Peer-to-Peer betting, or social gaming, is a relatively new approach to gaming and has taken the gambling industry by storm, opening up the door for players to bet against each other rather than bookmakers. Social media has definitely spearheaded the introduction of social gaming within the industry, with betting companies adopting the same approach to their platforms and generating a new breed of gambling which offers more excitement, risk and commitment to players.

The introduction of social gaming by platforms such as Facebook, has given operators easier access to a higher volume of players. Gaming on social media platforms has always been free, until social media gaming giant Zynga introduced real money poker on Facebook in 2014. This led to other operators following suit and introducing games which offer users the opportunity to play a free game but offer in-game benefits, currencies, and virtual goods, bought with real money, that would allow the user to progress further within the game. In reality, the user or player is not getting a monetary or financial reward at the end of it and as such is willing to pay a price simply for the pleasure the game offers. This mode, commonly known as Freemium definitely struck home with gaming companies, as it gave them the ability to offer players a package that is appealing to those who are more after social gaming rather than hard gambling. It allowed them to construct a format that offers players excitement, competitiveness, achievement and sociability, rather than focusing on the gambling and monetary aspect of the game.

P2P gaming was initially introduced within the sports betting world, with companies such as Paddy Power and Betfair offering their players an alternative to the fixed-odds betting with their Betting Exchange Platform. The model adopted by Peer-to-Peer betting is similar to that of Stock Exchange, where players have the opportunity to lay or back a bet, accept a price already set or else make their own price for other players to match. Since the players will be the ones establishing the wagers, the platform will then charge a small percentage of the amount wagered or the amount cashed in, whose percentage is significantly smaller when compared to the traditional fixed-odds betting.

This new way of betting has opened the door to various small companies to create a product and disrupt the industry. As a result, social gambling or P2P betting has opened up its doors to other areas, not only sports betting. Players are being provided the opportunity to bet socially on literally anything such as e-sports and political events and also events that they themselves create, such as combining multiple sports to one bet. As a result of the endless possibilities social betting is offering, players now have the opportunity to be creative on what they bet, with unlimited opportunities of the types of bets made, allowing them to decide for themselves who to bet against, what to bet on and what wager to put on the bet. In other words, the industry is giving the chance to experience the involvement and flexibility of the traditional pub bet on an online platform.

Peer-to-Peer betting has offered a different layer of betting to the players. It has touched upon values that have surpassed the need for financial gain and has tapped into the psyche of the player and addresses the collective spirit that distinguishes contemporary playing patterns. It has granted the player the luxury of imagination and one can only dream of what the industry has left to offer. With so many dramatic changes in the gambling industry over the past years, we are sure that the next big thing is not even imaginable.

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Sacha Borg

IT & iGaming Recruitment Specialist

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