June 19, 2024

Isaac Rose-Berman's Vision for a More Transparent & Fair Sports Betting Industry

Jacob, CEO (Image)
Jacob Fortinsky

In the world of sports betting, it's not often that you come across someone like Isaac Rose-Berman. As a professional bettor and writer, Isaac has not only navigated the complex landscape of the gambling industry but also emerged as a vocal advocate for transparency and fairness. His insights, shaped by years of experience and a deep understanding of the industry's inner workings, offer a refreshing perspective on what it takes to create a more equitable and sustainable betting ecosystem.

When I sat down with Isaac, our conversation quickly gravitated towards the most pressing issues facing the sports betting world today. From the critical importance of price awareness and transparent advertising to the urgent need for accessible betting data and government-funded research on problem gambling, Isaac's insights painted a vivid picture of an industry at a crossroads. But beyond the nuts and bolts of betting strategy and regulation, what struck me most was Isaac's deeply personal reflection on the surprising mental benefits that can come from embracing the ups and downs of variance - a lesson that resonates far beyond the world of gambling.

Whether you've been betting all your life, an aspiring entrepreneur, or simply someone who appreciates fresh perspectives on complex issues, I promise you'll come away from this episode with a newfound appreciation for the power of transparency and the importance of taking a long-term view in all of life's pursuits.

Check out the full episode with Isaac here:

Here are five of my favorite insightful moments from our discussion:

1. The Importance of Price Awareness for Bettors

Even small differences in betting odds can have a significant impact on a bettor's long-term success, as Isaac points out:

"There's obviously a huge difference between betting a minus 110 and a minus 105. And it really frustrates me that people don't know that. And if people did know that they would lose a lot less money."

Educating bettors on the importance of line shopping and price sensitivity can help them make more informed decisions and ultimately reduce their losses. By prioritizing the best available prices, bettors can give themselves a better chance of coming out ahead in the long run.

2. The Need for Transparent and Non-Deceptive Advertising Practices

Isaac takes issue with the misleading advertising tactics employed by some sportsbooks, particularly those that make grandiose promises to attract new customers:

"You shouldn't be allowed to do deceptive stuff. You shouldn't be allowed to have an ad where it's like sign up and everybody can win big and then you ban winners. That's just messed up."

Deceptive marketing not only harms individual bettors but also erodes trust in the entire industry. By advocating for stricter regulations around advertising practices, Isaac believes we can create a more transparent and honest environment that benefits both operators and bettors alike.

3. Providing Bettors Easy Access to their Betting History and Performance

Isaac sheds light on the challenges many bettors face when trying to access their own betting history and performance data from sportsbooks:

"Why is it that if I want to see how much money I've won or lost on MGM, I have to email customer support and they're going to send me a spreadsheet a week later after I've emailed four people. I mean, that's just ridiculous. And it's because they don't want you to know that you're losing."

When operators make it difficult for bettors to track their own performance, it keeps them in the dark about their true results. Isaac believes that providing easily accessible tools for monitoring betting history is essential for promoting transparency and helping individuals make informed decisions about their gambling habits.

4. The Value of Government-Funded Research on Problem Gambling

The lack of government-funded research dedicated to understanding and addressing problem gambling is a major concern for Isaac:

"There's no federal government funding for research right now that's allocated towards problem gambling or gambling addiction. So we don't know what actually works."

Without adequate research, developing effective strategies for preventing and treating gambling-related issues becomes an uphill battle. Increased government funding and support for research in this area could lead to evidence-based policies and interventions that promote responsible gambling practices and protect vulnerable individuals.

5. The Surprising Mental Benefits of Understanding Variance through Gambling

Isaac reflects on the personal growth and mental benefits he's experienced through his involvement in sports betting, particularly in relation to understanding variance:

"I think understanding variance is probably one of the most important things, both in sports betting and in life...Gambling has made me a much more peaceful person, because if you internalize that, you can go through life and not really care as much when things go badly because you know it's gonna be cyclical, it's gonna go up and down."

Embracing the concept of variance, Isaac argues, can lead to greater emotional resilience and a healthier approach to both betting and personal struggles. By learning to accept the inevitable ups and downs of gambling, bettors can develop a more balanced perspective on life's challenges and cultivate a sense of inner peace.

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What is Novig? How does Novig work?

Novig is the first prediction market for sports. We were tired of betting against sportsbooks that take 10% cuts of winnings and limit/ban winning users, so we built a peer-to-peer exchange where you compete directly against other users in the Novig community rather than against the house.

When you place orders on Novig, you are weighing in with your own knowledge, research, and opinions on sports events, so the odds on our platform reflect what the Novig market believes is the fair value of a given event. We are distinct from traditional sportsbooks in that we allow users to offer their own odds (ie, name your own price) if you don’t like the market odds, which you can do by placing a “Make Order” on the Order Slip.  

We have two different modes: Novig Coins and Novig Cash. Novig Coins are unredeemable and are used to play for fun, and Novig Cash is a virtual currency that can be used to enter sweepstakes for the chance to win cash prizes. No purchase is necessary for Novig Cash.

