With more and more states legalizing sports gambling and it seemingly getting closer to a reality in Florida, Nigel Wheatstone created the Brevard-based Vegas Lit Games to serve as a safe space where novice gamblers could learn the tricks of the trade without risking gobs of cash.
At the same time, Wheatstone also had part of his focus affixed on starting an operation that could someday soon be a leader in the future of sports gaming.
Vegas Lit Games, which is based in Satellite Beach, is a startup company that hopes to capture a sizable market share of a sports gambling industry that is expected to grow immensely in the coming years.
Currently, there are 15 states where sports gambling is legal and there are another six — including Florida — where proposed legislation to enact sports gambling is in place.
On Nov. 5, a federal judge delayed a decision over whether to temporarily halt the gaming compact that authorizes the Seminole Tribe of Florida to operate a sports betting business, allowing legalized sports gaming in Florida to open for the time being. That all could change, however, this week when the federal judge is scheduled to render a decision about the pact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State.
Regardless of what happens, Wheatstone already has a “free 2 play” app (Vegas Lit Sportsbook) in a place where people interested in sports gambling can learn strategies and play for points rather than money.
“We wanted to create an ecosystem where new players could come and they could experiment with the whole process of sports betting, they could learn all of the fundamentals of it, understand the process, and do it in a safe environment where they're not going to lose any money,” said Wheatstone, a native of England, who has worked in the U.S. for more than two decades with corporations such as Intel and Mastercard.
“So, it’s more of a playground for new gamblers,” Wheatstone added. “We created an environment where there wasn’t one before, and there is now. That goes back to my old trading days of giving people that environment to learn and experiment.”
Wheatstone has other experiments in mind, such as a “National Sports Bar League,” where bar or restaurant patrons wager on sports (for points) against other establishments in the area. Plans are already underway to potentially bring the concept to sports bars and restaurants in Brevard County in the coming months.
That general idea — peer-to-peer gambling — will eventually become the wave of the future, Wheatstone predicts. Rather than always having to bet against “the house” and its favorable odds, Wheatstone believes sports gamblers will migrate toward options where they can wager against friends and other fans in years to come.
Combine peer-to-peer wagering with significantly more in-game sports gambling and Wheatstone is confident that the Brevard-based Vegas Lit Games will be perfectly positioned to grab a share of the market where the sports betting landscape has never been more fertile in the U.S.
“We believe this kind of wagering will be the future based on today’s metrics of mobile and in-game wagering,” Wheatstone said. “With mobile wagering capturing more than 80 percent of all sportsbook traffic, and 85 percent of that traffic being in-game wagering, you can see the desire. Plug in our pool and prop wagers, and you have an event that can be wagered on throughout its run time. Players can be paid out, and then they can re-bet before the game has ended. Imagine betting on the first quarter of a football game, and being paid out so you can pick up some props and bet on the second half of the game.
“Our company owns a patent that covers this kind of wagering,” Wheatstone added. “When we bring this to market, we will be a major disruptor to the industry. With the general consensus that people want to bet against each other rather than the house, we are perfectly positioned to capture a patent-protected portion of the market.”
Vegas Lit games is currently seeking Brevard County sports bar and beverage-related partnerships for promotion and marketing of their sports bar league events. Please make any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denton is a publicist for Otter Public Relations and a former Sports Reporter for FLORIDA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Vegas Lit Games wants piece of Florida's future gaming industry