A New Kind of Betting Exchange

13 August 2003

The "eBay" of e-gambling premiered last month at uBetWHAT.com, a betting exchange that invites members to wager directly with other gamers on any conceivable topic without the hassle of a middle-man broker or bookmaker.

Will Ben and J-Lo get married by the end of the year? Will Barry Bonds hit a home run tonight? How much will the next Matrix movie gross on opening weekend? Will it rain in Memphis next Tuesday?

"We are a Web site for anybody who wants to bet one-on-one with someone else."
- Frank Aquilino

Customers can post real-cash bets on anything imaginable using uBetWHAT's message board-like system.

One user recently put up $500 with one-to-one odds saying that Kobe Bryant would lose at least one of his endorsements by Aug. 9. The poster can accept as many bets as he wants, but in this particular case he only wanted to take on one bet for $500. There is, by the way, no maximum bet.

Users can wager with fun tokens and merchandise as well. The tokens have no cash value, but serve as a good way to measure a user's success. Members start with 1,000 fun tokens and earn an extra 1,000 every month. They also earn tokens every time they bet or comment.

Another user is risking a BMW on the fate of Yahoo's stock. If its value dips below $28 per share before Aug. 15, he will surrender the car. The bet was matched by $1,000 from another user.

uBetWHAT is subscription based, with users paying a flat monthly rate for unlimited access. The zero-commission model is a departure from that of the typical online betting exchange.

We don't create any bets, we don't hold any money, and we don't set any odds," Frank Aquilino, cofounder of uBetWHAT, explained. "We are a Web site for anybody who wants to bet one-on-one with someone else."

uBetWHAT protects against users who fail to pay by using a feedback system through which users may comment on other players. And uBetWHAT reserves the right to remove any users who do not honor their bets.

The exchange is the dream project of Aquilino's late son, F.T. Aquilino, a casualty of the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The project was completed by F.T.'s family, friends, and business partners.

The site uses Verifyme verification services and is licensed through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Bradley Vallerius

Articles by Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials. Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

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