When people place bets online in America, they are used to the casino being in control. The casino decides what you can bet on. It sets the odds. It eventually pays you or collects your money.
But imagine a world where this was not the case. Picture the bettor being in control of what he or she bets on – and what the payout is.
That's the idea behind peer to peer betting. A gambler is allowed to come up with any type of bet someone can think of. He or she could bet on Dallas winning the first half of a game while losing during the second half on the same day the Jets win. He or she would then set the odds of the bet. The system then looks for people online willing to take that bet. Once it finds someone to take it, the bet is made and the casino simply takes a percentage of the winnings.
ZenSports has been experimenting with this vision outside of America for more than a year. And what they have found is that nearly any bet anyone can come up with at any odds will find a taker somewhere. That's good for people placing bets – and it is great for ZenSports.
The company has not tried launching in the United States yet, but that's about to change. ZenSports has been applying for a license to operate in America and is supposed to get it by the end of the year. That would make them the first peer to peer gambling network in America.
How traditional sportsbooks will respond to peer to peer betting is up for grabs. A lot of people like having the sportsbook set their odds for them. But there are people out there who would like to be able to tinker with the odds. It's also unclear how many people want to design their own bets rather than just bet on traditional bets.
Whatever happens, peer to peer betting is sure to be a disruptive force in online gambling in the United States. And those disruptions often lead to good things happening in the future.