The time-honored tradition of the friendly wager is going online, and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, is taking up the bet. He’s putting up $4 million in seed funding for Wagr, a peer-to-peer, low-limit sports gambling app that will allow friends and family to go head-to-head on a sports bet.
The app eliminates betting against the house and adds a social media twist to bring friendly banter fun. It was planned last year and announced in mid-June. It currently has a website that explains and promotes the project.
- Alexis Ohanian puts $4 million into the Wagr app.
- Wagr will offer peer-to-peer betting.
- App seeks space in the US casual gambling market.
Reddit Founder Goes All In On Gambling App
Ohanian is investing his share through his venture capital firm, Seven Seven Six, and has several notables joining him in the endeavor.
Others in the funding round include Greycroft, Pear Ventures, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and Brad Martin, former chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. Former Caesars CEO, Gary Loveman, is an advisor to the app project.
The group did not state the funding goal or what their plans are beyond launch. But they have applied for licenses in Tennessee and Virginia, two of more than 20 US states that host sports gambling.
Wagr – The New Peer-to-Peer Gambling Platform
The investors see casual betting sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings gaining steam and figure out there is plenty of market space for informal online gambling.
They envision Wagr filling some of that space. Ohanian stated:
It’s about productizing what already goes down in everyone’s group chat: wagers between friends about sporting outcomes. Right now, the way these get resolved is through a Cash App payment or a Venmo payment on Monday, but surely we can do better.Alexis Ohanian
How Does Wagr Work?
Wagr will charge customers a straight fee for access to the social wagering platform. Meaning they won’t collect “juice” or “vig,” the percentage of a wager that traditional sportsbooks levy on bets to make a profit.
Players will go to the site, find a game that interests them, and a partner to challenge. Initially, the app will offer only point spreads on major sports, but the organizers plan to expand the types of bets to moneylines, prop bets, and futures.
Introducing Casual Wagering
Following the philosophy of casual wagering, there will be a $500 limit on individual bets. Organizers have not released details of the fee amount or how the exchange of money will work. Mario Malave, Wagr’s founder, and CEO said:
Our app strips down the betting experience to the bare essentials — we’re launching with point-spread bets only. From a user’s perspective, all you have to do is pick a team, decide who you want to bet against, and select how much you want to wager.Mario Malave
Social Media and Gambling Hybrid
The Wagr enterprise is another take on the social media/gambling relationship, evolving ever since Zynga brought poker to Facebook in 2007.
There have been various angles to this melding of recreations. Mobile gambling and the technology behind it have spurred growth in both areas. They have allowed people to communicate or wager from almost anywhere.
Keep Calm and Wagr On
The Wagr app is not the first to offer peer-to-peer gambling. But it is one of the first to focus solely on the US market, which has become more accommodating as laws change in various states.
A platform that would allow a simple sports debate to break out into a full-scale wager should certainly have its appeal. It will be interesting to see how far that appeal stretches.