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JetBet today announces the launch of its social sports technology in partnership with men’s lifestyle brand Maxim, which is also unveiling its Maxim Sports Live website.
Real-time technology allows sports fans to predict sporting events as they happen in a “second screen” experience. The first website (with Facebook and pending mobile apps) targets NFL football fans, which is a big market as 16.2 million viewers watch every NFL game.
Las Vegas-based JetBet, founded by video game pioneer Louis Castle, has created a way for sports fans to test their knowledge – but not bet real money in exchange for real money winnings – on every game in a sporting event in real time.
Maxim’s first product is a free website, where players can pay real money to participate in tournaments, but cannot cash out any winnings. Instead, they can earn points that give them bragging rights. Players get free virtual currency for making predictions, but if they run out or want to play in bigger tournaments, they can buy more with real money.
“We’re focused on the competitive fun of predicting sports game by game,” Castle said in an email.
Maxim Sports Live will allow sports fans to make predictions, demonstrate their knowledge and share their passion for their teams in real time during live sports events via the app on mobile devices. You can predict just about anything that you think will happen next in a game. Maxim will present Maxim Sports Live as an intuitive experience for players of all levels, and it will include a chat function to discuss games and banter with rivals.
“Maxim has built the leading men’s lifestyle brand by understanding the pulse of his audience,” Castle, CEO and co-founder of JetBet, said in a statement. “We are very pleased to be their partner in bringing real-time social sports to tens of millions of fans around the world.”
Castle, who has three decades of experience in video games and is known as the co-founder of Westwood Studios (which was acquired by Electronic Arts) also has experience in real-money gambling. He was a board member of tabletop game maker Shuffle Master (SHFL Entertainment). After that, he served as its chief strategy officer before its $1.3 billion sale in 2014 to slots giant Bally Technologies.
He was inspired to create JetBet after seeing a demo of Metric Gaming’s live data analytics, which focuses on real-money gambling. He saw the opportunity to create a free game based on technology. So he got a license for sports analytics from Metric and approached Bellwether to get a license for the social casino platform. Then he hired staff to create a custom app that could make watching live sports more exciting with a free gaming experience that didn’t involve real-money gambling.
Castle said in an email that the company is not an “everyday fantasy sports” startup, where rivals allow players to build sports teams and then bet on their performance on the playing field. There is controversy over whether these apps are legal skill-based games or constitute real-money gambling, as claimed by the New York State Attorney General.
JetBet and Maxim are play-by-play actions, and they are not focused on replicating everyday fantasy sports betting. Instead, we focus on free play for the bragging rights experience. Tournaments offer nothing but bragging rights, and if players ever receive actual prizes, they would be for playing, not as a prize for a particular successful prediction, Castle said. He said he considers JetBet Predictions to be a skill-based game, not a chance-based betting experience.
JetBet’s technology is based on Metric Gaming, which combines human and computer analysis to set the odds for each prediction. Live event data feeds into Metric Gaming analytics. Bellwether’s socially scalable casino platform delivers game prediction options to mobile devices of all kinds using HTML5, the lingua franca of the web. The broadcast event delay loop allows JetBet to follow the action from second to second and is often even a few seconds ahead of the broadcast. Millions of people can play at the same time, according to JetBet
The company was founded in 2014 and has 11 employees. Competing sites include other daily fantasy sports sites where players hang out at sporting events.
JetBet investors include Castle, Metric Gaming, Bellwether and other private investors. To date, the company has raised $700,000, with another $300,000 committed.
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