Former Casino Lobbyist Sara Slane Investor in B2B Sports Betting Startup
Posted on: August 13, 2020, 12:19h.
Last updated on: August 13, 2020, 12:53h.
Sara Slane — the former senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association (AGA) — is an investor in a new business-to-business sports betting startup.
There’s nothing “simple” about the company Slane’s betting on, Simplebet. The B2B is setting out to disrupt the US sports betting landscape through “innovative in-play, micro-market products.”
Simplebet is seeking to greatly expand what bettors can wager on, specifically in-game opportunities. From how many yards the next play in an NFL football game will go for, to the result of an MLB pitcher’s next pitch, the company says it has the ability to create instant micro-markets through its proprietary use of “machine learning and automation.”
“In-play betting, and more specifically, Micro-Markets, which are bets tied to discrete moments in sporting events, are the way of the future,” Simplebet CEO Chris Bevilacqua said.
Simplebet recently completed a more than $35 million private fundraising. Slane is listed as one investor.
The AGA is the gaming industry’s leading lobbying firm in DC. Association members in the sports betting space include DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill US.
Slane has been dubbed “the face of legalized sports betting” for her lobbying of Congress and the US Supreme Court to deem the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. She agrees with Bevilacqua that micro-markets are the future of gambling on sports.
Calling it a “game-changer,” Slane says the in-play, live and instant result betting offerings “will convert casual sports fans to sports bettors while capturing more revenue from existing users.”
Slane was the quasi-leader of the AGA after CEO Geoff Freeman departed in August 2018 to head up the Consumer Brands Association. His replacement, current AGA CEO Bill Miller, stepped into the role in January of 2019.
During the absence of a CEO, it was Slane who represented the gaming lobbying group in Washington. Slane told Congress following the PASPA repeal to avoid new legislation to regulate sports betting markets in states that wish to legalize the gambling activity.
“AGA does not believe an additional layer of federal regulatory oversight is needed,” Slane said in September of 2018 before a House subcommittee on Capitol Hill. “Just as Congress has refrained from regulating lotteries, slot machines, table games, and other gambling products, it should leave sports betting oversight to the states and tribes that are closest to the market.”
Upon leaving the AGA in June of 2019, Slane formed her own advisory group focused on the gaming industry and sports betting.
Sportsbooks Need Sports
COVID-19 has put sports in jeopardy around the world. But for now, MLB, NBA, NHL, and PGA Tour events are being contested. Bevilacqua says his company obviously needs sports for it to thrive.
We were actually supposed to launch our product on opening day [MLB] back in March,” the CEO explained on Cheddar this week. “The Mike Tyson saying, ‘Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth,’ well, the whole sports industry got hit in the mouth.”
“You can’t do a sports betting business without sports,” Bevilacqua concluded.
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