Three months ago, Novig was a sports betting firm with a license in Colorado and dreams of becoming the state’s first exchange betting platform.
This week, the company cleared a major hurdle toward its exchange aspirations by launching a non-exchange online sportsbook in the Centennial State.
Novig offers the usual types of bets — moneyline, spread, and total market. Players can bet on the NFL, NBA, NCAA football and basketball, and MLB. At the moment, it doesn’t offer prop bets, futures, parlays or same-game parlays
Why the Novig launch matters
While Novig launched a traditional online sportsbook, the company’s long-term goal is to introduce exchange betting wherever it can.
The main difference between the two types of betting is who makes the bet and who pays out if a bettor wins:
- Traditional sports betting: A sportsbook picks the bets it will offer and sets the odds. It keeps the money if a bettor loses and pays out if the bettor wins.
- Exchange sports betting: Users create bets and odds that other users can bet the opposite side of. The person who set the bet takes the opposite side’s money if the opposite side loses and vice versa.
Exchange betting is legal in Colorado, which means the Novig launch was a bet on the future. The company is hoping that, with time and persistence with lawmakers, exchanges will be legalized.
And when that happens, the company would, in theory, be on the leading edge of what would be a significant development in the history of US sports betting.
In a Novig press release, CEO Jacob Fortinsky expressed his happiness about launching as a traditional sportsbook. Fortinsky said that Novig is “thrilled” to be live in Colorado:
“Novig is committed to delivering a seamless and cost-effective platform that enhances the enjoyment of sports betting. Using Novig really should be a no-brainer for sports bettors:
We’re offering the same betting experience users are accustomed to, but better prices, faster in-game trading, more transparency, and a number of innovative features like liquidity screens, position tracking, and partial cash outs.”
Can exchange betting become a reality in the United States?
Convincing lawmakers to legalize exchange betting will require a considerable effort by Novig. Though betting regulations have their weak points, they generally do a good job of protecting consumers from sportsbook shenanigans and vice versa.
Allowing individuals to make bets and odds would open up a whole new universe of issues. For example, most states require prospective sportsbooks to undergo background checks and financial vetting. And there are other measures to coax out any potential issues.
What would those checks look like for individual bettors? What would stop a bettor from, say, laundering money through a betting exchange by setting a bet they know they’ll lose just so they can move money?
These are just a few of the issues lawmakers will have to consider as they contemplate the benefits and drawbacks of exchange betting.