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
- Author Yaa Gyasi shares her method of writing
- St. Pete Police looking for men alleged to have punched USF student
- USF hosts third annual Sports and Entertainment Analytics Conference
- USF baseball’s streak falls one short of record
- ‘Challenge of the perception’
- Local pub crawl mixes business and pleasure
- City needs to rethink answer to helping homeless
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Zulily Helps Moms Navigate the "Fourth Trimester" in Style
- Veteran Raises Capital Via Alternative Financing
- Stop Pests This Spring With These Safe, Simple Steps
- Have a Blast This Spring Break With These Must-Have...
- Seniors Find That Doing Good Is Good For You
- University Students Take Top Honors at CME Group's Annual...
- Telecom and Cloud Service Options Expand in Africa
- Depression Sufferers Find Hope With New Sound Technology
- Going With Your Gut -- Virtual Colonoscopy Simplifies...
- Entrepreneurs Provide TIPS! Monthly Yield Now Makes Sense
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Applications Available for Phi Kappa Phi Student Leadership Summit
- GREEN AMERICA: ONE MILLION TREES COULD BE SAVED EACH YEAR IF UNIVERSITIES SWITCHED TO ONLY RECYCLED PAPER FOR ALUMNI MAGAZINES
- Deadline Approaching for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship Program
- Entries Are Open for 9th Annual SVG/NACDA College Sports Media Awards
- Investor Bitcoin Investment Plans Guarantee Zero Losses