Up the Ante with AnteUp – A Better Way to Gamble

By David Knight |

Gambling is all about losing stacks of money at a casino or on the gee-gees, right? Wanna bet? One Berlin-based startup is now trying to turn betting fun and away from the “dirty” reputation it has for some people. With their latest release, called AnteUp, games developer Crowdpark wants to bring betting into a truly social space.

And it’s genuinely quite fun. Users sign up with Facebook, and are then presented with a suggested bet. The immediate impression is similar to the one I had when I first saw Amen – and no surprise, really, as AnteUp uses the same algorithm-friendly, pre-defined sentence structure as the app for the best and worst of everything: “I bet [Name of FB friend] for [wager] that [description of the bet].”

And just like Amen, it’s pretty addictive.

The wager can be chosen from a list – with a beer, a ride or a massage among the options – or you can write one in yourself. Of course, part of the fun is the trash talking afterward – other people can join the bet and leave messages as well, and all your Facebook friends and those of the other person in the bet can see it.

AnteUp was softlaunched by Crowdpark on Thursday, and Ciarán O’Leary of VC firm Earlybird, one of the startup’s major investors, told Silicon Allee about what they are aiming to do.

“Betting people are usually associated with sports, or being a little bit dirty. But Crowdpark wants to turn betting into something which is really fun and can be used on Facebook,” he said.

“AnteUp is supposed to get people betting that would never do a sports bet or anything like that, but just want to have a bit of fun with their friends. It makes betting more sociable and fun, taking it out of this idea of real money.”

The game was launched with no fanfare with its creators hoping to attract enough interest without making a song and dance about it. And there’s no reason why it wouldn’t – without wanting to stretch the Amen comparison too far, it is also a relatively simple idea that manages to feel fresh and new.

And for those of you who balked when you reached the word ‘Facebook,’ Ciarán also revealed that Twitter integration will be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Mind you, I think he’s been working a bit too hard lately – he agreed to my bet that Arsenal will get further than his beloved Bayern Munich in the Champions League this year*…

*Disclaimer: I may not be quite as confident as first appears.