Betr Announces 2024 Expansion, Exits Massachusetts

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The Jake Paul-backed microbetting app/fantasy sports/regular sportsbook has announced ambitious expansion plans for 2024.

It now has market access for sports betting in Colorado, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, in addition to its existing Virginia and Ohio sports betting services. It still plans its long-delayed launch in Indiana, where it has partnered with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and in Maryland, where it recently acquired a license.

At the same time as this announcement, Betr also revealed it is exiting the Massachusetts sports betting market. Despite a record-breaking year for the market, Betr was consistently the least-popular sportsbook in the Bay State throughout 2023.

It picked up less than 0.01% market share in December to round off a torrid year for everyone else, so it’s no wonder it has decided to leave the market.

As well as launching its new sportsbook v1 product in all existing and newly joined states, Betr also plans to debut its casino app among Pennsylvania online casinos.

“The new states we have acquired market access in will offer Betr Sportsbook the opportunity to reach over 17% of the U.S. adult population by the end of this year, while Betr Picks will continue to be available to over 50% of the U.S. adult population,” cofounder and CEO Joey Levy said in a press release.

“Finally, we want to thank the MGC for their great partnership during our temporary license period in Massachusetts, and we hope to receive the honor and privilege of reentering this market at a later date.”

Win Some, Lose Some

Betr has hardly set the world on fire since promising a lot with its debut last year. But it has continued to plug away at expanding its business.

Betr was first announced for sports betting in Ohio and Massachusetts as an in-play, live microbetting- focused app early in 2023, with superstar backer Paul touting the potential of the new format.

He excitedly described it as “the TikTok-ification of sports betting.” That’s alongside admitting he’d “never been interested” in sports betting before Levy approached him with Betr.

When it came out, the app debuted late to the market in both states, missing the NFL playoffs, and within a few months of struggling revenues, it swiftly pivoted into a full sportsbook.

In July 2023, it then announced it would be joining Daily Fantasy Sports with its Betr Picks feature.

That all came as the app continued with sub 1% monthly market share in Massachusetts and Ohio, the latter of which had the advantage of being Paul’s home state.

The Problem with Paul

Despite taking somewhat of a step back from media appearances relating to Betr, Levy has continued to describe Paul’s fights as central to the Betr brand.

The social media star turned boxer even has a Betr tattoo. That’s although Paul has had a controversial history with stunt tattoos, which is another story entirely.

Either way, he remains key in Betr’s marketing and appeal with investors.

“Jake’s fights are important tentpoles for us,” Levy said last year in July.

However, Paul’s fans are, for the most part, of a younger generation – one that isn’t so interested in sports betting.

In early 2023, the British Advertising Standards Authority canceled an advertisement featuring Paul from Entain-owned bookmaker Ladbrokes. The regulator concluded that Paul’s under-18 influence should bar him from gambling promotions.

While it can be argued that Paul has somewhat moved on from Disney Channel and YouTube fame, the social media star’s early comparisons between his new betting app and Tik-Tok said a lot, as that app’s audience certifiably skews young.

Then there are Paul’s activities outside of his headline sporting endeavors of recent years.

He was involved in multimillion dollar cryptocurrency scandals in 2022 and 2023, summed up nicely here by investigative journalism YouTuber Coffeezilla.

In March, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing into a separate cryptocurrency promotion scandal led to a $200,000 settlement from Paul.

That SEC filing was actually part of Betr’s long delay in finalizing an Indiana sports betting license, as regulators decided to await the outcome of the case before issuing the sportsbook a license.

Controversial Playbook

Having a controversial public face might be a game changer in the social media world, as it drives engagement and clicks. However, for a sports betting firm, not so much. In a business sector under strict regulations and with a desire to avoid widespread bad PR, leaders that ruffle too many feathers can be a bad look.

This was seen in a big way last year, when Penn Entertainment made a huge loss on axing Barstool Sports. It was a decision that was partly made because of regulatory friction regarding Barstool’s controversial figurehead, Dave Portnoy. Interestingly, Portnoy was also involved (although he hasn’t been sued) with promoting the same scam cryptocurrency, SafeMoon, as Paul.

Penn’s $500 million-plus purchase of Barstool ended in it selling the media business back to Portnoy for just $1 before spending another $1 billion to launch ESPN Bet.

Whether the involvement of Paul will be key to Betr’s eventual success or downfall, Levy remains confident that the brand is on the right track. Even with its modest-at-best showings in Massachusetts and Ohio during its opening year.

“We are thrilled to announce our new market access partnerships for Sportsbook and the introduction of Betr Casino in 2024 ahead of our V1 Sportsbook launch,” Levy said.

“We are building a large and highly profitable real money gaming and media business, but we are doing so by bringing new users into the category. We plan on replicating this playbook for Betr Sportsbook and Betr Casino after releasing V1 of our sportsbook later this year.”

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