What’s the difference between Novig Coins and Novig Cash?

Novig Coins are used to play for fun. They provide the opportunity to express one’s predictions on sports events, win more Novig Coins, and compete against the Novig community. Novig Coins can be purchased in the Novig App, and they can be claimed daily or when one’s balance is below 100 Novig Coins. They are unredeemable and non-transferable. 

Novig Cash is a virtual currency that is used to participate in Novig's sweepstakes. Novig Cash is free to claim and Novig Cash won from gameplay can be used to enter additional sweepstakes or redeemed for cash prizes, subject to eligibility verification, minimum and maximum redemption limits, and all requirements in the Sweepstakes Rules and Terms of Use.

It can be collected for free as a bonus with purchases of Novig Coins or via one of our alternative methods of entry. No purchase is necessary to obtain Novig Cash. Please see our Sweepstakes Rules for complete details. 

What happens if I win Novig Cash?

If you win Novig Cash by participating in sweepstakes games, you may redeem the Novig Cash for real cash prizes, subject to minimum and maximum redemption limits, but you must verify your eligibility and comply with all requirements, in accordance with our Terms of Use. The current minimum redemption of Novig Cash is $20, and the current maximum redemption of Novig Cash is $5,000 for a single redemption and $10,000 per day, except in New York and Florida where the maximum daily redemption is $5,000.

What are sweepstakes?

Sweepstakes are promotional games with prizes for the winners. They are used to promote the sale of products — in our case, Novig Coins — and have been legitimately used by businesses in the United States for decades. 

Unlike traditional sports betting where you wager real money on sports outcomes, sweepstakes involve no real money gambling. A sweepstakes is a game of chance where participants can win prizes without any requirement to make a purchase. Participants use Novig Cash to play sweepstakes games for the chance to win prizes.

Why use Novig instead of traditional sportsbooks?

We are the platform where winners play. Our research indicates that players are over 10x more likely to win on Novig compared to our competitors. On other platforms, if you are consistently winning, you are likely going to get limited or frozen out entirely. At Novig, winners are welcome. 

We also offer faster in-game trading, more transparency, and a number of innovative features like Make Orders, liquidity screens where you can view multiple levels of the Order Book, position tracking, and a generous rewards program.

What markets does Novig offer?

We offer moneyline, spread, totals, and player prop markets in NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAAF, NCAAB, NCAAW, and WNBA. In the coming months, we will expand our offerings to include other sports (tennis, UFC, golf, soccer) parlays, SGPs, and other exotic markets.

Is Novig legal?

What does it mean to “set your own odds”?

On Novig, you don’t have to just take the odds that the market is offering. You can set your own. 

For example, let’s say you want to put 1000 Novig Coins on the Cowboys to win against the 49ers and you see that the best odds are currently -330 for 49ers and +240 for the Cowboys. Instead of just taking the Cowboys at +240, you can change your Order type to Make on the Order Slip, and enter in whatever odds you’d like, say +300. 

Those odds are then offered to the rest of the Novig community so the 49ers odds would update to -300 and when another player on the app takes the other side, you will be notified that your order is filled and your payout would be 4000 Novig Coins, instead of 3400. If your order remains unmatched, it will be canceled automatically when the game starts, or you can cancel it from the Portfolio screen at any time and the Coins will be returned to your wallet.

Where is Novig available?

Novig is available to users 21+ across the United States, except in the following states: AL, CO, ID, LA, MI, MT, NV, and TN. Eligibility may vary month-to-month, and you are responsible for determining whether you are located in an eligible jurisdiction. For more information on eligibility and availability, see our Terms of Use and Sweepstakes Rules.

How does Novig actually make money?

It's a great question and one that gets to the heart of how we're different from traditional sportsbooks. Our revenue model is actually quite simple. We make money in two ways.

First, we act as a market maker on our own platform. That means in addition to letting users trade directly against each other, we're also providing liquidity and acting as a participant in the market. This helps keep markets active even when user liquidity is low and solves the “cold start problem” from day one. 

In other words, if you want to participate in a niche market where there isn’t any counterparty, we will serve as the counterparty. In the most liquid markets — like NFL moneyline markets — we expect the vast majority of trades to be directly peer-to-peer where we don’t take a cut, but in less liquid markets, we expect most trades will be against Novig, where we will have 1-4% spreads. 

Second, for our highest volume users - think professionals and hedge funds - we have a fee structure. But for the vast majority of users, we're not taking a cut at all. When two users play against each other, we're not touching the winnings. That means if you put up 100 Novig Cash and your buddy puts up 150 Novig Cash, the winner gets 250 Novig Cash, whereas on virtually any other platform the house would take 8-10% of the winnings, so you’d only get 230. 

This is a complete paradigm shift in the industry. We're the only platform in the world that doesn't take a cut from most of our users' winnings. It's a game changer, and it's at the core of our mission to build the fairest, most transparent platform possible.

How can I connect with other players in the Novig community?

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We do! Reach out to us via Live Chat or email support@novig.co, and you’ll be connected with one of our customer support reps.