Bet Blocks to launch new social betting app
If you watch any sporting event on TV, there is no doubt that the two-minute advert break will be full of bookmakers trying to encourage you to “have a bet on that”. We are constantly bombarded with the latest odds, promotions, and in-play bets.
Such constant exposure to these commercials can actually have the opposite effect and it is human nature to become deaf and blind to the adverts, no matter how much movie star gangster, Ray Winston, urges you.
Bet Blocks have a clever way of combating this. If you are not aware of the service, Bet Blocks is the new player in the peer-to-peer online betting market. Rather than being a platform that lets you bet directly with other people, Bet Blocks instead uses online betting sites to place the bets. The Bet Blocks app essentially combines different tools and features useful to betting into a group message feed.
As Bet Blocks itself describes its service:
“Bet Blocks is a messenger app like WhatsApp that’s been turbocharged with the ability to place bets. Create chat groups between mates, find and share bets in seconds by typing or saying them, compare odds and then place them with any major bookie, without leaving the app”.
Social and Peer to peer betting is nothing new but does this open Pandora’s box? Are we about to see a scary new phenonium of “peer pressure to peer pressure betting”?
Pester Power – Pals Mean Prizes
Even the sign-up process from the onset encourages you to tell your friends to earn points. While we are used to this on almost any promotion, the way Bet Blocks do it is quite aggressive. Only the top 100 sign-ups to the Bet Blocks service get early access, you are presented with a league table and your position is shown. You can see a legitimate looking email address shown (they have some details missing of course) and for every share on Facebook, Twitter, Facebook messenger or email, a point is earned.
Those placed in the top 3 will receive a 5.5″ smartphone preloaded with Bet Blocks.
Those in the top 100 will receive “priority access to try Bet Blocks before anyone else at the start of the Premier League”, although this is somewhat confusing as the product hasn’t yet launched and the Premier League has already started.
For the top 500, members become a “founding member of Bet Blocks with exclusive access to free bets and offers when they become available”.
Is it Good for the Punter?
Some of the benefits of Bet Blocks certainly sound exciting to online gamblers. When you are in a group chat and you mention a scenario, Bet Blocks will automatically search all the major bookies and give you a price. For example, writing in a group chat, “Hernandez to score on Saturday and West Ham to win 2-1” will result in the app automatically searching for the best odds on a double for Javier Hernandez to score at any time and the final score to be 2-1.
Bet Blocks also gives you the ability to create groups based on your bet. For example, if a group chat member makes a prediction, the other chat group members can back that prediction with their own money and you win as a group.
Another selling point is that tips for every fixture and odds comparisons are all contained on the same interface, so rather than checking several sites you have a one-stop approach to betting.
Is Social Betting Socially Acceptable?
This is the aspect of this new platform that is perhaps most concerning for a few reasons.
The first will come as no surprise and it is the aspect of problem gambling. When people have an addiction, no matter if it is gambling, drugs or alcohol, a lot of the issues are down to influence from our peers. This can affect the regularity of the betting.
My second point would be transparency. “Get the best odds from all major bookies with odds comparison”, sounds great, but how sure can one be that they are the best odds. Are Bet Blocks likely to push users towards artificial new customer offers to get a “one-time” deal whilst the company receive commission from that sleight of hand? This closed platform could hint towards this.
Overall, the proposed features are definitely interesting. Anything that speeds up the process and offers me top tips is sure to be appealing to regular bettors. However, the social aspect of Bet Blocks is still in its infancy and it remains to be seen how it will develop. The flashy video on the website states “so when one of you wins £10,000 on an acca you each win £10,000”. Perhaps if it said “so when you lose £100, everyone loses £100 and your mates don’t talk to you for a week” it wouldn’t sound quite so appealing!