Will Developers Ante Up for a Gambling API?

A new API aims to capitalize on the social gaming phenomenon by giving app developers an even better way to monetize their audiences. Rather than simply selling upgrades and virtual goods, players can also incorporate gambling. Betable, which today is announcing the beta of its Betable API, handles the money, regulations and gambling logic.

"We've built a generalized abstraction of a slot machine" and other common gambling games, said Betable's Christopher Griffin.

Developers don't create their own random number, for example. Instead, they define the gambling logic on Betable's site and Betable becomes the entire backend for the gamling portion of the game. For example, harvesting corn in Farmville could be like pulling the lever of a slot machine.

Griffin expects the early adopters of Betable will create simple casino games, but insists the potential extends to many types of games. Betable supports games of chance, games of skill and player-versus-player.

Of course, gambling is illegal in many countries, including the United States. "The overseas markets represent billions of dollars in opportunity for developers located anywhere in the world," said Tony Conrad, a partner at True Ventures, which invested in Betable. The location of the end-user, not the developer, determines whether gambling is allowed and Betable's Platform ensures legality of the game. It also flexibly maneuvers between virtual currency and real-money gambling, so developers don't have to turn any players away.

The opportunity for developers to make money could drive adoption of Betable. According to Betable's Griffin, social games average $1 of monthly revenue per user. Existing gambling games, which Griffin says are mostly boring, average $300 of monthly revenue per user.

Though the emphasis is on mobile games, the Betable API does not require a particular platform or SDK. It's a standard REST API returning JSON. Players need to create a Betable mobile wallet and authenticate via OAuth with applications.

Surprisingly, Betable is one of 14 gambling APIs in our directory.

Disclosure: Betable is a ProgrammableWeb sponsor

Be sure to read the next API article: The GROU.PS API is a Great Way to Stay Connected