Researcher makes gambling into charity
The modern American is overwhelmed by immersive entertainment. As a consequence, a high level of engagement is required to hold the average attention span.
PledgeYourBets.com, a gambling website, attempts to combat this lack of attention using the theory of “gamification,” in hopes of eliciting the philanthropist within us all.
The website offers a new perspective on charity, Michael Lindemuth, co-founder of the website and a research engineer at the USF College of Marine Science, said.
“What we’re trying to do is solve the problem of donor engagement,” he said.
Pledge Your Bets encourages charity by fostering competition, he said.
Users place bets against each other on contests ranging from the Super Bowl to the Academy Awards.
The user selects an event and then chooses from a list of charities. Once the wages are placed, the pledges from the bettors are collected into a pool and distributed to the charities selected by the winners.
Of the money pledged, 90 percent goes directly to charitable causes. A cut from the remaining 10 percent is spent on overhead costs, including credit card transaction fees, leaving some compensation for Lindemuth and his partner.
The site currently has $2 pledged toward one charity. Lindemuth said he thinks this is an innovative use of gambling, in which everyone is a winner to some degree.
“You’re not losing your money — you’re giving your money. And it will be to a good charity, even if it’s not the one you wanted,” he said.
Though none of the money can be recouped, the psychological euphoria is reward enough, Lindemuth said.
“When you win at the casino, you keep wanting to come back,” he said. “Winning money for your charity is just as engaging.”
According to Lindemuth, the concept has gotten a largely positive response from active gamblers.
Lindemuth said a speculator could play the odds, potentially netting his charity a large return with a small investment. The infrequent, yet ample victory is one of the psychological reinforcements practiced by “gamification.”
“If you put $1 on the Buccaneers, and there’s $100 behind the Patriots, you could actually win $100 for your charity,” he said.
The website, which went live Oct. 28, appeals to the technologically inclined, Ken Klatt, the other co-founder, said and he hopes to connect fraternities and sororities with the site.
The majority of Greek organizations have philanthropy officers who should be intrigued by the premise, Klatt said.
“Fraternities can turn intramural competition with one another into philanthropic activities,” he said.
Pledge Your Bets will eventually incorporate a social aspect, adding teams and leaderboards. Fraternities will be able to compare statistics, comparing their members with those of rival fraternities, Lindemuth said.
Lindemuth said he would also like to add badges — tokens awarded for various achievements such as winning a certain percentage of wagers, or donating a certain sum of money, a type of reward system that is a cornerstone of “gamification.”
Lindemuth said the idea came to him two years ago from a thread he saw on Reddit, a social news and entertainment website. A poster claimed it would donate $100 to the most requested, or up-voted, charity if the New York Jets lost to the Denver Broncos. Ironically, the most up-voted charity was the Tim Tebow Foundation, the charity endorsed by Denver’s then-quarterback.
“The irony really hit me,” he said. “I thought that was a really good concept.”
Lindemuth met Klatt at Startup Weekend, an event held across the country to promote innovative entrepreneurship. Pledge Your Bets won second place as a startup business.
It was a rough start, Lindemuth said.
A law was passed that restricted gambling soon after their partnership began.
As a result, their business model changed.
Originally, only the losers had to follow through with donating their pledges, being forced to donate to the charities chosen by the winners.
Currently, they are ensuring donors can claim tax deductions under state law.
With engaging interactivity and just a touch of marketing, Lindemuth said he hopes “gamification” will compel those with a sense of risk and altruism to visit the website often.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- As exams near, student stress levels soar
- Message to draftees: Don’t mess this up
- Bulls held scoreless in midweek loss to Stetson
- As need for cybersecurity grows, USF class offers solutions
- Florida should pass laws to help women
- Tampa continues to tackle public transportation issue
- Oracle sports staff tackles NFL mock drafts
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Streaming Content Box Cuts Your Cable and Costs
- Non-Profit Venture Fund Seeks to Support The American Dream
- Sustained Happiness Starts from Within
- Reverse Mortgages Benefit Younger Seniors
- Sunshine State Shining New Light on the Banking Industry
- Honoring Moms : How 3 Inspiring Women are Changing the World
- Look Before You Buy: Virtual Reality Comes to Home...
- Olympic Power Couple Teams Up to Fight Blood Cancers with...
- Two Meals in One: Arborio Rice, Perfect for Risotto &...
- New Nighttime Grind Guard Relieves Jaw Pain
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- American U. professor predicts Trump will be impeached in new book
- Comic Book and Sports Card Show
- A Harvard Dean's 5 Essential Questions for Success
- COLLEGE STUDENTS: DO THESE THREE THINGS THIS SUMMER TO BOOST YOUR FINANCES
- Annual PepsiCo/SWE Student Engineering Challenge Gives Undergraduates Real-World Engineering Practicum