TechCrunch Is Breaking Into Real-Money Gaming

Even though the Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey state legislatures just passed laws that pave the way for online gambling in the U.S., Zynga is not going to be the first to get in on it.

Given how terrible the economics of running a blog are, TechCrunch has been exploring new revenue streams. They may include, but are not limited to, premium Justin Timberlake-filters on blog posts, Path 3.0-like stickers for Livefyre comments and a new sponsored section about Scientology-related hardware startups.

What has been most promising, however, are virtual currencies and real-money gaming. If the hope of real-money gaming has boosted Zynga’s shares by about 15 percent in the last six months, imagine what it can do for AOL’s stock.

In that vein, we’re launching a new series of slots and social betting games that let you put real money on the startups you think will get ahead. Think of it as an even easier way to bypass SEC regulations around being an accredited investor.

Why bother with the $1,000 minimums of Funders Club or deal with AngelList or SecondMarket, when you can just straight-up gamble your seed capital?

Yes, the game on top of this post really works. Seriously, click the spin button. There are real prizes in this, including a ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco (which is worth $1,795). The Tesla Roadster, I’m afraid, is virtual though. But if you do get three Alexias in a row, she could write you a poem and if you get three Anthony Has in a row, he could sing you his infamous rendition of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” over Skype. For every three-in-a-row match that readers get, we’ll collect their contact information for a drawing. And one person randomly selected from each pool will win the prize.

Special thanks to real-money gaming platform Betable and Murka, a social gaming studio for putting this working game together in literally a week.