Exploring new products and business innovation within the sports betting industry, SBC interviews Daniel Schwartzkopff – founder of BetVIP.com, which claims to be the sector’s first licensed Bitcoin-only sportsbook.
The digital currency operator takes wagers and pays out winnings exclusively in Bitcoin, offering odds on thousands of pre-match and in-play markets. It holds a gaming license in Curacao and only accepts bets in regulated markets
Schwartzkopff discusses the operating intricacies of running a bitcoin focused sportsbook and his companys future ambitions.
SBC:Hi Daniel, great to meet you. Can you provide our readers with some insight regarding the BetVIP Bitcoin sportsbook and what it offers?
Daniel: BetVIP is the world’s first licensed Bitcoin sportsbook. As such, it offers the wide array of sports and live in-play betting that you would expect from a top fiat sportsbook – but we take bets and pay out exclusively in bitcoin.
SBC: How does a Bitcoin sportsbook, operate differently to a traditional sportsbook? There must be multiple factors that impact BetVIP’s business and revenue generating models?
Daniel: Operating as a Bitcoin sportsbook allows us to receive funds and credit a user’s account instantly, meaning they can get started right away. Payouts are also instant anywhere in the world without the burden of hefty currency exchange fees which saves our users money. Advertising is focused exclusively online and targeted to where the bitcoin community interacts, as opposed to more traditional above the line marketing campaigns.
SBC: When creating a BitCoin led sportsbook, what dynamics and considerations did you have to take into account in order to make your products offering appealing to potential customers?
Daniel: Our aim is to bring transparency and legitimacy to a sector which has had something of a mysterious past. Users want a safe, reliable method of sports betting with their bitcoins where they can be sure operators won’t disappear with their funds. The immediacy of bitcoin also requires us to reduce response times. As a result, deposits are instant and customer support and withdrawals are processed far quicker than fiat sportsbooks in order to be competitive.
SBC: Operating an online sportsbook with Bitcoin payment services, did you have a regulatory framework to work towards, or was this very much a blank canvas?
Daniel: It is currently not explicitly required by any authority to obtain a licence for a bitcoin business as it is not recognised as a legal currency. However, as we plan to build a business with a sustainable long-term future, we plan to stay ahead of the curve and have acquired a license in Curacao.
SBC: Do you feel that the mass media attention paid towards Bitcoin, some of which is negative, will have an adverse effect on your business? How do you combat this?
Daniel: The vast majority of users are already bitcoin holders so they are not affected by scare stories. Negativity in the mainstream media is generally reactionary and stems from a lack of understanding rather than from any legitimate concerns. We combat negativity by providing the public with factual information so that they can make an informed decision instead of forming one based on sensationalism.
SBC: Finally, you are the first sportsbook operator to offer Bitcoin-only payment services, how far do you feel is the igaming industry from offering this service throughout its value chain? Will it be a matter of months or years?
Daniel: To be honest, I think the wider industry is probably years away from offering this service throughout the value chain. A solid regulatory framework will need to be put in place in all the regulated territories before the traditional operators move to accept this new technology.
Daniel Schwartzkopff founder of BetVIP.com