SideBets Adds Facebook, Twitter Integration to Mobile Social Betting App

Screen shot of the SideBets app. Credit: SideBets

The year-old SideBets mobile sports betting app has added functionality that allows users to send messages about their successful wagers to Facebook and Twitter, according to company executives.

Announced today, the new version of SideBets also supports the creation of betting “groups” and the ability to send a single bet to a group of friends, with a “first accept” feature allowing the first respondent to accept the wager. If you’ve not used SideBets before the app has virtual “SideBet Dollars” that act as a counter for your friendly wagers. The app also supports several betting games, which users can play with friends who also have the app.

According to Jon Goldstein, one of the three founders of SideBet’s parent company, the Detroit-based Blue Ox Entertainment, the SideBets app now has 5,000 active users among the 15,000 or so who have downloaded it since its debut last September. The new features, Goldstein said, are meant to enhance the main “utility” of the app, which he sees as its own type of social network, like Twitter or Facebook.

“Real gambling is not social,” Goldstein notes, pointing out that bets with casinos or bookies aren’t friendly interactions and may not be something you want to talk about, even if you win. But betting with friends, he said, is inherently social, and could eventually become a business.

While SideBets does charge a small amount of money for virtual cash (approximately $1 for each $100 in SideBets Dollars) there is no way to cash in winnings for real money, a factor that keeps the SideBets game relatively free of legal entanglements. Like other social betting apps, such as PickMoto and GrabFan, SideBets is betting on winning users by making it easy for them to find detailed information like games, point spreads and other information, while also keeping track of all betting activity.

But the jury is still out on whether SideBets or any of the other sports betting apps out there will win a big number of users, especially with the specter of legalized mobile betting hanging somewhere in the future. Right now, Goldstein sees the mobile sports betting market as a field in true infancy, with no real successful model to follow.

“Eventually there will be a tipping point [of a successful model] but nobody really knows how to do this yet,” Goldstein said.

Zynga makes a bet with RocketPlay’s virtual Sports Casino


Once the darling of the online set with its Farmville and other mobile and online applications, Zynga has hit hard times of late as its stock has dropped 72 % since its IPO in December and recently its executives have been fleeing the building, with seven gone since August.

The company is the largest maker of games for Facebook, and it is known for programs such as Mafia Wars, CastleVille, CityVille, Words with Friends and of course FarmVille is now looking to partnerships to help bolster its brand and hopefully bring in additional customers and revenue.

The latest move is to promote developer RocketPlay and its Sports Casino and will be bringing the app to Facebook and This is the first time that Zynga has promoted a third party app, in the past all of the content in is lineup has been homegrown. It will be interesting to see if in the future Zynga takes on a much larger role as a publisher, and if that will cause complications due to conflicts of interest.

Sports Casino imitates real life in many ways; you check the odds and place bets, and then root for the results that will bring you in the cash. It is not just a sports book but also will have video poker, slots and blackjack and other casino games. You can even enjoy a nice cocktail while doing so. The difference is that you do so by simply logging into Facebook while sitting at home, and of course no real money changes hands.

Out just a week it already has 10,000 followers, which is a nice start but far from the heady numbers that some of the more established games have such as Words with Friends that has 13 million players, but it is still new.

One feature that it has that I greatly dislike is that it may post on my behalf mentioning achievements high scores etc… Thanks but that is not really something I want, and that feature has prevented me from using other apps that do this. However others seem quite happy in broadcasting to the world their ups and downs playing online games.

The game will initially only present odds for NCAA football, the NFL, MLB and a variety of soccer matches but expects to expand to cover a number of additional sports including the NBA and NCAA basketball and others.

Zynga already has a virtual gambling game, Zynga Poker, which was its first game. However Business Insider has suggested that the reason for the partnership is that RocketPlay’s platform could be the basis for a real-money gambling at some point in the future. RocketPlay’s management team has experience in that area.