A Promising Online Bet
A new site hopes to help game publishers gain extra revenue from gambling. It might work.
As reported at All Things Digital, Betable provides a streamlined platform to let gamers gamble. Instead of filling out paperwork and waiting more than a year to get licensed, a game publisher can set up an account with Betable, integrate the platform and start offering bets within hours. Writer Mike Isaac notes the number of investors and declares it a niche ripe for exploitation. He’s right, but the payoff isn’t guaranteed.
True, Betable has many advantages other gambling or gaming companies don’t. It can tap into an existing fan base of players, such as more than 240 million players on Zynga. Online gambling is still mostly illegal in the U.S., although Delaware recently became the first state to authorize it. But overseas, the audience is huge. King.com and GameDuell are two notable gambling sites that have built successful businesses around Farmville-type casual social games. Online gambling could prove lucrative for companies such as Zynga and Facebook, and Betable makes entering the market easier by taking care of the tedious licensing process.
However, a large competitive audience and the removal of legal obstacles don’t automatically lead to a successful gaming business. Tournament.com had the exclusive rights from Valve to carry Counter-Strike in 2007, but the site couldn’t attract players willing to pony up real cash–probably because hardcore gamers are careful with their money and casual gamers know they don’t stand a chance. Betable doesn’t have the same problem, but it’s a far cry from being a guaranteed success.
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