Joey Levy, CEO of microbetting-focused sportsbook Betr, sat down recently with LSR to discuss his patient approach to the sports betting market, brand affinity over awareness, and eventually expanding beyond traditional sports betting.
The venture is backed by YouTuber-turned-boxer/influencer Jake Paul. It is currently available in Ohio, its first state to launch in January 2023. Both co-founders have been bullish about its unorthodox betting interface and terminology and live betting capabilities, as well as value as a direct-to-consumer media magnet.
Editor’s note: this interview was conducted prior to news of alleged SEC violations by Paul.
LSR: What goes into building a sportsbook? Where do you start?
Levy: You start with the front-end consumer experience, what you ultimately want people to interact with.
At Betr, we wanted to be the first sports betting platform where you’re not looking at a spreadsheet of numbers, you’re looking at intuitive, multiple-choice questions. We’re the first sportsbook to not use -175 money lines or +5.5 point spreads; we want it to be so that even if you’ve never bet on sports, you can pick it up.
I’m proud to say we’ve had little to no inquiries about how to use our product, so far. Whereas, I know from people who’ve worked at some of the other tier-one operators, their number one customer service inquiry was people asking, “how do I use this?” So you start with the consumer experience, then product design, figuring out your betting engine, player account management platform, etc., then go from there.
LSR: With the market’s view of sports betting in constant flux, how does Betr fit in?
Levy: Right now we’re focused on proving our model, which is low-to-no customer acquisition cost, strong user engagement and community-driven vitality. We’re already seeing remarkable results in Ohio, where we believe 20% of our media audience has already converted to real-money users, in just a few months. Customer acquisition cost is not exactly zero yet, but we’re acquiring customers at unprecedentedly low rates.
Over 90% of our users have met multiple times, 50% have bet at least 10 times, and 15% at least 50 times and we’re nowhere near where we want to be from a product standpoint. I’m a big believer in getting out there and learning from real user data and feedback, and deliberately launching with microbetting first enabled us to go live as quickly as possible.
FanDuel and DraftKings’ combined promo spend just for Ohio in just January is over three times more than my entire equity financing to date and that’s not including paid media. I want to build a healthy business, where when we IPO, Jake and I still own a substantial amount of the company, so we’re deliberately taking a long-term approach and not playing the market share game.
LSR: And once you prove that model on a smaller scale, how do you see this playing out?
Levy: We’re launching our own versions of moneylines, point spreads, over and unders, player props, parlays, etc, over the next few weeks and months. Ultimately, we want a scenario where there isn’t anything that you’ll be able to bet on FanDuel that you can bet on Betr.
On the community side, we’re building something really unique and different. Perhaps the only other operator that has used this playbook is Barstool, but I think we have an opportunity to build something more culturally relevant, more inclusive, a little bit more for the next generation.
So the way I see this playing out is we prove out all these three things over the next 18 months or so. We demonstrate a path to having by far the best unit economics in this category and then we’ll go out and raise a few $100 million and pour gasoline on the fire, but until then, I’m in no rush.
LSR: What’s microbetting’s role?
Levy: Unlike what has driven the global regulated marketplace with soccer, a fluid game, with not really any moments to bet on and not much scoring, US sports are very well-suited to moment-to-moment betting. They stop and start, they feature a lot of scoring, a lot of moments to bet on and time for speculation.
Microbetting, independent of what demographic you’re going after, is going to be an important part of how people bet in this country. It adds instant gratification, which is really important because we live in a society with increasingly lower attention spans.
Not just our media strategy, but our product strategy is to use the cliche, ‘skating to where the puck is going.’
LSR: What have sportsbooks gotten right in terms of balancing being the bookie and the tout?
Levy: Currently it’s a game of who can do the best job of getting your brand out there. FanDuel and DraftKings have done a really good job of getting brand awareness. They’ve had to spend a lot of money, but everybody knows who they are.
I’m focused on more of a grassroots approach, where it’s less about brand awareness. Jake is one of the most famous athlete influencers in the world right now and his profile’s only going to continue climbing. We can get brand awareness when we want to.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what he can do to amplify Betr, because right now we’re focused on perfecting the content, developing personalities, the internal brand and our community. Then it’s about taking that content and organically converting the audience to customers, before we pour gasoline on the fire.
Q: What should we expect for the rest of the year from Betr?
Levy: We have ongoing market-access discussions in several additional states. We also plan to launch additional gaming products that will have more of a nationwide presence immediately, just given the nature of those experiences that I don’t think I’m ready to talk about right now.
But there are additional ways we plan on monetizing what is very much a nationwide media business with what may be nontraditional online sports betting.
I think we’ll be profitable before many of these other companies, maybe by the first half of 2025, with a lot of variables based on go-to-market cadence.