For all the variety in mobile betting products and services in the diverse United States online wagering market, ‘charitable gambling’ is a phrase that few industry participants are familiar with. But the social betting app GoodBookey is hoping to change all that by creating a peer-to-peer platform through which friends wager against one another and simultaneously raise money and awareness for a wide range of charities.
Through the GoodBookey mobile app, available for free on both iOS and Android mobile devices, friends challenge each other to wagers on upcoming sporting fixtures, which are selected from national competitions in the United States. These competitions include the likes of NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB and MLS, as well as college sports events such as NCAA basketball. Like other social betting apps, a user selects their team and bet type on an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other mobile device, before challenging their friend to take the opposing side of the bet. GoodBookey’s key point of difference, however, is that after selecting their teams and bet types, both bettors hand-pick a charity from a pre-populated list. The losing bettor can then allocate their stake to the winner’s charity of choice.
There is no obligation for losing bettors to donate; the app simply encourages them to offer their stake to a pre-selected charity. If they agree, the charity will receive the majority of the stake, with payment processor Stripe taking a small cut, while GoodBookey claims an additional 3% for operating expenses. The losing bettor can also claim a full tax deduction for the entire donation. Partner charities, which are small to medium-sized non-profits that have applied to feature on the app, are not charged any fees. These charities earned $5000 worth of donations in GoodBookey’s first eight months of operation.
The impetus of this innovative mobile betting project, according to GoodBookey CEO Tony Pease, is to create a single platform through which sports fans with a philanthropic spirit can wager, socialize and earn social credit. In order to back up his point, Pease cites the United States’ fledgling sports betting market – a $450 billion annual business in the country, $300 billion of which is illegal sports gambling – along with the fact that Americans donated $373 billion to charity in 2016. Because no money is ever exchanged between users through the platform, GoodBookey is also a completely legal mode of sports betting, a fact the company is eager to stress. This is a key selling point that offers peace of mind to many sports bettors, who often opt to circumvent the country’s convoluted gambling regulations in order to place their wagers.
GoodBookey is being touted as a complete package, a sports betting app that the company is hoping will entice sports fans and philanthropists alike. And while the tech start-up is still in its infancy, its formula looks to be working as both the user and non-profit partner bases are growing. Another indicator of its early success is that GoodBookey claimed first prize at a competition for emerging tech companies in Paris, earning $110,000 worth of funding in the process. These early success stories signal a promising future for Pease and his team.