News & Press: Industry Related

Sports Betting - Venmo settled at least 65,000 (mostly illegal) Super Bowl bets

Thursday, February 8, 2018  
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Sports Betting - Venmo settled at least 65,000 (mostly illegal) Super Bowl bets

Venmo told The Outline Sunday in no uncertain terms that gambling on sports through Venmo is not only broadly illegal in most places in the US, but against the company's terms of service. According to research done by The Outline using the transaction data available through Venmo’s public API, on average 44 percent of Sunday night's transactions included messages with Super-Bowl-related terms and 14 percent directly referenced gambling.

 All Venmo transactions require a message of some sort, and they’re generally pretty transparent. Inspired in part by Vicemo — the website that provides a comprehensive list of every public Venmo transaction accompanied by a vice-related message (like, a bunch of tree emojis, “drank,” “drugs,” or, of course, the ever popular “drugz”) — I sampled transactions for the messages listed in Venmo’s public API against a variety of Super Bowl keywords (“football,” “Super Bowl,” “fucktomb,” etc.) and gambling-related keywords (“squares,” “prop,” or “bet,” as in, “In hindsight, maybe betting the mortgage on the Patriots wasn’t the best idea”) keywords in order to get a rough estimate of the number of people who used Venmo for possibly illegal purposes last night.

 Based on my research, there were about 139,500 Venmo transactions occurring per hour, which evens out to approximately 837,100 Venmo transactions over the course of the evening. Forty-four percent of these transactions were obviously related to the Super Bowl in some way, and at its peak in the minutes after the game ended, 14 percent of transactions explicitly referenced gambling (i.e. "Refund for super bowl squares,” “illegal super bowl gambling”), with an 8 percent average overall.  Click here to read more.


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