As Prop 26 and Prop 27 battle for votes, a new sports betting startup is coming to California and every other American market. oddFlex is a free-to-play sportsbook where bettors can wager on sports with virtual currency. Since oddFlex is not a real-money platform, it doesn’t need a gambling license to launch sports betting in California.
“In the states without (sports betting), if a state stays on the way to legalizing (sports betting, our message is), ‘Hey come and do this, see how good you are, practice … ahead of this real-money rollout,” oddFlex founder Colin Dew-Becker told California Casinos.
oddFlex’s free-to-play status could supplement real-money online gambling if Prop 27 fails to pass. If Prop 27 passes, oddFlex’s strengths as a free-to-play company will complement the real-money California sportsbooks. Regardless of how the California midterms pan out, oddFlex could carve a niche out for itself.
How oddFlex Sports Betting Works
oddFlex offers a sportsbook where bettors can wager with oddFlex’s virtual currency. Users will receive a daily batch of virtual currency and can buy currency packages if they choose. oddFlex offers odds on major professional and college sports, various esports leagues, and it plans to offer exotic markets, including election betting.
oddFlex also plans to release its BetMarket feature at the end of 2022. At the BetMarket, users can pay to access picks from other bettors. That allows the best bettors to profit from their picks and high accuracy. It also lets casual bettors improve their betting performances by mimicking the best picks.
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So, no you can’t directly make money by winning a bet on oddFlex. But you can make money by winning enough bets that other users want to pay to follow your lead.
“We’re trying to replicate the idea of buying and selling bets but backed up with transparent and easy-to-understand data,” Dew-Becker said. “This is saying, ‘Here’s metrics that show this bettor’s really good at betting. This bettor’s really bad at betting.’”
Alternatively, bettors could buy a terrible bettor’s picks and bet against them. Free-to-play platforms are good places to experiment with unorthodox betting strategies before risking real money on them. This is another role that oddFlex and freemium social sportsbooks like it could play in major sports betting markets.
oddFlex is now available in the App Store and Google Play Store.
Sports Betting in California and Market Needs
Regardless of whether Prop 27 passes, oddFlex can fulfill two market needs in California sports betting. Further, it can do so because of the strengths it has to leverage as a free-to-play service.
First, oddFlex can offer a transparent record of wins and losses from people who want to try selling their picks. Some bettors may turn to social media influencers to make sports betting picks. Others may fall for tout scams. Either way, oddFlex offers a validation method that shows whether someone who sells their picks is worth another user’s money.
Second, since oddFlex isn’t subject to sports betting regulations, it can offer markets that real money sportsbooks can’t. This includes election betting markets on the 2024 presidential race. Dew-Becker hopes to launch election betting markets by early- to mid-October 2022.
After PredictIt goes offline in February 2023, American bettors will have no legal American election betting platforms. oddFlex could fill that market gap since its free currency disqualifies it from being a gambling app. (It’s not gambling if what’s being wagered is worthless.) What may begin as a niche offering could evolve into a prediction market worth academic study.
Sports Betting in California
Legalizing sportsbooks is a large step forward for the gambling industry. If online sports betting makes its way to California and apps like FanDuel California launch, that step forward will be even greater.
However, there are many ways for new industries to innovate once they’ve become legal. Startups can address early problems, like offering odds on new events, making user performance transparent to other users, and introducing features like BetMarket. oddFlex could also form the beginning of a sales pipeline to real-money sportsbooks.
“If I take money out of the equation (and) there’s no risk involved, I’m going to bet on a lot of different things that I might not bet on otherwise,” Dew-Becker said. “And I figure it’s just a little bit more freedom where you might be able to find people who are actually good at sports betting but wouldn’t know it because they’re not willing to put money on the line because they can’t afford it or they can’t tolerate the risk, whatever it may be.”
oddFlex’s initial offerings will offer basic free-to-play sports betting features. As it evolves, it will add features that will make it a good platform for experimenting with strategy, betting on exotic markets, and securing bragging rights on markets that are unavailable at real-money sportsbooks.