Online gambling and betting is a multibillion-dollar industry. It's also one of the most highly regulated. The market for gambling and betting APIs is relatively small in the United States, but the activity in this area is growing. Numerous services promise bettors access to data that will help them win, and API-based betting is a driver of business for betting exchanges. And an upstart is enabling developers to add legal, real-money gambling to their apps using an API.
Based on ProgrammableWeb's analysis of the industry and industry trends, here's a look at 10 of the top APIs in this space, with a focused examination of two APIs that change the game.
Betfair's Exchange APITrack this API allows developers to access to market data, including pricing and volume. In addition, the Exchange API can be used to place bets, check bet status and manage bets, as well as to retrieve account information. For developers building their own trading tools, Betfair offers a Heartbeat function that enables unmatched bets to be canceled automatically if their applications lose connectivity with the API.
The Betfair API is accessible using one of two protocols, JSON-RPC or Rescript. To assist developers in getting started, Betfair provides extensive documentation. Betfair also offers sample code for a variety of programming languages, including Java, PHP, C# and Python, as well as an iOS SDK.
Access to the Betfair API is free to Betfair players within certain limits. Additional fees apply to usage above the limits, but these fees may be offset by commission paid and API subscription fees. Software vendors, bookmakers and businesses that want to use the API for commercial purposes must obtain a commercial license. Access can also be arranged for Betfair affiliates.
Why It's a Top API
Betfair pioneered the online betting exchange and remains the world's largest player in the market. The publicly traded company counts more than a million active customers, and in 2013 it matched over a billion bets worth more than a whopping $90 billion.
A large, thriving ecosystem has been built around the Betfair Exchange API, which is used extensively by a variety of Betfair market participants. Individual punters use the API to develop their own trading strategies and betting tools. Numerous software vendors have developed commercial trading applications that rely on the Exchange API. And bookmakers use the API to support their own operations.
Using the Betable APITrack this API, game developers can add real-money gambling functionality to their apps without worrying about the complexities of running a legal online casino. Betable's API abstracts popular casino games—like slot machines, bingo, roulette and blackjack--into straightforward API calls, eliminating the need for developers to spend time building the core logic that powers these games.
There is no cost for developers to use the Betable API. Instead, Betable partners with developers and shares the gambling revenue generated by their games. The terms of the revenue share are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Why It's a Top API
Betable, which holds gaming licensed by the United Kingdom and Alderney, is disrupting the online gambling industry by making it possible for developers to legally add real-money gambling to their games without having to go through the lengthy and costly process of obtaining a gambling license of their own. One of the goals: Take the $3.5 billion social gaming market and bring it together with the $32 billion online gambling market.
According to Betable CEO Christopher Griffin, many of the gambling apps created by traditional gambling companies are boring, but, using the company's API, developers can quickly create innovative new forms of game play based on the logic found in gambling mainstays like slot machines and roulette.
If Betable has its way, its API will power a whole new crop of fun and innovative web and mobile gambling games that will not only provide a significantly more enjoyable experience for players, but will also create a lucrative opportunity that solves the monetization challenges game developers frequently face. For that reason, investors have poured more than $17 million into the company, and Betable notes it's just the second gambling company to receive investment from Silicon Valley venture capitalists in more than a decade. Betable has a number of active partners and, according to the company, it has thousands of developers who have expressed an interest in developing games using its API.
SharkScope aims to help its customers improve their odds of success in the highly competitive world of online poker. It does this by allowing players to track their statistics and retrieve information about their opponents.
Using the company's comprehensive REST APITrack this API, developers can build applications on top of all the data SharkScope tracks. API access is available to SharkScope subscribers with a Gold plan or higher, or separately starting at $200 per month for 150 searches per day.
OddsMinerTrack this API offers XML data feeds for real-time odds at more than 200 bookmakers. The company's goal: Provide the "same wealth of odds information as the industry professionals at an affordable cost." Its coverage includes soccer, rugby, tennis, basketball and American football. For some of those sports, such as soccer and ice hockey, the company's historical data dates back to 1997.
eOddsmakerTrack this API provides several JSON and XML betting data feeds, for both pre-match and live in-play betting odds. The company's pre-match betting odds cover more than 70 bookmakers, while the in-play odds cover a number of leading bookmakers offering 7,000 monthly events. In addition, eOddsmaker offers a unique XML feed containing pre-match arbitrage opportunities it has identified.
Behind just about every gambling game is a random number generator. For players, those random numbers are the difference between winning and losing, so the integrity of how they're generated is crucial.
FairLuckTrack this API aims to help establish trust between game operators with its "Fairness Assurance Technology," which consists of a random number externalization service. According to the company's SourceForge page, the service operates as an XML-RPC API that can be accessed through the use of libraries the company provides.
Pinnacle SportsTrack this API is a traditional online bookmaker that operates in more than 200 countries. It offers its customers and affiliate program participants access to an XML API that provides live odds and enables customers to place bets directly. There is no cost to use the Pinnacle Sports API.
The company's API documentation is published publicly and contains C# and PHP code samples. Non-customers, including commercial data providers and software vendors, are offered access to the API through a licensing agreement.
Betfair Games API
Betfair Games allows users to play popular casino games like Blackjack, Hi-Lo, Bullseye Roulette, Hold 'Em and Baccarat. With the Betfair Games APITrack this API, players can retrieve historical data about game play on the platform. The REST XML API also has transactional capabilities, making it possible for developers to build bots that play games on their behalf.
Lotteries generate more than $100 billion in revenue globally each year and represent one of the most common ways in which consumers participate in games of chance. Using LotteryFeed.comTrack this API, publishers and media companies can access XML, JSON, HTML and text API feeds for global lottery results.
LotteryFeed.com's data covers all lotteries in the United States and Canada, as well as lotteries in dozens of other countries. In addition to its results feed, the company offers APIs for other data, such as payouts, frequency charts and smart picks. According to the LotteryFeed.com website, access to feeds starts at $100 per month.
Different countries have different licensing regimes for gambling and betting, and, in certain places, gambling and betting are not allowed. To help companies stay on the right side of the law, Locaid offers a SOAP-based Compliance APITrack this API that enables companies to accurately identify the location of users in real time across multiple sources to ensure that they're within a company-specified geographical boundary before they're allowed to perform a potentially restricted action, such as placing a bet.
For more gambling and betting APIs, check out our full list of gambling APIs.