May 29, 2024

CEO of OddsJam, Matt Restivo's Mission to Empower Players & Grow the Sportsbetting Industry

Jacob, CEO (Image)
Jacob Fortinsky

This week on Linecraft I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt Restivo, CEO of OddsJam. Matt has a wealth of experience in the sports betting industry. He previously served as the Chief Product Officer at Action Network before taking the reins at OddsJam. My conversation with Matt was packed with insights and advice for operators and bettors. His experience building multiple successful sports betting products combined with his in-the-trenches perspective as an active bettor makes him a must-listen.

In this episode, we dove into the key trends and opportunities shaping the sports betting landscape. What really struck me was his holistic view of the industry - from the nuts and bolts of building great products to the evolving regulatory environment to the mindset needed to succeed as a bettor. Matt has the ability to zoom in on the details that matter while never losing sight of the big picture.

A key theme throughout the conversation was the importance of education and empowerment. Matt and the OddsJam team are on a mission to change how bettors approach the market, arming them with the tools and knowledge to bet profitably. In a business where most operators are focused solely on acquisition and handle, it's refreshing to see a company so committed to the long-term success of its users.

Whether you're a seasoned industry vet, a casual bettor looking to up your game, or just someone fascinated by the business of sports betting, I guarantee you'll find a ton of valuable insights in this conversation.

Make sure to carve out some time to listen to the full episode with Matt Restivo here:

And if you don't have a chance to listen to the full episode, here are five valuable takeaways from our chat:

1. Educating bettors on profitable betting strategies is Oddjam's mission.

At its core, OddsJam is on a mission to change the way bettors think about their wagers.

"We want people to think about sports betting differently. And what I've found from arbitrage is that it’s a really, really easy way to help people see the sports betting world differently."

OddsJam's content and tools are all geared towards helping bettors understand and implement positive expected value (+EV) strategies like arbitrage betting. By focusing on education, they aim to "rewire the minds" of bettors and open their eyes to a more profitable approach.

2. Improving the mobile app experience is a key priority.

While OddsJam has seen great success with their web-based offerings, Matt acknowledged that their mobile app experience hasn't been up to par:

"I'm not satisfied with OddJam’s mobile app experience. And I don't think anybody in the company is. And clearly users aren't. So we're spending a lot of time really improving that."

Despite some industry skepticism about the importance of apps, Matt is a firm believer in providing a quality, user-friendly mobile experience. Expect big improvements to OddsJam's app as they make it a major priority moving forward.

3. Being relentlessly focused on costs is key as a bootstrap business.

As a profitable, bootstrapped company, OddsJam has to be incredibly disciplined when it comes to managing costs. Matt shared a peek behind the curtain:

"We spend an enormous amount of time focused on costs...every month we have what's called our monthly business review. It's led by our internal controller and we literally rip through the entire business down to every bank account and credit card transaction."

By keeping a hawk-like focus on every expense over $5 and conducting regular deep-dive reviews, OddsJam is able to operate efficiently and profitably without outside investment. It's a good reminder for startups that being lean and detail-oriented is critical, especially in the early days.

4. Sweepstakes betting opens up new market opportunities.

The rise of sweepstakes betting is creating new customer acquisition opportunities for companies like OddsJam. Matt explained the potential:

"It's great to get more exposure to younger people and in states that we typically couldn't reach them. and I think ultimately that will pay dividends down the line as these people turn 21 and, and enter, legal sports betting."

By introducing the OddsJam brand and offerings to bettors in states where traditional sports betting isn't yet legal, they can build valuable relationships that will pay off in the long run as those users age into the legal market. It's a smart strategy to drive sustainable growth.

5. Newly legal betting states still have room for growth.

While the initial burst of betting volume from newly legalized states tends to grab headlines, Matt believes there is still massive untapped potential in those markets:

"North Carolina is only three months old at this point... It took five years to really penetrate New Jersey. I think obviously that's going to happen faster. It's not 2018 anymore… But it does take time for people to really dip their feet in the water.”

Rather than a one-and-done pop, legalization is the start of a long growth ramp for operators. By getting in early and providing great products and education, companies can ride that wave for years as the market matures. Expect a lot more growth to come, especially as bigger states like California come online.

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What will be available when Novig launches in CO?

Exchange wagering is not currently approved. Until it is, Novig will operate as an Internet Sports Betting Operator. We’ll then transition to offering our full platform as soon as we get the green light from the regulators.

How will Novig make money without charging fees on trades?

We plan to shift the fundamental business model of the industry away from charging users indiscriminately to only charging the greatest winners on the platform. Until the new Exchange Regulations are passed we will primarily generate revenue by operating as an Internal Market Maker, but when we launch our full exchange, we plan to implement with regulatory approval a fee structure for users whose lifetime profits exceed $10,000 and we will begin to productize and monetize our proprietary research and trading models. This business model allows us to provide commission-free betting for the overwhelming majority of our users, while ensuring that our exchange is sufficiently liquid and sustainable.

When will Novig be available?

The best way to stay informed about our upcoming launch is to sign up for our waitlist here.

What types of bets will be available on Novig?

Initially, Novig will support Moneyline, Spread, and Totals markets for MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAAB matches, and Player Props for professional sports. We’re actively working to begin offering markets for NHL, soccer, tennis, golf, and other sports, as well as other types of bets in the sports we currently support. If there are certain markets you would like to see on Novig, please feel free to reach out at hi@novig.co.