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Betty has raised $5 million in funding for its real-money online gambling business aimed at diverse audiences.
While many online gambling companies such as Draftkings and FanDuel target men, Betty is taking a different approach, going after the same diverse audiences that like casual games.
Karlani Capital led the round. Also participating in the round were CEAS Investments, Courtside Ventures, Gaingels, OCA Ventures, Subversive Capital, and 305 Ventures. Betty previously raised a $1.8 million pre-seed round in March 2022.
Betty has identified a large audience of casual “Casino” customers, particularly women slot players, who are underserved by existing brands which, at their core, are sportsbooks, said CEO Justin Park in an interview with GamesBeat.
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Park started the company in March 2022. The inspiration was related to his previous company in the sports-betting space. The company interviewed more than 150 players in the market and found that 80% of them also played free-to-play mobile games like Candy Crush Saga. Yet those kinds of mechanics don’t really exist in social casino games, Park said.
“We saw that the online casino space is huge, with big market inefficiencies. There is a very large underserved audience among female slot players,” he said.
What surprised me about this business getting funding is that most of the social casino games and online gambling companies received funding more than a decade ago. You would think this market would be too mature for startups. But Park noted online gambling in North America is around $5 billion, while the overall physical gambling market is around $75 billion.
Park said the research showed that women don’t bet on sports as much, nor do they gamble on a wide variety of table-based gambling games. Many of them focus on slots, he said.
“We also found this audience is very community focused, so you can have features like chat rooms,” he said. “And they aren’t really marketed to.”
Betty’s mission is to maximize the entertainment value of iCasino for these casual players by creating an environment that is safe, social, and inclusive, he said.
Gaingels, a LGBTQIA+/Allies private investment syndicate, said in a statement, “Sports betting and casinos have historically been marketed to men. In reality, women make up more than half of the market. We love Betty’s mission to make the category more inclusive.”
“It’s more around creating more inclusivity in the real money gaming space,” said Park, referring to investors like Gaingels. “They’re obviously a thought leader within the financing space around that. It’s a great marriage of values.”
The proceeds of the round will fund Betty’s operations in Ontario, Canada, where the company will go live this month.
Betty received a gambling license from Canada’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on January 24. The company anticipates a soft launch in February followed by a full-scale launch in the second quarter. The seed funding will also go to continued development of Betty’s proprietary iCasino platform that is tailor-made for the North American customer. The company is applying for other licenses.
Betty’s founding team previously built a U.S. sports betting media platform, QL Gaming Group (acquired by Audacy). The company is based in New York and it has an office in Bulgaria. Right now, the company is focused on web-based games.
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