The US legal sports betting industry was in the midst of an explosion before the coronavirus pandemic brought things to a grinding halt. States were coming on board and upstart businesses were looking to create their own niche in a market with boundless opportunity. One such business is ZenSports, one of the betting exchange options looking to come to market in the US.
The company offers a new concept in the way bettors may do business in the future. While the platform has not taken off yet in the States, the company has been able to raise its fair share of money and create some buzz within the industry. They have customers in 90 countries around the world and will be out to infiltrate the US when everything clams down.
What is ZenSports?
ZenSports is an application giving bettors a peer-to-peer sports betting marketplace experience. Simply put, ZenSports allows its customers to become the bookie, the bettor and if they want, they can participate in both. It gives bettors the ability to place bets with other sports bettors in one of two different ways.
Customers can simply log in to the ZenSports platform, and either place a bet as they would normally do, or take bets off other sports bettors. The main benefit for bettors is that they themselves get to set the odds for a match OR place a bet based on the odds that they think is most beneficial to them. With ZenSports, you have the option of either Laying or Backing a bet even if you have live bets in place.
Mark Thomas is the co-founder and CEO of ZenSports described their platform this way: "Basically, anybody can come in and create and accept sports bets with anyone else in the world, outside the US… And our marketplace just basically acts as the conduit, matching both sides of a bet up together without the need for a bookmaker.”
ZenSports collects a percentage of each bet, but it is estimated that the fees are between 50% and 90% lower than the average sportsbook.
Not only will it betting exchanges engage bettors on a different level going forward but it will likely be a key element of in-game betting which has been identified by insiders as possibly the most up-and-coming aspect of the legal sports betting platform in the US.
That fact is not lost on Thomas who said: “I think that’s super exciting for the reason that all the large sports leagues and all the large major media networks, they’re going to be gravitating towards sports betting for the in-game betting piece because it drives engagement… You know, if a game is a blowout at halftime, what’s going to keep fans watching is being able to put money on the second half of the game, or if the fourth quarter’s a dog, being able to get money. That is going to keep people watching.”
In the way
Currently ZenSports' servers that take bets are not located in the US which is a problem, and the platform hasn't even been accepted by regulators of any of the states that have gone live thus far in America. Until servers can be located in the US, ZenSports likely won’t even be considered as a viable betting option. The app does however offer an NFL daily fantasy game in the States.
Additionally, ZenSports is in the unenviable position of having to find a land-based sportsbook to partner with to even start one of their own. And during this time of coronavirus shutdowns, NOTHING is moving forward.
Will traditional sportsbooks be in favor of a direct competitor? Will states that rely on the tax revenue generated from current retail mobile sportsbooks be in favor? How would that tax model even work? It seems like a tough ask right now but the founders of ZenSports hope to be operational in the US by the end of 2020. Stay tuned!