Jake Paul’s Betr Turns To ‘Less Financially Intensive’ Prop-Style Fantasy Sports For Boost

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Betr, the online sportsbook newcomer backed by Jake Paul, is turning to player-focused over/under fantasy games in an effort to reach a wider audience faster, as those games come under increasing scrutiny as sports betting in disguise.

Betr Picks went live with daily fantasy sports in 23 states Monday, including California and Texas, where efforts to legalize sports betting have failed. Like the pick ’em contests of PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy, Betr Picks pits users against the house in real-money contests centered on guessing a combination of stat lines for specific athletes.

The launch comes in the middle of Betr’s sports betting rollout and amid heightened scrutiny around companies utilizing DFS laws to offer products that mirror sports betting.

Betr founder: fantasy launches ‘less financially intensive’

While still focused on rolling out the sportsbook, co-founder and CEO Joey Levy described pick’em as a tool to deliver real-money games quicker to more of the company’s social media followers:

“Given the gradual rollout of online sports betting and the need to go state-by-state and obtain market access and licenses, we just haven’t been able to fully capitalize on the nationwide media audience and Betr brand, until now. It’s our first real-money gaming product that’s going to be in front of the majority of the nation.”

Betr’s media arm has more 1.5 billion impressions in less than a year and a combined 814,000 followers across Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok, trailing Barstool and DraftKings in TikTok followers for a sports betting account.

Levy told LSR launching DFS has been “less financially intensive or excessive” than online sports betting, which depending on the state, can mean millions of dollars in licensing fees and other regulatory costs. Along with the pick’em games, Betr Picks offers free-to-play games centered around different sporting events, like Paul’s upcoming boxing match with Nate Diaz.

If it walks like a prop and talks like a prop …

The player-focused DFS model made headlines last week after a FanDuel executive called it out as ‘illegal’ sports betting. In response, DFS operators offering player-prop style contests in non-sports betting states have defended them as legal under the UIGEA federal skill-based carveout for fantasy sports and criticized FanDuel’s “anti-competitive and disingenuous” stance.

Available in markets without legal sports betting, PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy combined for 6.2 million app downloads last year, more than BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook combined, according to Apptopia. Betr has more than 200,000 app downloads, according to Levy.

Some DFS operators have pulled out of West Virginia and Maryland in wake of queries from state regulators about whether these games are actually sports betting rather than DFS. Betr Picks is not available in either of those states, nor is it available in Massachusetts or Ohio, where Betr’s sportsbook launched earlier this year and regulators have intensely scrutinized these prop-style offerings.

“We did an extensive amount of legal and regulatory diligence before making the decision to get into DFS and we’re only launching in states where we felt comfortable with the legal opinions in those states governing or clarifying that these are indeed games of skill,” Levy said.

Fantasy sports meant to differentiate for Betr

Levy explained more about the order of the rollout for Betr:

“It was really important for us to significantly differentiate ourselves from other single-player fantasy operators, like PrizePicks, like Underdog. We wanted to build our regulated online sports betting business first. We wanted to establish our leadership position and clarify our commitment to responsible gaming first. We feel a lot more comfortable turning on our fantasy sports product given we’ve laid down the foundations of our online sports betting business.”

Two core tenets of Betr’s commitment to responsible gaming apply to the fantasy product the same as the sportsbook: users must be at least 21 years or older to and deposits cannot be funded with credit cards.

The company plans to be live with DFS in at least 30 states by the end of the year, according to the release. It plans to launch online sports betting “in Virginia in the coming weeks and additional jurisdictions in the months ahead.”