Smarkets, a London-based pre-launch betting exchange focusing on making betting simpler, has raised $200k with a convertible note from five private investors. This will be used for product development, buying a gambling license from Malta (but of course) and conducting a private beta launch for summer of 2008 and a public launch Autumn of 2008. There’s an interesting twist – they plan to offer an open API for people to develop their own betting applications and use the Smarkets infrastructure. Their idea is this: users don’t need knowledge of odds or experience. It’s more about speed and entertainment than sports.
The main competition is big: Betfair is worth $3billion and there are other betting exchanges
including intrade, tradesports, and betdaq. Then there are more entertainment and fantasy games competitors like hubdub and pikum.
Smarkets’ founders are computer science graduates Americans Jason Trost (27) and Hunter Morris (26), who joinin other American emigres who have launched gambling sites in Europe, most recently Sean Glass of Pikum. Alas, America – known the world over for possibly the bigest gambling centre in the world, Las Vegas – has yet to get over its rather one-eyed view of gambling nationally.