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.