business point of view, it would make sense for a sportsbook to onboard the platform as a means to quickly develop an additional revenue stream.
The ability to offer user-created prop bets is a big deal. Prop bets are a popular gambling alternative that continues to gain traction on almost a daily basis (minus the coronavirus speed bump), and Thomas adds, “I think that’s super exciting for the reason that all the large sports leagues and all the large major media networks, they’re going to be gravitating towards sports betting for the in-game betting piece because it drives engagement. You know, if a game is a blowout at halftime, what’s going to keep fans watching is being able to put money on the second half of the game, or if the fourth quarter’s a dog, being able to get money. That is going to keep people watching.”